Though demure in frame, Merrill Davis is a huge, effervescent ball of self-effacing wit and hilarity. She's the creator and producer of Merrillwood, an online variety/talk show featuring a smorgasbord of celebrities, comics, sketches and musical acts. Her stage revue Merrillwood Live! pays tribute to famed choreographer Paul G. Gleason, and features comedians Maria Bamford and Arden Myrin as well as a surprise celebrity guest.

L.A. WEEKLY: Who or what were major influences in your standup career?

MERRILL DAVIS: There are so many, starting with my family (I recognized absurdity very early on). Peter Sellers was my first love. Growing up we watched The Return of the Pink Panther a million times at least. Of course, I love Joan Rivers, the great Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Steve Martin, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David and Bill Cosby. My current faves are Eddie Izzard, Ricky Gervais, Rhys Darby, Sarah Silverman and Maria Bamford. I am also inspired by a lot of comics I work with, a few close friends and some who are currently writing on Merrillwood Live! (Plug!) Did I overwhelm you? I tend to do that. I'm getting anxiety.

Do you have any favorite interviews from Merrillwood?

I especially loved interviewing Ed McMahon. It was a dream come true and he was a truly classy, inspiring and wonderful guest. We also became good friends. Ken Jeong and I also had a blast. We laughed a lot and, aside from being totally hilarious, he is also a highly intelligent person. I also loved interviewing Zachary Quinto and Michelle Rodriguez: both very smart, cool and talented folks. We totes bonded.

What makes you laugh out loud without fail?

Oh, I don't know … my childhood, my failed relationships … oh, I'm sorry I thought this was, “What makes you weep out loud without fail?” Also, people falling down is very funny.

Do you have any pre-show rituals before performing?

I purposely bomb in the shower while getting ready and then sage my body.

Describe the holidays with the Davis family.

Have you seen Paranormal Activity?

If a holiday was created in your honor, what would we celebrate?

Neuroses Day! Share intimate and possibly inappropriate thoughts.

What would be another career choice if you weren't doing comedy?

Is it really a choice? I don't feel like comedy is a choice. It had me at, “You're not funny.” I've also always fancied the modeling industry.

Wed., Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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