by Ryan Meehan
Lauren Weedman is an award winning comedic actress, playwright and author. She has written and performed 8 solo plays. (HOMECOMING, AMSTERDAM, IF ORNAMENTS HAD LIPS, HUU, RASH, WRECKAGE, BUST, NO…YOU SHUTUP). Her first show, HOMECOMING began as a 15 minute performance art piece at Seatttle’s On the Boards and went on to go off-Broadway in NYC. BUST, about her work in the LA county jail was awarded a Macdowell fellowship for playwriting by the Alpert Awards as well as several ‘best of the arts’ across the nation. Her television credits include The Daily Show, True Blood, United States of Tara, Reno 911, Curb Your Enthusiasm, New Girl, Arrested Development, and as Horny Patty on HBO’s HUNG. Film credits include Imagine That, Date Night and Judd Apatows “A Five Year Engagement” starring Jason Segel. Weedman’s first book, “A Woman Trapped in a Woman’s Body: (Tales from a Life of Cringe)”, is a collection of comedic essays and was named by Kirkus Review as a top ten Indie book for 2007 and was optioned by Fox TV for a pilot. Weedman lives in Santa Monica (at least at the time this bio was written….hmmm), is the host of the popular “Moth” Storytelling series in LA, and she’s our guest today in 5 Questions.
FOH: You live in Santa Monica, but perform in Portland quite a bit…Where are you originally from and what would you consider to be ?
LW: Yes…my mansion in Santa Monica on the beach is great for light but parking for more than 4 is tough so I really need to travel. I mean my sunless apartment in Santa Monica is great…but when I want to do some straight up Theater to some Theater loving audiences I need to get out of the LA area. I’m originally from Indiana….which is…odd but a nice place to grow up. Even if you’re adopted. I used to feel like I was from Seattle because a lot of closest friends live there..and I still really love it there. I went from Indiana-to Amsterdam-to SEattle-to NY to LA. all the big hippy gay drug cities.
FOH: For those who may not be familiar with it, could you tell us a little bit about “Truthiness”?
LW: At first I didn’t know what you meant–then I remembered it was a cult that I started and forgot to tend to. Truthiness is the core of the work I do…on stage and in my short stories. I get all of my material from my own life….always. Narcissism gone wild….yet heavily monitored. So I take from my life and then I blurr and blend and lie when needed to pump up the comedy/meaning and or drama. or to protect me from lawsuits…
FOH: Could you talk a little bit about “Pryor Offenses”, the Showtime pilot that you did with Eddie Griffin about the life of Richard Pryor?
LW: That was a LONG time ago. But at the time it was incredibly exciting because it just seemed like a big deal. Like all Pilots do. Richard Pryor was still alive but ailing. The show was supposed to be his life story but set in the present…so based on his life-and was produced by his widow Jennifer Pryor and written by this wonderful man Bill Grundfest who helped create Mad About You. ANYWHO, the whole project was supported by people who loved Richard Pryor and all these great cameos of famous comedy folks and one day Richard came to the set and it was emotional for some people who had not seen how truly vulnerable and ill he was. The show that got picked up that year was Weeds. Which I’ve never even heard of so how good can it be?
FOH: “No You Shut Up” is directed by Jeff Weatherford, whom you’ve also worked with on “Wreckage”…What is it about his particular directing style that you feel so comfortable with?
LW: I’m married to him so I can yell at him in front of other people.
FOH: How does performing a one woman show differ from doing standup? Do you find one to be easier than the other from a writing perspective? Also, is it possible to do crowd work during a solo show?
LW: I like solo theater because I don’t have to ‘work a crowd”; I can simply tell a story and let the audience hate me if they want. The show can hopefully be not completely about me and about other issues outside of my INCREDIBLE LIFE CHANGING TALENT. Performing in a theater means that I’m allowed to NOT be funny and sometimes..just sometimes…like when I’ve had too much bread–I’m not funny.
FOH: Looking back on your time at “The Daily Show”, is there anything that you would have done differently?
LW: Sent Jon a “Thank You” Card.
FOH: What’s next for Lauren Weedman in the twelve months to come? Any big plans in the works that you’d like to discuss?
LW: Well…I have a show-a new show-opening at Portland Center Stage in a few weeks and it runs until the end of June. And I have a second book coming out but I have to write it first…but it’s supposed to be turned in by July. I may have to just steal some chapters from a Sedaris book and change a few locations. And I can be seen in “New Girl” on the episodes about Virgins…”Arrested Development” in one quick fun scene…and a show on Showtime called “Masters of Sex” which I think happens this summer. AND AND (oh my god..I can’t stop bragging!!!! if only i had health insurance–then I could brag and have my cavities filled) I just shot a HBO pilot about gay boys in SF written my Michael Lannan. Other than that I’m just pretending to raise my three year old.
Lauren’s Official Website: http://laurenweedman.com/
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