The exciting, bold Amber Ruffin you see every day on her late night show does not fully capture who Amber Ruffin is in real life.
"The Amber Ruffin Show" on Peacock has become a staple in late night television since first premiering two years ago. Even so, there are still fun facts about Ruffin that even her most loyal fans don't know. She shared nine of them in a phone interview with TODAY.
She and her husband met in rom-com fashion
She and her husband have been married for 11 years and met in classic rom-com fashion.
"My husband and I met in New York while we were both living in Amsterdam, and he is a Dutch person and I was performing with a theater called Boom Chicago, which is a theatre of Americans in Amsterdam, but we were on tour in New York," she told TODAY. "He was just on vacation in New York. And I was outside of a bar downtown smoking a cigarette and he walked down the street," and the rest is history!
She doesn't celebrate her wedding anniversary
Ruffin said she and her husband regularly forget when their anniversary is, and that's actually become fun for them.
"Three days after, I think it was our third anniversary, we were like 'our anniversary,' and we had completely missed it ... and every year since, we keep missing it," she said. "It's truly like two 14-year-old boys found each other and two days after every anniversary, we high five."
She always wanted to work in a salon
"I feel like if I wasn't a comedian, I would be doing people's hair or nails," she said. "Because I love to paint my little nails and do my goofy seventh grade designs. I love to braid my hair up all the time. So I would be working in a salon if I wasn't an actor."
She's from Nebraska
Ruffin was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, with her parents and four siblings. She said she had a very happy childhood with a lot of cherished memories.
Her dad regularly took naps and she used to go into his room and start singing songs while he was asleep.
"I'd leave and I'd come back until he got very mad. And then at the end of the song, no matter what, he would clap because he thought his child did a good job. So they invited my behavior" instead of punishing me for exploring my interests, she said.
She used comedy to make her first friends
"I started out a little quiet. But I’m the youngest of five, so there is no — like our quiet is pretty loud. I was also maybe the ugliest child I’ve ever seen. I had a lot of work to do to make friends. I had to work quite hard. So then I think I just became silly and loud and funny as a means to connect with children."
Ruffin said despite her big personality on display every night, “I’m so boring, I’m very boring,” and that's just how she likes it.
A gallon of water starts her day
Ruffin's morning routine calls for an entire gallon jug of water.
"When I don't have to physically be at work, what I do is I wake up and I come down here to the kitchen table," she said. "I open up my laptop and I get a jug of water. It's me and this laptop and a jug of water all day."
Her high school mascot was the Bunnies
Ruffin graduated from Benson High School in Omaha, Nebraska.
"We are probably the only school whose mascot is the bunnies," she said. "We're the Benson Bunnies."
Ruffin hated high school, not because of the mascot, but because other students bullied her a lot. She said her favorite part of high school was it ending.
"The last two years were great, but those first years: man, I got made fun of so bad. I got made fun of in school so badly that I can't even watch 'Pen15'."
"Pen15" is a teen drama about middle schoolers who can never seem to do anything right in the eyes of their peers.
"It was so bad and I used to always say: 'when I get older, I'm gonna do whatever I want," she said. "It won't have to be this bad.' And I was right."
Her favorite thing about 30 Rock is the cafeteria
Ruffin said when she's working in-office at 30 Rockefeller Plaza — NBC's headquarters in New York City — she goes on her favorite workplace adventure: to the commissary.
"There’s food you can order, and you know you’re going to love the food," she said. "You know exactly what it is. But I still will go upstairs to the commissary and roll the dice. It’s my favorite. When it’s bad, I’m like, how fun that I have to eat this bad food. And when it’s good, I’m like, I can’t believe it. Look at this yummy food I get to eat. It’s my little adventure. The only adventure I go on is upstairs to the commissary."
What's her favorite movie? She has three
"It's a three-way tie; I'm sorry that that's the answer you're going to get," she joked.
"There is a documentary called the 'King of Kong' and it is about two men vying to become the world champion in Donkey Kong," she said, and the pairing of the worst person on earth with an angel makes it her "favorite documentary."
"The movie I've seen the most is Spanglish, and I can't turn away from it," she said, because "it was the only DVD I had when I lived in Amsterdam, so I just got home from work and just put it on because there wasn't a lot of English TV" and when she came back state side, it was regularly on tv.
Even so, Ruffin said, "the real answer is probably Barry Gordon's 'The Last Dragon.' Yeah, I can't help that."
The first two seasons of Ruffin's show are streaming now on Peacock.