While A Black Lady Sketch Show’s best joke of season one was actually the slow-burn, apocalyptic narrative stringing all of the different sketches together, the finale’s cliffhanger left a rather important question looming over the series’ future: how the hell do you keep that story going? The season two premiere looks like it just answered.
HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show gradually revealed that the group of Black women hanging out in a house and cracking each other up in between the show’s comedy sketches were the sole survivors of a devastating event that left the outside world uninhabitable. After just a few hours of being stuck inside with no idea of what became of everyone, Robin (Robin Thede), Quinta (Quinta Brunson), Ashley (Ashley Nicole Black), and Gabrielle (Gabrielle Dennis) were already out of food and unsure of how and if they would survive.
In the final moments of the first season’s finale, a surprising knock on the door stunned the group because the assumption was that everyone else in the city was dead or close to it at that point. A Black Lady Sketch Show had already established that the world was very much in ruins and likely radioactive beyond belief, making the knock as ominous as it was promising, Season two picks up where they left off.
Robin recalls how, just moments before, she’d passed out from the stress of realising that she and her friends might starve to death in the end times. Rather than snapping back to the moment the doorbell to Robin’s fortified house rang, the story instead leads with her coming to on the floor once again, believing that she was at the end of her first day in the apocalypse. But as she starts to get her bearings, Ashley explains they’ve actually been in Skye’s (Skye Townsend) fortified warehouse the entire time, and that “the entire time” has only been a few minutes rather than the hours Robin recalls.
Generally, the predicament the women are in is the same — save for the change in location, newcomers Skye and Laci (Laci Moseley) being present, and certain details Robin recalls being similar. There was still a huge explosion that upended everyone’s lives and likely killed countless people, and the ladies all got together in a panic to survive, drink, and crack a few jokes. But Robin has a difficult time accepting that she somehow developed a sudden bout of intense amnesia about how she got to the warehouse. The episode sets up how her trying to piece together the reality of what’s going on may wind up being the overarching story of the season.
Though the sudden memory loss and “it was all a dream” tropes are the definition of overplayed, the jokey soft reset works in the context of A Black Lady Sketch Show as a darkly funny encapsulation of what living through the multiple lockdowns necessitated by the covid-19 pandemic has been like for many. The women musing about having not seen Skye since the previous January and February mirror how strained many people’s friendships became over the months they couldn’t see each other, and how much they’ve looked forward to seeing their loved ones again in the future.
As A Black Lady Sketch Show’s second season progresses, the through-story is more likely than not to get even wilder and more convoluted, which is exactly the sort of energy you’d want from a comedy revolving around the end of days. Regardless of what direction the show goes in though, it’s already hit the ground running, and it’s going to be interesting to see what it does next.
A Black Lady Sketch Show streams on Binge in Australia.