Nobody can say she’s a shrinking violet.
Last week, Robin Thede, host of “The Rundown With Robin Thede,” tweeted: “I can say this honestly: @TheRundownBET is an INCREDIBLE television show. Don’t watch because I’m the only black woman hosting a late night show (or do). Watch because I’m doing it FOR US.”
Thede, formerly the head writer for “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore,” is indeed the only black female late-night host right now, following in the footsteps of Mo’Nique and Wanda Sykes.
But is her show, which launched this fall (11 p.m. Thursdays on BET), really “INCREDIBLE”?
On “The Rundown,” Thede skewers the news using TV clips and tweets. She reports pieces from the field on current issues. She also acts in skits. Sure, it’s uneven, like all the late-night shows. But at her best, Thede brings a sharp wit and the special perspective of an African-American woman.
In a trailer for the fake biopic “On the Edge of Glory,” a competitor in a double Dutch competition is too traumatized to compete because her edges “got snatched” at a Beyonce concert. Her mentor, “White Coach,” helps her realize that edges don’t matter. She floats over the ropes while reading a copy of Alex Haley’s “Roots.”
Thede also tackles hairier issues.
“Climate change doesn’t even crack the Top Ten Black Worries list,” Thede quips, showing a made-up list. Climate change ranks far below racism and just below “who made the potato salad.”
In a segment titled “Game of Homes,” urban specialists explain how African-Americans were displaced in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina — and then real estate developers came in to gentrify the neighborhoods. Now in Miami, where some beachfront property is only 3 feet above sea level, developers are targeting the Little Haiti neighborhood, set on “land so high it’d fail a drug test.” They say the current residents will benefit by development. Or will they just be pushed out? As Thede puts it, “the white walkers are coming in search of land.”
Read more of Marc’s TV musings: