Amber Ruffin is pure butter. I admit that until I was assigned this story, I knew nothing of Ms. Ruffin or her show — “The Amber Ruffin Show” (https://www.peacocktv.com) but I am thankful and excited that such a strong, creative, opinionated, dedicated and utterly focused woman of color is shaking it up, doing her thing and getting paid, television money (i.e. stupid money) in her new late-night talk show. I suggest that you download NBC’s app and watch (or listen) “The Amber Ruffin Show.”
I would describe her show as a very funny spin on the late-night talk format that highlights the week’s news, mixing monologue, original music, and sketch.
What makes Ms. Ruffin so wonderfully unique? If I had to choose one attribute that stopped me cold, in awe, it would be the ability to dance through the English dictionary with the dexterity of a double-jointed circus performer. In short — “shortie” has the “it” factor that quelque chose de spécial that can’t be duplicated unless she’s cloned but that’s another conversation for another day.
But I digress. If you are anything like millions of folks, we’ve cut the “television” cord a while ago. But one of the reasons to download NBC’s app is to watch (or listen to) “The Amber Ruffin Show.”
Allow me to lean into Ms. Ruffin’s accomplishments of late. Let’s see, she was made the 2021 TIME100 Next List, TIME’s list of the next 100 most influential people in the world. Ruffin is a familiar face to viewers of NBC’s late-night lineup via her continued work as an Emmy Award-nominated writer and performer on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”
The Nebraska native started in improv and through hard work, is now living her dream. I find her story inspirational. Besides holding it down in the late-night talk show space, she’s co-written a Broadway musical version of “Some Like It Hot” and recently released her first book, “You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism, with sister Lacey Lamar.” This young powerhouse could never be accused of being lazy because she continues writing and appearing on Late Night With Seth Meyers (when she joined in 2014, she was the first Black woman to write for a late-night talk show). She is also an Emmy and WGA Award nominated writer and performer for NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and the first African American female to write for a late-night network talk show in the U.S. She wrote and performed on Comedy Central’s “Detroiters” and was a regular narrator on the cabler’s “Drunk History.” Ruffin was previously a performer at Boom Chicago in Amsterdam, the iO Theater and the Second City in Chicago. In addition, she was a writer/performer for the 2018 and 2019 Golden Globe Awards and has written for the series “A Black Lady Sketch Show.”
Each week “The Amber Ruffin Show” showcases Amber’s signature smart and silly take on the week’s news. No matter what’s happening in the world, Amber responds to it with a charming mix of seriousness, nonsense, and evening gowns. The show is a topical late-night show with just the good parts – the comedy. Amber Ruffin, Jenny Hagel, Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker serve as executive producers. The series is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, and Sethmaker Shoemeyers Productions.
Here is what Amber Ruffin of the “The Amber Ruffin Show” (https://www.peacocktv.com) had to say about living her best life.
THE LOS ANGELES SENTINEL: Thank you, Amber Ruffin, of ‘The Amber Ruffin Show’ on NBC for speaking with me. See how I got in all of my plugs, may I say, you are butter lady!
AMBER RUFFIN: (laughing) Thank you.
LAS: I loved listening, and watching your show. The writing is tremendous. What’s it like having your own show.
AR: It. Is. Very. FUN. I mean it’s really the dumbest fun you can have. When I don’t feel like having all this fun then I can write a show that was less fun and no one could tell me to cut it out — see what I’m saying?
LAS: I do. I do. You are the crazy talented African-American woman in charge. You can’t see me, but I’m tipping my proverbial hat, to you along with a very regal bow. Next question. I love your monologues.
AR: Thank you.
LAS: Do you write your monologues?
AR: Oh no. I have a team of writers.
LAS: There are people funnier than you? Who are they?
AR: Our head writer is Jenny Hagel (@jennyhagel), she also writes for ‘the Late Night with Seth Meyers.’ We also now have, writing the monologue, Ashely Nicole Black (@ashleyn1cole) from ‘Full Frontal’ and ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show,’ and Demi Adejuyigbe.
LAS: That’s a name [Demi Adejuyigbe].
AR: (laughing) You will know him. Wait, he’s the guy that puts out a very goofy video every September 21st it was seven years ago, at this point. You should just Goggle.
LAS: I did. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5RotaksnqVMET5E2eFCSgrtQgDnszlQN
AR: And then there is Evan Morgan, he’s also a writer from Late Night with Seth Meyers. So the four of them — almost always write the monologue. I almost never squeeze out a monologue joke.
LAS: I also loved when you sang: ‘Black Women Are Always Right.’
AR: (laughing) It’s a song that tells the truth.
LAS: (singing) ‘Black Women Are Always Right.’ But seriously, what I love about your show is that you make people laugh for sure — but there is education and that’s important.
AR: I wouldn’t have thought that people would have the capacity for this. There are arguments to be made, it’s not where these educational pieces go. It’s not a school it’s a comedy show but oddly enough it’s a real circle of a Venn diagram (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/v/venn-diagram.asp). People who like deep dives into legislation and people who like to see a bee in a tutu, who would have thought, it’s the same people. You know, it’s funny because I’m that person. You wouldn’t think there would be two of us.
LAS: Three of us.
AR: Gosh. There are a bunch of us.
LAS: The sketch about the Black Forgiveness Clock. That was a beautiful piece of politics masked as comedy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbU0jRyG9nc
AR: That sketch made me laugh so hard when Demi [Adejuyigbe] brought it in.
LAS: My favorite line that you’ve uttered — to date — is this: “I’m not saying burn it down, yet.”
AR: Yet (laughing). I can’t believe they let me say that.
LAS: (laughing) I can’t believe it either.
AR: They were like, write whatever you want to say. And I was like, ok, we will just write this in and know that we will have to take it out. But no. It stayed. No one cared. I said “we’re not going to burn it down, yet” — I said it.
LAS: Before I let you go, can we talk about your very handsome side-kick, Tarik Davis. I mean, Amber he’s so very easy on the eyes.
AR: You know, Tarik has been my friend since 2003. We got cast together and worked at a theater in Amsterdam. I honestly forget that he’s so handsome.
LAS: So you experience temporary blindness. Sorry. Please, continue.
AR: I’ve just known him so long, that I am used to the way he looks. But then when you see him on screen, I’m like ‘Oh, wow, yes. He’s a whole supermodel.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.