Samantha Silver (she/her) entered the PhD program in American Studies in 2018 with a BA in American Studies from UC Berkeley and an MA in American Studies from GW. She works in the fields of theatre and performance studies; U.S. media and cultural history; and feminist and queer theory. She is interested in sonic archives and performance history as technologies of survival and imagining otherwise. In 2019, she was selected as an in-house researcher for NPR Music's Turning the Tables: 8 Women Who Invented American Popular Music. Her masters level research was on "amateur hour" radio programs and the performance of race, ethnicity, and citizenship on variety show airwaves in the 1930s. Her dissertation focuses on the history of stand-up comedy, centering the role of Black women and gender-nonconforming performers in the history of comedic performance in the early 20th century. This research moves beyond stand-up comedy as a genre defined as a man with a microphone while complicating the notion of "women in comedy," which too often implies "white women" in comedy, and excludes the contributions of queer performers. It explores central questions of race, sexuality, power, belonging, and the political possibilities embedded in humor and comedic performance.