This post was written by Malinda Zehner Guerra.

As an editor, you don’t always get to interact with the cast and crew, so I was very excited to be on the set of A Black Lady Sketch Show for the filming of one of the sketches I would be editing, “Save The Last Twerk”.

Shooting was about to start and the actors had just walked on to set when the DP came over laughing and said he had just gone up to the new guy to introduce himself and was shocked that the “guy” was actually series regular, Skye Townsend, who was almost unrecognizable as her character, Lil’ Plea Deal.

After several seasons of working on the show, I loved that he could still be shocked by the extent of the transformations. For me, this moment is really a testament to the artistry and talents of every person who worked on A Black Lady Sketch Show.

Every day brought a new sketch with new characters and worlds that were so unique and hilarious and fully realized, and everyone brought their A-Game to all aspects of the show.

A group of women looking at a computer screen on top of a box, 'A Black Lady Sketch Show''A Black Lady Sketch Show'Credit: HBO

The initial standout for me was the Coral Reefs and the genius way the sketch merged corporate business culture with gang culture. Robin Thede and the editors had created such a great overall style with rapid-fire jokes, layered under quick reaction cutaways and the tight cutting meant you could rewatch a sketch and always find a joke you missed.

So when Stephanie Filo let me know there was an opening on the Season 4 edit team I jumped at the chance to be a part of it.

I knew it would be a challenge to come on board a well-established, Emmy-winning show, with two other immensely talented editors like Stephanie and Taylor Mason. My background in unscripted TV and independent features was an asset because I had experience in many different genres and editing styles.

I was used to switching from a survival show like Naked & Afraid to a competition show like RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars and then changing it up again with a paranormal show like Portals To Hell. I was ready to pivot from cutting our Bridgerton-style sketch, “Frock of Shit” to our murder podcast, “Fresh To Def,” then the hilarious Sitcom, “Why You Ain’t Say Nothing?”

A collage of women in 'A Black Lady Sketch Show''A Black Lady Sketch Show'Credit: HBO

I switched editing styles almost as fast as our actors fired off jokes.

The biggest challenge with editing comedy, especially A Black Lady Sketch Show where the cast is amazing at improvisation, is having too many amazing jokes to fit into one sketch. On top of the hilarious script, we would have several “fun runs” where the actors would riff off one another and you could easily have enough content to fill an entire episode.

After you put everything you love into a cut, that's when the fun starts and you get to roll up your sleeves and get a little ruthless and start slicing and trimming and really get to find out what the final product will be. I think that’s when an editor can really shine. When you are able to hone in on what is best serving the story, the pacing, and the comedy and then get rid of everything else, even if it’s your favorite joke.

Four women on a hike in 'A Black Lady Sketch Show''A Black Lady Sketch Show'Credit: HBO

I would not be doing my job as an editor if I only discussed the fun of setting off everyone’s Alexas when screening “What You ‘Bout To Do?” and didn’t take you deeper into what I think the true magic of A Black Lady Sketch Show is. What made me want to be a part of the show more than the hilarious edgy comedy, was that this show was written by and starred women of color, bringing their unique voices and experience to a prestige cable network like HBO, with an equally diverse crew behind the scenes.

As trite as it may sound, we are all far more similar than we are different and the truth of that can be seen in how relatable the comedy of A Black Lady Sketch Show is, regardless of your background. All women can relate to the pain of having to break up with their hairstylist. We all “talk shit so we don’t quit” at work, hate when people are talking in the movies or have a plastic bag full of plastic bags hidden in the closet.

A Black Lady Sketch Show allowed these stories to be told by people whose voices don’t often get the chance to be heard, and to me that was the most rewarding part of editing the show.

This post was written byMalinda Zehner Guerra.

4-time Emmy nominated editor Malinda Zehner Guerra is celebrated for shaping a variety of visual stories across television and film. Most recently, Malinda received an Emmy nomination for her work on HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show, working alongside an all-female editing team. Nominated for Outstanding Picture Editing For Variety Programming on the episode, “My Love Language Is Words Of Defamation,” Malinda added to her previous three Emmy nominations for her editing work on MTV’s RuPaul’s Drag Race, Hulu’s Born This Way, and Max’s Naked & Afraid XL.