Cooper has become one of the hottest comics to emerge from the Covid-19 era with her social media videos, where she lip-syncs Trump’s nonsensical public comments by offering mix of deadpan flair and exaggerated facial expressions. These videos are great procrastinating fodder for all of us taking breaks from our new work from home reality.
In “How to Medical,” she lampooned Trump’s comments suggesting that perhaps injecting disinfectant and shining a ultraviolet light can cure people who have this virus.
This video caught fire and has attracted more than 18 million views on Twitter. “It’s not something that people have seen before — a black woman lip-syncing Trump’s words in a very realistic, sort of documentary kind of way,” said Cooper.
Here’s another funny one where she performed how Trump literally made up a new conspiracy theory name during a press Q&A about former President Barack Obama.
Cooper’s vicious roasting of Trump has generated a score of shoutouts from Ben Stiller, Jerry Seinfeld and Bette Midler. She’s appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show and MSNBC’s “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell.” She’s met with several production companies about possible projects.
“I’m having a moment, but it’s definitely been surreal,” Cooper said in an interview from her New York home. “Agents who wouldn’t call me back three years ago now want to talk to me. Things are going really well while the world is falling apart. It’s been quite a roller coaster. One moment, it’s ‘Oh my God, what’s happening with the pandemic, lockdown and quarantine?’ and the next moment it’s ‘Oh my God, Ben Stiller retweeted my tweet.’”
Trump’s stumbles reminded and inspired Cooper to use her experience as a designer for Google, where she was required to attend a stream of monotonous meetings where much was said but little was accomplished.
“When Trump started doing those daily briefings and being confronted with how incompetent he is and how out of his element he is, I was just reminded of being in the corporate world and seeing people BS-ing through a meeting, making their coworkers think they know things when they really have no idea what they’re talking about,” Cooper said.
Her distaste for Trump has fueled her comic sensibility: “It seems like we’ve been gaslighted for 3½ years. Now he’s saying ridiculous things that make no sense, but people are nodding, and no one is calling him out. That frustration is part of the reason why I wanted to do something like this.” One of the descriptors in her Twitter bio is “#blockedbytrump.”
While at Google, she started writing blog posts about how to appear smart at meetings. When those posts began to get attention, she got a deal to write a book titled “100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings: How to Get By Without Even Trying.” The success of that book convinced her to devote more of her energy to comedy: “I had a platform. There was a period when I was teaching the business world about humor and bridging the two worlds.”
Her stand-up career was just starting to gather some momentum when the pandemic struck. But breaking through during a quarantine when comedy venues are shut down has been bizarre. “I had just done my first Montreal ‘Just for Laughs’ audition,” she said. “I was starting to get noticed, hosting open mics. Now I’m not able to go out and perform at night. It’s been a little bit of a blessing because I can focus on my comedy now working at home.”
So far Cooper says she has received little backlash on her Trump attacks. She’s even heard from Trump supporters who are amused by the videos. Asked how she thinks Trump would respond to her “Trump mode,” she paused. “That’s a real good question,” Cooper said. “I’m of two minds on this. One, he wouldn’t realize I was making fun of him. He would probably think, ‘There’s a black woman who supports me. Get her to the White House.’ Or he gets really angry that his voice is coming out of my mouth, and he sues me.”
In the meantime, she’s working on a new book — an Audible original that will be “my take” on Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” she says. She’s also working on developing a late-night stand-up set. And of course, there will be more videos: “I’ll keep on doing them as long as my head writer gives me material.”