Lizzie Spellman is a member of new Philly Improv Theater House Team Codenamed Brandybuck. They make their debut this Friday at 8:30.
How and why did you get into comedy? I was a weird ass (can I say ass?) kid. I was the one running around (in school) literally dressed in clown costumes. It wasn’t even that I wanted attention, I just wanted to have fun. My parents immediately got me into theatre, and I quickly discovered that comedy was what I liked best.
How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that? I think I’m pretty character driven. When improvising, I sometimes tend to gravitate toward playing the dumb girl, old lady, or little girl characters because they just make me laugh in the real world as well. It’s also fun to come into a scene later as a big loud football player. I love seeing female comedians playing polar opposites of themselves (Tracy Ullman and Amy Poehler specifically). It makes their characters all the more surprising. I strive to be that creative.
Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you? I really haven’t lived or performed in Philly long enough to have a favorite performance spot yet. There are so many different venues I wanna check out!
Do you have a single favorite moment in Philly comedy or one that stands out? The first Philly show I ever did was The Gross Show, where I played a rape victim who was strangely okay with it. I like to start things off classy when I move to a new city.
Do you have any sort of creative process that you use with your writing or your performance? When I see a person that has some sort of quirk to them, I like to write it down in a little black book I carry around. I also like to write down weird things people will randomly say. These little things can help shape an amazing character that I might not have originally came up with off the top of my head. It gives that character a little extra that might make the audience say “Oh, I totally know a person just like that!”.
What is it about improv (or stand-up, or sketch, whatever you do…) that draws you to it? Honestly, I just like being funny and I like to play. It’s almost like therapy for me. Even if I’m having a crummy day, if I practice or perform improv later on I feel a million times better. There’s no way you can feel like crap after a night of laughing and making other people laugh. It’s my yoga.
Do you have any favorite performers in the Philly scene? Why are they your favorites? Discovering the comedy scene in Philly has been amazing. There are so many talented performers that have blown me away. I really enjoy the Amie and Kristen Show, as well as Jessica Tandy. Both of these duos are so smart and creative, and I am blown away every time I watch them perform.
Do you have any bad experiences doing comedy that you can share? A particularly bad bombing or even an entire show gone haywire? Hmmm…well I first started improvising in New Jersey with this one improv group of dudes that had been around for a while, who decided that they needed a girl in their group. Anywho, one night they decided it would be a good idea to smoke (yes children, illegal kind) before a show. I, being a silly college kid at the time, went along with it. BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE!!! I surprised I even made complete sentences. The first short form game we did, I think I repeated the same word 10 times in a row! It was absolutely one of the most embarrassing moments I’ve had on stage, and I totally learned my lesson.
What do you think the Philly comedy scene needs to continue to grow? What’s great is that so many people are getting out there and creating new shows and finding all kinds of ways of showcasing their comedy. I think that is the best way to continue the growth.
Do you have any personal goals for the future as you continue to perform comedy? I would love to start writing more. I would definitely want to take a stab at sketch or stand up. Eventually, I wanna know that I’ve at least tried different aspects of comedy. Who knows….I could be a genius! (but probably not).