Is the fringe ready for the brash standup who used to get paid in nachos and chicken wings? We meet one half of 2 Dope Queens as she fills her shoes with sweat
What does Phoebe Robinson want to see when she arrives at the Edinburgh fringe? “Just tons of dudes smuggling their bangers and mash in their kilts.” Observational comic, astute social critic, signee of a deal with ABC studios, bestselling author (You Can’t Touch My Hair & Other Things I Still Have to Explain) and one half of 2 Dope Queens (the podcast duo turned HBO stars), Robinson has a philosophy: that comedy – thirsty, uninhibited, occasionally gross, with riffs on Googling David Bowie’s penis size after learning he has died – can be a force for good.
At Edinburgh, Robinson will tour her show, called Sorry, Harriet Tubman, which covers “gender stuff and race stuff but also talking about mishaps in the bedroom during sex, just like lower-brow things. So I think that it’ll be sort of a culmination of where I’m at in my life right now.” It argues, like most of her work, that if we can be honest about our profoundly flawed selves and our profoundly flawed society, maybe we can make our world a little less screwed up. Or at least tell a couple of decent fart jokes along the way.
The title, she says, comes from a running joke she and her fellow dope queen – The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams – used to make on the podcast, about how disappointed Tubman would be, “because, you know, she basically led slaves to freedom on the underground railroad and I’m like I just wanna smash Michael B Jordan,” Robinson says.
I ask her how she has disappointed Tubman this week. It’s only Tuesday, she objects. But then she remembers how that day or the day before, she and her boyfriend had been working out at the gym in her building, and that while practising a curtsy lunge, an extremely elegant move, she “just let out like the loudest, wettest fart”. Her boyfriend has his earphones in, but he still heard it. “So I thought that was a definite let-down for Harriet,” she says.
Robinson likes to imagine Tubman, her noble face flecked with a single, perfect Demi-Moore-in-Ghost tear, hearing that fart too, and wondering if learning to navigate by the North Star had really been worth it.
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