When Sam Schedler started making TikToks near the beginning of the pandemic, they were nothing more than a fun pastime. A registered nurse by day, Schedler says the app became a respite from his career. “I needed some sort of hobby and creative outlet after working in a hospital all day and being stuck at home at night,” he says.
His short sketches and funny stories quickly started to take off. Schedler’s deadpan approach to baking, religion, and the mundanities of everyday life helped him grow an online audience, which now consists of over 180,000 followers. Schedler’s comedy reached new heights in December of 2022, when he performed his first set of live stand-up.
We connected with Schedler to discuss his journey from screen to stage, the intersection of identity and content, and his plans for 2023.
Comedy comes in so many different forms on social media. How would you describe your style or niche on TikTok?
I think I’m discovering my style and figuring it out. Maybe “eclectic” is a good word to describe it? Selfishly and secretly, I would like my style to be described as “whimsical”—what a fun word! For my niche, I don’t know that I have one. I just make videos that I think are funny and/or important to me. Sometimes that involves talking about baking, board games, dealing with mechanics, or geese for some reason. I think some people on social media really dig into a niche and that works out great for them, but right now that’s not what I want to do.
@samsched🍍⬇️🎂♬ original sound – Sam
Why do you think your content resonates with your audience?
I still somewhat regularly post baking videos, which seem to resonate with folks, and I think that’s in part because I show the abominations that come out of my oven. I scroll on social media and see all these eight-tiered cakes with animatronics and immaculate designs, and here I am with a little traffic cone cake that sort of looks like the frosting is Velveeta cheese. Or a Bundt cake that turned out more like a soup. I’m getting better at it, so I think it’s fun for folks to see the progress.
I’m also lucky enough where social media and comedy are hobbies of mine and not a full-time job. That means I can only create when I want to create, and I only post things that I want to post. There’s no real pressure right now, which feels so freeing.
When you first started making videos, did you have any idea that they would kickstart your career as a comedian?
No, I didn’t! But deep down I secretly hoped they would. I think there’s always been a part of me that has wanted strangers to give me attention and think I was funny.
@samsched a little bit about me #standup #comedy ♬ original sound – Sam
You recently started doing stand-up comedy. What was it like having to translate online humor to a live setting?
My process involved a lot of anxiety and nervous sweating. I was so incredibly worried about going from online to a real-life setting. What if folks didn’t laugh? Or worse, what if they pity laughed? So, I just wrote out some of my favorite jokes and practiced in front of a wall. I used to be a speech kid, so talking to a wall was a regular occurrence. I used my nose hair trimmer as a pretend microphone. Surprisingly weighty! And in a truly life-changing moment, the audience seemed to really enjoy it. It wasn’t perfect, but it was fun. I was so, so thankful, and I can’t wait to keep trying.
Have you found much intersection between your identity and lived experience as a queer person and your comedy?
I don’t know if I could separate them. My sense of humor is a product of who I am and what I’ve been through, and I’m a gay man who has dealt with internalized homophobia. But now I get to go on stage or online and create an environment where queer folks hopefully feel welcomed and valued. What a twist!
@samschedIt’S ToO coMpLiCAted♬ original sound – Sam
In your experience, what is the current state of LGBTQ+ representation within the comedy industry as a whole? Are there certain areas in which you’d like to see change?
I’m more familiar with social media. The world of performing live comedy is brand new to me, so I don’t feel super equipped to speak on it or what I’d like to change. I will say, though, that there are some really awesome local queer shows like the Wensgay Night Comedy Show at Sisyphus Brewing or Uproar Open Mic at Bryant Lake Bowl & Theater. It feels like there are more and more queer-friendly places for us.
You have hit some important milestones in your comedy journey so far. What are you focused on at the moment, and what do you hope to achieve in 2023?
Right now, I’m focused on getting through the objectively worst months of the year (January and February) and waiting for the days to get longer. As for what I hope to achieve, I just want to get out there and perform live more often. I also want to keep posting silly little videos that make me (and hopefully others) laugh. And then, just to manifest it, my dream is one day to be a voice on “Bob’s Burgers.” I felt like that was important to add.