If you’re tired of summer re-runs, have no fear – TruTV is coming at you with its brand new comedy series Greatest Ever, debuting July 5th at 10pm. Hosted by versatile comedian Amanda Seales, the show is a fast-paced combo of pop culture, entertaining videos, hilarious commentary, and much, much more. We caught up with Amanda to discuss her love of Los Angeles, balancing a heavy workload, and how to avoid being a victim of street harassment.
How’s your summer been?
It’s been great. I just wrapped Insecure on HBO, so so far, so good.
You’re a comedian, DJ, writer, and performer. How do you manage so many projects?
I don’t do any drugs. I think that has aided in my level of productivity. Since I moved to LA I cut out liquor pretty much, so this is all I got. I was never a lush by any means but I’m not losing a day to hangovers anymore. I just feel like I have a clearer head. Being in LA has made my quality of life higher so it makes my work better. Some people love to be struggling artists and I am not one of those people. I’m all about “how can I be striving?” Here I feel like I get the opportunity to do that and I get to do a lot of different kind of work under the comedy banner. I get to do stand up, I get to do my web series, I get to do Greatest Ever, I get to do scripted stuff. It makes you fulfilled in your comedic purpose.
Is there a particular craft that you enjoy the most?
I just really love stand up. I feel like it’s my calling and where I get to me my most authentic self. There’s nothing like being physically in front of humans laughing – that’s always been to me, my greatest talent. I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of different skills that I’m good at, whether it’s DJing or painting, or writing, but something about making people laugh feels like the greatest accomplishment I have. I guess I don’t really have hobbies because my life is ridiculous. The things that happen to me are like “why is this happening to you?” Because I’m a stand up, because I’m a writer – that’s why. Now I have something to go talk about on this stage. That’s essentially what influences everything. In terms of hobbies, it’s more like my interests. I’m very involved in popular culture, I’m very involved in the black community and our rights and seeing representation happen. I’m very involved in Harry Potter. I have a wide range of interests.
You gained attention for countering author Steve Santagati during a CNN segment on street harassment videos. What do you think is the source of the problem and what can we do to fix it?
There’s a couple of things, because not everybody is an outspoken person. Not everybody is confrontational and not everybody should be confronted. I would never say “you need to tell people to just stop saying that to you,” because if you say that to the wrong person you might get hurt or even worse – killed. But I think that it starts moreso with men. It’s not women’s problem to fix. It’s mens problem to fix. Just the idea that you can say whatever you want to a women because you like how she looks is silly and it’s rooted in patriarchy and this idea that we are objects. When that starts to really change, then we’ll see a change, and it is started to change and there is education that’s happening. It takes guys telling other guys “hey, shut up!”
What about the idea that’s it’s easier for women to put headphones on and ignore it?
You can only do that for so long. I had a guy on my block who was harassing me for eight years. He had a never ending store of crazy shit to say to me, and then eventually I just stopped one day and said “what’s your name?” And he paused, and I said “what’s your name?” and he said his name and I said “I’m Amanda. I live here. You live here. I want to feel like when I walk here, I feel safe. So you could say hello to me, ‘Hi Amanda’ say you like my outfit. Basically anything beyond that doesn’t make me feel safe. He said “ I’m not trying to do that, I’m not trying to make you feel unsafe.” I said ‘’I don’t doubt that, but I’m letting you know that that is how I feel.” But now that I personalized myself to him, he changed that up, so for the next 6 years it was “Hi Amanda.” But I also know that I’m way more forward than a lot of people, so I would never necessarily expect someone else to be able to do that because it’s scary. But you shouldn’t have to, it’s not our problem to fix.
How did you get involved with Greatest Ever?
I was just really really lucky because I’ve been working hard for a long time and TruTV has been really liking my work, so they came to me and said “Hey, you know we have this project and we think you’d be a great voice for it.” It’s a very seminal moment in an artists’ career when you don’t have to audition. It also says a lot to me about them as a network in how they view my work. It makes you feel really good when you’re working with a company that respects you and appreciates your comedic voice and wants to have you as a face on their network. TruTV has been coming up and really evolving and broadening their programming. They’re only going to continue to do so. This is just the beginning of what I’d like to be a bustling, blossoming relationship.
How would you describe the show?
Greatest Ever is a fast-paced, informative, fun, pop culture comedy countdown show. We take viewers through the do’s and don’ts of one topic per episode. Wedding videos, newscasts, politicians, products, we take you through the do’s and don’ts of how to be the best politician ever. How to be the best newscaster ever, how to create the best product ever. We do that through videos, and jokes, and talking heads, and it’s a good time. We’re giving it a brain. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a lot of levels. I can be silly but I like my silly to be smart too. I get to be silly but then we also get to have experts in that topic or in that field on the show. We also get to have witty banter. It allows folks to see me back on TV again in a place that is comfortable for them, which is good old clip show countdown- because I am the clip show queen.
I’m someone who is very vocal and opinionated when it comes to politics, social issues, and women’s rights. At the same time, I’m a goofball who put up a picture yesterday of how my kneecap looks just like the Lorax – it was very bizarre. In order for me to meld those two worlds I have to exist in those two worlds. Doing Greatest Ever is so dope because it’s a genuine part of me that’s going to open me up to a whole other audience who will say “shoot, I think Amanda Seales is funny” but will also get a chance to follow me on social media and see other show I’m coming out with. They’ll hear my views on stuff that is a lot more serious and does have a lot more impact in their lives. But that’s to me the role of a comic. We are supposed to talk about not just ourselves, but our world.
Greatest Ever premieres July 5th at 10pm on TruTV. Check out more from Amanda Seales at AmandaSeales.com