Friday, July 31, 2015

Doomtown Feature Interview: Stephanie Webb, Comedian

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Karma Girl: How did you get into the comedy/improv biz? Did it have something to do with rubber chickens?

Stephanie Webb: I've always had a passion for comedy. A few years ago I even started writing sketches for fun, I had the itch, as they say, but I didn't know where to go from there.  Not too long after I was working as a hostess at a restaurant, one of the pastry chefs there invited me to her improv graduation at a place called The New Movement Theater. I did some research on the place and within a month I was signed up for classes. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Oh and oddly enough, the aforementioned pastry chef was actually a live rubber chicken, a very talented one I might add.

KG: What is improv, and how does one do it?

SW: First let me say that improv is difficult, and it definitely takes formal training to be good at it! Basically one person will go on stage, and one or more people will follow. The person who first walks up will usually initiate a scene by saying a short, unrehearsed line, something like, "I can't believe you're late again, Charles."  It is up to everyone on stage to build a story around that initial statement. It's important to have an open mind and accept others' ideas because if you're the initiator and you have a preconceived idea that Charles is late because he peed his pants on the bus and your teammate wants Charles to be late because he was saving the planet from aliens, the scene won't work. It's a technique called, "yes, and". And I don't feel like explaining it, that's what Google is for:)

KG: Do you write your own routines and, if so, where do you get your material?

SW: I write my own stand up routines, but like I said, improv has to be off the cuff, so writing scenes ahead of time is a HUGE NO NO! I do, however, get inspired by different things from my life. My hometown for instance inspires a ton of my jokes when I write stand-up, and I'm sure it plays a big part in the choices I make during improv scenes. One of my opening jokes is, "To give you an idea of what my hometown is like, imagine if a banjo was a person, and it had sex with the Insane Clown Posse and they had 60,000 kids." So yea, my Facebook feed is a treasure trove of possible material.

KG: What do you do when the audience isn’t laughing at your jokes? Suffer in silence or start break dancing?

SW: I have found that most audiences want to laugh, and New Orleans people are typically laid back and polite. However if I get a bad reaction, I like to line each audience member up and slap them as hard as I can in the face. Then I go home, scream into a pillow, and make passive-aggressive comments to my boyfriend.

KG: How do you deal with hecklers and, on a related note, how many bodies are buried in your backyard? How do hecklers work as compost, anyway?

SW: I haven't encountered a heckler yet. I'm pretty quick on my feet with comebacks so hopefully murder won't be necessary.

KG: Where do you see your career heading in another five years?

SW: My ultimate goal would be to write comedy or perform comedy and get paid for it! For now though I'm just happy that I get to make people laugh on a regular basis.

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