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March 11, 2011

Live Weird Girls! Talking to the Lauras of The Laura on Laura Comeback Tour
by WomenInComedy - 0

By WICF Contributor Marianne Schaberg

Looking for a blend of "music, comedy and irrational self-help"? Would a jump suit peak your interest? How about two women rocking out covered in Christmas lights? If that's up your alley, "The Laura on Laura Comeback Tour" is just what you ordered. The Lauras in question - Laura Grey and Laura McKenzie - take the musical-comedy genre to a whole new level as they channel their inner rockstars as two first-grade teachers ready to make their big break. They've consistently earned rave reviews, with the operative word usually being "weird", but the good kind of weird. The Lauras are undeniably original, entertaining and undoubtedly funny. We "sat" down with them via the interwebs for a quick Q & A:

WICF: When did you know you wanted to do sketch comedy?

Laura Grey: The day I decided to not put money away for my retirement. (That was said in my dad's voice for those of you who weren't in the room.) I fell head f
irst into improv and sketch when I was in college. I started spending more time doing improv than in my classes and that was when I knew that even though I was still undecided I had probably made the decision already. Of course I question this decision every day: "That lady looks so happy on her real estate magnet!" or, "Oooh! He just stands there all day and makes pies?! FUN!!" or "Remember that one week in grade school where I wanted to be an astronomer? Dark Matter...I bet I could figure that shit out!" I guess being a sketch comedian allows you to entertain a bunch of different realities at once which is why I keep coming back to it.

Laura McKenzie: Once I realized what my face looked like -- I figured I should start thinking about comedy.

WICF: How did you two Lauras meet? Was it clear from the start that you clicked?

Laura Grey: We met working for a really cool not-for-profit theater company in Chicago called Barrel of Monkeys. The actors take stories written by Chicago Public School children and adapt them into numerous sketch and musical revues throughout the year. McKenzie was the actor that could play a deformed monster with low-self esteem one minute and turn around and pen a totally seductive slow jam like "I Believe Everything Needs to be Chocolate" the next. In my eyes, she could do it all.

Laura McKenzie: I remember we were working on a horror story where Laura was attacked by a pizza face, and she was off the hook hilarious. Her physicality blew my mind, and that's when I knew I HAD to have a writing partner.

Laura Grey: At the risk of sounding like love fest midwest, I really was in awe of McKenzie's comedic package. That came out way dirtier than I expected it to and I think I am pleased about that!

Laura McKenzie: If I recall correctly, you came on to me.

Laura Grey: I don't remember how it played out but I'm pretty sure I cornered her after a rehearsal and was like,"We have the same name, we should do a show together." Very high concept.

WICF: Laura McKenzie, I googled you and found this Laura McKenzie ... IMDB says she's "famous for 'telling it like it is'" ... is that a good description of you?

Laura McKenzie: I would say I'm more famous for "telling it LIKE IT IS!" (she says with crazy eyes). I'm just excited I got googled by someone other than my mom.

Laura Grey: To this day she still won't hook me up with a lunch date with Erik Estrada. She's very protective of her former co-hosts and it's absolutely maddening.

WICF: How does living in different cities effect your act - how do you make your long-distance relationship work?

Laura Grey: Working long-distance is a relatively new hurdle for us. I recently relocated to NYC from Chicago where we wrote our show and all of our music. We improvise a lot over the phone, and then one of us will go off and complete a song or finish a draft. We are like the "Postal Service" of sketch...but over e-mail.

Laura McKenzie: And way more indie.

Laura Grey: WAY more indie.

Laura Grey: We were real pleased with ourselves when we stepped into the future and started to Skype. Then we tried to run through songs. She was like "You sound terrible!" and I was like "Your timing's all off!" Turns out, with Skype there is a delay. Skype get on that.

WICF: The "Wormhole" and video is pretty epic - how did the concept start?

Laura Grey: We wanted to make up for lost time. It seemed like the best way.

LM: When you regret as much about your life as I do, you start to think about things like wormholes.

Laura Grey: Dark.

Laura McKenzie: Or not. Facebook has taught me to surpress any real depth and meaning to my life and therefore I have learned to regret on a purely superficial level now. "OMG -- I can't BELIEVE I wasted my life watching the Oscars this year."

WICF: Also, loved taking Alicia Keys to the next level - why Alicia?

Laura Grey: Thank you for treating your self-esteem to our low-fi self help series "Taking Anything to the Next Level." Really we thought Alicia Keys needed it, I mean sure, she has a flourishing music career, a bangin' bod, Swizz Beats cooking her breakfast in the morning, and a baby, but we felt she was lacking one key element to her total success: OUR PAIN.

Laura McKenzie: I was secretly hoping Alicia Keys would google herself (not a euphemism) and find the Lauras on the interwebs. Kind of like Usher and the Biebs. Except that instead of making us rich, famous and super pretty, she'd probably just be like "Um, yeah, yeah, are you two available to babysit Egypt?" And with everything happening in the world, there would actually be a moment of confusion -- does she want us to help the Egyptian people's revolution with our music - like write an anthem, or does she literally want us to watch her baby?

Laura Grey: Also, It may or may not be McKenzie's dream to write an actual song for Alicia Keys. We love her. Do you have any idea how hard the karaoke version of the song NO ONE is to sing? Try it. You will fail.

WICF: Does it get any better than, "Profoundly weird in all the right ways"?

Both: NO.

WICF: What can audiences at the Women in Comedy Festival expect from the Laura on Laura Comeback Tour?

Laura McKenzie:Expect to spend a couple thousand on plastic surgery the next day...because your face will be melted into a puddle of ROCKED.

Laura Grey: A couple of chicks who think they're way more awesome than they really are.

Laura McKenzie: A unique blend of music, comedy and irrational self-help.

Laura Grey: That and a jumpsuit I ordered off of e-bay.

Laura McKenzie: Is this where I'm not supposed to mention the camel toe?

Laura Grey: I had it altered!

Laura McKenzie: Her butt looks hot.

Laura Grey: You mean my butt looks like your face...wait, did I just burn you, or my butt.

Laura McKenzie: Both, I think.

WICF: What's next for Laura on Laura?

Laura McKenzie: You mean after the world tour with Alicia Keys? (We offered to open for her, but she demurred and said -- "Laura and Laura, let's just walk out on stage at the same time and take turns"!)

Laura Grey: We have some new music and a couple of video projects we are hoping to get cracking on: Wormhole, Why Didn't You Stalk Me, Hooker with a Heart of Gold. Our favorite youtube commentator on our channel to date is some dude from the UK who appears to be a neo-nazi with a Rod Steward fetish and we really want to ruffle his feathers with some more sketch/music comedy videos. He hates us! And we LOVE it!

Laura McKenzie: Also, we will probably have to break up at some point so that we can have a reunion tour.

See the Live Weird Girls! gift to WICF: "Shit City"

Laura Grey is teaching
the workshop Silence is Golden: The Art of Physical Comedy today at 10 a.m.
The Laura On Laura Comeback Tour performs tonight at WICF at 8 p.m.!

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