The A Black Lady Sketch Show director opens up about her history-making nomination and what she hopes to do next

By Kara Warner
August 25, 2020 01:15 PM
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Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Despite the various challenges involved in surviving this year, Dime Davis will always have something to celebrate in 2020: being a first-time Emmy nominee.

She made history as the first Black woman ever to be nominated in the outstanding directing for a variety series category for her work on A Black Lady Sketch Show. Davis, who served as co-executive producer and directed all six episodes of the HBO series, says she received the news of her nomination via a wakeup call from her best friend.

"I was asleep. My best friend called, I answered and was so discombobulated, she’s on the other end crying,"she recalls. "I thought, 'What’s going on?' and she says ‘You were f------ nominated for an Emmy!” I feel like that was the best way ever to find out."

Dime Davis directing an episode of A Black Lady Sketch Show
| Credit: Anne Marie Fox/HBO

A native of Houston, Davis discovered her middle school's theater group and fell in love with acting. As an adult, she spent five years working in advertising before she was accepted into the American Film Institute's highly competitive AFI Directing Workshop for Women.

"There was something magical about getting into that program, quitting my job and getting back to what I started out wanting to do," Davis says. "There’s something about that clicking for you when you start on the path you’re meant to go on."

Fast-forward to Robin Thede, Black Lady Sketch Show's creator/executive producer and star, convincing Davis to give directing comedy a try.

"I had never done sketch comedy before, and it’s something these women have done their whole careers," Davis says. "It’s very precious and important to them, and I felt such a sense of responsibility for that. Especially a sketch show about Black women that had never been done before, it was very daunting."

Dime Davis with A Black Lady Sketch Show executive producer Issa Rae and star/executive producer Robin Thede
| Credit: Benjo Arwas/Contour by Getty

Davis is particularly fond of the sketch "Get the Belt," because she was able to add a few of her own ideas, like setting it in the 90s and infusing it with it some of her own childhood memories.

"It’s so nostalgic and it's so weird," she says of the sketch, which is a competition show between a mother and her children. "I pulled from some of the movies I watched growing up like Crooklyn and House Party. I was also into wrestling which I think is why I love it. There are so many obscure parts of my childhood I was able to put in this one piece."

Although Davis will not be directing season 2 of Black Lady Sketch Show, she can't wait to watch it.  She also has a lot on her plate, including directing an episode of Amazon’s Modern Love.

"I’m obsessed with love stories and very human, grounded stories, so I’m so excited to get to do that," she says. "I love a love story. I’m also working on developing a feature and an animated series."