MAKE US LAUGH, FUNNY GIRL
Comic Barbara Gray hosts "One-Two Punch," a semiregular comedy night in her Silver Lake home. She also performs at a bunch of venues that aren't the Comedy Store. On Tuesday, she'll host Holy Fuck with the Sklar Brothers, Kumail Nanjiani, Karl Hess, Andy Peters, Erin Lampart, Jeff Wattenhofer and Dave Ross.
L.A. WEEKLY: You hold comedy shows in your home. Any regrets?
None, except for when we run out of booze for the punch bowl. Then I regret not buying more booze.
Have people snooped around where they shouldn't?
It's usually not a problem, as I know about 80 percent of the attendees. It's been an underground show for the most part, with just friends in attendance, and everybody is good about looking out for suspicious types. I did have someone steal my phone once, but it turned out to be a friend's roommate who really liked drugs and wanted to sell things like my phone for those drugs. I tracked it down with the help of technology, like a goddamn detective. It was sadly exciting. I credit my detective skills to Lenny Briscoe and many dedicated hours spent watching Law & Order.
You also do comedy in some offbeat, smaller venues (which this paper seems to miss). What's your ideal venue for live comedy?
Yes -- people don't realize that there is a comedy show lurking in cafÃ©s, laundromats, attics, bookstores, bowling alleys and dive bars all over Los Angeles. Anywhere there is room for a mic and some chairs, people will try to do comedy there.Â A dream venue is a place like Upright Citizens Brigade -- a laid-back, cozy theater, where you can see the comics' faces clearly and take in everything onstage. Good comedy can be done anywhere, but I think intimacy is really key for great comedy.
Ever had a bad experience at a mainstream comedy club? C'mon -- name names!
I really haven't had a lot of bad experiences with them. Probably the funniest thing to happen at a club was at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club. I was the only female on the show. The host started to bring me up by saying "this next guy" -- then looked over and realized that I wasn't a dude. The DJ who was playing intro songs heard this -- and when the host did introduce me, the DJ played the beginning of "Lady Marmalade." You know, "Hey sister, soul sister." I couldn't stop laughing about it when I went onstage.
Why call this show Holy Fuck?
Well, it's not my show, my good friend and hilarious comic Dave Ross created it, and produces it with Jeff Wattenhofer and Jessica Ruiz. I like to think that it's because when you are at the show you say to yourself, "Holy Fuck, this is a great show" and "Holy Fuck, these seats are comfortable" and "Holy Fuck, it's Holy Fucking free? HOLY FUCK!!"
What can we expect at Holy Fuck?
You can expect one of the best alternative comedy shows in Los Angeles. Packed with talented comics, some big names, some future big names, but all with names. And if I'm there you can expect to hear my loud "distinctive" laugh as I guffaw unapologetically. Guffaw is a great word. That's what you can expect! Lots of guffawing!Â
Can unhip people come to the show?
Yes, of course! Please do. It gets really tiring only doing jokes to guys wearing bear hats and girls in tights. Both of which I will be wearing at the show, because I'm superhip! Have I mentioned I live in Silver Lake?
Who are your comedy heroes?
I'm fairly obsessed with British comedy, people like Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Chris Morris, the guys from the Mighty Boosh. I really want to go over there and see what the comedy scene is like in London, and overdose on British accents. I also love Jon Dore and Rory Scovel, who do some great audience-prank type comedy. Right now my biggest comedy hero is the obvious, Louis C.K. Not only for the amazing honesty in his stand-up, which is something I strive for, but the fact that he directs, produces, stars in and even edits his great show on FX. I really admire that, as a comic and as a control freak.
Do you have a day job? What do you do
I work at a fancy-pants Hollywood biz magazine, photoshopping ads for the online department. I keep my head low. Most people there have no idea I have a secret life telling dick jokes at night.
If you could eliminate one overused comedy premise, what would it be?
I honestly can't think of an overused premise right away. Subjects that have been talked about forever, like dating, or the difference between races, may seem like they should be played out, but as long as someone brings a fresh and smart perspective to them, then it doesn't matter. I mean, these are things we can all identify with, and they change over time, so they deserve to be revisited. However, I would like to eliminate the comics who approach these premises the same boring way. Or make them move somewhere where racist impressions of Chinese waiters are still appreciated.
Holy Fuck at the Downtown Independent Theatre, 251 S. Main St., dwntwn.; every Tues., 9 p.m.; free. (213) 617-1033.
Tuesdays, 9 p.m. Starts: July 26. Continues through Dec. 20, 2011
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