Beth Hoyt is set to do a comedy show (THE BETH SHOW EVER) at Rockwood Music Hall THIS FRIDAY (June 5th), and seeing as she’s one of the funniest writers and comedians in NYC right now, you should most definitely grab tickets. I caught up with her over the phone recently to talk about how she got started down a comedic path in the first place, as well as about her YouTube channel Beth In Show, the weirdest thing she’s ever had to do for the sake of Internet-tainment (think: leeches), Tilda’s nap sessions at the MoMA and MORE. Read up on all of that below, follow Beth on Twitter AND be sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel for all her latest uploads. HERE WE GO:
So you’ve got this show at Rockwood coming up, and I know you do shows fairly regularly, but you’ve also got a really strong Internet presence with your own YouTube channel and other collaborations. Do you have a preference for one medium over the other?
Nothing beats a live performance, so that’s my favorite. But in the meantime (since I can’t have shows every night), my YouTube channel has really helped me. And I recommend that for all of my friends, because it gives you a sense of accomplishment; you feel like you’ve done something, you’ve tried out ideas…it’s the same as going to open mic, in a way, because you just kind of try something, put it out there, and see if it works. I do love doing that and it’s been a great outlet the last couple of years. But I love doing live stuff as well, and I actually host a show every Wednesday called Big Effing Deal!
That’s the one at 2A, yeah?
Cool. Now, was comedy always a career goal for you? How’d you kind of end up where you are now?
Well I was a theater major at University of Michigan, so I totally thought I was going to be a serious actress, Shakespeare and all that. [Laughs] And then I came to New York, and I realized that I always tended to slant comedically, so I did some theater, and mostly I always played a comic role. The first place I worked at a lot was the Flea Theater, and there I met Tommy Smith, and through Tommy Smith I met Reggie Watts. And we did a lot of shows together, so with those two guys I got really into doing different kinds of live performances beyond theater. I started doing stand-up on my own, and now I’m full-on comedy.
Well, and not that there’s anything wrong with the sort of “serious” acting that you mentioned, but I am so glad that you ended up going down THIS path, because seriously, everything you do is SO FUNNY! Actually, I was JUST watching one of those beauty treatment videos you did for that style series…
Oh my god, the leech thing?
YES! Oh my god, like…what?! That seemed so scary!
Did the scar thing go away ever?
No. I mean, it definitely lessened, but it still looks like I have an alien bite. It’s still there. I can’t believe they let me do that. And then, after I went to LA and did the recap at the end of the episode, a week later I called to find out what the next episode was going to be, and they’re done. No one answered the calls or the emails, and I was like, they probably broke down their business because they thought, “Oh, shit…Beth is gonna die, so let’s close up shop.”
Well I couldn’t even believe the amount of stuff that came out of you!
Yeah! It filled up a whole pad!
I’m sure that everyone has hopped on that weird wellness train by now, but I’d wanted to do a write-up of those sensory deprivation chambers for BYT.
Yeah, that was actually next on the docket for me to do, and I’d really have liked to!
So what’s the craziest thing you’ve actually done for the Internet? Because the leech thing obviously has to rank pretty highly, but even just on a less extreme level…I mean, for example, I watched you do that Taco Bell challenge with Olga Kay, which just seemed like the WORST. So what would you say stands out to you as a really bonkers thing you’ve decided to do for the sake of entertainment?
Yeah, that leech thing is up there. And I guess this wasn’t so much for comedy, but I skydived for my birthday, because I’m recently afraid of things like heights and thrills in general. I made a video of it, and I had to be pushed out of a plane, essentially, so that was not easy. That was scary. I also used to host this My Damn Channel Live show, and the trick to keep kids watching was to do crazy games and take shots of stuff, so every episode I ended up full of sugar and alcohol and having eaten something blindfolded. (It was very much like Double Dare.)
Yeah, actually, I was pretty clueless about the whole YouTuber personality phenomenon UNTIL I stumbled upon My Damn Channel Live, because Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart and Hannah Hart were such regular guests with you. Where did you guys actually film?
