This week Julie Klausner has brought her Cabaret Situation show to Joe's Pub, which you can (and should) still catch tonight and tomorrow night. Klausner is busy these days, and just finished working on a scripted comedy pilot produced by Amy Poehler, while continuing to host her How Was Your Week? podcast, AND plan a week of live shows like this. Below, Jake Fogelnest fires a series of questions at her for us.
Hello, Julie! What’s up with this new Joe’s Pub show? You’re doing all new material? Do you know Louis C.K. writes a new act every year? He just throws out all his stuff and starts from scratch! What are some songs you’re singing? Are you wearing a black t-shirt on stage like Louis C.K.? Hi Jake! I'll answer these extremely good questions in the order they were asked.
1) It's a great new show I wrote that features songs and stories and videos and 4 different unitard changes, and jokes. It's more of a rock show than a cabaret show right now because this incarnation is basically showtune-free. In it, I speak very frankly about things that upset me, but I also make a lot of jokes so my angst is transformed, as though by magic, into glorious comedic entertainment. I also chose new songs to sing with the band, led by musical director Jon Spurney, and with new accompanying videos by Rachel Lichtman. Rachel is a genius, and her videos keep the show funny and make sure the songs have a point of view so I'm not singing something just to sing. Rachel made a video to play on stage when I cover Bobbie Gentry's FANCY that features a salute to actresses who have played hookers with hearts of gold on the silver screen. Hey, wait! That sentence had both "Gold" and "Silver" in it! Hubba hubba! Rachel also edited a video from TOOTSIE so it looks like Dustin Hoffman is really into Charles Durning. Like, she made Hoffman nod "yes" when Durning proposes to him in the movie? It's pretty hilarious and highly misleading.
2) See above, but pretty much!
3) I did know that!
4) That's crazy!
5) I'm covering Alice Cooper AND Judy Collins's version of HELLO HOORAY, and Stephen Bishop's IT MIGHT BE YOU from the motion picture TOOTSIE. Plus, many more! Such as LITTLE PERSON, a song written by Charlie Kaufman and Jon Brion, as heard in the blockbuster superhero action comedy SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK. The only 2 songs left from the original lineup of this show are GOODNIGHT SAIGON and the BEN FOLDS/STEPHEN SCHWARTZ medley, because America demands both of those.
Have you seen Avatar? My friend Jon wanted me to ask you, “What’s up with those blue guys?” I have not seen Avatar. If I'm correct about your friend Jon, he is Twitter user @fart? Hi @fart.
Can you tell me about working with Jodi Lennon as a director on the Joe’s Pub show? She’s amazing and the world needs to know! Jodi Lennon *IS* amazing, and the world *DOES* need to know. I've never had a director like Jodi before. She's a coach and a collaborator and a blessing from heaven above, which is, I've decided after joining a new religion, where Satan lives. Jodi Lennon is from Chicago and was in EXIT 57 with many funny people, and she is a wonderful improviser and writer who is a very strong artist in her own right, but also a true nurturer of message, and will never let you beat yourself up too much. I really drew on her strength and confidence in me when I was putting this show together, because it was nerve-wracking to start from scratch with this project, which I did. And then there's the transition from writing the script to learning my lines and gearing up to perform it. That process involves putting aside whatever weird feelings I have around acting like an idiot, so I can get over that and go on stage without being self conscious. Jodi was essential for every stage of this process, and she's also a fabulous editor, so I could always count on her to help me hone the script, from a single word down to a whole piece.
You recently shot a pilot for USA with Billy Eichner for Difficult People. I’ve seen it and it’s terrific, but let’s pretend like I don’t know everything about it for the sake of this interview! How did it go? Can you tell us anything about it? Sure! The pilot went great and I love the end result so much. I truly hope it leads to something wonderful. And by something wonderful, I mean a TV series. In Difficult People, Billy and I play bitter best friends who are trying to make a go of it in the New York comedy world as they constantly watch their friends become famous. Also, Andrea Martin plays my mom in it, and she is the queen of not only this planet, but of outer space as well. It is a great thing and I hope America gets to see it. I've mentioned America a few times in this interview so far. You know why? Because I'm a patriot, that's why!
How excited are you for Jerry Ferrara’s podcast? You know Turtle from Entourage? He’s doing a podcast now. His first guest is Emmanuelle Chriqui and they’re gonna discuss “The Friend Zone.” That sounds horrible! Thank you for letting me know about it!
#JimmyJazz is doing very well. When I left the apartment this afternoon, he was lying on my #bed. I was changing the sheets a little before that, and he said to the world, "Hey! Guess what, world! I'm ready for a nap-ola!" And he plopped down on the bare mattress shortly after that, and, guess what Jake? He wasn't movin'! He did NOT care that I had my own bed-making agenda. Here is a photo of his face, paws, tums, toes, and body.
How are you coping in this dark time while Tom Scharpling is on hiatus from “The Best Show”? Not well! But, I've been going back into The Best Show archives, and it's like Groundhog Day or Click or... is there a movie that allows you to re-experience things you've already experienced, but in reverse? There should be. Anyway, the other day I got to hear Tom's story about his Twitter feud with Garry Shandling and Spike complained about Ann Romney's botox. I miss the Best Show so much. It's unfair that Seth MacFarlane's wild west movie came out while Tom was off the air.
For awhile you were pretty obsessed with Jethro Tull. Lately, you’ve been in more of an Alice Cooper zone? What has caused this shift in priorities? Is there room for both prog and monster glam in our day to day lives? I think there is! Well look at you, Jake! You went and answered your own question! I, too, think there is absolutely enough room in a healthy day to day life for lots and lots of #Tull AND Alice Cooper. #Tull rules and Alice Cooper should be worshipped like The Great Satan! (Remember I told you I was a Satanist earlier?)
What do you think the Cannibal Cop would do in HIS Joe’s Pub show? I would say "eat a woman," but we both know that the Cannibal Cop was all talk. When you step back and really look at him, Gilberto "Cannibal Cop" Valle was really terrible at two things in his life: being a cop, and being a cannibal. I can't imagine hehe would be any better at follow through when it comes to the art of solo performance. Therefore, I believe that he would improvise, ASSSSCAT style, monologues from his day-to-day life that he thought were funny. Maybe he'd do some crowd work "How many ladies here tonight are delicious?" I still can't believe he's taking over for Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
I’m cute, right? So cute! Maybe one day you'll get a chance to kiss!
The Julie Klausner Cabaret Situation runs at Joe's Pub tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ($20-25) are available online and at The Public Theater Box Office (425 Lafayette, NYC, 212-967-7555). Enter the code FANCY for $5 off.