There’s no question that comedian Phoebe Robinson is a true Renaissance woman. From the launch of her hit comedy podcast and show 2 Dope Queens with co-host Jessica Williams i to serving as a moderator for former First Lady Michelle Obama’s global Becoming book tour in 2019, Robinson has quickly cemented herself as an in-demand talent. Now, with her new Freeform series, Everything’s Trash, the actress-writer-producer is bringing her unique brand of observational humor to each 30-minute episode, offering viewers a wild and surprisingly authentic story.
Based on her 2018 collection of essays, Everything's Trash, But It's Okay, Robinson hilariously weaves in some of her real-life adulting experiences on the show. However, the actress notes, her character of the same name isn’t exactly true to life, but rather a “heightened” version of herself.
“She’s certainly messy in a way that I wasn't,” Robinson tells EBONY. “I think everyone's a little messy in their twenties, but I wasn't to that degree, but definitely [with] the money issues.”
Those money issues, which are explored in the “Black Excellence is Trash” episode, hit close to home for the comedian. Robinson says there were people who assumed she was living a lavish lifestyle based off of the success of her 2 Dope Queens podcast.
“I think everyone, certainly with social media, feels the pressure to… portray their life in a certain way,” she shares. “And I think definitely when 2 Dope Queens came on the scene and it really exploded, people were like, ‘Oh, you're all set now. You have so much money; your life is like this. I was like, ‘I still have $50,000 in student loan debt. I still have all this credit card debt.’ And so, my life was not this picture perfect thing.”
Robinson says in those early days of living a modest New York City lifestyle, there was a tinge of shame in being so popular while being terribly in debt.
“I definitely [felt] a little bit of, ‘God, why don't I have it together. Like, what's wrong with me?’" she explains. “[But,] I never really looked at what's wrong with the system that encourages people to incur all this student loan debt with the hope of like, ‘You're going to get a job when you get out of college.’”
Robinson says she felt a need to highlight those vulnerable conversations in her series, but without any judgment.
“I think a lot of times when someone is financially insecure, people judge, and go, ‘Well, what did you do wrong to end up in this place?’ rather than having a level of compassion,” she says. “So, I really just wanted to have this open dialogue and be really funny about it, too. And I hope that people who are also struggling financially kind of feel a little bit better about their situation.”
Although much can be said about the over-the-top journey that Robinson effortlessly takes viewers on during her 10-episode series, the star says that she tried to stay true to one special aspect of her life: the loving relationship with her brother, played by Jordan Carlos.
“To me that is like the key relationship on the series,” says Robinson. “In a lot of ways, [Everything’s Trash] feels like a love letter to my brother because he is so wonderful, and so smart, [and] so nerdy. And we really wanted to show the love these two characters have for each other, and that they're always going to be there for each other.”
Aside from her new series, Robinson keeps a busy schedule. In 2019, the comedian inked an overall deal with ABC Signature, which gives her the opportunity to create and act in new projects. She also recently launched her own book imprint, Tiny Reparations, creating opportunities for other diverse authors. Robinson says there are multiple things on her to-do list.
“I definitely do want to write another book,” she reveals. “I think I might want to do fiction just because I've done three essay collections. So I'm like, ‘Let me switch it up and challenge myself.’”
If that wasn’t enough, Robinson says she’s itching to direct and allow her book imprint to be “an incubator” for potential series and feature films. “Like we take it from the book and then [have it] adapted,” she explains, before noting that she’s interested in “writing a romantic comedy for herself to star in.”
“Those are my favorite genre of movies. Maybe Michael B. Jordan could be a love interest,” she quips.
While it’s clear that Robinson has quite a few things she’s excited to work on, the podcasting vet is focusing her energy on her new show. Reflecting on what she hopes viewers will take away from her new series, Robinson says she wants fans to find Everything’s Trash as cathartic.
“I just want this to be a half hour where you can forget all your troubles,” she says. “Just sit down, laugh, feel a little something, [and] maybe think about things a little bit differently. And, just be like, ‘Oh, things are going to be okay. Everything's trash, but it's going to be okay. And that is how I want people to feel once they're done.”
Everything's Trash airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Freeform.