In Manhattan in the Film Center Building. We had a studio there on 44th Street. I didn’t know anything about YouTube before that, either, actually, but I auditioned for that show and got really immersed in Beth In Show (my personal blog), which came from that. They said, “You need to have something that’s a little more personal so that people see that side of you in addition to the show.” I didn’t understand vlogging at all; you watch these videos and it’s just kids who’ve turned the camera on with nothing to say, but then I just made it my own, with videos that I would want to watch. That’s been fun.
Those have been really funny, too!
Yeah, anything I want to actually try on my own (like a juice cleanse or Gwyneth Paltrow’s detox-something) I’ll do it and I’ll film it so that I feel a little more justified about the money I spend on it at the time.
Right, because when you show the receipts to the camera, the amount is insane. And you definitely do have resemblance to Gwyneth in some of these parody videos, so has she taken any notice?
I don’t know, maybe some day. [Laughs] I can do Claire Danes pretty well, too, and I had to film an audition for Homeland that’s a scene opposite Claire Danes character. I knew I didn’t have much of a shot at this role, but at the end, I said, “If you ever need a Carrie impersonator, I think you should write that role in there. I can do it.”
[Laughs] And then of course you do Tilda and Brienne of Tarth as well…
I went to see Tilda sleeping at the MoMA, actually, because I got the Google alert that she would be there sleeping in a glass box for a couple of hours.
It would have been amazing if she had woken up and seen you and thought, “Is that me?”
I know, that’s what I kept waiting for! I kept thinking she was going to open her eyes and look at me and wink or something. But she didn’t wake up at all. I think she had transported herself out of her body; she wasn’t there. She rolled over once, though, and everybody freaked out.
I actually interviewed the kid who plays Zero in The Grand Budapest Hotel and asked him about that, because I kind of wondered if she was doing some deep role research for the part of the movie where she’s lying in a coffin. I wasn’t sure what the chronology of events was, whether the movie came before or after the MoMA stint.
What’d he say?
He didn’t know. He was fun to interview, but he was exactly how I would be if I’d just been launched into this universe of filming with Bill Murray and people like that; he didn’t have any solid information about anything. I also brought him a Zero bar because I thought I was being very funny and clever, but it turns out he’s deathly allergic to chocolate. He didn’t tell me that because I guess he was being polite, but the people from Dazed interviewed him immediately after I was finished, and I read the piece later and they actually talk about the Zero bar and how he couldn’t eat it because he might die.
Right? Being allergic to chocolate…I can’t even imagine. NOW, your mom is back in the Midwest, but will she be coming to New York for your show at Rockwood, do you think?
She’s coming to the show, yes! (How did you know?!) I was just talking to her and was like, “You should come to New York in case I move to LA,” so she’ll be there. I have some sexy jokes, and I don’t know what I’m going to do about those yet.
It’s weird when parents see your uncensored creative endeavors. What does your family think about this career path in general?
They’re super supportive. I’m the youngest, so I kind of get to fuck around a little more I guess. [Laughs] Now that I’m getting older they’re like, “We still would also like to see you have children sometime…”, but my mom’s always been super supportive of it. Maybe almost too much, like maybe I shouldn’t have been a theater major and should have done something practical instead. [Laughs] I mean, I took two semesters of tai chi when I could have been learning another language.
Tai chi is useful, you never know!
I don’t remember any of it though.
Yeah, I guess if you forget the moves it’s not that helpful, and it does seem weirdly complex for something that is essentially just moving your body slowly.
It does teach you patience and how to meditate, though, so maybe I should try it again. (Maybe it WAS worth it!) But yeah, she’s always very supportive and excited for me.
That’s good, that’s all you can ask for. Now, what else have you got on the horizon apart from this show and your regular sort of routine?
I’ve got my hands in a lot of different buckets, so I’m auditioning for things and creating shows and working on my YouTube channel, just really making it my own now. For a while it was geared towards the My Damn Channel Live audience, but now I’m sort of shifting it towards thirty-year-old women as opposed to teenage boys. Which is tough, because I’m not sure how many thirty-year-old women are on YouTube, but I’m going to try to find the ones that are. So that’s fun, that’s been interesting, and I’m also working on my weekly stand-up show. I also do sketch videos at Barely Political, which you should check out. They’re owned by YouTube, so they’re located in that building, and whenever I have an idea that requires bigger production, I’ll take it there. Key of Awesome // Barely Political.