Comedian Amber Ruffin and her sister Lacey Lamar are making a significant impact in the entertainment industry. Despite the ongoing Writers Guild strike that has halted much of Hollywood, they are busier than ever, with multiple projects under their belts. In a recent podcast interview, Ruffin discussed the state of late-night TV and her own show, reflecting on her journey as a Black woman in comedy. She also delved into the Saturday Night Live audition that brought together a generation of Black female comedians and ultimately led to her becoming the first Black woman to write for a late-night network show, as hired by Seth Meyers. Moreover, Ruffin and Lamar shared how they find humor in “everyday racism” and why they decided to embrace their authentic and lighthearted selves on their podcast.
Ruffin expressed her excitement and sense of honor in being at the center of the writers strike. With “The Amber Ruffin Show,” streaming services, late-night appearances, Broadway, and the Tony Awards, she feels incredibly fulfilled and accomplished. Interestingly, just two days after the strike shut down late-night TV, Ruffin received her first Tony Award nomination for writing the book of the new musical adaptation of “Some Like It Hot.” Initially, it seemed like the awards telecast might have to be canceled due to the strike, but a message of solidarity between screenwriters and playwrights ensured that the show would go on, albeit without a script, on June 11.
As both a late-night writer and a Tony nominee, Ruffin finds herself in a unique position, caught between two worlds. She predicts that the strike will be a long one and believes that networks are overestimating the number of shows they have in reserve. She also acknowledges the challenge of creating a topical comedy show for streaming platforms, but she sees it more as a challenge for those with money, not for herself. Ruffin simply shows up and lets her creativity shine.
Ruffin’s rise in late-night comedy coincided with the racial reckoning following George Floyd’s murder. She spoke openly about her experiences with racial profiling on the show. While she appreciates the increased space for Black creatives, she comments on the recent cancellations of shows hosted by Sam Jay and Ziwe. The Amber Ruffin Show has also been reduced to occasional specials.
Although Ruffin’s name was suggested as a possible replacement for Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, she never received the opportunity due to her contract. However, she remains open to more job opportunities and jokes about wanting more jobs to keep her busy.
Despite the challenges and setbacks, Ruffin and Lamar continue to make their mark in the entertainment industry and embrace their unique perspectives in their work.