‘The Amber Ruffin Show’ Is Slated for a Second Season


Mary Ellen Matthews/Peacock

Amber Ruffin for “The Amber Ruffin Show.” (Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews | Courtesy Peacock)

By Hannah Keating, Arts Editor


“The Amber Ruffin Show” is the newest program in NBC’s late-night lineup and one of the only to have garnered a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for its first season. After a limited run that was expanded to a full-season order this past year, this gem of late night has been renewed for a second season. 

Making it in Late Night

Though the show first premiered exclusively on NBC’s new streaming service Peacock, host Amber Ruffin recently replaced the broadcast television spot occupied by “A Little Late with Lilly Singh,” which follows the popular “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” Many of the episodes have been met with rave reviews for Ruffin herself — admiring her style of comedy and praising her ability to deliver difficult stories with ease. 

It was actually on Meyer’s show where Ruffin became a fan favorite. Having been a writer on “Late Night” since 2014, Ruffin stole the spotlight in recurring segments like “Amber Says What?” where she comments on news stories by simply saying “what?” and “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell,” where she and co-writer Jenny Hagel deliver punchlines that would be insensitive coming from Meyers. Hagel is now the head writer for Ruffin’s show while the two continue to contribute to “Late Night.”

Ruffin’s background in comedy has been decades in the making. She is known for her work with The Second City comedy clubs in Denver and Chicago and narrating several episodes of Comedy Central’s iconic show “Drunk History.”

Though her show is influenced by the decades of late-night comedy filmed in 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York — Ruffin’s show is all her own. As each week’s episode begins, she enters the stage dressed in her signature style of bright-colored suit and bow tie, dancing her way to her desk. The night-cap to every installment features a personalized lullaby and Amber’s signature cocktail — a margarita, made according to her own recipe she outlined on an episode of “Drunk History” for host Derek Waters.

As a marker of COVID-19 era entertainment, the show has no studio audience to support its sketch comedy, but it doesn’t feel its absence like other shows that had to adjust to the pandemic’s new normal. With her clever announcer Tarik Davis, the space around the laughs is filled with creative goofs and compelling back-and-forth between the friends. 

Watching the Show

Together, Davis and Ruffin have produced some of the most insane sketches — a dream ballet for the coronavirus vaccine; a “spring cleaning” for the outdated garbage in society; a faux-blockbuster film about Harriet Tubman; and song after song of addressing racism, sexism and ableism in the headlines. They don’t need an audience to deliver their side-splitting comedy. The personalities they bring to the show are more than enough. 

It’s not all silliness, however. Their most recent episode featured another installment of a series entitled “How Did We Get Here?” where Ruffin addresses the roots of systemic racism in the United States through a news story. The topic this week centered around the recent murder of Daunte Wright at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis. Ruffin manages to be raw and blunt in moments like these, but then returns to her natural cheery and endearing attitude in a way that doesn’t feel false. 

Ruffin is a powerhouse. I witnessed it firsthand when Ruffin was the keynote speaker for the University of Utah’s International Women’s Week events. In a Q&A, she described the stages of her career from working in comedy clubs before finally landing in New York City and writing in 30 Rockefeller Plaza. She is honest about the discrimination she’s faced as a woman of color who owns her identities in the workplace. Some of the stories she shared have even been published in a book Ruffin wrote with her sister, entitled “You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism.”

Ruffin’s sweet nature and spunky attitude become her strength in sticky situations, and she doesn’t shy away from it in her comedy — it’s what keeps me coming back to the show. You can tell she enjoys what she does and loves who she is writing and performing with. Watching “The Amber Ruffin Show” has become a weekly self-care ritual for me. I’ll curl up on my couch with a blanket, knowing that I’m going to get a taste of the news and the chaos of the past week — but with full faith in Ruffin’s delightful and warm comedy. 

Stream “The Amber Ruffin Show” on Peacock, Friday nights on NBC or find select clips on their YouTube channel


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