Prentice Penny on ‘Insecure’

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Prentice Penny has been the showrunner of HBO’s “Insecure” for four seasons. Photo by HBO/Cassandra Vargas.

Prentice Penny, showrunner for HBO’s “Insecure,” has worked in Hollywood for nearly 15 years. He got his start writing for “Girlfriends,” which ran for eight seasons on UPN and the CW. He worked with many rising behind-the-camera Black stars, including Kenya Barris and Lena Waithe. After that, Penny worked in majority-white writers’ rooms on shows such  as “Scrubs” and “Happy Endings.” 

But spending time in white writers’ rooms made him realize that he wanted to tell stories that reflected his experiences growing up in Los Angeles.

Then along came “Insecure,” a show about Black friends living in Los Angeles. Penny said he instantly fell in love with the script, which was based on Issa Rae’s web series “Awkward Black Girl.” 

Penny talks about how a conversation with his mother put Rae on his radar, and the team behind “Insecure” is working on the show’s fifth season remotely.



Kim Masters


Kaitlin Parker