The Apiary

Advertisement


Advertise on the NYC BlogAds Network.

Contact

theapiary@gmail.com

About
Meta
Syndicate this site (XML)

Site built and designed by Bathrobewarrior.com

Logo designed by Tim Bierbaum

Search
Video of the Day
Eleven Heads on 11/11 | Koren Ensemble
Fanatical About

« THE HONEY SHOT - SIDESHOW GOSHKO | Main | CHRIS ROCK: 'I LIKE THIS HANNIBAL BURESS KID' »
Wednesday
Feb162011

INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper

Laura Grey & Jordan Klepper | Photo: Matt Weir

By: Sarah Rainone

How could I not have high expectations for Klepper and Grey’s new sketch show "Baggage," which is playing at the UCB Theater in New York? The duo hails from Second City! and The Chicago Tribune has described them as "exceedingly smart" performers with "chaotic genius." Promising humor about cults, dolphin blood, and how annoying love can be, the show keeps its word. So I spoke to Jordan and Laura about their comedic inspirations, Crazy Town and the hilarity of the word "pants."

So two words running through my head while watching Baggage were "classy" and "classic.” Even during the silliest moments you perform with intelligence and style. I was like, "Damn, now I know how audiences must have felt watching Nichols and May."

Laura: First of all, that's very high praise -- too high. Really, I have to thank Jordan for wearing a suit. It always classes things up to see a guy in a suit, telling jokes...and sweating profusely. Now Jordan can make fun of the pantyhose I wear which are really cable knit tights.
Jordan: I would never poke fun at anything cable knit, partially because I lack the knowledge to defend my position.

Have other comedic duos inspired you, and what do you feel is unique about your act?
Laura: Back in Chicago, Jordan and I hosted a variety show of "comedy covers" where we would ask our favorite comedians to do a "cover" of a comedy routine that inspired them in their youth. We got everything from The Goon Show to Cheech and Chong to excerpts from the Golden Girls. It was fricking fantastic to watch what people brought in and to see how it jived with a modern sensibility.

Jordan and I covered the "Adultery" sketch by Nichols and May where they lampoon three different adulterous couples of their time, one in England, one in France and one in America. For fun, we wrote up a version of a modern-day couple and threw that into the mix. What we fell in love with all over again about Nichols and May that evening was the way they executed spot-on satire, but it never felt cruel or dated because we got the sense that they were satirizing themselves. People like them, with similar foibles, hopes, fears, blind spots, obsessions and difficulties.

I think it was that self-reflexive look at character and situation that made us want to cull material for a whole show. Wow, I just used a lot of analytical words and made our show sound very unfunny. Come. You will glimpse an ethnographic docu-comedy about two white people in Brooklyn. The Descartian overtones are tremendous.

Jordan: I don't even want to be in the show anymore now that I know we were doing an ethnographic docu-comedy all along. Whereas Laura is a nerd for big words bordering on pretension, I'm a nerd for enjoying British comedy bordering on pretension. A little while ago we got really into a show by Rob Brydon and Julia Davis called "Human Remains.”

Photo: Matt WeirThey would explore a different couple for each episode, and although most of the couples often had an element that was either despicable or revolting, they played them with such honesty and care that they all felt very human. Humanity is funny!
Laura: They got into the gristle of these couples lives in a very real, very subtle, sometimes very dark, but always funny way. On the more lighthearted end of the spectrum, and even though I don't know if you can call them a "duo": I really dig the work Imogene Coca and Sid Ceasar did together on the Show of Shows. I mean, they had the balls to do a sketch on TV where they played the characters on a German cukoo clock.

The scene where they are co-workers in the auxiliary percussion section of the orchestra during the 1812 Overture also gets me every time. They had a simple and playful energy together that I really like. And when I was little I watched Perfect Strangers with a religiousness bordering on creepy. I like watching duos when you get the sense that deep down, they can't live without the other person's stupid antics. Like Balki and cousin Larry. Together forever.

Your opening act was another example of a vaudevillian-style couple who provides running gags throughout the show. I love when an improv or sketch show brings in "Old Timey" conventions. What do you guys think about honoring -- and updating -- those vaudevillian-style quips and jabs?
Jordan: The vaudevillian quips probably come more from a Marx Brothers world than anything else. I'm a fan of some Groucho, mostly because I love tricking old ladies into giving me their fortunes.
Laura: And I was always into Harpo because the idea of having a coat with that much stuff inside of it seemed fancy to me when I was little.
Jordan:
We wanted to give a nod to the  "Take my wife, please" kind of jokes that were en vogue back then and still permeate a lot of comedy about man-woman relationships even today, so we tried to recreate some of that to play against some other more modern relationships, and see how they look next to each other.
Laura:
Burns and Allen is a lovely mixture of the two. Here you have this unflappable wordsmith and this kooky Amelia Bedeila with razor sharp timing. Their show is a performance of their real life relationship. And it's peppered with these hilariously awkward product placements. And on top of it all, there's some gorgeous, classic bits that still hold up.

