This story contains mild spoilers for season 3, episode 3 of Succession.
In the crossover that you didn't see coming (but needed nonetheless) internet sensation and truth-teller Ziwe Fumudoh joined the Succession universe on Monday night to discuss the sheer audacity of white privilege.
The comedian and writer, made famous for her painfully cringe interviews with celebrities on Instagram series "Baited with Ziwe" and later the Showtime late-night talk show Ziwe, took her talents to HBO to do the very thing that put her on the map. In the third episode of the new season of Succession, we encounter Ziwe as late-night comedian Sophie Iwobi, a character who finds joy in humiliating and lambasting whatever asshole is making the rounds in media at the time. Her current target is Waystar RoyCo's kinda-sorta-almost heir Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong), even after a particularly rough stretch of battling his power-hungry siblings and father, Kendall agrees to go on her Sophie's show in an attempt to control the narrative. (It's very Kendall to assume that he is strong enough to reshape public opinion, but you know — rich white man.)
However, when Shiv's (Sarah Snook) twist the knife in her brother's back with a horrifying damning statement, Kendall flakes on The Disruption at the very last minute. Sophie doesn't hold back in her ruthless (but hilarious) public dressing-down of the billionaire baby when turns out to be a no-show.
"Oedipussy has ghosted my ass!" Sophie shares gleefully with her audience during the live taping as Kendall listens in from his place in the utility closet, racked with anxiety. "I'm heartbroken because I had so many names I was going to call him — Wokestar RoyCo. Benedickhead Arnold. Paranoid Kendroid."
"But honestly, nothing could be as brutal as the open letter his own sister released," Sophie continued, going on to read Shiv's mostly-correct but very wicked statement describing Kendall's fragile mental health. "And she's the f*cking nice one."
The open letter, made worse by Sophie's choice to read it aloud on air, totally destroys Kendall's lofty but poorly executed personal rehabilitation efforts. He's been working so hard to prove that he is good enough for his position — at work and in his family — but there are some sins that can never be washed away, even if you're a rich white man.
For Ziwe, playing a role in Kendall's mental decline on Succession was an exciting opportunity for her because she is a self-proclaimed stan of the award-winning HBO dramedy. In conversation with Variety, the internet star shared that working on Succession in some capacity had long been a professional dream of hers.
"I love Succession," Ziwe told Variety. "It has some of the best writing on television. It’s a huge influence on me...I was on the first wave of “Succession” fans before the show really blew up in Season 2, so I was an early adopter."
Though Sophie's ruthlessness was inspired by Ziwe's dogged line of questioning on "Baited" and Ziwe, the comedian insists that she would never go as far as her character did on the show if she were able to interview Kendall in real life; there's a line that shouldn't be crossed, after all, especially when it comes to mental health.
"There are elements of myself [in the character], but it’s a slight adjustment because I don’t exist in the Succession world," said Ziwe of her cameo. "It really felt like I was walking into a new universe. I felt a lot of power; I was much crueller to Kendall Roy than I would be to any of my guests, so that was really exciting. You don’t have the ramifications of a real-life billionaire being upset with you because you made him have an emotional breakdown. With that ire, it really empowered to let him have it and really roast him for his love of Lil Wayne."
"I’m actually disappointed I didn’t get to interview Kendall Roy proper," she continued. "I would’ve loved to see him squirm. I would’ve loved to do my little lean; it would’ve been great television...I’ve always wanted to ask Kendall Roy, 'How many Black friends do you have?' and one day we’ll get that answer." (Though, I think we know the answer to that question.)
Season three of Succession is now available to watch on Now TV