Comedian Sara Schaefer is a headliner at Hell Yes Fest. She tops a showcase Friday at One Eyed Jacks and she participates in The Megaphone Show Saturday at The Shadowbox. She's completed two seasons of Nikki & Sara Live on MTV and is waiting to hear if the network will pick up a third season. She talked with Gambit about that and other career moves for a preview of the festival. She also discussed her first job after college, which was a no-experience-necessary, entry-level job with an investment and estate management firm in New Orleans. She answered phones and made travel arrangements for clients, she says.
When she got her show on MTV, Schaefer and Nikki Glaser put out a call for comedy writers. After reading 200 packets, Schaefer compiled her own tips for putting together an application to write for a comedy show. But it works as great advice for anyone if the word "company" or "job" is substituted for "show." The tips ("follow the instructions," "Do I even need to tell you to spellcheck that shit?" "Do not recycle a packet you wrote for another show") are here, and following the response she got to the tips, she posted an addendum, but it is for comedians.
Schaefer's first job didn't put her on a career track, but once she moved to New York, she followed an unproven path, taking jobs making Internet videos for AOL and blogging for TV shows, including Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, before landing a show on MTV.
Schaefer left Late Night because she felt that she was stuck in a groove writing for its blog and wasn't perceived as someone who could write for the show, but she loved the experience. And she made an appearance on the show — in a live performance of the first viral video, Lonely Island's "Lazy Sunday," which also aired on Saturday Night Live.
"Jimmy was so fun and really hands on, and very involved in the website. He had crazy ideas.
"I am walking down the hallway one day and the showrunner, the executive producer Mike Shoemaker, stops (me) and he says 'Hey, can you do us a favor tonight?' — I am thinking can you tweet this — 'We’re going to need you in the show tonight. It’s going to be Lonely Island’s first live performance ever. They’re doing 'Lazy Sunday.' Chris Parnell is going to throw Mr. Pib in your face.' I was like, 'Yes, I’ll do that.' I’ll be part of some historical thing and be the girl that gets Mr. Pib thrown in her face."
Schaefer is at home at MTV, even if at 35, she's addressing a generally younger audience.
"MTV's audience — people complain, 'They don’t show music videos anymore.' That’s what you wanted when you were a teenager. Teenagers want something different now. If you say that, you’re old. That means you’re old.
"Their audience identifies with people who are still figuring out who they are. Real World, Jersey Shore, Teen Mom. They identify with people who aspire to grow up but aren’t there yet. They are still partying. …
"I am a fan girl. I like Katy Perry. I love Taylor Swift. I watch, I am a pop culture fiend. Whatever they’re into, I am probably already into it anyway because I love music and tv. I don’t have to lower down to their age group. But they may not get a Downton Abbey reference. They may not care about something as much as Pretty Little Liars. … It’s easy to relate to a 19-year-old girl. I was a 19-year-old girl. If it was young men, I would be like, 'What the hell? I don’t have big boobs, what are they interested in?'"