By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
“She re-created that moment so perfectly; you can take from it what you want. She gives you a full moment, where you can see everything,” says Wiecking. “She can’t help herself.”
He’s right, she can’t. And it’s not just re-creating moments, which she does so well, both because she understands the often hideous nature of those moments and because she’s such a good actor, a true actor who inhabits every moment, but because she isn’t afraid to cop to them in the very realest sense. We see ourselves in those moments, and as hideous as they are, she lets us laugh. It’s kind of healing, in a way. “She has an ability to get down to the base nature of each person, each character that she tackles,” says Jeff Weatherford, who was an actor in the Seattle theater scene back in those days and who would later direct Weedman in Wreckage and serve as dramaturge for Bust. “And there’s an equality to her characters, and that comes down to the humanness of them all.”
Weedman soon branched out beyond the local stages in Seattle, landing a stint as a writer/performer on the highly popular local show Almost Live, a sometimes topical sketch comedy and news program (think Saturday Night Live meets The Daily Show) that had, among its many charms, a bit where Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil yelled “Lame!” at whatever topics the announcer brought up. It all sounds so great: a hottie hubbie who can mix a drink, a supportive artistic community, cool TV gig. Not to mention, I hear you can get great tech support for your PC up there and you pay in whole-bean French roast. What more could anyone ask for?
Oh, yeah, there’s that ambition thing she does, and after five years in Seattle, Weedman got hot feet. “She was seeking to be amongst people where she wasn’t always the most talented person in the room,” says Weatherford. “She really is probably the most talented person I’ve ever worked with.” Maybe he should be taken with a grain of salt, since he currently cohabitates with Weedman and that’s just good politics, but then again maybe not, since he told me not to take what he says with a grain of salt because he’s worked with Juilliard people and all sorts of fancy theater folks and he means what he says about her talent.
So, at the turn of the century — what better time? — she packed up her bartending hubby, her latest show, Homecoming, and tried New York. It almost worked. Weedman remembers one morning dawning particularly brightly. It was the morning after Homecoming opened at The Duplex to a great audience response and reviews; it was the morning that marked her first month as a Daily Show correspondent. It was another sort of morning too.
“That morning, I was riding my bike up Sixth Avenue to go to this, like, Wrigley gum commercial, and I’m riding my bike up Sixth Avenue and it was one of the most self-absorbed mornings of my life,” she recalls, “because I was like [in Valley-girl voice], I can’t believe it, I’m onThe Daily Show, I’m off-Broadway, and it looks like everybody’s looking at me in some weird way, because they’re all looking that way [toward downtown] and I’m like, This is so bizarre— it does sort of look like everybody’s noticing me today —There’s something about me . . . And I mean . . . obviously they’re watching the Twin Towers, and it was like the, I’d say the most self-absorbed day of my life. And I was very humbled afterward because it turns out there was a terrorist attack . . . I don’t know if you heard about that.”
As it turns out things didn’t go great on The Daily Show either, an experience Weedman used for fodder in Rash, her fourth full-length theater piece. Well, maybe it wasn’t The Daily Show exactly, just something that looked a lot like The Daily Show. Anyway, apparently a nervous Weedman forgot to shake Jon Stewart’s hand after one of her first bits and apparently Stewart isn’t Gandhi, and well, they never quite clicked. Or maybe it wasn’t Stewart, just someone who could be mistaken for him.
“I didn’t feel like I had enough to do. I wanted to do more of my own thing. I had one character and I had to wait to be told when my thing was coming up. There was a lot of waiting around,” says Weedman of her time with Jon and company. “Everyone was just like, Shut up and don’t say anything, he’s glad you’re here. Just shut up, here he comes.
“I’m still on freelance contract. I might still have to go back.”
Before long, her marriage also started disintegrating. “Once we stopped drinking together, once I was like, I have to go to work, he was like [slurring], it’s not working,” says Weedman. “That’s not true, actually, it was deeper than that. It was more fucked up.” In the end, she admits, both 9/11 and The Daily Show proved too much for the couple to handle. “Our marriage survived neither, and I wanted to keep on striving ‘upward and onward’ and he told me he could no longer be married to ‘Lauren Weedman,’?” she says. “He used the first and last name.”