‘Euphoria’ Actress Nika King Says Viral Stand-Up Clip Is a “Lighthearted Joke”

Actress and comedian Nika King said in a recent stand-up set that she has struggled to pay her rent and book other roles in the long layoff between seasons of HBO’s Euphoria, where she’s a series regular. The clip, which she posted to her social media accounts, went viral and struck a nerve with a number of viewers.

King, however, says in a statement that she actually is doing fine and has several projects in the works.

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First, the stand-up: In a recent appearance at the Hollywood Improv, King referenced the long gap between seasons of Euphoria, which last aired in February 2022: “Season three is coming out — I don’t fucking know. Don’t ask me, I don’t know. … ‘We need season three!’ Bitch, I need season three! I haven’t paid my rent in six months.”

King plays Leslie Bennett, the mother of Zendaya’s and Storm Reid’s characters, on Euphoria. In her stand-up set, she continues, “And Zendaya’s over in Paris at Fashion Week. I’m like, bitch, come home! I need you! Mama needs you” (watch the full clip below).

King also said she hasn’t booked any roles since Euphoria: “I called Taraji, and she was like, ‘Bitch, get used to it,'” referring to Taraji P. Henson’s statements about pay disparity for Black actresses in the industry.

King’s comments in the comedy set also set off a wave of media coverage. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, she says she wasn’t being fully serious: “My reference about Euphoria during my stand-up tour was a lighthearted joke. Most people have seen me portray serious characters on-screen but my roots are in comedy.

“I actually have a few film projects releasing this year that I’m excited about. It’s a blessing to craft a career in both drama and comedy.”

As for Euphoria, it’s slated to return to HBO in 2025. There’s no word yet on when production on season three will begin.

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