Kick Doors Open (with Gina Yashere) – Episode 25 of Professional Troublemaker

This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with comedian, producer, author, and fellow Naija queen, Gina Yashere. She was the first and only British comic to perform on Def Comedy Jam and has three comedy specials on Netflix that she co-produced. She’s also a writer and series regular on the CBS sitcom Bob Hearts Abishola, which she co-created with Chuck Lorre.


At the age of 19, Gina became the first woman engineer for OTIS, the largest elevator company in the world. She faced overt racism and harassment on the job from her white, male counterparts, but was cemented in the fact that she deserved to be there and wouldn’t be swayed by their antics.

She eventually left that job and decided to bet on herself and pursue her dreams in stand-up comedy. Gina was the comic who never got booked; however, instead of waiting for opportunities to present themselves, she created her own. 

We usually wait for permission to do what we’re supposed to do. We wait for other people to open the door for us, but not Gina. She sees locked doors as challenges; waiting for them to be cracked open and then drop kicking them in with all her might.

She did her own work when no one was looking to hire her, paid for her own creative content to be produced, and is now reaping the benefits of ownership years down the line.

A British, Nigerian, Lesbian – we joked that her very existence is illegal in many a country, but I adore that she’s out here visible and living out loud. 

Gina’s story is proof positive that doing your own work, when no one wants to give you opportunities, and GRINDING until you reach your breakthrough still works. You can’t cheat the process.

Be sure to check out Gina’s book, Cack-Handed: A Memoir. It’s available everywhere you buy books, and you can follow Gina on Instagram and Twitter at @ginayashere. And check out Bob Hearts Abishola on CBS.

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