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Sometimes what we deem our biggest failures end up being the key to our breakthrough. Such was the case for comedian, writer, and actress Amber Ruffin, who recalled her most pivotal career moments during our Winning Women series. “I auditioned for [Saturday Night Live] right around the time Seth Meyers left, who I knew from my time in Boom Chicago because he’s an alum of that theater,” she said, “and when I didn’t get SNL, Seth called and asked if I wanted to come write for his show.” The rest, as they say, was history.
Today, Amber hosts her very own show, The Amber Ruffin Show, and uses her platform as an opportunity to amplify other up-and-comers (“Everyone in my writer’s room could head up their own franchise. Those people are stars.”) and educate her audience without sacrificing her penchant for being downright hilarious.
“I’m always trying to un-gaslight you…even you are susceptible to crazy Facebook rumors. We are all in danger of becoming someone’s idiot.”
Ruffin also uses her work to combat stereotypes around what Blackness is assumed to be or look like.
“People expect you to be their idea of what Blackness is – you can’t just be yourself. They want you to talk a certain way, look a certain way, feel the way they feel about something, they want you to validate their feelings about you – it’s a lot,” she said.
“You have to put your happiness first. My happiness comes before the content of my television show, before my jobs, before everything. It’s not guaranteed, and people can break you down to the point where you forget to take care of yourself.”
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Want to break barriers like Ruffin, or better yet, make a living as a comedy writer? Her advice is simple: show off that work.
“You need to have at least a joke a day on Twitter, have a stack of writing that you’ve done,” she shared. “When people ask you for a packet, you need to be ready. Write a bunch of stuff so you have something to stand on.”
In case you missed it, watch our entire convo with Ruffin above.
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