Yvonne Orji has set up a variety special at HBO, Variety has learned exclusively.
The project is in the early stages so details are scarce, but sources say it would incorporate comedy elements beyond traditional stand up and would dive into the Nigerian-American experience. Orji will write and executive produce in addition to starring. Odenkirk Provissiero’s DC Wade will also executive produce along with and Art & Industry’s Michelle Caputo and Shannon Hartman, who all previously worked with Orji on her HBO stand up special “Momma, I Made It!”
News of the special comes as the hit HBO comedy series “Insecure” is preparing to end at the conclusion of its fifth season. Orji has starred in the series in the role of Molly since the show began. She was nominated for an Emmy for best supporting actress in a comedy for the show in 2020.
Her other acting credits include “A Black Lady Sketch Show” and “Jane the Virgin” as well as the 2018 comedy film “Night School.” She will next be seen in the Amazon special “Yearly Departed” and will lend her voice to the Netflix animated series “My Dad the Bounty Hunter.”
She is repped by UTA, Odenkirk Provissiero, and Del Shaw Moonves.
Variety reported in January that Orji is currently developing the comedy series “First Gen” at Disney Plus. The half-hour show is based on Orji’s personal experiences growing up as a Nigerian immigrant in America. As a child, she’s caught between trying to honor her parents and culture while simultaneously trying to assimilate to American life.
Orji will write and executive produce the project, which will mark her first scripted series writing credit. David Oyelowo will executive produce under his Yoruba Saxon Productions banner, with Oprah Winfrey and Carla Gardini executive producing for Harpo Films. 20th Television will serve as the studio.
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