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Adventures in Comedy

Adventures in ComedyTufts graduate Amy Rhodes discusses her life among Hollywood's top comedy producers as the director of content for the site

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.03.08] Amy Rhodes has always had a very specific idea for the type of environment she wanted to work in - "an office where you could play video games, but still do work, [surrounded by] cool people and having fun." While this may seem like a pie-in-the-sky dream, it has become a reality for Rhodes.

Rhodes (A'97) is the director of content for the site, a comedic video Web site created by comedian/actor Will Ferrell, "Anchorman" Director Adam McKay and "Entourage" Writer/Producer Chris Henchy.

Growing up in Iowa, Rhodes came to Tufts on a suggestion from her sister.

"My sister had gone to Brown, and from visiting her I knew I really liked the East Coast, so she had suggested that I look into Tufts, thinking I would like it," Rhodes said. "I took a tour and I really liked it. It had a great English and drama department, and I was interested in both."

Double-majoring in drama and English, Rhodes performed in several major productions on campus and became co-president of the Tufts improvisation group "Cheap Sox."

After college she helped create and produce a play in Boston, later moving to New York where it again made the stage.There, Rhodes began acting and studing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. In between classes she did performances and taught other aspiring actors in the theater program.

"I was doing a lot of writing at the time, and I wrote a two-woman show, which developed into a sitcom pilot, "Stalled," that the Oxygen Network bought," she said. "Once that sold I moved out to L.A., wrote another play which Adam McKay saw, eventually landing me my role at Funny or Die."

After seeing her play "Three Compaņeros," a parody of the late 1970's television comedy "Three's Company," McKay brought her in for an interview at Gary Sanchez Productions, a company formed by McKay, Ferrell and Henchy. Weeks later the Web site was launched with the comedic short "The Landlord." It featured Ferrell as a tenant getting verbally abused by an infant who demands that he pay the rent. When the company began looking for a staff, Rhodes was pulled on board.

In her job as director of content, Rhodes is the creative mind, a role that requires her to determine the tone of the Web site. She is also part of a six person writing staff that creates much of the site's featured work.

"It is the best job I have ever had," Rhodes said. "The Internet wasn't what it is like now when I was younger, so I could have never predicted I would have this kind of job. And no one could ever really imagine having Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy as their bosses."

Rhodes added, "I feel like Tufts gave me a good balance of business skills and helped me develop creatively, which I think prepared me for this job."

A little less than a year old, the site continues to expand its audience, according to Rhodes, who had recently come off of an eight-city college comedy tour which drew sellout crowds. Rhodes said she expects the site will be "the place to go for comedy on the Web," in the upcoming year.

At the age of 33, Rhodes said she has been doing a lot of writing and is planning on pitching another television show in the near future. For now, she sees no immediate moves from her current position.

"In the years to come, I hope to still be working with these guys, either through Funny or Die or any other projects they may work on," she said.

Profile written by Kaitlin Melanson, Web Communications



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