Reviewed by Isabelle Gius.
Phoebe Robinson, New York Times bestselling author and co-star of the podcast 2 Dope Queens, makes her UK stand-up debut with Sorry, Harriet Tubman. The hour-long show tackles everything from colonialism to foreskin, all with Robinson’s characteristically chill and relatable humor. The show was so hilarious that I saw it twice – once to review and another time with my visiting friend – and even the second time around, the hour was just as raunchy and hysterical.
Phoebe wasn’t afraid to tackle issues of gender and race, and she did so in a way which was both casual and grounded in personal experience (like leaving a march early to grab brunch), while still aware of broader systems and structures. The hour-long set featured countless references to how the events of her own life might fall in comparison to Black History more broadly and those PoC who came before her, as the title of the show might suggest.
Her conversational tone made the audience feel like they were chatting with a friend; she took breaks to tie her shoe, sip from a mug, and ask where we were from, but the silences never felt uncomfortable. Even FaceTiming her boyfriend mid-show didn’t seem particularly out of place, although it was definitely an odd digression. A bit unpacking the ending scene of Kingsman – she had just seen the movie on cable and needed to talk about it – was a personal favorite. Despite taking place in a converted lecture theatre, the show felt friendly and warm, and the audience was completely comfortable interacting with both Phoebe and each other.
Sorry, Harriet Tubman was a great reminder that although comedy can be big and flashy and full of props, sometimes the best shows don’t need any of that. Phoebe Robinson’s personality and humor were more than enough.
Phoebe Robinson: Sorry, Harriet Tubman runs at Assembly George Square Three at 18:45 until 25th August.