|Born||July 27, 1979|
Spencer, Iowa, U.S.
|Education||Northwestern University (BA)|
Robin Thede ( THEE-dee) is an American comedic actress, writer, sketch and improvisational comedian. Raised in Iowa, she has also worked as an entertainment correspondent, host, and radio personality. In 2015, she became the first African-American woman to be head writer for a late-night talk show (The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore). From 2017 to 2018, Thede hosted The Rundown with Robin Thede on BET. She created and co-stars in the HBO series A Black Lady Sketch Show, which was nominated for four 2020 Primetime Emmy awards.
Born in Spencer, Iowa, Thede is of mixed race heritage. Her parents are Phyllis Thede, who is African American, and Dave Thede, who is German American. She grew up in Davenport, Iowa, where her father was an educator and her mother also worked in community schools and served with the union for school staff. Thede's two sisters were born there. Thede and her sisters attended local schools in Davenport. Later her parents moved to Bettendorf, Iowa.
Thede attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, earning a degree in Broadcast Journalism and African-American Studies. After college, Thede studied at The Second City theatre group in Chicago.
Robin first started with a sketch comedy group called Cleos Apartment with writers Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin. Members included Thomas Fraser, Wyatt Cenac, Nika Williams and Nefetari Spencer. That stage show was picked up online by AOL and HBO for a new show called The Message which ran for a full year, 2007.
Thede was also head writer and a performer on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. From 2015–16, she was the head writer for the first season and a half of The Nightly Show, the first African-American woman to hold that position on any late-night talk show. Thede is also the second African-American woman to write for a late-night talk show, as Amber Ruffin was first to join the writing staff for Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Prior to that, she was head writer on The Queen Latifah Show and staff writer on the first two seasons of Real Husbands of Hollywood on BET. In January 2013, she appeared in the Marlon Wayans' comedy A Haunted House opposite comedian JB Smoove. She also had recurring appearances as "Gail" on Second Generation Wayans on BET in March 2013.
Thede has often worked on TV shows as both a writer and actress, including on the short-lived Fox series In the Flow with Affion Crockett, the Mike Epps sketch comedy series Funny Bidness, and on the comedy series Clunkers (starring Carl Payne, David Faustino and Sherman Hemsley).
Thede's recent television appearances include roles on Key & Peele (Comedy Central), Hot In Cleveland (TV Land), Chocolate News (Comedy Central), Kath & Kim (NBC), Worst Week (CBS) and All of Us (UPN). She was a series regular on the BET original web series Buppies with Tatyana Ali.
Thede's other writing credits include BET Awards (2014), BET Honors (2013), UNCF: An Evening of Stars (2013), BET Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), NAACP Image Awards (2011), the BET Hip Hop Awards (2010, 2011, 2012) and more.
Additionally, Thede has created several successful videos, including "Shit Black Guys Say" (which went viral with 2.5 million views on YouTube), "Every Little Step" with Wayne Brady, Bobby Brown and Mike Tyson (Funny or Die.com), and "For Stuffed Colored Girls" (Funny or Die.com). She can also be seen with Elite Delta Force 3 in "The Real Housewives of Civil Rights" (Funny or Die.com/EDF3 YouTube Channel).
Thede's comedy work extends from years of professional live sketch comedy (Second City Chicago and LA, Improv Olympic, Acme) to comedic commentary on shows such as 10 Things I Hate About Me for the Style Network. She is also a performer and writer for the all-female sketch group "Elite Delta Force 3", which won the 2009 Audience Award Winner of the Los Angeles Comedy Improv Festival.
Other notable work includes co-hosting on The Voice of Reason on Jamie Foxx's Foxxhole Sirius/XM radio channel. She worked as a regular entertainment correspondent for E! News with Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic.
In June 2019, Thede was named one of Variety's 10 Comics to Watch for 2019. Most recently Thede created, writes, and performs in A Black Lady Sketch Show, which premiered on HBO on August 2, 2019. In 2020, she signed a development deal with Warner Bros. Television.