This post was originally written for Talk Nerdy With Us.
Let’s talk about your series. For people who don’t know about it, how would you describe The Laura Show?
I would say that it is a young SNL [esque], female-driven comedy. It is all girl power. We objectify men the way that women have been objectified for ages. We poke fun at dating and social media and [really look at it and] say “This is how we date now? This is how we communicate and interact with each other?” So we slow it down and give a voice to the insanity that is our life.
That was something that made me happy as the show started airing, people would come up to me and tell me, “that is so real. I made my boyfriend start watching this so he could see what girls were like when he isn’t around.” It’s not supposed to be the reality. It is all fully-scripted, but it’s meant to be relatable. I want people, when they watch the show, to think, “Oh that’s me and my friends” or “that was my best friend in college. She used to do that, and it was hilarious.” That kind of thing. I want people to recognize the people from their lives in the characters on the show that we have created. And that makes me really happy when that happens.
Yes. I was describing my two favorite sketches from Season 1 to my roommate before we did this interview. One is the Modern Day Fairytale one, where you guys are scrolling through Tinder, and the other is the Post-Breakup Social Media War. I laugh out loud everytime I watch them.
Yes. I love those. One of my favorite ones still to this day is, we nicknamed it “Peaches and Wine” but I think we called it “Two Broke Girls,” and it was myself and my best friend in real life Ashley, who is also one of the series regulars on the show. [The whole sketch] is just us, sitting on the couch, eating frozen fruit, wearing our yoga pants with our hair in topknots, talking about boys, just shooting the breeze and just being completely real. It’s literally two girls sitting on a couch talking [laughs]. But, it’s entertaining because when you stop and listen to it, you realize, “oh my gosh. That’s my life. Did they spy on my life? That’s me and my girlfriends; that’s what we do.” I think everybody’s life is really funny. I just went on a trip with one of my girlfriends this weekend in San Francisco for a charity event, and if people didn’t take their lives so seriously, they would be highly entertained.
Off the inspiration thing, you take things from your own life. Do your cast mates get input in the ideas behind the sketches?
Where it has melded into, I’ve put friends onto the show, the one who are actors that I’ve been friends with for years, and then there are actors who I was friendly with and respected but have become better friends with them through the show. So I think because it is such a friendly, home environment, I mean we talk all the time. We’re always texting and on the phone [with each other]. So things will come up, just naturally in our conversations and I’ll be like, “Can I just jot that down quickly?” or “Can you just pause your story?” I’m constantly trying to be a sponge in my day to day life but also trying to be respectful. I don’t want people to be like “she’s only my friend because I provide inspiration for that show.” [laughs]
What is the writing process like? Do you write each episode one at a time or do you write them together?
I write as the season progresses so that I learn our new actors’ strengths and so that I can start writing towards that. For one example, one of our actors last year had two expressions, and he would say them in his jest, natural lingo when he was talking. As I started writing, I started writing with him in mind, unconscious and unaware that I was doing it. I think the actors enjoy it because several of them came back to me and were like, “oh my gosh. You wrote that special for me.” It’s much easier to write with an actor in mind rather than trying to write a character and then meld an actor with that.
Describe the shooting process. How long does it take you to film one episode?
Last season, we did things a little bit differently. This season we are shooting three episodes at a time. Just because we have certain actors, I would say four of our actors are currently on other TV shows, or they are actively auditioning. With that, we shoot about two to three sketches in a day. We shoot very quickly. Last season we had two soap actors on, and they were like, “you shoot faster than a soap opera,” [laughs] which I haven’t been on a soap opera but they are notorious for being super, super fast. We normally have ten hour days, and we film here in LA. We’re branching out from the locations we were shooting in last season too.
How many episodes are in a season?
We had 25 episodes last season, and it was too much [laughs]. Being a perfectionist, the better that the show got and the more press that it got, I was like “well I have the ideas. Let’s film it. Let’s keep the season going.” This season we’re doing 15 episodes. It’s more manageable. It’s still a sizable season.
