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Comic Amber Preston knows how to handle a tough room at home for the holidays

"Don’t be polite. Be strong. Be brave. Take that last piece of pie," says the West Fargo native

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West Fargo native comedian Amber Preston is excited for her homecoming show Nov. 23.
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FARGO — As a comedian, Amber Preston knows how to handle a tough room. As a Midwesterner, she’s spent some time in them over family holiday get-togethers.

The West Fargo native returns home with comics Tim Harmston and Mary Mack for a show Wednesday night, Nov. 23, at Sanctuary Events Center .

“I’m excited. It’s the biggest party night of the year,” Preston says from her home in Los Angeles. “I’m happy to give the people of Fargo-Moorhead a few hours away from their families.”

Preston enjoys coming home and seeing her family, but she understands that not everyone shares her enthusiasm. She doesn’t know if comedians are necessarily better equipped to handle a divisive dinner table, but she knows how she would.

“Comedians are good about dealing with hecklers, so you just think about, what does this person want? Do they want attention? Do they want to be made fun of? It’s like dealing with a toddler. If they just want to be seen, get in and get out of there,” she says.

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“There are a lot of easy ways to leave a conversation. If there are kids there, they’ll be happy to show you their toys,” she says. “Or change the conversation. You can always talk about the weather. Or construction. Just say, ‘Hey, what’s going on at…’ and just say a street name and people will jump in and tell you all about it.”

“Any good gathering, you know where your allies are. You know where to sit,” she says.”Find your people and just have fun because you want to stay around for pie. You’ve got that car ride home to really let loose.”

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West Fargo native comedian Amber Preston returns home for a show on Nov. 23.
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If all else fails, head back to the kitchen.

“Or get another piece of pie or a turkey sandwich,” Preston says. “And don’t be afraid to take the last piece of lefse or the last piece of pie. Don’t be polite. Be strong. Be brave. Take that last piece of pie because your aunt wants to take her dish and get home.”

Preston does really get along with her family, though she sometimes jokes about her dad on stage. They would often serve as a sounding board for her jokes growing up, including family talent shows. During the pandemic, she would try to make them laugh on Zoom calls, paving the way for her debut album release party, via Zoom in the spring of 2020.

She’s happy to see her family in person as well as to perform in front of in-person audiences again.

“Oh man, people are not so bad in person. What a gift to have people in person,” she says, explaining how once coronavirus restrictions were lifted, comedians jumped at the chance to perform in front of people. “Everybody came out guns blazing. It was exciting. ‘You’ve got a back yard show with real people coming? Great!’”

Despite the awkward online-only release party, her debut album, “Sparkly Parts,” topped comedy charts, even beating out Larry the Cable Guy for a week. Her label tried to start a good-natured rivalry with the sleeveless comic who instead showed his support for a fellow entertainer.

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“It was all in good fun and no haters came after me,” Preston says.

Her relationship with Fergus Falls, Minn., native Chad Daniels may seem more questionalble. She posted a series of videos to Instagram of Daniels trying to block her from filming him when they were on tour together.

“His star is fast-rising and I’ll be damned if I’m not trying to be his social media manager,” she says with a laugh. “I like to give him a hard time about not posting content and that makes him uncomfortable and that makes me laugh.”

Preston’s own star is on the rise, both as a comedian and an actor. A recent ad for the NFL on ESPN featured her flexing her Midwestern accent saying things like, “That’s a good-looking brat” and “Oh yah, I’m freezing my booper off.”

“For the record, ‘booper’ was not my idea,” she clarifies.

“I know I’m doing good when I do a commercial that airs during Monday Night Football and people come out of the woodwork from 7th grade,” she says. “It was really my time to shine.”

Preston also gets a lot of feedback on Instagram for her love of old and odd cookbooks

“People will message me and say something like, ‘Hey, my grandma just died. Do you want these old cookbooks. And a lot of the time the answer is yes,” she says. “But it’s never a happy start to the story. Somebody always dies.”

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“I love to read them, but truth be told I hate to cook,” she says. “But if I had to bring a dish for Thanksgiving, it would definitely be some Jell-O concoction and I’d really do it up. But patience is a virtue when it comes to making beautiful Jell-O concoctions.”

She also likes to post shots from her vintage wardrobe.

“I’ve got to bring a little sparkle and pizzazz and by that I mean polyester,” she says when asked if she’s got an outfit picked out for her homecoming show. "I do love second-hand clothes and the amount of garage sales in Fargo-Moorhead is so many. Too many.”

If you go

WHAT: Amber Preston

WHEN: 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 23

WHERE: Sanctuary Events center

INFO: Tickets are $25 and $35 for this ID-only show. jadepresents.com

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