Today we’d like to introduce you to Amber North.
Amber, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I earned my Bachelor’s degree in New-Editorial Journalism with a minor concentration on Film Studies in 2006 in hopes to becoming a sports reporter. I moved to Atlanta right after graduation with that intent. But life happened – a.k.a. the decline of newspaper journalism plus the economy crash – so, I put my career aspirations on hold.
After several years of wandering and wondering, I started to steer my interests in stand-up comedy. I had one year experience with comedy – I was a humor columnist for two semesters in collage – but I was still brand new to the live performance portion of comedy. People always told me I was hilarious and should go into it, but it took me an extra year to muster up the courage to admit that that was something I wanted to do, as challenging and scary as that sounded.
Then in July of 2013, I signed up for my first open mic. I went up and had a really good set (for a newbie), so the laughs and encouragement kept me confident enough to sign up for another open mic. This time, in front of a paying audience at Laughing Skull Lounge, Atlanta’s top comedy venue. I did my set and it went even better! The host even invited me back onstage to ask me if this really was my only second time ever doing stand-up, because I did so well. YES! The feeling was unmatched. I had found my calling.
It took over two years of me grinding – and not grinding (mental breaks can be necessary!) – at open mics to start getting noticed for booked shows. I honed my jokes that I knew worked, tweaked the ones that were met with lukewarm response, and completely trashed the ones that completely bombed.
When I first bombed, I wanted to quit comedy immediately. Then, I reminded myself that bombing is the best way to improving and evolving as a comic, so I learned to love those moments just as much. Once I overcame my fear of bombing, I started focusing more on being comfortable onstage. As long as I show the audience that I’m happy to grace the stage to tell them jokes, I know that I will at least keep them engaged during my set.
I got more ambitious in the winter of 2015. I was getting booked regularly on showcases at this point, along with guest hosting open mics. Then in January, a comic alerted us in the Facebook Atlanta comedy group that Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge was looking to add more comedy events for their space. I immediately messaged her and told her my idea of running an all-female comedy show called Grrrls Nite Out.
On January 24, 2016, Grrrls Nite Out happened and had a successful turnout. It just celebrated its two-year anniversary on January 27.
Whew and what a journey that was! For one, I started the show because I was on way too many showcases where I was the lone female comic out of a 7- or 10-comic lineup. Most importantly, I wanted to show this city how packed it is with super talented and hilarious women.
I started my second show, Wake Up!, last year of January and it just celebrated its own anniversary show two months ago. I am also the new co-host of Ladie’s Night with Chris Nikitas.
Has it been a smooth road?
Absolutely not. The biggest struggle was stroking my own fragile ego. I spent most of my formative years as a straight-A student and a star athlete, so making mistakes as an adult was always a huge deal. I had to actually teach myself to be human once I got into comedy, because I had to get used to bombing on the regular after I bypassed the honeymoon phase.
After feeling like I crushed the first two open mics, I was extremely confident that I could keep that momentum going. Then I had my first bomb and my fragile ego shattered. It took me three months to recuperate, because I spent most of it questioning myself.
But bombing is a rewarding punishment. Also, doing stand-up comedy is incredibly hard, so once I understood that aspect, I began to be more free with my stage presence and joke-writing. Bombing forces us to go back and find what went wrong and fix it for the next time we perform. Whenever a joke falls flat, I like to have something queued up to keep the show flowing.
I’m glad I swallowed my pride and kept going. Doing comedy has been the most best decision I’ve made so far, and I’ll continue to overcome any more obstacles that will come my way to keep my love for it going.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Host of Grrrls Nite Out, Wake Up! – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My business is really me running comedy shows in the city. I specialize in booking talent on my comedy shows and producing said shows on certain dates throughout the year. I am known for running Grrrls Nite Out and Wake Up!, but I can also be seen at various comedy venues across town.
I created Grrrls Nite Out because I wanted a safe space for fellow female comics and to also pay ode to the feminists of the riot grrrl movement in the 90s. I’m proud to say that it’s always a great time among the comedians and audiences. I recently started adding one male comic to the lineup to mix it up and that has worked out well.
Wake Up! more of a resistance comedy show. We’re in incredibly many times, man, so I wanted to create something that allows comics, musicians and other artists express themselves more freely than they would at a standard comedy showcase.
I’m proud to see something I worked hard to make happen continue to be on a successful journey. It’s already not easy to do stand-up comedy, so adding the extra stressful element of running a show may seem like a daunting task. I’m just blessed to have the type-A personality to enjoy myself while handling those challenges.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What I like least about our city: gentrification! It’s terrible, but it’s happening in every major city now. I also don’t like that the city has the time to have these awful condos yet cannot fix this infrastructure. So many potholes!
All that aside, I love this city. I moved here 12 years ago and have stayed here because of the great community of artists here. Atlanta has so many rich scenes in music, arts, film, comedy, etc.
I also love the positive representation of Black women in leadership roles. Shirley Franklin was the mayor when I moved here and now, we have Keisha Lance Bottoms as our new mayor. There are so many businesses owned by black women flourishing, so it has definitely been encouraging for me to keep up with my ambitious aspirations.
- Grrrls Nite Out advance tickets $5 online, $10 at door
- Ladie’s Night advance tickets $5 online, $10 door
- Wake Up! $5 online, $10 door
- Website: amberisweird.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @ambwow
- Facebook: facebook.com/ambersweird
- Twitter: @ambwow
Erin Ashford, Stephanie Toone, Haylee Anne