On January 23, Amanda Seales hosted a red carpet premiere at the Roxy Hotel in NYC for her anticipated HBO comedy special, Amanda Seales: I Be Knowin’.
The exclusive screening was followed by a live set by DJ Parler and Q&A moderated by Angela Yee of The Breakfast Club. The event featured a cocktail hour, an HBO inspired photo booth, access to a limited-edition zine, and an intimate meet and greet.
Amanda Seales, Insecure series regular, podcast host (Small Doses), and creator of comedy game show Smart Funny & Black, will now make her stand-up debut in an hour-long special, which will premiere exclusively on HBO on Saturday, January 26th at 10:00 PM ET/PT.
We sat down with Amanda in celebration of this debut and asked how she felt sitting in the audience.
“I don’t know,” she says, “I have to assess that later. I’m just kind of like riding it out. I mean, this process is all new so I feel like I’m feeling feelings that I’ve never felt before so I haven’t come up with names for them yet! I’ve never done this. And this was the first screening. I’ve seen the [edited special] so many times and yet it was the first time because [I was] seeing it as an audience member and not an editor, or as an executive producer, or as a writer. You know? I’ve watched it in every other form except as a fan. This was the first time I got to sit there and watch it as a spectator.”
She mentioned that she had no reservations when HBO decided to partner with her. “I was like ‘finally,’ I’m glad they finally figured out that it makes sense for them to do that,” she says.
It is obvious that Amanda’s way of storytelling lands comfortably and hilariously for her viewers.
She reflected on their response by saying, “I think the interesting part was seeing how many men would be like ‘word,’ [laughter] and outwardly express themselves. But I was just happy and relieved to hear the amount of laughter. All comics care about is, are they laughing, and they laughed. Mission accomplished.”
Throughout the special, she provides a comedic take on day-to-day occurrences. When we asked her about being confronted with the opportunity to compromise her self-branded authenticity, she explained an encounter with Drake.
“I screenshot a text from Drake and accidentally sent that back to him,” she tells us. “And he was like ‘who are you sending these texts to?’ And I had to decide in that moment … Like, am I going to lie, you know what I’m saying? And am I really going to let Drake have me lying? No. I [said to him], ‘my home girl asked if I heard from you, and this is the answer.’ So you know, you get tested! But you gotta stand your ground in who you are! And I’m an honest woman, and I’m authentic!”
We love her truth-be-told moments especially when romance is at the center. She continued on in saying, “I was having a romantic level of interest with a Jewish man, and I thought, can I say ni**a? And I had to decide. [I said], am I going to let this man deter me from my own personal choices? And I decided no.”
Whether it’s Amanda’s perfect comedic timing, her stage presence, or her applied African American studies from Columbia University, it is no surprise that this emerging sensation will continue to serve as the strong voice that she is.
She explained to moderator Angela Yee, what she hopes folks will take away from her comedy special: “At the end of the day I just cared that black women felt their voice had been presented on a global stage in a way that isn’t presented enough. That was really what I cared about most. I really don’t care about much of what people think in general, but with this particular project, I really cared that sisters felt that they were acknowledged and that even if it wasn’t t their own personal experience, that they were glad to hear another sister’s experience, be supported and be vocalized and resonated [audience cheers]. And so that was the goal and anybody else who connects with it outside of that, I hope you laughed, I hope you thought it was funny. It’s my career now so I hope you like it, so I can pay this rent [laughter].”
We wrapped up with asking, what makes you beautiful, to which Amanda replied: “My brain makes me beautiful. I mean, I’ve got some solid genes going on here; I feel like I’ve put in work . I also have an incredible glam team, but what I think for me, is the fact that I genuinely love and have consideration/ care for what happens to people and what happens specifically to black people – that’s what makes me beautiful.”
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View the official trailer below: