Sabrina Ambra is the co-host of “The News Junkie” show on Real Radio 104.1 weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and co-host of “The Demo Show” on iHeartRadio. The stand-up comedian is a University of Central Florida alumna with a bachelor’s in radio and television.
Rauce Padgett is an award-winning stand-up comedian who’s opened up for comics like Demetri Martin and Jo Koy. Videos on his YouTube channel have amassed over four million views. The “comedy alien,” as he’s known on “The Jim Colbert Show,” is on Real Radio 104.1 weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Together, they’ll both be stepping out from their studios and onto the stage as they headline the “We Come to You” comedy tour heading to Ocala July 24 and Leesburg July 31.
“I think the coolest thing about these shows is that Sabrina and I’s styles are vastly different, it’s almost jarring,” Padgett says. “You’re getting an array of comedy and different types of comedy.”
Ambra is going on four years in the world of being a comic and Padgett has been at it for almost 12 years. Just as their styles of comedy are different, Ambra and Padgett came into the worlds of comedy and radio in very different ways.
“Radio got you into comedy and comedy got me into radio,” Padgett says, speaking to Ambra.
“That’s pretty much it,” Ambra replied. “We’re like a weird ying and yang.”
Padgett’s stand-up career started when he was 20 years old.
“I went to an audition, I got a no and I agreed,” Padgett says. “I completely understood why they said no. I quickly learned that I have to get on a stage as much as I possibly can for this audition to turn into a yes. There’s no bigger set of open arms than stand-up comedy and then I fell in love with it.”
Padgett continued to get up on stage, working on his set and eventually becoming Real Radio 104.1’s Monsters in the Morning Comedian of the Year in 2017.
“That’s when we met, that’s when the streams crossed,” Padgett says of meeting Ambra.
“Then he became a talent on Real Radio for ‘The Jim Colbert Show’ and now we’re the best of buds,” Ambra adds.
For Ambra, getting up on that stage for the first time in 2017 came thanks to a comedian friend in radio who had made several attempts to convince her to try stand-up comedy.
“He had pushed for me to try it out but I kept making excuses because it was really intimidating and then finally he was like ‘Hey, this is the last time I’m gonna offer for you to do a showcase and
I’m never gonna ask you again.’ So I said ‘Okay,’ then I worked for like a month on my first set, I did it and I loved it,” she says. “I blacked out on stage from all the adrenaline and a little bit of whiskey, and I was like, ‘Okay I want to keep doing this.’ Now I’ve got my boy Rauce and we have gotten to do a bunch of shows. I’m constantly learning from him which has been really nice.”
The differences in each of Ambra and Padgett’s comedy styles can be seen in the comics who have inspired them over the years. Padgett looks to the likes of like Conan O’Brien and Johnny Carson as inspiration while Ambra has been motivated to get into comedy by the likes of Mitch Hedberg and Amy Schumer.
“I’ve seen Amy Schumer a whole bunch and what I admire about her is that her journey has been very real,” Ambra says. “It got really complicated, thrown in Hollywood and she didn’t like it. I got to see her comedy show after she was done with that and she made it seem realistic enough that I’ve wanted even more because I saw her struggle but I saw her come out of that too. I think that it’s inspiring.”
Over the past few years, many famous comics have faced scrutiny from the public over past jokes that were deemed insensitive or morally unacceptable. When asked about their perception of “cancel culture,” Ambra and Padgett say their take on it is just steer clear of jokes that may upset the audience.
“For us, and I feel like Rauce would agree, we avoid it. One because I personally don’t find the jokes that would put you in the ‘cancel culture’ category very funny. But on top of that, the point of stand-up comedy is to entertain people, not to have people be offended. Now, there’s an edge to it, but there’s nuance as well,” Ambra says. “A lot of people are very quick to attack, even without seeing the whole set but there’s also a line that I think as comedians, you shouldn’t cross just because you want to get someone clutching their pearls.”
“I look at it like the audience is gonna let you know how well or how bad you did,” Padgett adds. “You gotta know your audience and there are some jokes that I know will work out in Ocala and Leesburg and there are some jokes that I just know won’t work in Orlando. One of my commandments of comedy is never blame the audience, even if they are cancelling you. If I ever said something and people groan and get mad then that’s on me. I should have read the room better.”
Following the pandemic-filled year of 2020, both Ambra and Padgett are excited to be performing in front of an audience again and to be seeing laughter across a sea of unmasked faces.
“You can watch TV and that can make you laugh, but there is something absolutely magical about seeing a live performance that you get caught up in the energy of the room,” Padgett says.
Sabrina Ambra and Rauce Padgett’s “We Come to You” comedy tour, presented by Orlando Comedy and Real Radio and featuring special guests Christophe Jean and Joal Warren, heads to the Marion Theatre in Ocala July 24 starting at 8:30 p.m. and the Melon Patch Players Theatre in Leesburg July 31 starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at OrlandoComedy.com.