Amanda Seales is a comedian, writer, actress and producer. She’s the creator and host of the comedy game show, “Smart, Funny and Black.” Seales also has a weekly podcast, “Small Doses” and wrote a scripted comedy, “Get Your Life.” She regularly appears on HBO’s “Insecure.” Seales will perform Oct. 25 and Oct. 26 at this year’s Bentzen Ball comedy festival.

The Lily chatted with Bentzen Ball comedians via text and phone calls ahead of the festival, which runs Oct. 25-28.

October 3, 2018, 2:08 p.m.

Amanda Seales

Hi this is Amanda

Nneka McGuire

Hi, Amanda. Thanks for taking the time to chat — well, text — today.

Amanda Seales

No problem!

Nneka McGuire

Have you ever done an entire interview via text before?

Amanda Seales

No, I haven’t.

Nneka McGuire

I’ll try to keep it interesting. To start us off, can you tell me how you got involved with Bentzen Ball?

Amanda Seales

Nothing really interesting there lol they reached out to my agent

Nneka McGuire

Haha, noted. Let’s talk about your live show, “Smart, Funny and Black.” How would you describe it to the uninitiated?

Amanda Seales

I always say it’s like taking black culture to church

It’s a live music and comedy game show

Nneka McGuire

I read that you dreamed up the idea in your living room one day. What inspired the idea?

Amanda Seales

Well I was doing it as a showcase in nyc

But when I moved to LA I decided I wanted to reimagine it

I was on the phone with my mom and we were brainstorming and I kept saying “it needs to be more. It needs to be more …”

And somehow a game show came to mind and it has developed from there

Originally I imagined it as a hangout in my crib but then it developed into its own world

That combines an HBCU/Ivy League/Hogwart’s

Nneka McGuire

Such a unique format — and it’s been a hit, constantly selling out. Were you anticipating such a strong response?

(Particularly from nonblack folks?)

Amanda Seales

I honestly didn’t care about nonblack folks liking it

It’s a safe space for black culture, comedy, and conversation and it was paramount that black folks felt that first and foremost

So I’m more relieved than surprised that folks feel like that, have that when they come to my show

Nneka McGuire

I hear that.

Amanda Seales

Because we NEED that

Nneka McGuire

What advice would you give women, especially women of color, who want a career in comedy?

Amanda Seales

-don’t f--- for stage time

-trust your voice

-build a sisterhood/tribe and big each other up

Nneka McGuire

Speaking of sisterhood, Tiffany, your character on “Insecure,” has a particularly fascinating storyline this season as she navigates pregnancy and how being a mom affects her friendships. How do you feel about her arc this season?

Amanda Seales

I think it was great that she got to show a range of emotion

Also, her story is so relatable to a lot of friend groups. I’m glad they showed how real that switch up of dynamics can be

And that it’s not so easy

Nneka McGuire

Just one more question for you (I know our time is up). Say you had to describe yourself in three emoji. What would they be?

Amanda Seales

Nneka McGuire

That’s a good trio. Thanks again for your time, Amanda. See you at Bentzen.

Amanda Seales

Thank you!

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