Brooklyn’s 50 Funniest People: Heben Nigatu

Heben Nigatu
It’s impossible to undermine all the amazing things Heben Nigatu has achieved by saying she’s young—it just adds to the wow factor. So here goes: holy shit, Heben Nigatu is really young! At 24, she was one of the youngest people on the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 in the media, an honor she received mainly for her work as co-host of the wildly successful BuzzFeed podcast Another Round, where she interviewed Hillary Clinton, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Hannibal Buress, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and tons of others. In her position as Senior Editor of BuzzFeed, she also wrote “The Art of Roasting” and “In Defense Of Kanye’s Vanity: The Politics Of Black Self-Love.”
Are those articles funny? Yeah, funny like science can be funny. But Heben can also be laugh-out-loud; her twitter is gold. “I, too, have hot sauce in my bag,” she captioned a photo of Taylor Swift gesticulating wildly in front of a bemused Beyoncé and Solange at the Met Gala. “Carry yourself with the confidence of Oprah putting herself on the cover of her magazine every month,” she advised, with clapping hands.
Recently, Nigatu announced that she’ll be joining The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Her professional goals? “My only real professional goal is to be famous enough to have people bring me weed in different cities,” she tweeted. Go get ’em, Heben.
When was the first time you remember making someone laugh? What happened?
I was a surly kid and felt very under-stimulated in school so I made a habit of trying to entertain myself and the people around me. Turns out, you can make an entire living off speaking out of the side of your mouth and being a surly teen as an adult!
What is the toughest part about being on the comedy scene in Brooklyn today? What is the best?
There’s no creative industry that’s not dominated by white dudes saying mildly different variations of the same story. It get’s tiring. (Sidebar: aren’t y’all bored??) But also, there are so many dope people! It’s genuinely infectious to be around.
Who do you find funny?
Tracy Clayton, Dave Chappelle, Eduardo Galeano, Stephen Colbert, Maria Bamford, Janelle James, Steve Carrell, Chris Rock, Wyatt Cenac, Julia-Louis Dreyfuss, Wanda Sykes, Tina Fey, the babies on Fresh Off the Boat.
What was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
I recently watched Magic Mike 2.
What are your goals for your comedy career?
TV is dying but not in my heart!
And finally: What is your favorite knock-knock (or otherwise goofy) joke?
Tracy Clayton, my co-host on Another Round, is the queen of corny jokes. If you want to hear the best goofy jokes, you’ll just have to listen to our podcast 🙂
To see 49 of Brooklyn’s other funniest people, click here.

Photo by Nicolas Maloof.


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