Almost famous: The road to MTV
“Shoutout to Dupont!” Sara Schaefer ’00, the newest host of MTV’s late night talk show, Nikki & Sara Live, said.
Schaefer double majored in English and theater at the College of William and Mary, which was one of the first steps on her road to co-hosting her own comedy television show.
The show premiered Jan. 29 and will broadcast Tuesdays at 11 p.m. Schaefer co-hosts the show with comedian Nikki Glaser.
“I think the fact that there are two hosts sets us apart,” Schaefer said in an email. “It changes the rhythm and feel of the show, and also provides two voices to make one unique one emerge. We also are different because we are live — not taped a few hours before — actually live.”
In honor of the show’s premiere, the Student Alumni Council hosted a viewing party in the Alumni House.
“We just wanted to make sure that the Alumni Association supports all of our alumni and make sure that we raise awareness for the Alumni Association, as well as in honor of Sara,” Jessica Moore, assistant director of Alumni Events, said.
Schaefer and Glaser filmed a special message for members of the Tribe, which was shown at the viewing prior to the episode.
“Thanks so much for watching the show. Thank you for making me who I am. Thank you for all your support. I love you guys,” Schaefer said.
The fast-paced show borrowed concepts from other late night shows, with on-the-street interviews and a clip called “Who Wore It Bestest.” Time was split between bits, giving the hosts ample opportunities to make a variety of jokes.
Ke$ha was the show’s first guest, and she revealed her plans for her own TV show, “My Crazy Beautiful Life,” as she cuddled a kitten.
Schaefer said via email that she enjoys “poking fun” at “The Bachelor,” and her dream guests are Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake.
“The show reminded me of Chelsea Lately a little bit,” Moore said. “They discuss a little of what’s going on in the media, from what I could tell, but they also poke fun at some of the celebrities and themselves.”
“I think it’s right on par with [other late night shows],” Marisa Reed ’13, who attended the viewing party, said. “I think they haven’t had time to completely develop their personas, obviously, but once they’ve established their presence, they’ll be right on par.”
The show received a good response from those present at the viewing party.
“I really enjoyed it,” Reed said. “I thought it was very funny, and it’s really great seeing women on comedy shows.”
Kendra Jackson ’14 said she was excited to see an alumna on screen.
“I love supporting people who are passionate about anything, and it’s awesome that she’s from William and Mary,” Jackson said. “I’m so proud.”
Both Jackson and Reed said they think they’ll continue to watch the show weekly.
Schaefer and Glaser’s road to MTV started when they began broadcasting podcasts from Schaefer’s apartment in early 2011. The podcast series, called “You Had To Be There,” quickly grew in popularity, especially after the two posted a fake public service announcement on YouTube.
In the black-and-white video, Schaefer, Glaser and their friends beg Justin Timberlake to return to music, featuring overly dramatic one-liners like “children are dying — probably.” The video now has over 500,000 views and earned a tweet from Timberlake himself.
In their first Nikki & Sara Live episode, their Justin Timberlake obsession was referenced in a bit focusing on his newly released single.
“She has done a lot of podcasts, and we looked at a lot of that, and it was hilarious,” Moore said. “We decided that we would go ahead and use those podcasts in the planning of the event and try to get people enticed and see how funny she really is. I know when she was here, she was pretty involved on campus and very funny. Supposedly she went to New York and had a hard time at first, and I think being a 2000 grad, having finally gotten up and rolling, she’s more than thrilled, and we are for her, too.”
Schaefer started in comedy as a stand-up performer at night. She went on to become the host of AOL’s online hybrid music and comedy webisode series, “The DL.” In 2009, Schaefer snagged the role of head blogger for Jimmy Kimmel, which earned her two Emmy awards.
While at the College, Schaefer performed in what is now called the 7th Grade sketch comedy club, founded in 1998.
“I was in 7th Grade, was an RA/PA, worked on theatre productions both onstage and backstage, and was a Kappa Alpha Theta,” Schaefer said in an email. “I think my favorite memory has to be when I joined 7th Grade sketch comedy (at the time it was called Etch-a-sketch). We had so much fun that night and every night after.”