Sarah Ann Masse grew up in Connecticut. She was singing and dancing before she was talking and walking. The daughter of two classically trained actors, performing is in her blood and she knew from a young age it was her calling. At 14, she was studying and performing Shakespeare at The American Shakespeare Theater and Shakespeare and Company and at 18, she joined The Atlantic Theater Company Acting School. One of her favorite experiences was spending two summers working with Artistic Director, Roger Rees at the prestigious Williamstown Theater Festival.
Nick Afka Thomas was born and raised in the U.K. Like Sarah, Nick is classically trained in acting. He was part of the prestigious Oxford Revue (where Rowan Atkinson and Michael Palin got their start). He was also a regular performer in the Newsrevue Show; the longest running live comedy show in the world. He notes he is also trained in mime, a skill which has served him far better than he ever would’ve thought.
It was in Brooklyn the two met and spent the next several months messaging each other online. Embarking on a long distance relationship proved tough, but they managed to make it work. Nick ended up heading back to New York for filming, after which the two decided to move temporarily to London. Five months later, back in the US, Nick proposed and they have been together happily since, moving between New York and Los Angeles, where they now live.
With all their training and all their experience performing Shakespeare and Mamet, you may ask; Why Comedy?
Sarah says if you asked her as child what she wanted to be, she would say, “a ballerina, lawyer and the first female President”. At 10, she realised she could sing, dance and as an actor, could pretend to be anyone she wanted. There has been no escaping the performing life for her. Nick tells us the penny dropped for him around 16 years old, when he watched Monty Python for the first time. It clicked! This was actually a job and someone had to do it; someone had to make the comedy! Sarah and Nick started writing together before they even started dating and were very encouraging of each other’s talent. It was then they decided to take this medium they both loved and use it to spread optimism and positivity in the world; “Comedy doesn’t have to be mean in order to be funny”, Sarah says. That’s how they choose to approach it.
As We Are Thomasse, Sarah and Nick have forged a wonderful working relationship with Grammy-winning artist, Jason Mraz, who frequently collaborates with them on sketches. They also have a long-standing collaboration with comedian/magician, Billy Galewood, and the very funny standup Eric Schwartz. Their musicality has inspired both Sarah and Nick to write and perform more comedy music, which they hope to record and release in the near future. On top of all this, they perform live at The Second City in Hollywood as part of a monthly residency. They’ve committed to filming their work and releasing it online, with a new original sketch hitting the internet every two weeks through their production company. In 2016, they released Awkward Exes: Britain and America, which went viral with millions of views in its first few days online and now has almost three million views. Just last week, they filmed and released its prequel, Britain and America 1776 – The Break-Up and it’s currently being viewed over 200 times per minute. As of July 3rd, they had hit nearly 400,000 views! They have over 40 sketches online and are a favorite of comedy behemoth, Funny or Die, who frequently feature them. You can view them all on their Facebook page.
Entertainment is such a competitive industry, so Sarah and Nick work really hard to stay ahead of the game. They make it a point to never compromise their comedic voice or principles and are committed to writing and producing very original and unique content. They also know how lucky they are to have each other, to be able to motivate each other and support each other. The fact they truly love what they do shines brightly and they’re both extremely talented. They love to play around and use every opportunity, be it onstage, on camera or in auditions to learn and grow. Nick tells us they have such a strong desire to be “witty, thought-provoking, energizing and accessible to everyone at any age” and this is always on their mind when they’re creating. He continues; “laughter is particularly powerful in bringing down our personal defenses” and it’s this understanding that sees them stand out amongst their peers.
With all that’s going on in their lives, how do Sarah and Nick stay motivated? They’re passionate. Not only about what they do, but why they do it. Sarah points out they’re both strongly fighting “mean comedy”. Bullying and dick jokes can elicit laughter, but they’re not interested in participating. There is already enough negativity in the world and they won’t add to rape culture, bullying, racism or sexism. Sarah says she wants to “succeed to help others succeed. I want to succeed so little girls can look at me and say “she did it, so can I!”” She continues that she wants to use her talents as an actor and writer to make the world a better place. Nick and Sarah have a strong desire to use their work to comment on and fight injustices in the world, and they understand the more success they have, the more they’re able to influence the world and THAT drives them every day. Nick adds that every time someone tells him they’ve watched something he’s written or performed and it improved their day somehow, that spurs him. Both are able to use their talent to help the world in a way only they can.
What is it Sarah and Nick are working towards? Comedic world domination, perhaps. Sarah tells us she would love her own sitcom (and they’re working on some fabulous concepts). She would also love to star in a romantic comedy and at least one Marvel film. She doesn’t stop there. She loves costume dramas and wants to work on one (at least!) and, as an ode to one of her favorite performers, Carol Burnett, would love to star in a televised variety show. Nick would love to have his own sketch show, like Little Britain. As an actor, he is looking at thought-provoking roles – the kind he is dive into head first. They both agree, however, the mark of success for them is to be able to work consistently and support themselves and their family through acting and creating.
Outside of We Are Thomasse, they’re just as busy. Sarah is also a professional musician. She is working on an exciting new project with MC Flow (aka Abby Dorsey). When not busy acting or writing, Nick tutors students online, assisting with test preparation. He is super successful and has seen huge improvements in those he works with, helping with ACT and SAT prep, as well as GMAT for business schools (firstname.lastname@example.org). Sarah and Nick both work as voice-over artists – you can hear Nick in the Game of Thrones video game and Sarah as the narrator of the popular audio book series “The Chronicles of Kerrigan”!
Both Sarah and Nick agree they love performing for and working with charitable organizations, having recently worked with Feeding the Soul Foundation and Smile Train. We can expect to see more charitable collaborations in the near future.
The year ahead looks both busy and exciting for the We Are Thomasse duo. As well as their monthly residency at The Second City in Hollywood (you can see upcoming dates here), they’re performing at the PIT in New York on July 25th and have just joined the lineup for the Out of Bounds Festival in Austin this August. A trip to the U.K to see Nick’s family will lead to a European tour for them in October. The two have written a comedy pilot, which they hope to start pitching soon and are deep into completing two more pilots and a feature film. Meanwhile, they’re looking into starting a podcast, and a short film written by Sarah will be shot in England this fall with the wonderful up and coming actor Toby Sebastian.
And, of course, we will continue to see more fantastically funny We Are Thomasse sketches.
To keep up with Sarah, Nick and We Are Thomasse, follow them online!