Breaking All Barriers: Funny Gal Amber Ruffin Hosts the 2018 Webby Awards

Illustration for article titled Breaking All Barriers: Funny Gal Amber Ruffin Hosts the 2018 Webby Awards
Photo: Lloyd Bishop (NBC)

For the very first time (yes, we’re still doing that in 2018), a black woman, Amber Ruffin, will be hosting the annual Webby Awards, aka “the Oscars of the internets” (my words).


Ruffin, a comedian and comedy writer for Late Night With Seth Meyers, as well as a writer for Drunk History and many other things, says she plans to just be a big ol’ goofball at the show.

Ruffin, who says she takes hosting inspiration from her boss Seth Meyers, as well as Hannibal Buress, is definitely a pro on the stage, spending most of her decadelong career doing improv and writing sketch comedy. In 2014, she became the first black woman to write for a late-night talk show.

“I’m going to goof around real bad,” Ruffin told The Root.

The comedian promised a few skits (at which she’s a pro—see this one with her rapping in response to Kanye West’s slavery comments), adding, “I just want to make sure I have the silliest time possible.”

As with the Webbys each year, there will be a lot of disparate folks in the house. This year will see everyone from tech folks like Mitchell Baker, chairwoman and co-founder of Mozilla, to Hollywood types, including David Chang, co-creator of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious; actors Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, Adam Sandler and Sharon Stone; and director Steven Soderbergh. Other of note include Brian Reed, creator and host of the S-Town podcast; Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico; journalist and co-founder of Recode Kara Swisher; artist FKA twigs; and yes, our favorite woke bae, Jesse Williams.


Recently, Ruffin and another group of her peers took BET host Robin Theade out to celebrate her first season, surprising her with the exclusive crew of black funny gals.

“Four years ago, it was just me, and now look at us!” Ruffin remarked. “That is the bad part—that there’s enough of us to sit around the dinner table—but the good part is that I could call any one of those ladies on the telephone.


“Also, the good news is that people are starting to realize that without a black writer, they sound crazy when they talk about race,” she added.

Her advice to women overall and black women in particular who want to break into comedy writing or sketch is to have a body of work that you are constantly honing and updating.


“You should be so severely equipped that if I called you tomorrow and say I need a sample, your follow-up question should be of what kind, because you have so many.”

She also said to keep that pedal to the metal: “I always say, you should be working like someone is paying you,” she emphasized. “When I got this job, I was working just as hard as before I had this job.”


You can tune in and see Amber Ruffin slay the Webby Awards tonight, Monday, at 8 p.m. EDT. Go to the Webby Awards website to see the magic happen live.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.



I love her so very much. Everyone can use more amber in their lives. Speaking of skits I give you Roy Amberson:

And her response to Kanye is fabulous. “Amber are you even good at rap?” “No, I am not.”