A Black Lady Sketch Show is a Black girl comedy done right, which perfectly embodies the phrase “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” Thanks to its cast and staff of predominantly women of color, the series is chock full of sketches, jokes, and characters that epitomize the Black woman experience magnificently.
Since its 2019 premiere, ABLSS has blessed us with hilarious bits that exemplify the Black female experience: like that awkward moment when you have to break up with your optician, or not being able to resist the urge to dance whenever you hear the r&b anthem “Poison”. It’s that display of Black excellence and top-tier comedic performances that have earned the show numerous accolades, including its current five Emmy nominations. If you haven’t watched the show on HBO Max yet, allow BGN to give you a formal introduction with some of the funniest sketches ever featured on the show.
Season 1, Episode 1: “Bad Bitch Support Group”
Guest Stars: Angela Bassett, Laverne Cox, Amara La Negra, Holly Walker
This satirical gem from the show’s premiere episode pokes fun at the trials and tribulations of being a “Bad Bitch” and keeping up with society’s improbable beauty standards. Gabrielle Dennis steals the scene as Maya: a self-proclaimed baddie who, deep down, just wants to be an “ok bitch” (much to Laverne Cox’s disappointment.) Just when you think the skit can’t get any more outrageously funny, the camera zooms out to reveal a hidden Quinta Brunson secretly conspiring as a Fashion Nova rep. As you realize the famous fashion brand orchestrated the entire thing, you won’t be able to contain your laughter.
Season 1, Episode 2: “The Basic Ball”
Guest Star: Caldwell Tidicue
Few things are as wildly entertaining as the LGBTQ Ballroom scene, and season one’s second episode pays homage to the culture fabulously with “The Basic Ball.” Led by the talented Caldwell Tidicue, this sketch takes place in an underground Ballroom whose selected category is “basic” in every sense of the word. As each voguer hits the floor personifying their elected categories to a tee, you’re getting served hilarious reads live from Caldwell Tidicue (which we’ll bet were improvised.) We’re not sure what’s funnier: Tidicue as the emcee or the comedians working the floor in hilarious categories like “barbecue daddy” and “awkward in the body.”
Season 1, Episode 3: “Gang Orientation”
Guest Star: Issa Rae
Imagine an all-girl gang in L.A. took recruitment so seriously that they held orientations discussing benefits and member responsibilities. That’s the hysterical setup for season one’s “Gang Orientation.” Here, comedian Gabrielle Dennis takes the lead as the hot-headed, impatient leader of The Reefs, whose temperament results in the humiliation of guest star Issa Rae and a hilarious firing of a cheerful Quinta Brunson. As we watch an intense staredown between Brunson and Dennis, you can’t help but marvel at the actress’s commitment to their characters.
4. Season 1, Episode 5: “Get The Belt”
Guest Stars: Natasha Rothwell, Marsai Martin
You have to appreciate A Black Lady Sketch Show for never being afraid to poke fun at sensitive social topics that the public seems to shy away from, like parents disciplining their children with corporal punishment. “Get The Belt” takes this touchy concept and runs with it, adding language, style, and tones that make this sketch oh-so-relatable to many Black women. In this witty parody, Robin Thede and Quinta Brunson are the hosts of “Get The Belt,” a mother versus child competition show in which Marsai Martin’s character Reniece has to make it through a series of obstacles without getting a beating from her mother (played by Natasha Rothwell). For being bold, courageous, and relatable, “Get The Belt” gets major kudos and secures a spot on this list.
5. Season 1, Episode 6: “Courtroom Kiki”
Guest Stars: Bresha Webb, Yvette Nicole Brown, Issa Rae
In this season one sketch, a random crew of career women are shocked and elated to find their courtroom full of Black women professionals. From there, it’s pure Black girl magic as the ensemble seemingly forgets all about their court hearing and instead seizes the moment of this rare opportunity, breaking off into song, dance, and plans for future lunch dates. “Courtroom Kiki’s” black lady courtroom dynamic was so good that they had to recapture the magic again in season 2.
6. Season 2, Episode 2: “Tired Dance Moves”
Guest Star: Miguel
Is there anything more soul-crushing than dancing with a partner with zero energy? You’re on the dance floor giving it your all, and they’re standing behind you, practically sleeping as if to say your moves are “old and tired”? That’s the setup for this relatable sketch as a twerking Bryanni (Laci Mosley) dances for her life in an attempt to impress a guy in a club who’s literally sleeping on her (played by R&B star Miguel.) After her friends walk off in embarrassment, Bryanni kicks the intensity up a notch, whipping out her signature dance moves like the “Twerque Du Soleil” and “Twerkman’s comp.” By the time the club’s soundtrack lands on Big Freedia, you’ll lose your breath from laughter at the sight of Mosley’s high-octane dancing combined with hilarious captions relating to people “sleeping” on Black social issues.
7. Season 2, Episode 5: “Karlie Chanel Motivationalist”
Guest Stars: None
Season two star Laci Mosley plays Sabrina: a woman who’s dragged to a life-coach seminar by her close friend Latise (played by Ashley Nicole Black). A skeptic, Sabrina quickly picks up on the meaningless jargon preached by Motivationalist Karlie Chanel (played by Gabrielle Dennis), despite the enthusiasm from the crowd. As she begins questioning the credibility of the self-made “she-e-o” (and her friend’s sanity), the event turns dark as Ms. Karlie Chanel’s presentation quickly goes from a motivational speech to a Satanic sacrifice. The absurdity of the random reveal and Dennis’ hilarious parody of a motivational speaker will have you bursting at the seams.
8. Season 3, Episode 3: “I Feel Your Paint”
Guest Stars: None
Series star Skye Townsend shines as the weirdly invasive Jean, the “Artender,” who constantly intrudes on her guest’s conversations and attempts to join their clique. This sketch serves up hearty laughs thanks to its relevance: not only is Skye Townsend’s spirited performance something we’ve all seen before at local Paint N Sip’s, but each of the co-stars portrays a caricature that we all have in our group of friends: the negative girl, the sexy girl, and the girl who’s always complaining about money.
9. Season 3, Episode 5: “Ashy Sunday”
Guest Star: Kimrie Lewis
As Black women, we can relate to the desperation of realizing you’re ashy and stopping at nothing to find lotion. This is Ashley Nicole Black’s dilemma in season three’s “Ashy Sunday” as she makes her way to a day party only to discover that her feet are incredibly ashy. After several failed attempts to seek moisture for her dry skin, she’s forced to answer the question: how far are you willing to go to avoid public ridicule and humiliation? The sketch is hilarious from start to finish hitting us with multi-layered jokes about the woes of having ashy skin (like hotel lotion being “liquid ash.”)
10. Season 3, Episode 6: “Strictly Frizzness”
Guest Star: Quinta Brunson
Many Black women know the hassle of transitioning hair: the awkward in-between phase of outgrowing chemically altered tresses. This sketch takes this concept and gives it a video game twist as former cast member Quinta Brunson fights her way through the fictional hair care simulator “Rain Fighter 1B.” In “Strictly Frizzness,” Quinta B faces off against video game characters with the personas of hair products and protective styles like:
- Relaxer who has the power of chemical burn
- Box Braids who comes with braided whips and a “Kanekalon” war cry
- And Natural Hair: the strongest of them all and Relaxer’s natural arch nemesis
Catch up on all three seasons of A Black Lady Sketch Show on HBO Max!
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Kaillaby is a writer from The Bronx with infectious high energy and a passion for geek culture. She loves connecting with Blerds like herself and hopes to create her own cartoon someday.