If you look up the word “range” in a dictionary, you’ll find a picture of “A Black Lady Sketch Show” star Skye Townsend. The comedian, who recurred as various characters in Season 2, was promoted to series regular for the third season of HBO’s Emmy-winning sketch comedy series.
Season 3 of “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” which premiered on April 8, features nearly 100 characters in just six episodes. 15+ of those characters are played by Townsend. “It’s really interesting going to work every day and playing a new person because your voice changes, your mannerisms change… it’s like you show up as a new person daily,” Townsend told WrapWomen in a recent Zoom interview. “As an artist, I’m constantly stretching and just trying to challenge myself to go even further than I did the day before.”
Unlike other television or sketch comedy series, Townsend and her three co-stars Robin Thede, Ashley Nicole Black and Gabrielle Dennis had to audition for every existing sketch, in other words the dialogue isn’t written with a specific cast member in mind. “Before we start the season, we get the scripts, and then we break down every single character,” Townsend explained. “In a roundtable, we read each one to see who’s [best] fit for the character… and from that we’re then assigned by the head writers.”
“It’s the challenge of a lifetime,” she added. One that she prays will send a message to Hollywood.
“I hope that when they see the show, they go, ‘Oh, wow, black woman can have range.’ It doesn’t have to just be the stereotypical friend who’s in the corner,” said Townsend. I want [Hollywood] to see that I can be just as witty and nerdy and strange as a Mike Myers or a Jim Carrey… I hope it opens people’s minds about what it looks like to be a black female comedian, because for so many years, it was kind of the same thing. And on our show, we show this is one woman who can play 30-40-50 different characters, don’t limit her.”
Whether she’s playing an oversharing news anchor or bougie housewife sipping on Dom, you won’t want to miss Skye Townsend on “A Black Lady Sketch Show.”
Watch Townsend’s full interview with WrapWomen at the top of the page.
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