Amber Ruffin Speaks About Being 'The First Black Female Anything'

When Amber Ruffin was first hired to write for Late Night with Seth Meyers, Jezebel reported that she was the first black woman to write for a network late night show ever. That was news to Ruffin: as she told WNYC's Arun Venugopal this week, it never occurred to her that she'd be "the first black female anything."

As part of the series Micropolis, Venugopal spoke with Ruffin about her historic job. "It just never occurred to me that I might be the person that's, you know, some girl is like, 'Hooray, now I've got an even better shot at this. Thanks Amber! Don't mess it up,'" Ruffin said.

The rest of the interview is full of frank and funny observations. When Venugopal asked Ruffin if she considered her humor racial, she said:

Day to day is racial, you know, for a black person. Whereas, you know, sometimes a white person will be like, 'Ugh, this again.' But you know, I'm just talking about how I went to the store and the guy followed me around the store. That was my Tuesday. It's not a black issue; it's Tuesday.

...

When you're black, racism is part of your day. I think racism hits white people real hard compared to black people. They can't handle it, it makes them so sad. I mean we were sat down and told, 'Hey, crazy stuff is going to happen to you so roll with it.' And it was always true. And now we just roll with it.

Ruffin also discussed her boredom with seeing and playing the role of "sassy black woman," mentioning the numerous casting directors who have tried to explain what they wanted in a character in multiple sentences when they could have just said they wanted a "black lady stereotype"; her opinion that Key and Peele "have done more for black America than anyone would be willing to give them credit for" and how Whoopi Goldberg was her own inspiration. If you want to watch Ruffin, check out Late Night with Seth Meyers – she's been appearing pretty regularly in on air segments.

Image via NBC