The Rundown with Robin Thede joins the plethora of late-night political talk shows, but it stands out from the rest in an amazing way.
Robin Thede is a comedian who got her start in Chicago at The Second City. She recently was the head writer for Comedy Central's The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, making her the first black woman to have this position on a late-night talk show.
Thede was also a frequent roundtable correspondent on Wilmore's show, and I relished getting to watch her on that. She was always honest and fresh. Luckily for us, The Rundown gives her the chance to shine on television once again.
The first episode opened with a pre-recorded teaser. Robin is sitting in a diner and sees a black man she finds attractive. Then, she sees that he is wearing a Trump/Pence shirt. She's disappointed but decides to try to get his attention because of his good looks.
She wears a Make America Great Again hat, fires up a tiki torch, and even gets a tattoo of a confederate flag. The man, though, shows no interest. At the end of the cold open, we find out that he is married, and Robin is bummed.
The opening was a ridiculously funny way to introduce the audience to the new show.
What happened to civility? President Trump.Robin Thede
After the cold open, Thede came out to her set to give us the rundown. This section is done in the style of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, complete with the list behind her as she works through the topics.
Rather than only discuss sports headlines, though, she covered police brutality, Jemele Hill, and Eminem's rap about Donald Trump. Each topic she covered had a racial theme, something that is not done as much in late-night talk shows with white hosts.
In this segment, Robin Thede was unapologetic about who she is. She's a proud and loud black woman with opinions. She was quick, witty, and passionate throughout the entire act.
Because of this, the audience knows who she is and where she stands on issues. This means we are able to connect with her immediately.
In the second act, Robin Thede tackled the concussion controversy plaguing the NFL.
The segment was thoroughly researched, and she put a new spin on it by connecting the concussion issue to race. I had never thought of it this way, despite knowing a lot about the issue as a football fan.
Her take on the issues helps her stand out, and it could help her become a viral social media star in no time.
In the third act of the show, Robin Thede featured an up-and-coming rapper named Duckwrth. Instead of bringing him into the studio to perform, Thede went to a bodega in New York to have him rap for an audience.
The group that gathered for Duckwrth's performance was dancing along with him and Robin, and it made me want to get up and dance in my living room too.
I had never heard of the rapper before, and his following on social media is rather small. I thoroughly enjoyed the song, though, and the different style of performance was refreshing.
You get a car! You get a car! I'm sorry. I'm not sure how this works yet.Robin Thede
The one criticism I have of Thede is that she is uncomfortable when she pauses for audience laughter. She seems hesitant to move the audience on from their laughter, but she also doesn't know what she should do with herself while she is waiting.
It's a minor thing to complain about, and it certainly doesn't negate what the show accomplishes. She needs to learn to take control of those moments. She could react with the audience or even continue her bit over the laughter.
That comfort will probably come with time as she gets used to the format of her show over the next few months. She just needs to find what works for her so it isn't as awkward to watch.
Robin Thede: Trump likes his targets like we like our Magic Johnson theaters: black and loud.
Late-night talk shows are generally hosted by white males. With only a few notable exceptions, the late-night talk show genre lacks diversity.
Robin Thede is here to change that, and she's not afraid to discuss issues from which other late-night hosts might shy away. She has a commanding presence, which will get her far in this increasingly competitive market.
And remember, no matter what color you are, stay black.Robin Thede
BET is the perfect home for Robin Thede. It's a unique step for them into the world of comedy, and it gives Robin a platform for her political and racial comedy.
Did you enjoy The Rundown with Robin Thede as much as I did or do you find it too hard to keep up with all of these late-night talk shows?
Share your thoughts with me below!
Kaitlynn Smith was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in May of 2018.