Most Angelenos would sell their iPad to the devil to cover up their mistakes. Nicol Paone, on the other hand, fills up a bus and gives guided tours of her biggest fuck-ups.
In the comedienne's new one woman performance piece, The Last Show I Do Before I Go On Medication, Paone packs her audience into a double decker tour bus and sherpas them to various locations across Los Angeles. Each site houses a significant mistake or failed relationship from the performer's past, all of which she shares unabashedly and in full detail with the tour group.
Paone, best known for her three season run on Logo's Big Gay Sketch Show, while candid during The Last Show..., is much more tight lipped during an online interview. The actress is hesitant to go into too much detail on the content of her comedic anecdotes lest she spoil the impact of the performance. But she does make several mentions of, as she puts it, "not sleeping with the hottest vampire out there because you were afraid of being hogtied and videotaped."
In addition to using the show to chronicle her mistakes and bad relationships, Paone attempts to draw connections between her life and the history of Los Angeles. At one point she covers 1930s evangelist and media darling Aimee McPherson and her influence on the city.
"She even has a statue!" Paone gushes. "I then make my case for why I, Nicol Paone, a late-blooming-modern-Italian-comedy-fox, should have my own statue."
Similar to McPherson, who believed the United States was founded and sustained by divine inspiration, the comedy fox also believes The Last Show... was fated to happen. Several years ago, the openly bisexual comedian was approached by an old college friend to rewrite the tours for his double decker bus company.
"My first thought was, ew, no way! What if anyone sees me?!" she says. "But he begged so I couldn't say no. At the time, I was going through a very painful breakup and all I thought was that I wanted to take the bus past her house and throw something at it or sing an Adele song, depending on my mood. The idea never left my system."
Although she only worked with the company for a brief time, two years later, destiny would once again broadside Paone's life with a giant red bus.
"Things weren't going so well," Paone admits. "I lost out on a writing job and wasn't feeling inspired by the relationship I was in at all, and I had one of those life changing moments. I walked outside, looked up in the sky and screamed 'WTF?!! Shit sucks right now, I need a sign or something. Please show me a fucking sign!' Three minutes later, my friend who worked at the bus company called me and begged me to come back. I hadn't talked to him in two years. And that wasn't the sign I wanted but there was something pulling me to that goddam bus company. So I went with it."
Over the next six months, motivated by the tour buses she was once embarrassed to be seen riding, Paone crafted what would become The Last Show....
While these large tour vehicles helped to chauffeur Paone's creativity into fruition, as moving theaters they present myriad complications.
"Uhm, do you have to duck for trees in a normal theater? No," she says. "Every show has had unseen complications. The first show both myself and my sound guy discovered that our ADD makes it very hard to do a show on a moving vehicle because there are so many distractions! We've had people yelling at us, naked men jerking off in their windows, fire trucks, interference on our speakers by a Spanish radio station and a driver who takes a right whenever she damn well feels like it."
Despite these unprecedented production hassles, Paone has optimism for The Last Show...'s future, both in L.A. and abroad.
"There are buses in 180 countries. I wouldn't mind moving around the globe, making love to men and women in a certain city for a few months, then writing a show specific to that city's dalliances. We can start with Madrid! Or maybe the show could just translate to TV and I get to make love to hot actors and actresses pretending to be from around the globe but are really from Orange County. I'll take either. I'm not picky. "
The Last Show I Do Before I Go On Medication is written & performed by Nicol Paone, directed by Patrick Bristow and produced by Beth Wheatley. Tours run once every three weeks, with the next tour on Nov. 23. Bus departs 6225 Hollywood Blvd. (Hollywood and Argyle) at 6 p.m. sharp. Click here for ticket info.