Hosted by comedians Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson, the show melds comedy and storytelling, often spotlighting up-and-coming talent. After their sold-out Brooklyn shows started to gain buzz, Williams and Robinson approached WNYC Studios in order to reach a bigger audience. Launched in April, so far the podcast has featured funny, insightful guests like Hari Kondabolu, Janeane Garofalo, Jean Grae, Baratunde Thurston, and Beth Stelling.
“We felt like it would be something that would resonate with a lot of people, just because our audiences tend to be so diverse: different ages, different races, different sexual orientations,” says Robinson, who met her co-host while Williams was shooting a piece for The Daily Show. “But [when] we were on top of iTunes the first week we debuted, we didn’t expect that. That was pretty wild and crazy.”
2 Dope Queens’s first season wraps June 14, but the hosts plan to record more new episodes this summer. Also coming up is a sold-out appearance at the Werk It women’s podcast festival, held June 15-17 in New York. (Werk It’s daytime panels will be streamed at wnyc.org.)
Below, Robinson shares a few of her favorite up-and-coming comedians, some of whom may pop up on future episodes.
“We always have our ears and eyes open for people who are really talented,” she says. “Once we fall in love with them, we’re like, ‘You’re doing our show—you can’t say no!’”
1. BARON VAUGHN
“I am obsessed with him,” Robinson says of the L.A.-based comedian, who can be seen on Netflix’s Grace and Frankie and heard on the podcast Maltin on Movies, which he co-hosts alongside film critic Leonard Maltin.
“Jess and I love, love, love her,” Robinson says of the comedian, who also works as a writer on Broad City. “She just got a half-hour for Comedy Central, which is a huge deal.” (You can hear Ekperigin on the April 7 episode of 2 Dope Queens titled “Billy Joel Has the Softest Hands.”)
3. ALI WONG
Robinson raves about this L.A. comedian and writer, whose one-hour Netflix comedy special, Baby Cobra, has been gaining buzz since its release last month. “She talks about what’s it like to be a new mother, and that’s just a perspective you don’t really hear,” she says. “Like, you hear about Louis CK being a dad, but you don’t hear the female perspective, and I think that’s really cool.”
4. JOSH SHARP
“He’s Southern, he’s gay, and he has a really interesting, super-funny, very quick perspective that I like,” says Robinson, who did a standup show with him recently and was blown away. “I was like, ‘Whoa, this guy needs to be on a bigger platform.’”
Robinson applauds this “very different and quirky” comedian who also writes for Late Night with Seth Meyers. “I know everyone says this, but I really do feel like this is a really great time for comedy, because I feel like it’s so diverse,” she adds. “Not just in terms of like, ‘Oh, they’re women and people of color,’ but [in terms of] the different kinds of women that can succeed, I think it’s better than ever.”
6. LINDY WEST
Robinson says she’s a longtime fan of this former Jezebel writer and author of the recent memoir Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman. (West appeared on the June 7 episode.) “I was like, ‘I know you’re crazy and on the middle of a book tour, but would you ever want to do our podcast?’” Robinson says. “She was like, ‘Yeah, my agent is, like, this 50-year-old white guy. He loves your show.’ She read from her book, and it was just so funny and so good.”
She adds, “That definitely made us feel like, ‘Oh yeah, we want to have more people read from books on our show.’ Like, in a dream world, if I could get David Sedaris, I would cry.”
For more of Whitney Matheson’s podcast interviews and recommendations, visit the archive.