Robin Thede
Robin Thede by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Thede in 2016
Born (1979-07-27) July 27, 1979 (age 42)
EducationNorthwestern University (BA)
  • Comedian
  • actress
  • writer
Years active2006–present
RelativesPhyllis Thede (mother)

Robin Thede (/ˈθdi/ THEE-dee) is an American comedian, actress and writer. Raised in Iowa, she has also worked as an entertainment correspondent, host, and radio personality.[1] In 2015, she became the first African-American woman to be head writer for a late-night talk show (The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore). From 2017 to 2018, Thede hosted The Rundown with Robin Thede on BET. She created and co-stars in the Emmy-nominated HBO series A Black Lady Sketch Show.[2]

Early life and education

Robin Thede was born in Spencer, Iowa. Her parents are Phyllis Thede, who is African American, and Dave Thede, who is German American.[3] Robin Thede was named after stand-up comedian, and actor Robin Williams. She stated on Late Night with Seth Meyers this was most likely due to her father's love of Williams' work.[4] She grew up in Davenport, Iowa, where her father was an educator and her mother also worked in community schools and served with the union for school staff. Thede's two sisters were born there. Thede and her sisters attended local schools in Davenport. Later her parents moved to Bettendorf, Iowa.

Her mother was elected in 2009 as Iowa State Representative for House District 93 and has been repeatedly re-elected. She continues to serve in the legislature.[5]

Thede graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, earning a degree in Broadcast Journalism and African-American Studies. After college, Thede studied at The Second City theatre group in Chicago.[6][7]


Robin first started with a sketch comedy group called Cleos Apartment with writers Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin. Members included Thomas Fraser, Wyatt Cenac, Nika Williams and Nefetari Spencer. That stage show was picked up online by AOL and HBO for a new show called The Message which ran for a full year, 2007.

Thede was also head writer and a performer on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.[8] From 2015–16, she was the head writer for the first season and a half of The Nightly Show, the first African-American woman to hold that position on any late-night talk show.[9] Thede is also the second African-American woman to write for a late-night talk show, as Amber Ruffin was first to join the writing staff for Late Night with Seth Meyers.[10]

Prior to that, she was head writer on The Queen Latifah Show and staff writer on the first two seasons of Real Husbands of Hollywood on BET. In January 2013, she appeared in the Marlon Wayans' comedy A Haunted House opposite comedian JB Smoove. She also had recurring appearances as "Gail" on Second Generation Wayans on BET in March 2013.

Thede has often worked on TV shows as both a writer and actress, including on the short-lived Fox series In the Flow with Affion Crockett, the Mike Epps sketch comedy series Funny Bidness, and on the comedy series Clunkers (starring Carl Payne, David Faustino and Sherman Hemsley).

Thede's recent television appearances include roles on Key & Peele (Comedy Central), Hot In Cleveland (TV Land), Chocolate News (Comedy Central), Kath & Kim (NBC), Worst Week (CBS) and All of Us (UPN). She was a series regular on the BET original web series Buppies with Tatyana Ali.

Thede's other writing credits include BET Awards (2014), BET Honors (2013), UNCF: An Evening of Stars (2013), BET Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), NAACP Image Awards (2011), the BET Hip Hop Awards (2010, 2011, 2012) and more.

Additionally, Thede has created several successful videos, including "Shit Black Guys Say" (which went viral with 2.5 million views on YouTube), "Every Little Step" with Wayne Brady, Bobby Brown and Mike Tyson (Funny or, and "For Stuffed Colored Girls" (Funny or She can also be seen with Elite Delta Force 3 in "The Real Housewives of Civil Rights" (Funny or YouTube Channel).

Thede's comedy work extends from years of professional live sketch comedy (Second City Chicago and LA, Improv Olympic, Acme) to comedic commentary on shows such as 10 Things I Hate About Me for the Style Network. She is also a performer and writer for the all-female sketch group "Elite Delta Force 3", which won the 2009 Audience Award Winner of the Los Angeles Comedy Improv Festival.

Other notable work includes co-hosting on The Voice of Reason on Jamie Foxx's Foxxhole Sirius/XM radio channel. She worked as a regular entertainment correspondent for E! News with Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic.

