LadyFace's Chella Negro: Dick jokes are dead, but sketch comedy is alive and kicking
The cool thing about this show in particular is that it's sketches from all of our past shows -- it's kind of like a "greatest hits" compilation show. We let our audience give us suggestions of what their favorite sketches were of the last year. I don't know what makes us different; I mean, we're all girls and there's nobody really doing that. I don't know if you know much about Denver comedy, but it's pretty much a sausage party.
That and, a lot of people don't know what sketch comedy is; we always have to reference Saturday Night Live. It's not super political or overly feminist; we're all very different women, so we all have a different sense of what we think is funny. It all works together. We're bringing back a lot of guests that we've had from the previous year: Jordan Doll, Chris Charpentier and Nathan Lund. We have a couple of special guest appearances -- but I can't talk about that. It's the element of surprise. (Laughs.)
It's going to be fun. I don't know, we're a hard-working, loose group of women - god, did I just say that?
Don't worry, I won't spin off of that and make it some archaic joke about a "wild comedy troupe of loose women!"
Thank you for that. Anyway, we work really hard to put this show together. We write all of our own sketches. Sometimes, guests write sketches, but I don't think so this time around. The guys write sketches, but they just aren't funny enough. I'm kidding. We have eighty sketches to weed through and had to pick twelve that we thought were the best ones.
When LadyFace got together and talked about the lack of sketch comedy happening, how did you approach venues about bringing LadyFace to an audience?
In a clichéd world, it is all about who you know -- all of us were coming from different places, so we all had resources to draw on. Timmi is a trained actress as well as being a stand-up comedian, and she had worked with Spark Theater. She was like, I know this space. Let me pitch it.
When she pitched it, she said, five girls, one hour of sketch comedy. It was like, yep. Done. They believed in us right away.
Otherwise, there aren't a lot of places to do that kind of stuff. I mean, you try to do sketch comedy in a bar? We lucked out because Bender's had the side room. There was no way we could pull it off in the main room, you know. We're going to show up at like the Marquis and be like, ta-da!
We've moved venues a couple of times -- we were at Spark, then we got too big for the space, which is a great problem to have. Then we found the space at Bender's (Tavern) through Melanie. She hosted an open mic there. Bender's is now Quixote's, I guess? Because we need more of that. (Laughs.)
We were kind of scrambling, but ended up getting Comedy Works South Club to let us do it there. It's a nice big room, big stage. It already has a rep for comedy, which is nice. People already kind of get it.
Totally -- it's a balance of understanding that you have to start somewhere. But you're not going to start out trying to win over a room full of people who are facing the bar with their backs are turned to you.
Right. And Spark was perfect -- it was like a little launching pad for us. It's small -- the newer theater is bigger -- but the older place sat maybe thirty people. We started off doing two shows a night because the Spark was so small. And it just ended up working out that way.
Do you write your own sketches, or does LadyFace write collaboratively?
We do work together, but a lot of the time we'll have a meeting after a show and (each) have a new sketch written. We'll go through them and see what will work best with the group. For me, I just think of things I think are funny or weird and try to figure out what's funny about the situation.
The girls always say that my sketches are wordier; I don't do a lot of physical comedy. I've never been a fan of physical comedy, so I don't write that way. I write my sketches how I write my songs -- if I think it's funny and clever, maybe you will, too?
The girls know where to put the prop line in, they know where (the sketch) goes too long. They know how long the set-up is before there's a pay-off, and they can help me clean it up because that's what they do onstage. They whittle it down to a set-up and a punch, and I take longer to get to that punch than is necessary sometimes.