amber schaefer is a jane of all trades: writer, actor, performer, director, cat owner and comedy genius

The Vermont born, Brooklyn based gif making genius began writing comedy after hosting a public radio show after she graduated college.

Although for some, multi-tasking can be a hard task, Amber utilizes all the parts of her brain, to not only produce, write and direct comedy shorts but also co-hosts a comedy night at the iconic New York venue Max Fish, which she started as a reaction to seeing one too many comedy nights with not enough women – Sunday Roasted  doesn’t exclusively book women – but makes sure that New York’s funniest girls and trans women have a platform that welcomes them with open arms. With her deadpan humor coming from an early age, “I remember sitting on the stairs one day as a child, deep in thought, and my dad asked me what I was thinking about. I said “well I guess I just realized that life is sort of like a joke that you don’t get but you laugh anyways,” she says. In the spirit of the “rule of three rule,” we’ve asked her for nine tips for good comedy practice.

Where do you start with your writing and directing process?

Dialogue. Throwing a ton of garbage ideas around and seeing what sticks. And then noticing what makes me laugh…and eventually what makes my editor laugh.

What are your comedy rules?

Don’t perpetuate cycles of structural inequality….And commit to the bit.

What are your production rules?

1.Hire as many women, queer folk, and people of color as possible.

2.Don’t feed your crew garbage.

3.And always make a rain contingency plan.

How important is collaboration to you? Does it come naturally or do you find working on your own easier?

I am a natural born collaborator, there is nothing I love more than building something I believe in with my friends. That said there are some things that are easier to do on my own, like masturbate.

How do you balance working for brands and not compromising yourself?

Sometimes you get a dream client (Giphy!) and you can make something really cool and avant guarde that pushes boundaries and tells a story. But mostly making content for brands is making content for brands. So I prefer to make money doing commercials to fund my own personal projects, where I have more freedom, and am not spending hours trying to convince the client to include one shot where the lead woman isn’t smiling.

My hope is that eventually I’ll have my own show and I’ll be able to make entire SCENES where the lead woman isn’t smiling.

How do you take an idea and make it work as an visual and sensual thing?


What advice would you give to someone wanting to produce / write / direct / laugh?

To quote comedian Kate Berlant: “embrace terror.”

What’s your comedy M.O?

Nothing makes sense if you think about it long enough, what else can we do but laugh?

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