Lauren Weedman is everything a (wo)man should be: funny, hard working, successful without being smug, smart. She’s also blonde and a (good) Mom which I guess rounds that whole package out. She was a featured correspondent on The Daily Show. She has a recurring role on a show on HBO. She also tirelessly writes, volunteers and tours. Nevermind Sarah Jessica Parker’s recent castings–she’s the lady that you should look at and say “How does she do it?”. With a woman like that, you either want to hate her or be her best friend. We’re happy to report that upon seeing her in BUST @ Studio Theatre (where she plays a WHOLE women’s prison all by herself) and then catching up on her keyboard to keyboard, we’ve decided to be her friend. We’re pretty sure you’ll feel the same way.
Oh, and yes, keep an eye out for our full review of BUST soon (playing now through December 18th @ Studio Theatre)
Hi Lauren-tell us, right now- what would make this moment in time better for you?
Ashton and Demi getting back together. And a scented candle. And if I knew where all the good playgrounds are in DC since my 2 year old arrives in 4 days.
Lets start at the beginning…what was Lauren like as a little girl, a teenager, a young adult?
According to those who knew me I was HILARIOUS as a little girl–HYSTERICAL as a teenager and annoying as a young adult. My memories are of being show-offy and thrilled that I was adopted as a little girl–and chubby with hair that was half permed and half NOT (it just didn’t take the perm like the other side did), lots of eye shadow, and more gay boyfriends than I can count. And as a young adult I got new-agey to deal with all of that.
Is there a moment you can pinpoint when you just knew: “this is exactly what I like and want to do forever?”, and what was it?
Third grade. I played Snoopy in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” and all I really did was dance around on stage while everyone else had to memorize lines and stay focused on what was happening. My direction was “just look like you’re having a really good time and keep dancing”.
Was it all a cake walk after that?
The long answer to that would be “NO”
In which case- tell us a story about an obstacle (or obstacles) you faced that made you bigger, stronger, better?
The first time someone walked out of a show I did just blew my mind. I’d forgotten that was an option–people just standing up and walking out. It was in the middle of what had been a hugely successful show “Amsterdam” that I was doing in Seattle and one little old man walked out and I ran to the box office after the show and I asked why he left and they said he was offended by the language. (maybe he meant the Dutch language in the show-it is pretty rough) and I obsessed on this man. I wanted to write him a letter–find him–explain why there was cursing. Apologize and then re-write the show just for him. My husband was like, “if you want to please everyone you’re gonna be creating a show for a Disney cruise line–do you want that?” And I realized that as much as I loved the show Love Boat–that is NOT what my work could be about. Of course that experience didn’t prepare me for the message board trolls….but it did remind me that work that is personal and gritty will not be for the masses. Yay!
Like all the best comedians, you’re also a phenomenal writer. Most people know you for your work on The Daily Show--can you tell us how one lands that dream job?
The neighbor of the producer of the show came to see one of my solo shows at UCB (an improv comedy theater in DC) and brought me in to meet the producer…..and I got the job thru a reel I had of work I’d done from a TV show in Seattle called “Almost Live” where I played a reporter in a sketch.
Tell us a secret about Jon Stewart…
His thumb on his right hand is actually a toe. And he’s carrying my child. I’m not FOR SURE about those 2 secrets. I am sure that he wore a grey T-shirt to work every single day I worked at the show–for about a year.
You’re also Horny Patty on HUNG. What was it like to transition from The Daily Show to a scripted drama and then back to theatre? Which do you prefer?
I prefer a job. It is HARD to get a job in LA if you’re not in the porn industry. (they are always hiring–and such diverse types of people!) HUNG was amazing because I played a character that was far more complex than my reporter character–so as an actress I think I prefer HUNG.
What are some of the best things happening in comedy right now? And who’s making them happen (tv shows, stand ups, albums etc)?
As the mother of a two year old the only way I know what’s happening in comedy is if someone forwards me a link to a youtube video. I loved Bridesmaids and thought it was actually ABOUT FRICKING TIME to have a female led comedy become popular. LA is full of hilarious genius funny women with no parts to show off in…I love Louis CK and Patton Oswald. And Maria Bramford.
She IS AMAZING. So, lets talk BUST-how did the idea for it come to be?
From my experience volunteering in the LA county jails…I was in LA feeling so bored and so stuck in a culture that was so….the same. Life was about career weightloss and delusional striving…so I wanted to travel to a new land. Jails. And to do some more social consciousness stuff..
You wrote it AND you play every single role in it (and there are lots of roles in it)–do you ever get almost confused by everything going on in your head during the play?
All the time. I constantly just turn to the audience and scream OH MY GOD–WHAT ARE YOU ALL DOING HERE? WHERE AM I? AND WHO THE FUCK AM I? SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!!
Who is your favorite and your least favorite character in BUST?
That varies night to night–and I usually follow the audiences lead. Some nights the Lauren character bugs the bejeezes out of me. My favorite is Irene–the 80 year old volunteer I worked with.
How does something like BUST get staged? Do you have test audiences? Is it a one-woman process to make a one-woman play or does it take a village for this to work?
I work in the room with a director and develop the show with her and a stage manager and a lighting and sound designer. And a dramaturg. I’ve had an amazing amount of support and input for this show. My husband (Julliard graduate….brag brag brag) has helped me with the acting moments–it does take a village. The Village People.
You’ve been on tour with it–have people been reacting to the show differently in different places, and how so?
Oh, it’s always different. In Seattle it was a big hit and standing ovations etc but they KNOW me there. In Boise it was also a huge hit I think because Boise is so thrilled when anyone comes to town. In Portland it was a mix of older subscribers not liking my character (I make out with a stranger in exchange for drugs in the beginning of the show–BY ACCIDENT!) and social workers losing their minds laughing and recognizing the world of the jails and the women who get caught in it. Deserving or not.
You’re coming to DC–is there any thing in particular you’re looking forward to doing while here? Have you been here before?
Museums and Christmas lights and I hope to see Newt Gingrich’s head in person. It looks gigantic on TV.
If you could have anyone’s life (real or fictional), whose life would it be?
I’d like to be Toni Colette and Oprah. In that order. And Henry Miller. And Daniel Day Lewis. And Twyla Tharp.
All good choices. For very different reasons. Any tips for surviving the holidays?
Drinking. It’s an old and wise tradition. Unless you’re an alcoholic then I’d advise NOT to drink.
Any tips for making it in show business?
Do other things with your life besides trying to ‘make it in showbusiness”. Travel–plant some trees…..volunteer with old people. And have huge boobs.
thank you! fun questions…..
Want more of Lauren? You know where to find her through Dec. 18th