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HBO Greenlights Comedy Series ‘Insecure’ from YouTube Star Issa Rae

HBO has handed a series order to “Insecure,” a comedy created by YouTube star Issa Rae and “The Nightly Show” host Larry Wilmore, Variety has learned.

The 30-minute laffer will star Rae, who is also a co-exec producer and writer on the series. Wilmore will serve as a consultant, as he’s helming his late-night Comedy Central show.

Insecure” follows the friendship of two modern day black women, and all of their uncomfortable experiences and racy tribulations.

Rae — who gained Internet fame for her popular, award-winning web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” and has more than 200,000 subscribers and over 20 million views on her YouTube channel — will topline the show as the character Issa Dee. Yvonne Orji, Lisa Joyce and Jay Ellis (“The Game”) round out the cast.

Orji plays Issa’s best friend, Molly, who is very successful in her corporate work life, but very unsuccessful in her love life; Ellis plays Lawrence, Issa’s depressed and unemployed boyfriend who has been getting his act together for four years; and Joyce plays Frieda, Issa’s liberal and empathetic co-worker at an educational non-profit firm.

“Insecure” marks Joyce’s second gig with HBO. Just this week, she was nabbed to star in Lena Dunham’s comedy pilot “Max,” which set in the magazine world of the 1960’s, revolves around the stirrings of second-wave feminism, as seen through the eyes of an ambitious magazine writer (Joyce) who stumbles her way into the women’s movement.

Exec producers on “Insecure” are Prentice Penny, Michael Rotenberg, Dave Becky and Jonathan Berry with Penny serving as showrunner. The pilot, was was ordered in February this year, was directed by music video director Melina Matsoukas.

“Insecure” is one of many female-centric comedies at HBO. Aside from Dunham’s “Max,” Sarah Silverman is set to star in and exec produce an untitled series about a pathologically honest woman having a modern mid-life crisis; Whitney Cummings has also landed an untitled pilot, inspired by Maureen Dowd’s book “Are Men Necessary?” focusing on modern relationships; and Sarah Jessica Parker will return to the premium cabler for her rom-com “Divorce,” which is due next year.

The half-hour laffer also marks a continuation in diverse casting for the network, which also gave the greenlight to Atlanta-set comedy “Brothers In Atlanta” from exec producer Lorne Michaels (“Saturday Night Live”) and co-creators/stars Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin.

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