By Matt Byrne. Byrne is a freelance writer based in Chicago, IL. He runs The Steamroller, a blog about the alt/not shitty comedy scene.
Hi again, it’s Matt Byrne, here with a person whose jokes I like that I think you might like too. This week’s person is Candy Lawrence, a Chicago-based standup who does some of the most original and rewardingly ridiculous standup I’ve ever seen. Candy uses her background in sketch and improv to its fullest extent onstage, forcing audiences into the moment with an ADD-addled spontaneity and over-the-top absurdity.
I’ve mentioned in this column before that I work at a record shop in Chicago called saki, which occasionally plays host to comedy shows, including a monthly standup/sketch thing called Freak Happening, hosted by future FHotWs Goodrich Gevaart and Nick Rouley. This past weekend at Freak Happening (which doubled as an aborted performance of Werewolves in Space: A Rock Opera), Candy absolutely destroyed onstage, performing only 1-2 minutes of actual prewritten material sprinkled across 10+ minutes of bizarre tangents and goofy make ‘em ups, making full use of the stage’s uniquely space-y set dressing.
Just last month, Candy was a guest on (former Chicagoan [sensing a theme here you guys??]) Cameron Esposito’s Put Your Hands Together standup showcase/podcast taping at the UCB in Los Angeles. Let’s watch a clip of her set, which features some of my favorite bits!
Candace JAZZMAN Lawrence! Right???
I said earlier Candy has a background in sketch comedy, remember? Her best-known work in that field is as 50% of The Money Kids, a sketch duo she performed with Lauren Lapkus, who you might recognize from her appearances on Orange Is The New Black, House of Lies, or as Tracy Riordan, the occasional co-host of the Comedy Bang! Bang! Podcast. The Money Kids received much acclaim in Chicago and New York during the late ‘00s for their weirdo energy and inventive bits. Here’s one of the few surviving clips from that era, shot at the much-revered iO theatre here in Chicago.
Candy’s on Twitter, too, microblogging crazy goofs and spoofs on the regular.
She’s regularly offering up valuable #lifehacks:
hash browns on my glasses from breakfast cooool SAVED THAT FOR LATER
— Candy Lawrence (@comedylawrence) January 9, 2014
Everyone is on their phones at this bar. Should I pretend to drink this candle?
— Candy Lawrence (@comedylawrence) January 14, 2014
And guides readers down a rabbit hole of self-exploration:
my anxiety started in 2004 when ‘White Chicks’ came out -still tryin to figure out y the Wayans bros thought that movie was a good idea
— Candy Lawrence (@comedylawrence) November 26, 2013
Thought I walked into a Walgreens, but didn’t realize it was a Pet Smart til I got to the back of the store. Smelled of cedar. Lesbian probs
— Candy Lawrence (@comedylawrence) November 16, 2013
While occasionally dropping in a little nugget of truth:
You guuuuys remember message boards? Those weren’t cool.
— Candy Lawrence (@comedylawrence) November 12, 2013
Yes sir your shirt is right I AM ON YOUR PERIOD
— Candy Lawrence (@comedylawrence) February 18, 2014
What I’ll leave you with is an episode of What Am I Looking At?, a web series that follows host Ali Clayton (another Chicago-based standup) and a special guest around to a series of gallery openings throughout Chicago. Before we part ways for another week, let’s spend a few minutes together watching Candy scat along to Jewel and try to feed wine to paintings of dogs.