'A Black Lady Sketch Show': Robin Thede on Getting Over 40 Guest Stars in Season 3 (Exclusive)

Season 3 of the HBO sketch comedy series features over 40 guest stars.

If there's one thing the women of A Black Lady Sketch Show are going to do, it's bring viewers a star-studded season.

The sketch comedy series returns to HBO for its third season this Friday, and show creator, showrunner, executive producer, writer and star, Robin Thede, is excited for fans to see what the new installment holds.

Speaking with ET's Melicia Johnson ahead of the season's premiere, Thede shared her thoughts going into the show's third run and broke down her favorite guest stars this season, which include Vanessa Williams, Ava DuVernay, Raven-Symoné, Kel Mitchell and more. 

"I'm living my dream. I'm making the show I've always wanted to make and the show that I've been preparing for three decades to make," she said. "I've been making sketches since I was a kid, so I think you don't feel pressure when it's something you know you're good at. But it's not just me, right? I know I have a good team, and so, everyone around us is dead set on the same goal and that's to make every season bigger and better than the last. I know we have done that with season 3."


While Thede claimed she "never really have a favorite sketch," she shared that she loves having the four core cast members -- Thede alongside Gabrielle Dennis, Ashley Nicole Black and Skye Townsend -- in sketches together.

"We get to see sketches that are coming back, not only from season 2 but from season 1 that we haven't seen," she added. "So we get to see the funeral ball with Bob the Drag Queen and we'll get to see a number of things that are in homage for characters we have known and loved for the past seasons, but also just giving love to the audience who stuck with us and waited so long to see these six episodes every year."

The trailer for season 3 revealed that fans will see the return of favorite characters such as Black's invisible spy, Trinity, and Thede's Dr. Hadassah Olayinka Ali-Youngman, Pre-PhD. It also gave a sneak peek at the six-episode season's 40+ celebrity guest stars, including Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Michael Ealy, Bob the Drag Queen, Vanessa Williams, Loni Love, and Essence Atkins, just to name a few. 

"I am in awe of every single one of them," the actress said of the star-studded guest appearances. "I'm so excited to see them -- I mean, who thought Ava DuVernay would do a sketch? She was essentially playing a heightened version of herself but she had an hour to come shoot with us. I was like, 'I got you, don't worry.' And she was like, 'There are only two sentences in the script.' I was like, 'We'll make more of it. It's fine.' And literally on set, I'm just yelling out jokes. I'm like, 'Say this.' She was like, 'I would only do this for you. You are chaotic.' And it was great. She's amazing."

But that chaos is the best part of being on the show, Thede explained. "It's a safe space to come in and build a whole sketch around Angela Bassett or Patti LaBelle or Gabrielle Union or Wanda Sykes or whoever, but it's also a place where Ava DuVernay, if she's got an hour, we can come and play and it makes sense, we're going to make sure that it makes sense." Thede added. 

"We don't want the guest stars to take you out of the show," she said. "We don't want to be like, 'Well, why the f**k were they in that thing?' I think it always makes sense when they show up. So yeah, I'm so excited about that."

Tune in when A Black Lady Sketch Show returns to HBO on Friday, April 8, 11 p.m. ET/PT. It will also be available to stream on HBO Max.