Debbie Allen was nominated in 1989 for directing ABC’s The Debbie Allen Special when the category was known as Outstanding Directing for a Variety or Music Program, but Davis becomes the first Black Woman for series directing. She is also only the second Black director to score a nomination in the category and the first in nearly 50 years since Mark Warren won for NBC’s Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In in 1971.
This comes as the Robin Thede-created sketch comedy was nominated for three awards this morning including for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series and for Angela Bassettt for Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series.
A Black Lady Sketch Show is strangely up against only Saturday Night Live and Drunk History in the main sketch series category after the Emmys introduced its rule change.
“It’s insane, it’s really fun, my phone is making a lot of noise and emails are going crazy, it’s great,” Thede told Deadline. “Three nominations for a show that aired a year ago and only had six episodes is massive.”
Davis directed the whole season of the HBO show and was nominated for the episode Born At Night, But Not Last Night. She is also only one of a handful of woman nominated in the variety directing category, following the likes of Patricia Birch, Ellen Brown and Beth McCarthy-Miller.
Thede said, “She’s such a visionary. She’s known for directing some shows on BET, which is great, but honestly, whenever there’s a show on BET, some people think it’s just BET and they don’t think of it as on the same level as HBO, but Dime’s vision and creativity is great on any platform. I’m so happy that she’s getting this level of recognition.”
A Black Lady Sketch Show features Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, Quinta Brunson and Gabrielle Dennis and is the first major sketch show to be created by, written by and starring Black women.
Thede was also pleased for Bassett, who played Mo in Angela Bassett Is The Baddest B***h episode. “Angela Bassett was a huge get for us, so the fact that she even did the show, she was so kind,” she said. “We were laughing because the announcer is going to have to say ‘Angela Bassett for A Black Lady Sketch Show… Angele Bassett Is The Baddest B***h’. It was all very intentional.”
The Rundown host said that it should have a positive impact on getting guests for season two. “It’s good for the show because people know that we will take care of them, our celebrities are treated just as good as anybody else. They come to play and they know that we’re going to make them look good and have good material. I hope that only helps other folks come and play with us,” she said.
When season two of the show, which is produced by HBO Entertainment in association with Jax Media, 3 Arts Entertainment, Issa Rae Productions and For Better or Words Inc., will film, however, is still up in the air. “We talk all the time. HBO has been really good connecting us with medical advisors so we were hoping to start shooting sooner than later but with the numbers in LA, we just have to keep a close watch and make a decision when it’s safest. Right now, doesn’t feel like that time. At this point, one in ten people in LA has COVID,” she added.