I think "heightening" is a concept that's terrifying for most students of comedy. It can be the fastest way to end up in "Crazy Town." How do you ground scenes that start in such heightened places?
Laura: Hmmm. This is a good question and I fear my answer is going to be inadequate. Most of all because I live in Crazy Town. Crazy Town is very real to me. I will be happy to show you all the good thrift stores and all the good places to eat. But there's no buttons on the clothes or napkins on the tables.

Because it's Crazy Town. One day I got so pissed I misplaced my orange highlighter that I threw a bag of donuts at the wall. And then I felt bad for mistreating the donuts. One of my friends saw a lady clipping her fingernails on the subway the other day and spent the next hour basically going into shuddering hysterics about it.

She couldn't get if off her mind. I encounter people everyday who have what I would consider completely bat-shit crazy reactions to something that is not a big deal. But I'm not them. I'm sure to them what they're doing makes complete emotional or intellectual sense. I think when the situation is specific enough to ruffle your feathers you just react.

Jordan:  I've been to Crazy Town with Laura, I'd skip it if you can. Maybe swing by if you have an afternoon, but don't go out of your way to stop by. Sometimes heightening goes all haywire because the people we're heightening aren't people at all, they're caricatures of people, reacting the way we assume they would if they were on a bad sitcom that we wouldn't even watch if it came on.

Photo: Matt WeirHeightening is a pretty natural thing that we do all the time in our daily lives. I know that if I pay close attention to the things Laura does, even the smallest things, before you know it, I will be furious- and it will be completely justified because I'm being REAL.
Laura: If two characters have something they genuinely want out of that other person I'm interested: it doesn't matter if they're in an office cubicle or on a space-ship called bleep-blop vying for the last french fry. Don't worry, neither of those scenes are in the show. I told you I wasn't going to answer your question!

Do you make sure you've grounded a scene in an emotion to get the audience on your side before taking them somewhere completely surprising and shocking?
Laura: What you are seeing is a natural order of events unfurling before your eyes. Man, that Jordan guy gets under my skin!
Jordan:
When you think you're seeing me, you're actually seeing me playing a version of me on stage. There is no me on stage. Me exists at home, leaning up against the wall with my laptop, trying to steal internet. I don't know if there's a conscious choice, but I think the hope is that an audience is more willing to hop on board if they recognize the people on stage either as real versions of themselves, or at least there's some element of truth in who they're playing.

How did you hone your rapid-fire rapport, and were you inspired by any duos that do it particularly well?

Laura: Around the house, I am required to speak in elaborate puns if I want to get
Jordan to clean the dishes. Just kidding, I never clean the dishes. HEY-YO!  But seriously, Jordan and I have worked together for a long time in many different capacities as actors, co-writers, directors of each others shows, roommates, and probably Jordan has some completely filthy way of describing our relationship.
Jordan
: Love is not dirty. It is the cleanest thing there is- a lot cleaner than the sink. Hey yo. Not a joke, she's shirking her duties. It's destroying us.
Laura: I think for this show, we were interested in how couples who have been together for a long time talk as an entity to some third party.

Jordan
: Another sexy description for the poster, "Come see two people talk as an entity to some third party!"
Laura:
We're also both pretty verbal, so we improvise and write how we talk to each other, or how we hear our friends in relationships talk to each other...telling stories in tandem and finishing each other’s sentences and stuff like that. Basically we're just trying to get a word in edge-wise before the other person dominates the conversation. For example,
Jordan talks about Minneapolis Hip-Hop A WHOLE LOT.
Jordan:
If you want to talk about inspiring duos look no further than the lyricism and turntabilism of Eyedea and Abilities...
Laura:
Now that I think about it, our next sketch should be about a couple on a silent meditation retreat where both of them keep stubbing each others toes but they're not allowed to talk about it.

I was watching the Nichols and May $65 funeral sketch based on their indignation at the American funeral business. It reminded me a little of one of your sketches in Baggage. How do we keep our relationships alive in a world of Web MD, Cosmo, and a culture of over-sharing? For Godsakes, how do we take back our viscosity?!!

Laura: I went back and watched this sketch. Nichols and May are a delight. I love your reading of the scene, though, I think that we conceived (pun intended, Jordan you have to do the dishes tonight ha ha) of this couple out of our own anxieties about having children more than a reaction to the baby-making industry.

The language is clinical, erudite, these are two people who really "know what they are talking about because they read a study somewhere that says they know what they are talking about.” It's more a reaction to the over-planned, over-studied, over- achiever mindset that I find a lot of my peers are steeped in.

