The first season of A Black Lady Sketch Show was the kind of lightning in a bottle of comedic genius that changes the landscape of everything around it in its wake. The second season of ABLSS walked away with Autostraddle’s Annual Gay Emmy for best comedic series. So it’s hard to imagine how to top that for Season Three.
And yet! AND YET! Last night as I watching the Season Three finale, which opens with a sketch centered on a coming out scene starring bisexual writer and star of ABLSS Ashley Nicole Black, I had the kind of slow realization that you’re almost embarrassed to say it took you so long to realize in public. Then another sketch starred Shangela and Kallen Allen. And I knew, Season Three wasn’t just the smartest and funniest season of A Black Lady Sketch Show, a declaration of its prime — it was also hands down, the gayest.
One of the many small pleasures of ABLSS is how casually and constantly gay it is. There’s an unexpected, well placed strap joke in Season Two that I still quote to myself out of nowhere and spark giggles over to this day. In last night’s season finale, a character offhandedly mentions their girlfriend in yet another third sketch. But it truly shines when it puts queer comedy on the main stage. So with that in mind, I’ve brought together the Top Five Queer Sketches to celebrate Season Three’s victory lap.
Before I take us down the list, may we read from the good book of show creator Robin Thede:
Please stop asking Black people to add “culture” to your projects that were designed for non-Black people. Here’s a fun thought: just hire Black people and buy their projects from the start!
— Robin Thede (@robinthede) April 21, 2022
Let the church say Amen.
What Up, I’m Three
When I make these types of lists, traditionally I save the best for last. But no. OH NO.
IF you’re about to exit out of my little roundup early, fine. You do you. But watch this first, because it’s the funniest shit I’ve seen in years.
“Serving us ‘Oh I’m gonna take all the four corners from the mac n cheese before the family’s even had the chance to eat.’ Honey we’re not in a Golden Corral, we’re in mourning!”
A return to Season One’s epic The Basic Ball, the Funeral Ball is a love letter to the stunts and shows, the pageantry and drama of the Black church and dealing with your family mess while grieving.
Sometimes you have to let a GOAT do what they do. When you have Wanda Sykes, you give her a microphone and leave the stage.
*Speaking of comedy GOATs, shout out to David Alan Grier as the voice of God, from Detroit to the Heavens, I know that’s right!
“Aht aht — single file ladies! We go through this every year! I want this line tighter than baby hair on braids.”
You have to wait until the final minute of this four-minute sketch, which I will admit was not my favorite of the year, for Mj Rodriguez to make her appearance, but once she does, it’s so worth it.
I know that saying “Mj Rodriguez is far too talented” is a little like saying “water is wet” — but listen, I was just fully unprepared for how funny she’d be???
When I tell you that I’ve long believed that Raven Symoné is one of the greatest comedic television actors of our generation, with impeccable natural timing, you’re going to say, “Now Carmen. You’re doing too much.”
And fine. YOU can think that.
But when you do a spit take as she enters this scene fully a stud, cocks her head just oh so perfectly to the side, and says “a nigga been pooping in discomfort for years” – don’t be coming back to me.
(The multi-layered smarts of not only ABLSS’ guest stars, but exactly how they use them, is something that really should be studied. It’s such a deep and loving cultural knowledge. In last night’s finale they had Tahj Mowry a.k.a. Smart Guy in a sketch that, like much like Raven’s, has a central conceit of “I cannot believe they brought back a star of my childhood to let them say that on camera” and I rewound it 10 times.)
BONUS MORE RAVEN!! BECAUSE SHE WAS GETTING HER LIFE!!! AND WE SIMPLY LOVE TO SEE IT!