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What Phoebe Robinson Wants: The Rising ‘Queen’ of Comedy Can Have It All

Robinson is already a podcast megastar and bestselling author. Now she’s ready to conquer the big screen.
Phoebe Robinson Netflix Ibiza Screenshot
By  · Published on May 30th, 2018

Robinson is already a podcast megastar and bestselling author. Now she’s ready to conquer the big screen.

Phoebe Robinson is quite the Renaissance woman. First, she dominated the stage as a stand-up comedian. Then she took the podcasting world by storm, first co-hosting the hugely successful 2 Dope Queens with Jessica Williams. HBO soon turned the podcast into four television specials, which earned widespread critical acclaim. Along with executive producer Ilana Glazer, Robinson also started her own podcast, Sooo Many White Guys, which has scored such token white guy guests as Tom Hanks. Then she wrote her bestselling book “You Can’t Touch My Hair, and Other Things I Have to Explain.”

Oh, and she did all this in the last three years.

With the realms of podcasts and publications sufficiently conquered, Robinson is now turning her sights on Hollywood, racking up interesting roles across television and film. Last year, she appeared in the critically acclaimed series I Love Dick and Search Party. Next she’s gunning for movie stardom. Following her recent star turn in Netflix’s Ibiza, Deadline reports that Robinson will anchor Paramount’s What Men Want. The upcoming comedy is a gender-bent remake of the 2000 film What Women Want, which starred Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt.

Set to star Taraji P Henson and Tracy Morgan, What Men Want will completely reimagine its source material. Henson is playing a sports agent who is shut out at work by her male colleague. According to Deadline, once she “gains the power to hear men’s thoughts, she is able to shift the paradigm to her advantage to sign the NBA’s next superstar.” Robinson will play a character named Ciarra, but nothing else is known about the role.

In Ibiza, Robinson plays Leah, one of three women who embark on a weekend trip to Spain, where their lives inundated with sex, drugs, and EDM. With a plethora of great one-liners, Robinson gets a fair chance to show off her comedic chops. While her character is a bit underwritten, she brings ease and authenticity to every scene she’s in and solidly holds her own with her veteran co-stars (Gillian Jacobs and Vanessa Bayer). In Ibiza, Robinson is an instantly relatable and grounding presence, and she’ll surely bring this energy to all her future film roles.

As Robinson continues her ascent to stardom, it’s worth examining the steps and choices she has made along the way. After stints consulting and writing for Broad City and Portlandia, Robinson prioritized opportunities that enabled meaningful representation when making her leap in front of the camera. Both Search Party and I Love Dick showcase complex women and LGBTQ+ characters. Ibiza is a wholly woman-centric movie (that’s also written by a woman) that coopts the traditionally masculine party movie for the female gaze. And What Men Want will be a refreshing reclamation of a traditional rom-com, pushing women and people of color to centerstage.

It’s no surprise Robinson has prioritized meaningful representation as she embarks on her career as an actress. After years of doing improv and stand-up comedy, she still felt frustratingly excluded: “It’s no secret that both the improv and stand-up worlds are very white and straight male-dominated,” Robinson told Vulture in February. In response, she created the 2 Dope Queens podcast with Williams to give a voice and create a space for underrepresented perspectives in comedy. Each episode has a different theme and guest. “We just want to have [the podcast] be predominantly women, predominantly people of color, people from the queer community. There are just so many phenomenal people that I’m obsessed with that deserve a spotlight,” she said.

With her upcoming turn in What Men Want, another book due out in October, and two wildly successful podcasts to manage, Robinson will have no problem keeping busy. She is well on her way to becoming a bonafide queen of comedy, racking up film and TV roles with lightning speed. But as she does collect more credits and score higher profile gigs, there’s no doubt she will continue to choose her projects with the same thoughtfulness and attention to representation that have always guided her work.

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Writer, college student, television connoisseur.