5 Questions With Multi-Faceted Comedian Lauren Weedman
Before appearing in such on-screen hits as ABC’s Abbott Elementary (guest starring this season as Melissa Schemmenti’s estranged sister, Kristin Marie), HBO’s Looking (as Doris), and the film adaptation of Kelleen Conway Blanchard‘s 2012 play Kittens in a Cage (as Lois), Lauren Weedman made her home on Seattle stages. Earning instant status points among us Seattle old-timers, she’s performed in the comedy sketch series Almost Live! (think a very-’90s Seattle-centric spin on Saturday Night Live) and the dearly departed Empty Space theatre.
She also writes, with two books putting a humorous spin on not-so-humorous events (like a cheating husband) and a refreshing candor on those die-of-embarrassment moments (that pre-Emmys coffee enema went really well).
But Weedman’s true love is telling stories in the immediate, in-person form, and she’ll bring that humor and personality back to the Seattle stage with four shows at the Triple Door next weekend.
NWTheatre talked with Weedman about her very funny storytelling and upcoming live show, her love for Seattle, and, yes, her appearances on this editor’s favorite TV show.
Interview content is condensed and edited for clarity.
Lauren Weedman BLOWS performs February 25-26; tickets here.
For those who’ve never seen a Lauren Weedman solo show, what should they know about your new show?
Sometimes I’m kidding … sometimes I’m not. It’s not pure comedy and it’s not pure cabaret. There will NOT be wigs or audience participation. (Well, I say that and now that sounds kind of fun.) It’s a live spontaneous night of song and dance and personal stories that may have a touch of the manic. But I’m older now and will be pausing to breathe and slow my heart rate down.
Who is the new show written for?
My friend Ted and the bartender at the Triple Door. And all the fun, bitter, hopeful, complicated, wounded men and gender-fluids and menopausal ladies who crave catharsis, truth, comedy, and Getting Out Of The House For Godsake.
TV and movies have a shiny draw to them, but you’ve said that live theatre is your preferred form. What do you love about it?
Its impermanence. It’s so present. Humans in front of humans, sharing being human.
I still think live performance is so transformative for all involved, when there is meaning and ENERGY and topics that matter or challenge us. Or images. Truth. I love the truth of theatre. The energy of that.
I’m not very articulate on this topic. I’m not much of a grant writer. But being with others — not virtually, but in the same room, I feel like it’s the answer. No theories. No reading articles and message boards. Sitting in front of a human or humans on stage, telling their stories, sharing a story. I do not take it for granted that people come to see live events. Especially now.
And what are the worst aspects of live theatre?
I’d say it’s when we feel like our time has been wasted. That we were trapped in a theatre with lifeless actors reciting lines that mean nothing to them. When the stakes are low, it’s AWFUL.
You recently delivered what’s pretty much my favorite line on TV (“You show up at my place of employ, trying to mock me via food”), on my favorite TV show (Abbott Elementary). What can you tell us about portraying the character of Kristin Marie Schemmenti that’s not necessarily obvious to a viewer?
I was going to say “I wear a huge wig,” but I think that’s pretty obvious. Also, I base her energy on Paulie from The Sopranos.
What’s challenging, or totally natural, for you in playing her character?
She’s tough and not scared of anything. I’m a single mother, so …
What’s next for Kristin Marie? Is she returning in later episodes?
I have no idea at this point. Quinta told me years ago, when we were working on Single Parents together, that she wanted to write a part for me one day, and she did it. That’s rare, people doing what they say they’re going to do. I’m SO INTO watching [Abbott creator Quinta Brunson’s] success and how she’s handling it all.
New York, L.A., and Abbott‘s Philly setting are great and all, but Seattle keeps pulling you back for your live shows. What’s the Seattle you know and love?
This is like trying to describe my love for my son … I CAN’T. IT’S TOO DEEP.
On the more specific and all-important topic of food: What are your go-to eats in Seattle?
Bizzarro Cafe and Le Pichet. I haven’t been to either one of those places, but they are both owned by friends of mine who I love and miss, so I’ll be going there this next trip.
I used to always have a cupcake at Cupcake Royale, but it’s not on Capitol Hill anymore … right? [Editor’s note: Accurate. But there is one two blocks from the Triple Door that’s open daytime on weekends. Plan accordingly.]
Here in Seattle back in 2018, you performed an earlier solo show, Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, at ACT Theatre. For audience members who saw that show, what about your stage persona here is the same, and what is different?
I’m not playing a character for this show. It’s me — with some extra weight and deeper into decay. I mean, older.
And this show will not be about my husband’s affair with the babysitter. I know. BUMMER.
Lauren Weedman BLOWS runs 2/25-26 at The Triple Door in Downtown Seattle. Tickets $43 with fees (regular) or $75 (premium with meet-and-greet), available here. Dinner and drink service available before and during the show; view menu here. Accessibility notes: main restrooms downstairs are gendered and multi-stall, with gender-neutral, single-stall restroom on the main venue level. Theatre and some common areas are wheelchair accessible.
Chase D. Anderson is Editor & Producer of NWTheatre.org.