Comedian and TikTok star Sarah Cooper, who was named to TheWrap’s 2020 Innovators List, has achieved fame this year by not listening to the advice of well-meaning friends.
“Well, everyone told me I shouldn’t quit Google, and everyone told me I was too old for TikTok, and everyone told me I shouldn’t marry my husband,” said Cooper, a former Google employee who has become a breakout star for her short video clips lip-syncing to speeches by President Donald Trump.
“Oh wait, these things are things that paid off,” she joked in an exclusive video clip for TheWrap.
The 42 year-old comedian quit a cushy job at Google, where she met her husband (to whom she is very much still married), in 2014 to pursue comedy full-time.
When asked what her biggest mistake was, and what did she learn from it, Cooper told TheWrap, “Probably the biggest mistake I made was thinking that networking and community wasn’t important and from that I learned how to rationalize the fact that I didn’t have any friends.”
Cooper also said that being quarantined because of the coronavirus had emboldened her to experiment, with her Trump-inspired TikToks as the winning result. “Being stuck at home during the pandemic really forced me to try new things,” she said, “and one of the things I tried was taking this nightmare that the country was hit with and lip-syncing him.”
Even if you don’t know her name, you’ve definitely seen Sarah Cooper’s viral TikTok videos lip-syncing to Donald Trump’s voice. But unlike the plethora of other Trump parodies on social media and late-night television, Cooper’s comedy hinges not on vocal mimicry or orange makeup and bad wigs, but on the inanity of replaying the president’s own words — and in doing so, the Jamaican American comedian has offered a subversive look at the presidency and earned millions of followers along the way. “Person, woman, man, camera, TV,” anyone?
Cooper isn’t just a one-trick pony, though: This fall, she will star in a Netflix comedy special directed by Natasha Lyonne and executive produced by Maya Rudolph that will touch on issues of race, gender, class and politics. She’s also signed to develop a CBS comedy based on one of her books, “How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings,” with Cindy Chupack (“Modern Family,” “Sex and the City”) as co-writer and showrunner.
Watch the full video above.