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TikTok superstar and famed Trump impersonator Sarah Cooper pivoted from the phone screen to the TV screen on Tuesday night, introducing her viral comedy — and self — to even more of America as part of her guest-hosting duties on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
“If you don’t know who I am, that’s OK. I don’t know who you are either, so we’re even,” Cooper quipped.
In a more than seven-minute monologue, the writer and stand-up comedian balanced her trademark political humor with comedic anecdotes about her life beyond the homemade videos that have made her an internet sensation. “Part of the reason I was so excited to guest-host tonight is because I wanted to show everyone that I’m more than my Trump impressions,” Cooper said.
She touched on a range of “presidential” topics early on in her opening appearance, including the announcement of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s running mate, voter suppression and what it would be like to have a “president who only goes crazy once a month.”
However, most of her opening monologue centered on the personal, with Cooper diving into the origins of her TikTok presence and her rapid rise in comedy. Cooper took credit for being “the reason your grandpa downloaded TikTok,” before sharing her excitement over her rapid rise in comedy this year, which led to her having her “very own sidekick” in Guillermo.
“I started this year doing a late night set at a pizza place in Jersey City,” Cooper explained. “Now, here I am hosting a late night show in a vacant house. Actually, the number of people in the audience is exactly the same.”
The writer and comedian then pivoted to speaking more explicitly about her personal life, including her former life as a Google staffer, her husband, family and Jamaican identity. Cooper went on to detail how she had come a long way “emotionally and geographically” to host the show Tuesday night.
“I was born in Jamaica, my whole family’s Jamaican, and they always give me a hard time for being the least Jamaican member of the family,” Cooper said. “But I think it’s their fault for naming me Sarah. Sarah Cooper sounds like a character on The O.C., who was written out in season two, and it’s like she moved into my body and gentrified my whole personality.”
Towards the end of her monologue, Cooper took several virtual fan questions about the “real her,” which saw the comedian delivering more of her signature Trump lip-syncing. Later in the show, the writer and actress also traded presidential impressions with her first guest, Ben Stiller.
During their conversation, Stiller noted that “for a lot of people watching, it’s probably the first they’re hearing your voice,” which he went on to describe as “a lot more melodious, and soothing and not divisive.” While Stiller admitted that he was familiar with Cooper’s work, he said he still had limited knowledge of the platform.
“I don’t even understand what TikTok is other than I know it’s a medium in which images are put out into the world,” Stiller said.
As part of a quick bite, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! guest host encouraged the actor to try his hand at impersonating Trump, serving up the infamous “Bing-bing-bong” clip for him to re-create.
Watch the full segment below.
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