In October 2017, Thede began hosting her own late-night TV talk show, The Rundown with Robin Thede on BET. She is one of a few African-American women to host their own late-night show.[11]

In June 2019, Thede was named one of Variety's 10 Comics to Watch for 2019.[12] Most recently Thede created, writes, and performs in A Black Lady Sketch Show, which premiered on HBO on August 2, 2019. In April 2021, the second season of A Black Lady Sketch Show premiered.[13]

In 2020, she signed a development deal with Warner Bros. Television.[14]


As writer

Year Title Credited as Notes
2015–2016 The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore Head writer 162 episodes
2017–2018 The Rundown with Robin Thede Creator, executive producer, writer Host, 17 episodes
2019–present A Black Lady Sketch Show Various acting roles

As actress

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Plant One on Me Roses Moses
All of Us Robin 2 episodes
2005 Office Court Kenitra Short
County General Simone
2006 Guy Walks Into a Bar Various
Kwameworld Lisa
2007 S.O.B.: Socially Offensive Behavior Various 3 episodes
Frank TV News reporter
2008 Chocolate News Victoria Billows 1 episode
Kath & Kim Karen 1 episode
Worst Week News anchor 1 episode
2009–2010 Buppies Priscilla 10 episodes
2010 All Access Vanessa Short
For (Stuffed) Colored Girls
Every Little Step
Hot in Cleveland Janet 1 episode
2011 In the Flow with Affion Crockett Various 6 episodes
Sometimes Pretty Girls Marilyn Short
Clunkers Cheryl 8 episodes
2012 Key & Peele Girlfriend 1 episode
Second Generation Wayans Gail 3 episodes
Finding My Obama Robin
2013 The Goodwin Games Marta 1 episode
Second Generation Wayans Gail 3 episodes
A Haunted House Kisha's mother
2017 Urban Press Tina Short
Difficult People Melissa 1 episode
2020 Bad Hair Denise 1 episode
Central Park Anita 1 episode – voice role
Insecure Nicki 1 episode
2021 The Great North Diondra Tundra 2 episodes – voice role

Other appearances

Year Title Role Notes
2020 Haute Dog Herself, judge 7 episodes

Awards and nominations

Emmy Awards

The Emmy Awards are presented at one of the numerous annual American events or competitions that each recognize achievements in a particular sector of the television industry. Thede has received 1 nomination.[15]

Year Nominated work Award Result
2020 A Black Lady Sketch Show Outstanding Variety Sketch Series Nominated

Mipcom Awards

Mipcom's Diversify TV Excellence Awards are presented annually in order to recognize, champion and celebrate diversity, equality and inclusion in television programming across the international television industry. Thede has been honored with 1 award.[16]

Year Nominated work Award Result
2020 Herself Variety Creative Change Award Honored

TCA Awards

The TCA Awards are awards presented by the Television Critics Association in recognition of excellence in television. Thede has won 1 award.

Year Nominated work Award Result
2020 A Black Lady Sketch Show Outstanding Achievement in Sketch/Variety Shows Won


  1. ^ "Robin Thede". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 16, 2013.
  2. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (July 25, 2018). "'The Rundown with Robin Thede' Canceled at BET". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  3. ^ Inkoo Kang (July 15, 2015). "'The Nightly Show's Robin Thede, Late Night's First Black Woman Head Writer". Indie Wire.[dead link]
  4. ^ Thede, Robin (April 5, 2022). "Robin Thede Was Named After an Iconic Comedian". YouTube. Late Night with Seth Meyers. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  5. ^ "The Iowa Legislature". Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  6. ^ " – Comedy. Writer". Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  7. ^ "Celebrities, Music, News, Fashion, Entertainment, TV Shows and Video". Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  8. ^ "In The Writer's Room, One Woman Quietly Makes Late Night History". Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  9. ^ "'Nightly Show' writer Robin Thede makes impassioned plea to diversify television". Entertainment Weekly. June 7, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  10. ^ "Most Creative People 2018: Amber Ruffin". Fast Company. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  11. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (October 8, 2017). "On 'The Rundown,' Robin Thede Is Filling a Void in Late-Night Talk". The New York Times. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  12. ^ "Variety Announces 10 Comics to Watch for 2019". Variety. June 13, 2019.
  13. ^ "Robin Thede says "A Black Lady Sketch Show" returns more ridiculous than ever to "bring some joy"". Salon. April 23, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  14. ^ "Robin Thede Signs Overall Deal With Warner Bros. TV | Hollywood Reporter". August 25, 2020. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  15. ^ "Emmy Awards, Nominations, and Wins: Robin Thede". Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  16. ^ Danielle Turchiano (September 23, 2020). "Robin Thede to Receive Variety Creative Change Award at Mipcom". Retrieved May 17, 2021.