Welcome to E!’s Tales From the Top, our series on women who are leaders in their fields and masters of their craft. Spanning industries and experiences, these powerhouse women answer all the questions you’ve ever had about how they got to where they are today—and what they overcame to get there. Read along as they bring their resumés to life.
If you thought Phoebe Robinson‘s story began with a young girl dreaming of a comedy career, think again.
“I really had no interest or desire to do comedy,” Robinson revealed to E! News in an exclusive interview. Yes, this is stand-up comic Phoebe Robinson we’re talking about, one half of 2 Dope Queens who has her debut comedy special, Sorry, Harriet Tubman, coming out on HBO Max in just a few days.
Instead, save for doing improv in college, Robinson thought her future was in screenwriting. Then, one request from a friend shifted the direction of her fate forever. “In 2008, she was like, ‘Hey, I want to just take this stand-up class for fun,’ and I was like, ‘Stand-up is dumb.’ I didn’t really watch it or care about it,” she recalled. “And she was like, ‘Just take the class. It’s only eight weeks.’ And so, I said, ‘OK’…And that completely changed my life.”
“Looking at it now,” she added, “it’s like, ‘Girl, what else should I be doing but comedy?’ But, at the time, I just didn’t think of it that way.”