How Does Emmy-Winning Comedian With Her Own MTV Show Have $57,000 In Debt?

Comedian Sara Schaefer already has two Emmys to her name, and her new TV show Nikki & Sara Live just debuted this week on MTV. But fame and notoriety don’t necessarily equate to being smart about your finances.

“I’m on the verge of this huge thing happening, this TV show,” says Schaefer in a segment for PBS’ online series Modern Comedian [see slightly NSFW video above]. “But I’m going into it $57,000 in debt.”

Schaefer won a pair of Emmy awards for her work on the Jimmy Fallon show, though that has done nothing to get her out of all the money she owes to various creditors. There’s one card maxed out at $8,000, another for $13,000, a maxed-out overdraft line of credit at her bank, another credit card for a computer she purchased a few years back, $13,000 in student loans, and cash she owes to her father, which she describes as “More than $5,000… times two.”

“I have not been taught well on how to deal with money,” she explains. “And it is psychologically something I’ve struggled with my whole life.”

Like many young people trying to break through in the entertainment industry, Schaefer says she simply went “all in.”

“Every choice I’ve made has been with the idea that I would make it, that I would get there and get my big break,” she says, explaining that her mindset was, “I’m gonna totally fuck this up until it works out.”

Sara says she has no idea how much she’s paying each month in interest.

“When you have this much debt, you don’t realize how much you’re paying each month just to keep it afloat,” she tells filmmaker Scott Moran, who is not related to me because our names are spelled differently.

She says she’s her credit card companies’ favorite customer “because I max it out and then pay the minimum… They don’t ever want me to get out of this debt.”

That being said, Schaefer knows that no one forced her to get into this situation.

“It’s my own fault too, because I refuse to not live the life I want to live,” she admits. “When I want to do something or I want to buy something, I will find a way to make that happen.”

She doesn’t recommend that people follow her lead in financial matters. Instead, she says young people really need to educate themselves about credit.

“On the SATs, we all know what a fucking rhombus is, but we don’t know what APR stands for,” she jokes in her stand-up routine, during which she openly discusses her debt issues.

“If I could go back, I would definitely have made a lot of different choices,” says Schaefer, “but I don’t really regret it that much because it really is working out okay… hopefully.”