Alrinthea Carter M ’05
June 7, 2021. The day Alrinthea Carter hopped on a Zoom call and began her first writing session on the season three team of the award-winning comedy series A Black Lady Sketch Show.
“I always remember it was June 7 because it was Prince’s birthday,” Carter laughs. “I’m a Prince superfan. His birthday is an auspicious day for me.”
Prince may be Carter’s ride or die, but she has room in her heart for the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Ru Paul and Maya Rudolph — not to mention comedy giant Robin Thede, the creator of the show and the one who brought Carter on board.
When Carter first met Thede over Zoom, she had just spent the better part of the COVID-19 pandemic taking screenwriting classes remotely, honing her comedic craft. A classmate urged Carter to submit some of her work to A Black Lady Sketch Show, which was accepting packets for its new season.
“They loved it,” Carter says. “To get that response to my work right away was so affirming and mind-blowing.”
After a laugh-filled interview with Thede, Carter was hired a few days later. Thus began a monthslong process in the (virtual) writers room, where Carter collaborated with 10 other talented Black women.
“The best thing about the group is that everybody had everybody else’s back,” Carter says. “They sincerely wanted to see all of us win.”
Win they did. In 2022, A Black Lady Sketch Show was nominated for multiple Emmys, including Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series. Carter says the Emmys were a whirlwind of acceptance speeches, after-parties and rubbing elbows with a few of those favorite celebrities: “I love Ru Paul. We were right behind him when he was presenting.”
But the path to the Emmys wasn’t always a straight one.
Carter grew up in Germany in a military family. For college, she applied to the school she knew the most about — her parents’ alma mater — Winthrop University. After graduating in communications, Carter taught Air Force preschoolers for a year in South Korea before she earned a master’s in counselor education at Clemson.
“Clemson’s program taught me not only how to work with students and create an experience for them but also how to be a support system for them,” Carter says. “Not all schools are like that.”
Carter stayed at Clemson, working for 16 years in admissions and advising at the University. When she needed a reprieve from the stresses of higher education, she found improv at the Alchemy Comedy Theater in downtown Greenville, South Carolina.
“My first improv teacher, Wendy Pisor, said, ‘This is not meant to be scary. We’re adults playing pretend. And this playing pretend is going to help you in your life,’” Carter remembers.
Pisor wasn’t wrong.
Now, Carter lives in Los Angeles full time, where she’s pursuing writing. She describes her comedic style as “very physical, very absurd,” and she loves creating stories about female friendships and women over 40 who are still figuring it out.
“I will tell you I’m 43, and I’m still figuring it out,” Carter says. “Just go for it.”