Local women share their journey to the top of their professions and the challenges and triumphs they faced along the way. They’re rewriting the script on success and there’s no ceiling.
Sarah Jenkins is my guest on the sixth episode of No Ceiling, Season 3. You might know Sarah best as a writer and performer on “The Mystery Hour,” a once-syndicated late night talk show based out of Springfield. But her work has reached far past her roots. A “Mystery Hour” skit she stars in, “Instagram Husband,” has more than 7 million views on YouTube. Her love of comedy traces back to childhood. She says she’s drawn to the connection a shared laugh brings. Her art, and improv especially, has helped her personally, too, by helping her face a lifelong struggle with perfectionism. By day, she’s also an advertising writer, and in 2022 took a chance on herself and began freelancing full time. Sarah and I talk about how the past few years have been full of change and how she’s learning to embrace what’s next.
Below is an excerpt from our conversation.
Christine Temple: I want to start with your show “The Mystery Hour,” which you helped to develop and built something pretty amazing in Springfield, Missouri, bringing large acts to our community. I’m thinking Stanley from “The Office” and Pedro from “Napoleon Dynamite.” How did this come about to build Springfield’s late night talk show?
Sarah Jenkins: It is kind of unbelievable. We called ourselves the best and only late night talk show. It’s kind of a joke because we really were the only one. It all started years and years ago as a live, in-person show at the old Skinny Improv prior to me even being involved in it. Jeff Houghton started it as kind of a mock late night talk show without the cameras. Jeff moved to LA for about a year in 2011, and when he came back to town decided he wanted to pick up “The Mystery Hour” again and found a way for us to be on TV. Very small and definitely making it up as we went along. Then a couple years after that, we were in The Gillioz, and then it’s kind of cool how it just snowballed from there of getting a little more attention here and there and spreading out to different markets. “Instagram Husband” happened during that time; that got us a lot of new attention and Emmys. Those of us who have always loved comedy, it gave us a chance to do something here in Springfield.
Temple: By different markets, I think we have to explain you were in 17 different markets in multiple states.
Jenkins: That was incredible, too, to realize we were essentially coast to coast. We were just really lucky to have the creative community and audience that would support something like that here.
Temple: Do you remember the first time someone told you that you were funny or laughed at a joke you shared?
Jenkins: When I was a preschooler, I was really shy. Somehow my pastor at church discovered that I liked to tell jokes. I’m sure I made a lot of them up, or they were just from Laffy Taffy. That small thing I can still kind of remember even though I was in preschool. Just that feeling of telling a joke and someone liking it and it building a connection between you and them.
Whataburger launched its second local store; Branson shop Revive Juice and Coffee Bar LLC moved; and a new Monett branch of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library District opened.