The segments Amber Ruffin performs on NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers—“Amber’s Minute of Fury,” “Amber Says What,” and “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell”—showcase her infectious energy and ability to satirize hot-button issues. They also earned the 42-year-old her own weekly half-hour of TV, The Amber Ruffin Show, which debuted last fall on Peacock, NBC’s streaming channel. She’s using the opportunity to be as off the wall as she wants, and she thanks a new generation on social media for that. “I can sneak my weirdness in there, and there’s a cover for me because there are people doing weirder things than I am,” she says. She’s also co-writing Broadway’s Some Like It Hot for 2022—and loving it. “When you are in a happy, nice place to create, you go wild.” Here’s how she’s building that environment for others.
When did you decide that you wanted to have your own show, and how did you begin that process?
I didn’t start sniffing around for other opportunities until I had been at Late Night for like three years and felt like, Okay, I’ve cut out a place for myself here. I’m adding to the show. What I want is to have my own show. Can I get good at that here [at Late Night]? If I write up a script [for my own show], I can pass it to [Late Night writer] Jenny [Hagel] who’ll pass it to [another Late Night writer, John] Lutz, and they’ll all go over it. Everyone will take it very seriously and take it home with them and write up notes. That environment is like nowhere else. People taking your creativity seriously is how I got here.
Did you always have a vision for it?
I still don’t feel like there’s a crafted shape. Sometimes there’ll be two songs on the show. There is no reason for me to be singing one song, much less two. But sometimes there’ll be two funny songs. I’ll be like, “We gotta do them both.” I like to treat us like idea fountains and the fountains go on literally forever.
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