When Sydnee Washington was 11 years old, she accidentally set her house on fire. The Brooklyn-born comedian was living with elderly relatives in Oakland, California, at the time, behaving, in her words, like a “Black Dennis the Menace”.
“If playing with fire isn’t the first time I’ve had a little bit of trouble, I don’t know what it is,” said Washington, 37. CHEAP. “You burn your house and you’ll either become a comedian or you’ll go to jail.” Fortunately, Washington’s path has led to the former, and now she’s nominated for an Emmy for her lead role on BridesmaidsGrindr’s first scripted series.
Washington plays Judith, a bride whose gay best friend (played by Jimmy Fowlie) tries to get into her fiance’s bed and sabotage the wedding to keep Judith to herself. For six episodes, Judith models for a photo session high on benzos, doing analingus moves and throwing a stripper across the room because his underwear is bulging.
“We don’t know how audiences will take this,” Washington said of the short comedy, which premiered on the gay-dating app before streaming on YouTube. “The feeling is, ‘We’re going to have as much fun as we can.’ Put my heart on something and then get this nomination, it’s super dope. “
Washington is no stranger to non-traditional backgrounds. In addition to standing up, she also co-hosts podcasts Unofficial expert and The peak of the 2000s and have created social media projects that give life to them.
During the COVID lockdown, she started a weekly Instagram Live series called Syd can cook, invites fellow comedians like Julio Torres, Nicole Byer, and Ayo Edebiri to get to know her through culinary mischief. In her Instagram Story, she combines web-sourced photos of Black Barbies with inside stories from her years as a waitress at New York City’s high-profile clubs. .
“I’ve had a lot of different lives, and my comedy is very transparent,” said Washington, whose documentary argues around her experience as an adult lesbian to confront her. deal with your depression. “I always peel the layers, because that’s what will help me as a human being. I want the audience to see my rough draft.”
Washington has an eye on developing more projects that match its voice and experience. “Sometimes I read things and think, ‘Where am I in this?’ I don’t really see my genre much, and I need to tell this story.”
She is working on a personal program called How to start a fire, around that time she burned down the house and how many little things can add up to something deeper. “All of these smaller projects have helped me feel confident in the choices I am making humorously,” Washington said of her surprise Emmy nomination.
“I kept getting involved, because I was going to Whole Foods and I was like, ‘Do they know I’m nominated for an Emmy?’ “She joked. “When they delivered samples, I said, ‘I think you should give me the whole tray if you really like that.’ ”
This story first appeared in the August issue of The Hollywood Reporter.