Jul 13, 2021
Ziwe is on track to become her generation’s next one-name star. The biting comedian and writer stars in and executive-produces the Showtime variety show “Ziwe,” a six-episode series that debuted in May, featuring sketches and musical numbers as well as highly meme-able interviews with notables including Andrew Yang, Fran Lebowitz and Gloria Steinem.
But Ziwerekoru Fumudoh didn’t come out of nowhere. Born to parents who emigrated from Nigeria, Ziwe grew up in Massachusetts, where she would attend Phillips Academy before going to Northwestern—experiences she says honed her ability to navigate awkward conversations about race and class.
Fans who have been paying attention know her from her YouTube show “Baited with Ziwe,” in which she tries to trick her friends into saying something racist. In the early days of the pandemic, she took a version of “Baited” to Instagram Live and attracted an increasingly more-famous list of guests. Which was surprising, given how frequently they found themselves saying stupid things—especially in response to questions like, “What do you qualitatively like about Black people?” The live component added a torturous element of tension and awkwardness to the mix.
Ziwe has also been a writer on the “Desus and Mero” show, and has written for The New Yorker, Vulture, Stephen Colbert and The Onion. Her first collection of essays will be out in early 2022. The working title? “The Book of Ziwe,” naturally.