My new favorite podcast is 2 Dope Queens with Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams. Ms. Robinson and Ms. Williams feature comedians every episode and share their stories of being funny, black, heterosexual women in NYC. It makes me laugh a lot, while it’s also about real, heavy life shit, you know. And it’s not super polished and polite like so many of the other podcasts I’ve listened to. It doesn’t feature that white woman vocal fry that makes me cringe with every syllable. It features the voices of women, all kinds of funny women, which is so important to me. It’s important for me to hear the lived experiences of women with differing agendas and backgrounds and interests, and to hear through their stories how the lessons we’ve been taught, how the way we’ve been told to be is so similar. How the way we’re reacted to is so similar. It’s also a necessary reminder to include humor. To seek the humor. To tell your stories with a laugh or a catch. It’s so easy, especially as women, to get bogged down by the shit. And to see the shit as shit rather than as the colorful, ridiculous, social constructed bullshit it is.
2 Dope Queens makes me feel happy but connected in a way that other podcasts have failed to do. It’s just people telling their stories without being questioned, without having to validate or explain why they tell their story in a specific way. I saw Hari Kondabolu a few months ago, and someone asked him how he deals with humor being a dismissal…something to that effect, and Hari took issue with the question, understandably, because the person had unknowingly threatened to dismiss Hari’s work and Hari’s views. The individual wasn’t able to voice her real thoughts, and Hari wasn’t able to understand what she was really asking, without the proper context of her meaning.
I don’t see humor as a dismissal. It can be a balancing act. I think humor is powerful and necessary for resilience and perspective and capability. I think humor keeps us tied to the present and the possibilities. I think humor helps us feel connected and alive. I know I should try harder to incorporate humor into my stories. That it gets lost around the edges of my telling. That I should laugh more, laugh louder, at myself and others. My laughter makes them uncomfortable, but it makes me feel great. Big and boundless and free.