Comedian, actress, writer, producer, and more, Amanda Seales doesn’t just make you laugh. She wants to make you change — especially with her latest show “Smart, Funny and Black.”
“I want to make people think,” says the show’s creator. “I got the idea for the show from my frustrations with the constant negative images of Black people in the media, unchecked appropriations, and the overall lack of education in African-American history.”
Born in California, Seales graduated from SUNY-Purchase College, and then earned a master’s degree in African-American studies with a concentration in hip-hop from Columbia University.
“My original ambitions when I was little was to be the first Black female president of the United States of America. Since then, however, I thought better of that,” says Seales. “Eventually the thing that stuck with me was just wanting to be a performer. Just being someone who could share my artistic and creative gifts. And that’s really what I’ve devoted my life to.”
“Smart, Funny and Black” is a perfect example of what Seales hoped to do with her life. But, she explains, there’s really no way to describe the show that’s coming to the Merriam Theatre on July 21.
“There’s no way to pin it down, and that’s by design. It’s a game show, but it’s also a wide-interactive experience. It’s also a live music experience. It’s also a comedy show. It’s a one-of-a-kind Black cultural experience that brings music together to celebrate Black culture, Black history, and the Black life in America.”
Right now in this country, Seales adds, “I feel as though there’s an attack on difference, there’s an attack on uniqueness, as well as an attack on culture. And I don’t agree with that. I feel that for Black people specifically in America, we need to remember our unity and our community.”
The multi-talented Seales continues, saying that, “I feel we are continuously told this lie that America is a white country, built on ideals of white oppression. But we have shown through many years of individuals moving outside of those barriers that it doesn’t have to be that way. And it shouldn’t be that way.”
Seales, who wears so many hats, admits that her greatest joy is in making people laugh. “And if I can do that through singing, if I can do that through acting, if I can do that through standup or anything else that I do, than I am happy.”
Even as a child, Seales points out she’s always loved to make people laugh, “It feels like a super power to be able to create instantaneous joy. That’s something that’s very special to me and something I don’t take for granted at all.”
Her current show is on tour, which ends in September. But there’s no stopping this dynamo. Seales currently has a new show on NBC called “Bring The Funny,” and will shortly be shooting season four of HBO’s “Insecure.” And her book, “Small Doses,” is due out in October.
She acknowledges all the work that goes into writing a book “I’ve done a lot of things in my life but I’ve never written a book. I’ve entertained the idea of writing a book several times, but this is the first time it kept flowing and flowing and actually happened. But I had no idea how hard it is to write. It’s a solitary affair. And it’s a real disciplined type of thing, I believe I’m a very disciplined type of person. But this whole experience made me feel as though I was a lump!”