Number 59: Amber Preston
City: Minneapolis, MN
Years spent living in MN: 14
Local comedian Amber Preston is convinced that she has a Silence of the Lambs body-type. Meaning, she believes that her form is the kind that attracts serial killers. And while this theory (thankfully) hasn't been proven true, she is known for killing crowds herself... with laughter. On any given night, you can find the funny lady extraordinaire performing around town at places including at the Lowry Lab Theatre, Acme Comedy Co., and Rick Bronson's House of Comedy. Each of Preson's bits feature a healthy dose of self-deprecation and a gentle ribbing of others, touching on topics ranging from office personality dynamics to why she won't run a marathon to being cast as a shark girl in West Side Story because as a student in Fargo, North Dakota she could vaguely pass as Puerto Rican onstage. In addition to standup comedy, Preston also records YouTube clips featuring toy squirrels tap dancing.
[jump] Name three things that are inspiring your work right now:
- Long, lonely hours driving from gig to gig. Driving through Gary, Indiana can be very inspirational.
2 The haze I am living in due to allergy medicine.
- My excitement for the upcoming NKOTB tour.
Name three things that inspired and/or motivated you as a budding creative type:
Procrastination or poor time management skills. A smarter person would say "pressure," but in my world procrastination has led to a lot of interesting choices and a lot of flying without a net. This has led to a lot of crashing and burning with the occasional successful soaring flight.
My peers. There is a crazy amount of comedy talent here in the Twin Cities. Call it the spirit of competition or sheer inspiration but other creative types are always good for a spark.
Tina Turner and the Smothers Brothers.
What was your last big project?
I was lucky enough to be invited to perform at some really great comedy festivals last year. Most recently, the Women in Comedy Festival in Boston and the San Francisco Sketchfest.
What do you have going on now or coming up in the near future that should be on our radar?
I'll be telling jokes at the House of Comedy in the Mall of America from May 17 to 22 and Acme Comedy Co. from May 31 through June 4. I can also be found at the Lowry Lab Theatre in St. Paul every second Wednesday of the month for the Lowry Lab Laughs show.
Creative/career high point (so far)?
Anytime I write a new bit that works is a creative high point. Having something new that you're excited about is the best. You just can't wait to get in front of an audience to let it out. Career high? I don't know, it is always changing. Everything is a stepping stone to the next project. I just want to work, so anytime my calendar is full is a pretty great career point for me.
What has been your biggest challenge as a comedian?
The business side of comedy is definitely the biggest challenge for me. I'm such a Midwest passive-aggressive gal. I hate "bothering" people for work, but you have to do it. You have to call and email clubs and bookers and send out clips and submit for this festival and that showcase and figure out the best routing so you actually make some money on that long road trip... and can I pick up a one-nighter along the way somewhere... and if I stay in this city one more day can I get a spot at that club that may or may not lead to future work... There is so much more than the writing and the performing.
How has the local scene changed since you began your career?
I think the biggest change is the amount of available stage time. There are so many opportunities in the Twin Cities right now. You can perform pretty much every night of the week if you want. When I started there was a lot of stage time to be had, but I feel like now there is new open mic or a new showcase every other week. People are really getting creative with show venues and self-producing. You can really get out there and get the stage time. When I think about it this probably isn't a big change; I was just young and naïve and didn't know what I was doing and where I could go to perform. Although, most days I still don't know what I am doing. So, to recap: The comedy scene here is great.
If you had to live in the world of a sitcom, which show would you choose, and why?
I think I would choose Bob's Burgers because they seem like a nice family. I like burgers, and I'd like to be a cartoon. Or maybe Archer. I think I'd be a really great bad spy, but maybe I just have a thing for H. Jon Benjamin's voice.
Or maybe Saved by the Bell! I would have totally stopped Jessie from getting hooked on those caffeine pills.
If you were forced to eat one flavor of ice cream for the rest of your life, what flavor would you choose and why?
I'd say good old vanilla because you can always jazz it up and "poof!" it's another flavor! Ha! I found a loophole in your ice cream question.
Learn more about Amber Preston on her official website.
Do you have a suggestion for someone whose work we should be checking out? Feel free to leave your top picks in the comments.
Past creatives, so far: