CBS Sunday Morning contributor Nancy Giles is a comedian, actress, and social commentator. Since 2002 her work on the Peabody Award-winning CBS News Sunday Morning has earned her 5 Emmy Awards for her unique blend of common-sense wisdom, laugh-out-loud humor, social and political commentary, and interviews. A funny, perceptive, and provocative observer of today’s world, Giles examines topics ranging from politics and race to pop culture and body image. She has been a guest on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, The Beat with Ari Melber, and All In with Chris Hayes.
Giles is a veteran of Chicago’s esteemed Second City improv troupe, appeared Off-Broadway in Nora & Delia Ephron’s Love Loss, and What I Wore, and won the Theatre World Award for the musical satire Mayor. She was one of the stars of the acclaimed series China Beach and the sitcom Delta. She’s appeared on both Law & Order and Law & Order SVU and was featured in the films Big, Working Girl, True Crime, and Irrational Man. Her solo shows include Black Comedy: The Wacky Side of Racism, Notes of a Negro Neurotic, Things My Afro Taught Me, and The Further Adventures of the Accidental Pundette, which The New Yorker called "the surprise of (this) annual festival… a rocking standup comedy."
An accomplished voiceover and radio artist, Giles’ credits include network promos for Food Network, Logo, USA Network, Lifetime, and ABC Daytime; and national spots for The New York Times, Tide, True Value, Yoplait, and countless pharmaceuticals. Her cartoon voices have been heard on shows on Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel, and VH-1. Giles also won back-to-back Gracie Awards from the Alliance of Women in Media for Giles and Moriarty, a CBS Radio talk show with CBS correspondent Erin Moriarty. And her podcast, The Giles Files takes a lively spin on trending topics — from pop culture to politics, with interviews, commentaries, song parodies, and more.
For more than 30 years, Giles has been a volunteer with The 52nd Street Project, helping at-risk kids take part in acting, playwriting, filmmaking, poetry, dance, and art workshops, classes, and performances.
What 60 Looks Like
Your period stops, and the question marks begin, all while you’re sweating profusely. This is a quirky timeline of stories from the life of a single, neurotic, exhausted, working, thinking, personally perplexed, dating while menopausal American black chick who grew up smack dab between the feminist and Black Power movement (not fitting into either), and lives in the no-spinster zone, grooving to Barry White and Barry Manilow. Old school? Wild? Mood swings? You bet!
How I Found My Voice
From her short stint in children’s theatre as a singing bag of garbage to touring with Chicago’s famed Second City (where improvisation lessons taught her how to roll with it, baby), Giles tells all from her world of small parts, bit feet, public schools, progressive colleges, bad auditions and more. Her work in film and TV ("China Beach," "Fox After Breakfast," and "CBS News Sunday Morning" among others), writing solo comedy shows, and doing voiceovers for everything from pharmaceuticals to plus-size department stores prepared her for anything. (She’ll even perform a medley of her voiceover "greatest hits.") And strangely, as she found her voiceover "voice" she also found her authentic voice as a funny black chick who, among other things, was taller than most of her bosses. Note: This program can also be presented as a workshop to encourage students to prepare and present their own stories/solo works. It could also work as a corporate presentation or seminar with improvisation about re-energizing one’s creative juices)
From "Sunday Morning" to "Accidental Pundette"
She was always opining, during recess with her friends and in dozens of journals through the years. So "Sunday Morning" commentaries turned out to be a perfect fit for Nancy Giles (with 5 Emmys for her interviews and TV essays). So how did she transition from humor pieces on high heels and stretch fabrics to weighing in on presidential politics, race, and culture? Chris Matthews and "Hardball" started it, and when a memorable episode of "Larry King Live" derailed, her fan mail took a wild turn. True stories! Authentic letters and emails! Fascinating exchanges!
"Black-splaining" and the Race Conversation
Is there only one "black experience?" I’m black. And I’ve had experiences. Why does "Black Lives Matter" feel like a threat to some people? And why is hair such an issue? Will we ever have a "conversation about race" (as if one conversation will do), or is it safer to have yet another conversation about having a conversation about race? Nancy Giles wants to talk, and listen, and ask questions. Fearless and funny in her exploration and presentation, Giles brings the same level of wit, compassion, and insight that audiences have come to expect from her CBS “Sunday Morning” appearances. She dives in head first, sharing her own experiences, emails, and letter correspondence from friend and foe alike. Come prepared to talk, as Nancy will reserve plenty of time on the end of her presentation for a conversation with the audience.