You and your castmates have such great chemistry. How did you go about casting the other actors? Were they friends of yours? Do you have a casting director that found them?
Everyone that was on last season I had either worked with prior or they had come personally vetted from someone I had worked with previously. So there were several people who I knew socially that were actors, and then there were ones that I had choreographed for them in a musical, but I had seen their acting, and I had worked with them, so I knew how their minds worked. That’s one thing that’s tricky about being friends with your cast mates because I have to constantly be switching hats between Laura the friend, Laura the fellow actor, and Laura the director [laughs]. It takes a very special kind of actor to then differentiate those three hats and roles that I have to slip into.
Now that you have one season behind you, what lessons did you learn and how are you applying them to this season? Any lessons that you wish you had known at the beginning?
As an actor, I would say that I learned that you have to take time for yourself as an artist and not be rushed. There were times last season where I felt rushed because I was trying to be respectful of everyone’s time and to be sure things kept on schedule. It was hard to keep that balance. This summer, I tried to work on that. At the end of the day, I’m doing this show because I love it but also because it’s an excellent vehicle to showcase me, my acting, my writing, and my comedy. So that was something I learned as an actor, to take the time for myself and slow down.
I also learned that sometimes people are getting tired on set and, this is more from a creator point of view, you have to make sure that your cast is having fun. We have a sign now that we put up every day on whichever set were at that says, “Are you having fun?” If you are having a good time in a scene, that is going to live and breathe and survive through the footage and through the screen or monitor whenever anyone is watching it. That is something we try to live and die by now on the show. If everyone can’t say that they had fun, then we are going to roll again and do another take at it.
Lastly, as a writer, I learned that it can always be tighter and better. A mentor of mine put it really well. He said, “TV and movies are life with all of the boring parts cut out.” Last season, learning my footing in writing, I was writing in a very conversational way, which I liked, but sometimes it had a lag to it, and I could have trimmed the fat off it a little bit more. This season, all of the scripts have gone through three or four trims and proofings and punching up the jokes. I have a goal of always trying to beat the page and get more jokes on there.
What can fans expect from Season 2?
There is obviously the whole dating dynamics and the whole girlfriend-friendship comedy aspect. No characters that you saw last season are coming back, like the “smoking hot” characters. We’re not going to come back and try to replicate the magic.
We’re having Matt Rozel, who just finished his run on Broadway in “Les Mis,” come back and join the cast in a more full-time position which is nice.
This season, we are also taking on the Real Housewives franchise, and we are going to destroy it [laughs]. It’s going to be called “Real Housewives All-Stars” but we are not portraying one cast. We are portraying a fictional character that I’ve created that embodies the entire franchise with one woman. One woman will represent Atlanta, one will represent Beverly Hills, one will represent OC, one will represent New York, and one will represent New Jersey. It has been a beast to work on, but it’s going to be amazing the way that it is coming together and the way that it is looking.
What do you want viewers to get out of watching The Laura Show?
There is so much negativity and violence in the world. Everybody needs a laugh; everyone needs something that can brighten their day or their week. So I hope that people watching the show are affected in a positive way. I hope that it brings a smile to their face. I hope it is something they want to send over to their friends, one because it made them happy but two because it reminded them of someone. I want it to be like old comedies of the “Friends” generation where it’s entertaining; it’s fun, it made people happy. I also hope that it teaches people not to take themselves quite so seriously. We could all be reminded of that sometimes.
Finally, our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us, so I always like to ask the question: what brings out your inner nerd? What do you “nerd out” over?
I nerd out over two things. I freak out over shoes, but I would say the thing I really nerd out over is I love watching videos on YouTube of cute little animals. One of my favorites is goats in pajamas. Like, I’m good for a good ten minutes or more. But nobody knows they are there which is the saddest thing in the world.