Published on March 31st, 2018 | by Biz Books
The Biz Interview: Lauren Maul
Mixing equal parts creativity, comedy, and rage, New York-based comedian Lauren Maul has taken a stand to bring a voice to the allegations of abuse that have rocked Hollywood and the subsequent “apologies” that have resulted from some of the entertainment world’s most notable men.
Apologies from Men: The Album is the result. We talked to Lauren Maul about this project.
You’ve been described as a “bit-maker”. Can you start by telling us about what you do and how you got started?
I’ve been making “bits”- little kooky nuggets of art- since childhood. I love writing, performing, drawing, making puppets, making films, and composing music. At first I thought I had to choose just one thing and do it really well- but then I realized why not just combine all those loves to make my own kind of art?
Apologies from Men: The Album is your newest project. What inspired you to put this project together and what can you share about the experience and process of creating it?
A lot of my comedic projects come out of a place of female rage. Since I’ve learned that no one listens to the angry woman- even when she’s right- I’ve had to express that anger in a more palatable way. I was enraged to learn about the abuse that men like Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Louis CK and many (many) more have inflicted over the years. But I knew I couldn’t just get onstage and yell and cry about it- so I looked for a glimmer of humor in the ugliness and found the ridiculousness of the men’s statements to be completely laughable. So in order to highlight the absurdities of their statements, I turned those statements into comedy songs. I looked for the most offensive phrases in their statements and turned those lines into catchy choruses that audiences can sing along with. Then I turned the rest of the statement into metered verses- and POOF! the songs were born.
What can people expect from it and what do you want to get them thinking about?
Each song is a different genre- there’s a dramatic piano ballad, a dance track, a country song, and even a pseudo-Christian pop ditty called “I Do Not Believe” by Charlie Rose. The music videos star paper doll representations of the men and feature lots of glitter and googly eyes.
One of your past projects is the web series Amazon Reviews: The Musical. What would you say are the three most important ingredients for an effective web series?
First, a solid script is more important than fancy equipment. The best camera in the world can’t save a sh*t script. Second, get talented actors that give great face- and make sure those faces are diverse. Representing a variety of genders, races, orientations, ages, abilities, etc. makes for a more accessible series. And most important: the cast and crew should have fun making the project. If people are unhappy you can see it in the footage, so treat your people well if you want joy to jump off the screen. This means paying them, feeding them, and listening to them.
“Inducing smiles and laughter is as close to alchemy as you can get.”
What is the most rewarding thing about creating comedy?
Inducing smiles and laughter is as close to alchemy as you can get.
What is the biggest misconception about comedians?
That they are functioning human beings. So many comedians I know are complete messes, myself included.
You’re a fixture on the New York comedy scene and an instructor at The Peoples Improv Theater. In your opinion, what is it about New York that makes it such an enduring artistic hub?
Since it’s so expensive to live here, it adds a layer of anxiety and pressure to everything- which makes people in the arts take their hustle very seriously. When I lived in Chicago, the vibe was more like, eh, whatever, let’s do some half-assed shows. But in NYC it is showtime, baby! People here work harder to put on better shows because the stakes are higher here.
What’s the most important lesson about comedy that you’ve learned?
Treat everyone kindly. Lots of people are talented but very few people are genuinely nice.
What books and authors have been influential in your career so far?
I love Crazy Salad by Nora Ephron– her wit and descriptions bring me so much joy. Also reading Tom Robbins in high school awakened me to the idea that the world is a weird, mystical and marvelous place.
What other projects are you working on right now?
Right now I’m planning a mini-tour of the album and also getting ready for the next installment of my variety show “Bitchcraft”. So many costume changes and songs to rehearse!
Where can people find out more about you online?
Thanks for the fun questions!
Thanks to Lauren Maul for speaking with us!
For more information about Apologies From Men, LaurenMaul.org.