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The Classy Broad’s Guide to Being a Complete Idiot: how I learned to stop worrying and love the moustache

Amber Preston loves mustaches, just graduated from the University of Minnesota, and tells jokes. A lot of jokes. She’s also this week’s interviewee for this week’s Funny Title Here. I’ll tell ya this, if I went to class with Amber Preston, I think I would’ve gone to class more often. Or would still be in school.

Paolo: You made it to the Regionals in our first National College Comedy Competition, what was that like?
Amber: The Rooftop Comedy Competition was a blast. I had returned to the University of Minnesota to finish up my degree after a short, i.e. several year break and was eligible for the contest. I was pretty much the old contestant, but it seemed like a good idea and who doesn’t love a chance to be 22 again?

Paolo: How did you get into comedy?
Amber: I’ve always enjoyed performing and fancied myself pretty decent with the tap shoes, show tunes and jazz hands. Unfortunately for the folks on Broadway I veered more towards the funny than the chorus line. I performed with an improv group in college and hated it. It was absolutely the worst experience and I am still nursing my “yes, and” wounds. I did, however, enjoy the challenge of making a room full of strangers laugh. So after attending many open mics as an audience member I finally wrote my 3 minutes of material and got on stage. I don’t know what I was expecting but people actually laughed and they let me come back and keep trying. As nerd-alert as it sounds I truly was hooked from the start. I’ve been writing and performing ever since.

Paolo: Who are your comedic influences?
Amber: Ugh, I never know how to answer this question. It’s like picking a favorite song… I never know and as soon as I answer I think of someone else… so here we go… Obviously Mitch Hedberg has been a huge inspiration for so many of us. The first time I heard him it was like nothing else I’d ever heard before. I never get tired of his stuff. In high school I thought Louie Anderson was talking directly to me and describing my family, so watching the special he taped at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis in 1987 is always a nostalgic experience. I think I get more caught up in specific performances or specific jokes but I never get tired of Louis CK, Maria Bamford, Jake Johannsen, Zach Galifianakis, Ellen DeGeneres and I dare say Jon Stewart could read me the phone book and I’d think it was hilarious. My earliest memory of stand up is listening to a Bill Cosby tape with my friend Jenny Fox in 6th grade. We were “camping” and by camping I mean sleeping in her parents camper in the back yard. We listened to the Chocolate cake for breakfast bit about 72 times that night. That was the first time I remember being aware of stand up and the idea of saying things just to make people laugh. I also remember seeing Rita Rudner on TV and thinking to myself, “Oh, if you can wear sparkly pretty dresses and talk to Mr. Carson that would be a great job”. Up until that point I thought you had to be a guy in a suit coat if you wanted to tell jokes. I think I am constantly influenced and amazed by other folks and have had the chance to work with some really great people. I am fortunate to live in Minneapolis, which has a crazy amount of talent so I am always impressed and inspired by my peers.

Paolo: What was the absolute worst show you’ve ever had?
Amber: If only there was just one “worst “ show… The most recent nightmare was at a Bar Mitzvah, BAD IDEA! I think I had this attitude of, “I can do it, I only have to do 15 minutes. I’ll win these people over!” Wrong! No one wants to hear jokes at 4 in the afternoon while the food is being set up mere inches away. The kids were all up front throwing peanuts at each other and the father introduced me as the “warm-up comic, so be sure to save your laughter!” He might as well have said, “here’s some bum we picked up off the street. I wanted to get a DJ, but my wife is making me pay these stupid comics, so listen if you want but feel free to start a food fight if you’d rather do that…” Oh and I was heckled (and by heckled I mean upstaged) by the 8 year old snot nosed little brother! Luckily I had to leave immediately after my set for another show. I didn’t even get a piece of cake, but I did get paid so HA! Take that 8-year-old-won’t-zip-his-lips-little-brother Bobby! Nobody wants to hear your knock, knock joke! Oh wait, turns out they did.

Paolo: If you could only bring five mustaches with you to a desert island, what would they be?
Amber: CRIPES! This is hard, there are so many stachearific folks out there… In no particular order:
Sam Elliot – The voice of Beef since 1988 (well now it is Matthew McConaughey but I choose to ignore this fact).
Frida Kahlo – I’ll need some help with all the man traffic.
Teddy Roosevelt – Someone is going to have to hunt down our food on the island.
Einstein – Someone has to make a coconut phone while I am seducing Sam Elliot.
Robert De Niro*- Subtle yet powerful, straight up BAD ASS! Just in case we need some muscle.
*Godfather Part II De Niro
Side note – I think Shia Labeouf has great potential for a fabulous stooche. He could really do wonders for the mustachio and would be invited to my private Stooche Island once he mans up and sprouts some fur on that upper lip.

Paolo: Oh my God, apparently you ran a marathon (as far as I understand) what’s it like to train for one?
Amber: Oh dear. I have misled you, I only ran as part of a relay team in the Fargo Marathon. People that run actual marathons are crazy! I don’t know how they find the time to train? How do they have time to watch TV or waste all day watching silly videos online? I only had to do 6.75 miles and I was dying! The best part was whining about the training. It’s my only attempt at being healthy. It must not be too bad, since I am running another relay this weekend. This time it is a two person relay in a half marathon. Another comic and I have a team and our goal is to finish before the first snowfall. If you don’t hear from me for a while send a search party to Detroit Lakes Minnesota.

Thanks to Amber Preston, for taking the time out of her day, surviving the Republican National Convention, and being awesome. And now, your clip of her!


Comment from Briana
Time: September 3, 2008, 12:45 pm

Amber Preston is amazing. For real. I’m a fan for life! Amber, register for one class next year so we can hang during the college tour again!!!

Comment from Christa Fandrich
Time: September 3, 2008, 2:09 pm

I loved this! You are so hilarious!!!

Comment from Emily
Time: September 3, 2008, 3:28 pm

I’ve watched Amber’s set dozens of times and I’m still laughing. Only one problem – I might have to fight you for the keys to Burt Reynolds’ heart/pants.

Comment from dylan
Time: September 3, 2008, 3:44 pm

great interview. Amber seems like a smart one. i’ll be following her on rooftop.