Exclusive: Comedian Amber Rollo On Taking The Awkwardness Out Of Sad, Sensitive, And Taboo Topics

Last month, The Talko spoke with comedienne and podcast host, Amber Rollo about her passion project: Daddy-Less Issues: The Orphan Podcast for an exclusive interview. Rollo's parents passed away when she was a young girl and as anyone can imagine, this has given her plenty to talk about on the subject of being parentless. Rollo's co-host on the podcast is Chanel Ali of MTV's Girl Code fame. Ali grew up in the foster care system so, if there are any two comedians truly ready to tackle the tricky task of applying humor to a sensitive subject such as adults who grew up as orphans, it's these two gals. Firstly, we were curious to know how Rollo got the idea for her unique podcast.

"I’m a stand-up comic and I write about my life all the time," she told us. "People talk about their families all the time or their parents and my parents passed away when I was young so it’s part of my story. I was thinking about how you need to really write those jokes really particularly because audiences can get uncomfortable when they hear that. There’s a lot of tension in it which is great because there’s a lot of tension that can be released through laughter."


However, Rollo admitted that as a freelance comedian, it is a scary topic of choice to pursue. On the other hand, she had noticed several orphans throughout treasured literature, characters which include Harry Potter, Batman, and even Cinderella.

"So why are people so interested in it yet also uncomfortable with it in real life at the same time?" Rollo asked during our interview. "So I was talking to another comedian who is now my co-host, Chanel Ali. I met her on set... and I found out that she grew up in the foster care system so she is also an orphan but a different type that I am. We clicked right away and I pitched her the idea of this podcast where we talk to people about their favorite orphan in fiction and so we were running with that idea for a little bit but the more we talked about it, the more we realized that we wanted to come at it head-on and talk to people who have gone through this experience or similar experiences and see how they did it and what tools they’ve picked up along the way and focus more on the positive of how they’re thriving rather than like, ‘Oh my gosh! Your parents died! That’s so sad!’"


Putting a positive (and funny at that!) spin on what is mostly known as a dark and heartbreaking topic is risky business but Rollo and Ali are confident in their original podcast and they also have ways to put their guests (fellow comedians) at ease as well to ensure that the whole experience is genuine and comfortable.

"First, we don’t put a lot of pressure on people, on our guests, on ourselves, to be funny," Rollo told us. "Chanel and I are comedians and most of our guests are comedians so I think that’s a common coping tool that we use. It happens sort of automatically for us. But we do put a lot of thought into the questions that we ask and the way we frame things and making sure that things aren’t salacious and making sure that everyone’s at ease and has their water and has their snack. Putting people at ease allows people to open up and be funnier."

You can check out the Daddy-Less Issues podcast right now wherever you usually get your podcasts. Every month, Rollo and Ali highlight a "Famous Orphan of the Month." July's selection is Jamie Foxx.


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