I’m Sarah Cooper, a writer, comedian, speaker, drawer and general trash-talker. I’m originally from Jamaica, grew up in Washington D.C. and now live in San Francisco. You might know me as the former-Googler-turned-satirist who wrote 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings, or remember me from the photo of me right above this. These days I’m writing musicals, performing standup, working on my third book, and continuing to crush it at TheCooperReview.com.
I was born a small blackish child in Jamaica. My mother is half German and my father is half Chinese, which is why I look Colombian. My family moved to Washington, DC when I was three.
Sadly I never had a Jamaican accent.
I always wanted to be a performer. When I was little that meant singing. After failing to make chorus four years in a row, that meant acting. I was always on stage in high school, and received a theatre scholarship to the University of Maryland. There, my parents discouraged getting a theatre degree and suggested business instead.
I visited the business school and realized my schmoozing skills were not up to par. So I became an economics major and graduated in just 3 and a half years, knowing I’d want nothing to do with economics as soon as I left.
During my final semester I took a multimedia course and fell in love with Photoshop and pixels. I graduated and got a job at a graphic design agency – as a receptionist. I thought I could “work my way up”. That didn’t seem to be happening, though. One day, while reading a design magazine when I was supposed to be ordering supplies, I saw an ad for Georgia Tech’s graduate program in Information Design and Technology. Even though I had already missed the application deadline, I decided to go for it. I moved to Atlanta, got my master’s degree and became a designer at an ad agency.
I was in love with my job and design but never forgot my acting dream. I started taking classes, got an agent, and booked some commercials. Then came an offer from Yahoo! in California and I put those dreams aside again, to move to San Francisco. It quickly became my favorite city in the whole world.
After a few years at Yahoo! and a startup, I decided to pursue acting again.
My parents convinced me to move back home, which turned out to be back to Atlanta, where they had followed me. I started acting again, doing any small film, commercial, or extra job I could find.
I wasn’t as comfortable on camera as I wanted to be, so I decided to try standup comedy, which was only slightly, if not 1,000 times more nerve-wracking. I figured if I could be myself in front of an audience, maybe I could learn to be myself on camera. What I found was that I actually enjoyed writing for myself and performing how I wanted. It took a lot of alcohol at first, though.
I started performing standup at the Laughing Skull Lounge in Atlanta, GA and was a semi-finalist in the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival. Shortly after that I moved to New York where I began training with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and performing at Broadway Comedy Club, Gotham Comedy Club and Comedy Cellar. After building my credits and my (credit card) debt, I ended up back in the corporate world at Google, where I led the design team for Google Docs and continued to perform in meetings and business dinners.
I continued to write and do standup, dragging my coworkers to standup show. But my day job left me feeling a little less than creative. One summer I found an old notebook where I’d scribbled things people did to look smart in meetings. I decided to publish it as 10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. It has 5 million views and counting, got me on TV, and inspired me to launch this satirical humor site, The Cooper Review.
So, I decided to go pursue this creative thing once again, and left Google in October, 2014.
In 2015, I moved to San Francisco and began speaking about humor in business and performing comedy regularly with Comedy vs. Nerds and The Set Up.
Four months later I landed a 3-book deal. My very first book, 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings was published in October 2016 along with my second book, Draw What Success Looks Like: The Coloring and Activity Book for Serious Businesspeople. 100 Tricks has since been published in the UK, Italy, China, Japan and Germany, with more to come.
In 2017, I was on the writing team for SOMA The Musical, a comedy musical about Silicon Valley seen by over 6,000 tech babes and bros. I was also named as one of the 20 Hottest Bay Area Innovators by 7×7 Magazine.
In 2018, I will be speaking all over the country, performing at SF Sketchfest and releasing my third book, How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings, which I should probably be working on right now.
The Cooper Review features weekly original articles, videos and cartoons on corporate humor, news, and other stuff. The blog is well known for graphic articles such as 10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings, 9 Non-threatening Leadership Strategies for Women and The Difference Between Living in New York and San Francisco.