When quarantine started in March, comedian Sarah Cooper did what many did: she downloaded TikTok. She started posting videos of her impersonating President Trump, not putting much time or energy into them. Then they went viral.
“That’s the thing I like about making stuff for the internet. There isn’t pressure,” she said. “That first one that went viral, I made it in a few hours. I didn’t think about it that hard, I just kind of put it together.”
In a Zoom webinar hosted by A&O Productions Wednesday night, Cooper talked about her career and TikTok fame during quarantine in a lighthearted conversation with comedian Nikki MacCallum.
While Cooper has gained fame recently for her lip-sync impersonations of Trump, her career in comedy started long before this past spring. After graduating from college, she began doing stand-up comedy and wrote three books, one of which, How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men's Feelings, is the basis of a CBS comedy show currently being produced. Cooper also starred in a Netflix comedy special called “Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine,” released Oct. 27.
After experiencing a taste of fame over the past few months, Cooper said she experiences “imposter syndrome” and questions whether her popularity will last.
“I just have this fear of being cocky. I’m always second guessing myself and questioning myself,” Cooper said. “Especially with these videos. It really gave me a lot of confidence that I could make something that millions of people would like, but it’s taken a long time.”
Cooper said she hates reading comments that say her 15 minutes of fame are up, so she’s focusing on capturing opportunities, like her Netflix special and the upcoming CBS show based on her book.
“I want to prove those people wrong,” she added.
Even though Cooper has been successful on TikTok, she said she wants to be known for her writing.
“I look up to great performers,” Cooper said. “But the truth is that I love writing. I love being at my laptop and creating things out of nothing. When you write about something you really love, there’s just a different energy.”
Cooper suggested that students use their posters, favorite music and the people they admire to find inspiration. She recently discovered her love of ‘70s classic rock, like Simon & Garfunkel and Neil Diamond, even though she considers it “the cheesiest fucking thing in the whole world.”
“That’s unique. It’s part of me, and I shouldn’t deny it,” Cooper said. “Find those things about yourself and start harvesting them. When you are writing and creating, that’s what’s going to set you apart.”
When asked what advice she has for aspiring comics, Cooper insisted that there is no set path.
“If you were going to do the ‘Sarah Cooper method,’ it would be just be try a bunch of different things and be really honest with yourself about what you enjoy,” she said. “Do what you want to do.”
*Article Thumbnail: A&O Productions