Timmi Lasley talks about LadyFace's An Office Christmas Party
Like her sketch-comedy counterparts in Denver troupe LadyFace, Timmi Lasley is a versatile performer. The sketch comedian has been doing stand-up for the last three years, after paying her dues as a stage actor and getting a degree in theater. The acting expertise came in especially handy this year, when the women of LadyFace were asked to write, produce and star in a long-form production, An Office Christmas Party, for Spark Theater, where it will open tomorrow, December 6, at 8 p.m.
In advance of An Office Christmas Party's premiere, Lasley talked to Westword about what brought her to comedy in the first place, and why doing open-mike at the infamously terrifying Squire Lounge is more about denial than bravery.
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- The Squire Lounge's open-mike comedy night ending after a seven-year run
- Squire Lounge Comedy Night: It lives! It lives!
Westword: Can you talk a little about your background as a performer and what you bring to LadyFace?
Timmi Lasley: In reference to LadyFace, I do everything that everybody else does. (Laughs) I have my degree in acting and I've been doing shows here in Denver since I graduated. When I started doing stand-up, that really petered off, because I wanted to focus on this new challenge. I've been doing stand-up for about three years.
When Mara (Wiles of LadyFace) wanted to start something up and the sketch group came along, I was all for it -- it was leaning more down my alley in terms of themes and scripts and things like that. I was always called a "character actor" in school, which I hated at the time, because you know, you want to be the lead. But now I realize the characters are really where the fun and the challenge is. The leads get a lot of the responsibility and weight of the production, whereas the characters get to go in and play. With sketch it's like, everyone gets to be the character actor.
Doing this show is really stepping closer back to my roots, which is nice -- but also a challenge for me. I've never been on the production side of a show, or written a show. I've never had to have my eye on the staging of it, with sound cues and lighting cues -- the actual mechanics. I have a huge appreciation for the amount of time that goes into actually putting a show up.
What brought you from the stage to stand-up?
Like a lot of stand-up comics, I had some huge life changes happen. I broke up with a boyfriend of five-and-a-half years, and we had lived together for four. My whole life had changed; everything was turned around. Everything I had been doing for the last four years or so was completely different. So it really gave me an opportunity to try new things. I think it was the freeing.
My friend Taylor Gonda (co-host of the These Things Matter podcast) -- she and I went to school together -- sent me an e-mail and was like, my friend and I dared each other to do comedy at the Squire Lounge, come out! I had never heard of the Squire, never even thought about how people get started doing comedy.
I go to this place and it's crowded - it's one of those Squire nights where no one is paying attention and you can barely move and you're straining to hear the people on stage. They're bombing one after the other and the other. I don't know why it entranced me so much, but I kind of fell in love with it. I went back the next week and the next week and the next, and I just watched for six months. I started to make a few friends and hear about other shows and open mics and I would go watch there.
When I started to realize it wasn't all like the Squire, I thought, huh, maybe I can do this, maybe I could try it? It took six months of watching. I did my first time at the Lion's Lair, in preparation for my second time at the Squire Lounge. That's kind of how it started.
People always say, you're so brave for doing it! And let me tell you -- you're only brave the first time. After that, it's denial that's taking over. Its just denial like, oh yeah, yeah that went fine! It was great. I am good enough to do this again.