On Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" last week, one of Noah's first questions for his guest, Robin Thede, was about her mother. 

“I feel like you have a trend because your mom is a state representative in Iowa and she was the first African American female to be voted in in her district,” the talk-show host said. “Is this like a competition you guys have?”

Noah was, of course, referring to Phyllis Thede, a Democratic state representative who lives in Bettendorf. 

When it comes to her middle of three daughters, Robin, the competition is certainly steep. 

Thede, who grew up in Davenport, has already made history as the first African American female head writer on a late-night comedy show. She wrote and performed on “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore," last year. She also was the head writer for Wilmore’s performance at the 2016 White House correspondents’ dinner.

And this week, as a story published Sunday in the New York Times put it, Thede will bring to late-night talks shows "one element that the category has lacked for several years: a black female host." 

Thursday marks the debut of the Iowa native's weekly show on BET, called "The Rundown with Robin Thede." She is the creator, executive producer and host of the talk show, which will cover a blend of pop culture and politics. It will air at 10 p.m. CT Thursday on BET. 

Thede was born in Spencer, Iowa and her family moved to Davenport when she was a few months old, according to an August 2015 Quad-City Times story. 

She went to Buchanan Elementary, Williams Intermediate and Davenport North schools and went onto study journalism at Northwestern University. Her father, David Thede, teaches at Mid-City High School in Davenport.

Thede's resume includes writing for the BET Awards and serving as the head writer for Queen Latifah's daytime talk show.

Officially, though, "The Rundown" won't be her first hosting gig. 

In middle and high school, Thede hosted "Quad-Cities Kids to Kids," a show that aired on Saturday mornings on KLJB.

Back on Trevor Noah's show, while Thede was promoting "The Rundown," she answered Noah's question about her mom with an anecdote from the night of the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Thede said she texted her mother a photo of her with then-President Barack Obama. 

"She texts back and said, 'That’s great. I’m also with the president,'” Thede said on "The Daily Show." "She’s literally at a fundraiser with Tony Goldwyn, the president from ‘Scandal.' (the TV show on ABC). She was not impressed. It's just an ongoing competition between she and I."  


Amanda Hancock is a reporter covering food, arts and entertainment in the Quad-Cities (and beyond).