What we learned at the Chicago Humanities Fest last night | Bleader

What we learned at the Chicago Humanities Fest last night

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Phoebe Robinson - MINDY TUCKER
  • Mindy Tucker
  • Phoebe Robinson

Phoebe Robinson didn't plan on writing a second book so soon. Her 2016 debut, You Can't Touch My Hair, was a best-seller and a career turning point. Soon after her book took off, HBO turned Two Dope Queens, the podcast she co-hosts with Daily Show alum Jessica Williams, into four specials. She starred in the Netflix film Ibiza and was recently a writer on Portlandia's final season.

She'd arrived. So had Donald Trump.


The 2016 election kicked the 34-year-old comedian and actress into action, resulting in her new book, Everything's Trash, But It's Okay. She read excerpts at Thalia Hall on Monday night in the final stop of her book tour. The hour-long event was part uplifting, part introspective and unabashedly real, with Robinson sharing some true vulnerability.

"While Jess and I had the number one podcast worldwide," Robinson said, "I was, like, horrifically broke." All those Portlandia checks? They went straight to paying off student loans.

Even in those "trash moments," Robinson turned to humor. Case in point-an attempt to avoid a debt collector almost made her miss the call of a lifetime with Oprah, which resulted in a hilarious voicemail that Robinson shared on stage. The two women recently met, and Robinson described a hug with Oprah "as if Black History Month never ended."

At the end of the night, as Robinson took questions from the crowd, one woman was brought to tears at the chance to talk to her. Similar to Oprah, Robinson rushed to hug her, but in classic Dope Queen fashion, she turned the poignant moment into comedy, scooching across the stage on her stomach for the embrace.

"I just want to say Oprah doesn't do that. She ain't dirtying her clothes for anyone," Robinson joked. "I'm a Nordstrom Rack version of Oprah."

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