Comedian/actress Aisha Tyler first came to public attention as the host of E!’s hilarious “Talk Soup.” From there, she went on to a varied career that included several TV shows, standup work and even a book.
These days, she’s working hard for her favorite charities, tweeting up a storm (@aishatyler) and trying to keep folks laughing during these economic hard times. Oh, and according to recent tweets, she’s seeing a lot of “Eclipse.” (With her nieces, of course.)
Here are five things you should know about Tyler.
1. She diversified “Friends.”
Tyler holds the unique distinction of being one of the few African-American actresses to ever have a decent role on the popular TV sitcom “Friends.” She is the first African-American of any gender to have an extended role on the show. Tyler played Charlie Wheeler in the series’ ninth and 10th seasons, a character who dated both Ross and Joey.
2. She’s joining an exclusive club.
Tyler turns 40 on Sept. 18th. She joins Taraji P. Henson, Nia Long, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, all of whom have already turned 40 this year or are going to. It’s assuredly not a bad club to be in, as all of these ladies could conduct a clinic on how to age gracefully, if in fact, they are aging at all. Tyler certainly seems to have found a Fountain of Youth somewhere (maybe the same one that TV host Shaun Robinson imbibes) as she doesn’t show any obvious signs of aging whatsoever. If we knew her secret, we’d bottle it.
3. She’s done double-duty.
In 2004-2005, Tyler managed the ultimate multitasking – she appeared in recurring roles on both “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “24” at the same time. Given the constant action on both shows, it’s pretty amazing that she could juggle them, but somehow she did. Tyler has also played a recurring role on “The Ghost Whisperer” and guest starred on “Without A Trace,” “Boston Legal,” and “Reno 911.” She even filled in for the ailing Roger Ebert on “At the Movies with Ebert and Roper.”
You’d think by now, she’d have her own show, but neither a talk show pilot nor a sitcom pilot were picked up by any network. C’mon, now, TV execs. Get this talented woman a show. Aren’t there enough dumb shows on featuring black women with far less talent?
4. She’s happily married.
Apparently, flying under the radar is a good thing for a Hollywood marriage. Think of Penelope Cruz, who kept her romance with Javier Bardem so quiet that even TMZ didn’t know they’d gotten married until almost a month later. There’s Jay-Z and Beyonce, who are married, we think, though they’ve never even held hands in public. Tyler has been married to lawyer Jeff Tietjens since 1992 and not a whiff of scandal has ever been reported about the two. Maybe it’s that the couple who drinks together stays together, as reportedly both are fans of home-brewed beer. Or maybe it’s just that the beer puts a positive spin on everything?
5. She’s as green as it gets.
Like money, Tyler’s been green for a long time. She graduated from Dartmouth University with a degree in environmental policy before most people even knew what that was. She made a short film about recycling called “Committed” for Pepsi’s Dream Machine initative. Tyler also supports charities that include The American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, The Family Violence Prevention Fund and The International Rescue Committee.