“Nancy's luncheon keynote was very engaging and provided a great tie-in to our host city of Los Angeles. Sharing her career challenges through a light-hearted and comedic delivery provided the energy that our audience needed during our biggest and busiest day of the week.”
“Wonderful. She is a lovely person. We had a few moments one on one, and then she was swamped by the crowd.”
“Ms. Giles packed the house despite inclement weather. With her wit and the way she wove subject matter, she allowed me to participate in her inspiration rather than watch it. She took the lofty ‘wow you are amazing’ to ‘wow I’m amazing with you.’ Her Q&A session was warm, funny and honest. Simply said, SHE ROCKED IT!”
“Nancy was fantastic, and warm, and generous with her time. Her keynote inspired our students and gave them permission, if not encouragement, to find their own path to success in a career in media. Her appeal cut across all types of our audience - students, faculty, Baltimore residents, young and old. It was one of the most memorable events we’ve hosted yet and is something our students are still talking about.”
“Nancy was a perfect blend of humor, heart and impact. Our event had an audience that was extremely diverse in age, race, educational background and political preference and her comments had a message that resonated with all of them. Beyond that, she was a pleasure to be around and made special efforts to really connect with every person who had the opportunity to speak with her.” -SOUTH PUGET SOUND COMMUNITY COLLEGE
“Your message provided a challenge to the HR profession. It was thoughtful and informative…You were great!!”
“It is my sincere pleasure to recommend Nancy Giles. She generously brought her amazing talent to Ryan Health by serving as the emcee for our Caring for New York Gala…Ryan Health’s largest and most important fundraiser of the year. For the virtual Gala, Nancy pre-recorded all her segments, which were seamlessly woven into the program. Nancy was a terrific emcee and her vivacity came through each computer screen. Nancy also served as emcee for our prior Gala, an in-person event for over 400 guests. From the podium, Nancy was radiant as she greeted guests and steered the evening’s activities. At both events, her extraordinary energy and excitement ignited the Gala from her first ‘welcome!’ until her last sincere expression of ’thanks!’ Nancy is a true professional and wonderful to work with. She possessed a vibrant presence and distinctive voice that thoroughly engaged our supporters.”
“The students said that morning with Nancy was for them an absolutely ESSENTIAL moment of this entire program. They felt inspired and supported and HEARD as ARTISTS with their own voices.”
“She gave an enormously funny, insightful and poignant talk…it was a true treat to watch the interactions and we have received fantastic feedback from the audience.” -
“Working with Nancy Giles for our Women’s Leadership Forum was a sincere pleasure. Nancy was a joy, from the moment she stepped off the plane in Minneapolis. Her warmth and good-natured attitude lit up the room; every person who attended our event left feeling empowered for having heard her message about size and body image. She is an entertaining speaker with a real message that resonates with the head and the heart.”
“Nancy was great! She was funny and touching and also really connected well with our group of attendees. She also went above and beyond when a technical issue at the end of the conference caused our incoming president to have to improv a bit - and Nancy joined him onstage for a rousing version of Viva Las Vegas. It brought the house down!!”
“I have been inundated this morning with congratulations and compliments regarding our Graduate Commencement speaker, Nancy Giles. Everyone, from the President, to faculty, administration and the graduates themselves, loved her humor, her sense of self, and her message of “Finding Your Voice.” She hit a home-run. I do believe she thoroughly enjoyed herself by the mere fact that she wanted to stay and recess with the platform and graduates. We’ve never had a speaker stay to the end of the ceremony. Nancy Giles is a class act and one of the most enthusiastic, gracious people I’ve ever had the honor of meeting. She’s a gem.”
Nancy Giles had an amazing way of working our company’s culture and messaging into her opening speaking points. She is a compelling storyteller adding humor, emotion, and seriousness with each point. When there is a line to talk to your speaker, not just shake her hand but actually speak with her, as the host you know you hit a home run.
“Nancy was incredible, warm and smart. Everyone loved her and she made such a difference. She was so warm with everyone and gave most people personal time to talk.”
“To say that Nancy was good, great, wonderful…all of those words would be a complete understatement!! I really can’t even tell you how thrilled I am with today’s event. I have never been so satisfied with a visiting artist. She was as engaging as I hoped she would be…Her message is timely and of high priority importance, yes, but I have also not laughed that hard out loud in a very long time.”