Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Are We Doing in Chicago Again? Part 3

For those of you who missed the first two installments of this epic odyssey, Kate & Lydia flew to Chicago to watch Second City improv actors film a series of internet videos depicting casting sessions to be the next Totino’s Pizza Stuffers Mom. We felt pretty cool about the whole thing until we got there and realized we had no idea what the hell was going on. Part One and Part Two are right here.


It was easy for me to forget that I had no business being anywhere near all the cool kids because.... They were ready to start filming! We got to sit in an adjoining room in director’s chairs and wear headphones and watch the proceedings on some large monitors. The nice PR lady whispered to us that this actress was working from a script and would only be using improv a little bit. The actress was really funny and sweet and it was a great monologue. Then she did it again about 300 times.

But here’s the thing. A joke might be super funny - but it’s not that funny the 30th time you’ve heard it. Somehow, this actress (Wendy Mateo) brought something a little different to each take – even though she had to say the same words again and again and again. But I won’t lie – after two hours I got bored and started foraging for food.

When Wendy was finally done, she sat down with me for an interview and we totally knocked it out of the park. For someone who wasn't a mom, she totally answered those questions like a breeder.  She called Chuck E Cheese by a name that made me proud to be sitting next to her.  It was all super funny and I got her to say a curse word in Spanish and everyone seemed really happy with it. Then Kate made a growly noise and informed us that the camera had only recorded 37 seconds.


Wendy is awesome &
Lydia is an idiot.
So we had to get a new camera* and do the exact same five minute interview again. And I sucked monkey balls because I was all flustered at having to repeat myself while Wendy, improv queen and professional actress – got better. And funnier. And I finally started to understand how hard it was to do what they do. And I felt like sort of a tool for eating biscuits and gravy during the last ten minutes of her video shoot.

*Technically what we got was a cameraman. His name was Ryan and he was so awesome that he may in fact not even be real.

Next up was an actor named Christy Bonstell. She was all sweet and pretty and showed us pictures of her kiddo on her phone. And let me just say that kid is practically edible – that cute, y’all. And we were chatting and making small talk and admiring her costume and her hair and remarking that it sort of made her look like a banker or something. Then she started filming.

We were blown away. First, because she was so funny. Her video was unscripted. She had just created this character and was going from there. Her character was supposed to a VERY BAD MOMMY. She morphed from this very sweet person into a total flaming nightmare and it was completely awesome. But the second, and most magical part of the whole thing – was this VERY BAD MOMMY character started saying things. Things I had heard before. The exact same things that I have heard Kate say a million times.

Things about not hugging mommy in her nice clothes and “isn’t that what nannies are for?” and please don’t even look at my iPhone. We both totally freaked out the first time it happened. Then it happened again. We were like – this actor has obviously been stalking Kate.

Of course you all know by now that our Kate is actually an excellent mommy with amazing kids – but I will not even lie. If this character were real, she would be Kate’s new best friend and I would be crying into my Venti Ralph Macchio outside the Starbucks drive-thru in my dirty van, all alone. This is evidenced by the love-fest that was their one-on-one interview.
The switch from using a script to improvisation allowed us see how AMAZEBALLS the other actors on the set (playing the casting director, ad exec and production assistant) really were. I should probably mention at this point that the dude playing the ad exec (Brian Boland) looks a lot like Liev Shreiber. So you can imagine what a terrible tragedy it was for us to have to look at him all day.  In real life he’s a dad who talked about his wife and kids in such a way that made me think that this dude totally gets it.

Then there was the casting director, played by Katie Rich. We later developed a substantial girl crush on her because in addition to being hilarious all day long, we then saw her in a performance on the Second City Main Stage that night and it blew our wittle minds. Also, remember The Birth Control Ninja? That was all her idea. She’s the reason I now go around my house screaming: “WHITE TAILED PENIS DEMONS!” and “PREGNANT BABY NO HAPPEN!” at my husband.

There was even a woman (Aidy Bryant) playing a production assistant and by mid-afternoon I forgot she was an actor and thought she really was a production assistant. I mentioned that to Kate and she was all:

 “Yes. It’s called acting, dumbass.”

Part four, the conclusion - runs tomorrow.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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