by Ryan Meehan
Lisa Landry came up through the famed New York City comedy circuit to become an audience favorite at clubs, colleges and theaters across the country. Landry has appeared on ABC’s “Comics Unleashed”, CBS’s “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” & “The Bonnie Hunt Show” on NBC. She starred in her own half hour Special, “Comedy Central Presents Lisa Landry.” And a nationwide vote catapulted her special to third place out of 100 top comedians in Comedy Central’s annual “Standup Showdown”. She’s the first woman to ever place in the top three. Landry’s CD Put Your Keys in the Key Bowl was selected by iTunes as one of the “Top 10 Best Comedy CDs” of 2008. She is one of a handful of comedians chosen by TBS for their “We Know Funny” series of stand-up style commercials. She’s also appeared on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” and co-starred on NBC’s “Law and Order: SVU.” The Louisiana native was featured on “Brett Butler’s Southern Belles of Comedy” DVD. She did commentary for E!’s “Forbes Top 100 Celebrities” and CMT’s “20 Greatest Redneck Moments,” where Landry was chosen as a “Top Pick” by TV Guide. Her guest appearances include Fox’s “Morning Show with Mike and Juliet,” the “Bob and Tom Show,” Fox News’ “Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld” and the “Hollyweird” segment on MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country”. For four years, Landry was a comedy writer for US Weekly Magazine. Punchline Magazine describes Landry best: “She’s an incredibly skilled comedian, a controlling presence onstage and a master of pacing and delivery.” I am very excited to have Lisa Landry as my guest today in 7 questions.
RM: Who was the first comic you can remember seeing on television that immediately commanded your attention and demanded a heightened sense of awareness for the art form? Was there any particular joke or set of jokes that you specifically remember from that performance that just blew you away yet still left you wanting more?
LL: I don’t know if I felt a heightened sense of awareness for comedy as an art form, cuz I was in elementary school, but I was blown away the first time I saw George Carlin’s HBO special with the Seven Dirty Words bit. My classmates and I would recite it to each other in its entirety, on the jungle gym at recess, trying to remember not to get caught up in the fun and scream the curse words so loudly a teacher might notice and write us up.
RM: You recently resumed Tweeting back in March after a five month hiatus from the site…Was there any particular reason for your absence from the Twitterverse; and do you typically use the social networking sites more for promotion of live shows than a means to test out new material?
LL: Twitter scares me. It seems somebody’s constantly getting offended by another person’s random thought and the blowback just doesn’t seem worth it. I also think condensing our ideas into 140 characters or less restricts full communication, and I don’t see the benefit of that, either. I am on Twitter primarily to promote my shows, on Facebook because I enjoy the interaction with friends and fans there. I’m also online looking for love. I have personal profiles on Christian Mingle, Perfect Slave and DSW.
RM: Where do you stand on the use of the term “comedienne” in the world of comedy today? Do you feel that it’s necessary to have an entirely separate slice of nomenclature assigned to a set of comics that just so happen to be females, or that it can be limiting because it places you on what appears to be a different playing field?
LL: Most people under 35 just say “comedian”. Kind of how only people over 60 tend to say “lady doctor” or “female attorney”. I reckon if you’re French, Haitian or standing in Quebec, “comedienne” would be the correct term, no harm no foul, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m a comedian. No need to qualify, and I also have a vagina. Pretty sure the audience can figure it out for itself.
RM: What’s the most bizarre thing that’s ever happened to you on stage? What did you do to work your way out of it; and if it happened tonight do you think you would react in the same manner? Why or why not?
LL: The most bizarre thing that’s ever happened to me onstage was during a bar gig in Winchester, West Virginia. I was featuring for a particularly nasty human being who got into a fight with the crowd, particularly one audience member sitting at the bar, which he had thrown out for talking during his segment of the show. Turns out the dude who got bounced was one of the biggest coke dealers in town, and he was very generous with his product, so the entire audience turned on the headliner, now that they knew they were losing out on a bump or two that evening. Next thing I know, the bar owner is lighting him early, the audience is booing him and the manager approaches me, “Lisa, we want you to go get the headliner’s car in the parking lot, pull it around to the alley, and drive him back to the hotel.” I told her, “I’ve been drinking. We’re staying at the same hotel and he drove. I can’t drive his car.” She says, “Just pull it into the alley then. We can’t send him out to the parking lot, he’ll get his ass kicked. But the guy who got kicked out thought you’re very funny. So we don’t think he’ll hit you.”
I moved the car to the alley. Team player. And even though I don’t like the guy who closed that night, I’d probably do it again, so he wouldn’t get his ass beat. Although it would be probably be more fun to watch than his set.
RM: You do a lot of shows in the Midwest…Is there any difference in how audiences in different areas of that region respond to chunks of your act? Would you typically feel comfortable doing the same set in Milwaukee that you would in Austin?
LL: Yes. Same act. All the time. I feel very comfortable doing the same set in different cities.
RM: How much crowd work do you typically do during a headlining set? Do you feel that crowd work is something that you have to set aside a certain time in your set to do, or is it more of a go-to option if things aren’t working as well as you would like them to with your prepared material?
LL: The amount of crowd work I do depends on the audience. I love it! It’s like being with a new lover for the first time, you don’t know what’s going to happen next and you can’t wait to take the ride. If it’s done right, things will get a little wild, there will be some screaming and pounding on furniture, a lot of heavy and erratic breathing. Everyone’s smiling and out of breath when you’re done.
RM: Are there any subjects that you choose to avoid discussing in your comedy, either because you feel that not everyone in the room will be able to relate to a specific topic or due to the fact that you don’t want to cross that line at any given time during your set?
LL: Sick kids. There’s nothing funny to me about children with cancer or wearing helmets if they’re not on a bike.
RM: How would you best describe your personal relationship with the comedic writing process? Do you feel that a lot of your joke ideas come to you during your routine day-to-day activities; or do you feel that a majority of your material comes to fruition when you sit down with the intention of focusing on new bits?
LL: My process it to jot stuff in my phone all day/evening and then work on the material first thing in the next day, see where and how it fits together, and then try it out on stage.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2015 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
LL: I am taping my fourth comedy CD. I also plan on curing cancer and learning to play the maracas.
Official Website: http://www.lisalandry.com/
Lisa on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisa-Landry/352465810017
Lisa on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisalandry
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