This week in our "State of the Arts" column, I previewed Lauren Weedman's upcoming Vermont tour of her one-woman show, "Bust" ("Lauren Weedman Brings Her 'Bust' to Vermont"). I did not have the space to mention what happened when I called to interview her, but I thought it was pretty funny, and the exchange confirmed that her comedy — like a lot of comedy, I suppose — comes from a hilariously fruitful insecurity.
It started with a mix-up. Promoter Jay Craven had "introduced" us via email, and Lauren and I agreed that I would call her at 1 p.m. last Wednesday. So I did. No answer — except Lauren's voicemail imploring me to leave a message. I did. Less than five minutes later she called back.
"Monica?" I recognized her voice.
"Uh, this is Pamela," I said.
"Oh, god, I'm so sorry! What is wrong with me?" Two seconds in and she's beating up on herself. Knowing her rep for this, I decided to tease her.
"That was going to be my first question, actually," I said. "What IS wrong with you?"
"I get that a lot," she replied without missing a beat. We both laughed.
Then we simultaneously realized the problem: I am on the East Coast, she's on the West. It had not occurred to either of us to adjust for time zones. For her, it was 10 a.m.
"I'll call you at 4, my time, then," I said. Lauren went to a rehearsal for her show in L.A. that night.
When I called at 4, she picked up immediately and was instantly like my best friend, and not even long-lost, as if we'd just spoken moments before about some embarrassing high school incident. No, as if we were, right that very minute, clinking Cosmos or getting pedicures together and bitching about our cellulite. "I tend to assume an intimacy with people that doesn't exist," she told me later. But, real or not, I rather liked it.
She told me about her family in Indiana — unflappable midwestern parents who are proud of her career, or at least grateful she's gainfully employed, but who are largely unimpressed with the tendrils of fame growing around their daughter. "I'm lucky they don't pay much attention to it," said Lauren, who has "done" her mother in her shows.
I asked what they thought of her book, A Woman Trapped in a Woman's Body. She laughed. "When I asked them that on the phone, there was this huge pause," she recalls, "and then they said, 'Well, you told us not to read it, Lauren.'"
In fact, she dedicated the book to her parents, and asked them right there on the page not to read it. Apparently they believed her. "'I was kidding!' she told them on the phone, whereupon her dad mumbled something about being kind of busy.
Lauren's mom is actually from Nebraska, and so am I. In fact, that's where I'll be the entire time she's touring Vermont next week. I'm really bummed to miss her, so I hope lots of you will go and tell me all about it later.
Me, I'll be reading A Woman Trapped in a Woman's Body and laughing my ass off in the plane.