Again, I'm just talking about myself here, hee hee. Though I do agree that we can fall into the habit of letting language and word choice put up a barrier between "what we are talking about" and "how we really feel." And a lot of us are also in the habit of boiling our experiences into sound bites for the public or cyber sphere. Sometimes it's best to admit you don't know what's happening and that you don't know what you are talking about and start over with smaller words. Like "apple.” And "yummy.” And "You're cute, I like you.” And silence.

Jordan: Apple.
Laura: Also I think making a t-shirt that says "I'm taking back my viscosity" is the best way to make it happen in the bed room. To keep my relationship alive.

Jordan: Viscosity is important for "our" relationship, Honey.

Jordan, you once mentioned how funny the word "moist" is -- and to remember that we always have it at our disposal. If I'm not mistaken, "moist" did make an appearance in Baggage, as did a host of other funny words. What are some of your favorite funny words right now? What makes a word funny? And do funny words have a shelf life or are some perennially giggle-inducing?

Laura: I've always found the word "pants" funny. I have no idea why. We did write a sketch where we said the word "pants" a whole lot and we both thought it was just hilarious and it totally bombed. We'll recite it over dinner sometimes and rock back and forth and hug ourselves and cry: "PANTS!” Oh, "pants," We know you're funny... sometimes. And rhododendron just popped into my mind. But again, that's probably just me.
Jordan:
Turgid, chalet, shirk, and "hoist by his own petard" is chock full of them. Also chock.
Laura:
As for timeless bits: I think people falling down and not getting hurt will always be funny. And a baby cat owning a giant un-neutered rottweiler. I think there is something universal in physical comedy that never gets outdated or old. I'm not saying my tastes are the most current or high-brow, just that when I'm old, I'll probably laugh when my male nurse accidentally gets hit in the balls with my bedpan before I laugh at any catch-phrase from 2011.

Totally. I would respond with a catch-phrase from 2011, but I’m not sure I even know any. Speaking of words, I was delighted to discover from one of your sketches that the one word that can save a relationship when everything else has been said is... well, let's just say you won't find it on a Hallmark card. What can we tell people to give them a hint that this secret word (and the show in general) is not to be missed?
Laura: Remember what I said before about the ethnography?  Seeing this show is better than going back to grad-school.
Jordan:
Hoist your own petard- Friday at 7:30.

--Sarah Rainone is the author of the novel Love Will Tear Us Apart and the editorial director of Elyse Cheney Literary Associates. She's a proud member of the improv teams Marty and The Other Pilot and spends a lot of time wondering whether she's a happy or a sad clown.

  • THE PLUG: Don't miss "Baggage," happening FRI, FEB 18 @ 7:30PM at The UCBT-NY | $5

References (27)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: Gucci Bags Outlet
    Air Jordan Chris Paul, Air Jordan Chris Paul Shoes, Chris Paul Air Jordan Chris Paul, one of Jordan Brand's longest-tenured athletes, just showed off a smorgasbord of AIr Jordans, including the highly anticipated Retro
  • Response
    Response: Sac Lancel
    Air Jordan XV - 2000– Air Jordan 15 Original ReleaseJordan Retro 15 (XV) Original Black / Varsity Red 15 Jordan (XV) Original White / Columbia Blue – Black Air ...
  • Response
    Response: air jordan 6
    air jordan 15,jordan retro 15,15 jordan
  • Response
    Air Jordan 17 XVII – Air Jordan 17 Original Release Jordan 6 17 Air Jordan 17 (XVII) Original White / College Blue – Black Air Jordan 17 (XVII) Original Black / Metallic Silver Air .
  • Response
    Response: air jordan 3
    jordan 17,jordan 6 17,air jordan 17
  • Response
    Response: Gucci Tote Bag
    Shop cheep Air Jordan 1 Flight at Foot Locker. Jordan 1 free shipping... Jordan 1 Flight Mid - Girls' Grade School - Grey / Pink Jordan 1 Flight Mid - Girls' Grade School. $169.00. Now $69.99 ...
  • Response
    Response: LICotWeh
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    NFL is actually one particular of the largest sports in America. It has a major following.
  • Response
    Response: mofunzone
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    you have nice interface
  • Response
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    Response: see it here
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    Response: alldayigame.com
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    Response: stsingles.com
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    Response: Reachout Wireless
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    Response: www.amazon.com
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    Response: unique gifts
    INSIDE WITH: Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper - The Apiary - The Apiary - A Comedy Website
  • Response
    The Grey's new sketch show is very successful and very interesting to all the people. So many writers are also written many article on this show, so that I am enjoyed with this blog information. Thanks a lot to you and to your article writers.
  • Response
    Response: Clipping amazed

Reader Comments (1)

I've been to this website before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it's new to me. Nonetheless, I'm definitely happy I found it and I'll be bookmarking and checking back often!

July 29, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterxnxx

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>