BWW Interviews: Kelly Warne Talks THE RESIDUALS, Stand-Up, Sex Therapy, and Bodily Functions
As a general journalistic rule, if you are going to be writing an article, a stand-up comic is a terrible interview subject if you are looking for controlled, measured responses. However, if you are ok with the interview occasionally going off the rails and having to turn the volume up really loud on the interview tape just to hear answers through the laughter, then go for it.
Recently, I spoke with actress, writer, and comedienne, Kelly Warne as part of my seemingly 100-part series on the incredible webseries THE RESIDUALS. Kelly bounces between numerous types of performance, from stand-up to stage to nearly every webseries you see online. In addition, she is in the process of filming her self-titled webseries, although, she refers to her writing as "a wash of insecurity."
THE RESIDUALS is a web-comedy about actors auditioning for commercials and the hilarity that invariably ensues. The series was created by husband and wife Michael Paul Smith and Gillian Pensavalle, and co-stars Nick Costa, all of which is information that will come in handy during the interview.
Kelly, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. I am kind of making my way through the entire cast of THE RESIDUALS.
In a completely non-prostitutional sense.
No, absolutely... well...
We shouldn't use words like "absolutely," because life is crazy and unpredictable.
You are exactly right. Anyway, I wanted to start by asking if there was some sort of rule that says that any webseries that films in the greater-New York City area, must feature you in some way?
(Laughs) It's an unwritten rule that I try to make people aware of. I try to just kind of "incept" anyone who's doing something to think, "You know what this needs? Not tighter editing, not a music score, it needs Kelly Warne. So, let's find out who that is, and let's get her in our webseries."
Obviously, we are primarily talking about THE RESIDUALS, but you've also done a few spots on SUBMISSIONS ONLY, which BroadwayWorld hosts, I've also seen you in THE COFFEE SHOP SHOW, and I saw you did something called DIRECTION, CASTERS, then a few others, and now you are filming your own webseries.
The way it's described is a woman, with no formal training, decides she wants to be a detective. Is that something that you have always harbored a secret desire to do?
No, not at all. My dad was a cop, so I guess there is this whole justice thing in my blood, but I just thought it would be funny to not be that great at something. We think of the bumbling detective as a trope we've seen before and I thought, "I would be excellent at bumbling."
I am describing the show to people as VERONICA MARS meets BRIDGET JONES. We've got the snark, the heart, and the compulsive eating; it's all in there. Basically, it's as semi-autobiographical as it gets, with doing a job I have no idea how to do in life, or in the show.
So, if there is no rule requiring your particpation, how do you make your way onto so many webseries?
The common thread of all these things is, I've gotten all of these things, because they are people that I know, who like me and like what I bring to the table artistically, and have been so lovely to write me into their projects. And I am just so lucky in that respect.
You talked earlier about the insecurity of writing your own show, but it seems to me like doing stand-up might be the most terrifying thing in the whole world...
Right you are Matt (laughs).
So, how do you psyche yourself up to do that on a regular basis?
I still want to throw up while I am doing it. So, I'm probably not the best person to speak to about getting over that. I guess it's like childbirth, like, "Oh god, this is coming. It hurts so bad, I'm just not going to do this today. Oh no, too late. They just called your name, so get on stage and have a godd*mn baby." It's terrifying. The first couple of jokes, you don't even recognize your voice, because you're standing outside your body, being like, "Ahhhhh, why is this happening to me?"
But then you settle into it I guess...right before you're done. That's why my closer is always the best joke; not because it's the best written, but because by that point, I've swallowed the bile enough to that I can actually form a sentence. That's a disgusting image (laughing). Buried the lede on that one.
Well, this is probably as good a time as any to transition back to THE RESIDUALS, since that is what we are supposed to be talking about.
Oh yea, you've got to bring me back, otherwise, I will verbal diarrhea all over your phone.
Good thing we're like 1,000 miles apart. You talked about knowing Mike and Gillian before THE RESIDUALS, so how did you guys meet, and how did they get you involved in the show?
I met them through Nick actually. Nick and I have been friends for about six years; we worked together at a Cheesecake Factory on Long Island, and then remained friends when we moved to the city. Nick and I just get each other. We have very similar senses of humor, and he was living with Mike at the time. And soon after that, Mike started dating Gillian, and then when Gillian and I met, it was like the love that only two heterosexual females can have for each other before people start asking questions. (laughs) I just adore them, they are wonderful, wonderful people.
Then they mentioned that they were doing THE RESIDUALS, and they called me and Nick to their apartment and said, "Look, this is what we're doing, we want you to be a part of it, we just want to have this thing that features people we like."
They are very much of the "let's all rise together" mentality. "Let's all help each other out, and we'll just go up the ladder to fame and fortune together." (laughs)
Good plan. Good plan.
Yea, I'm probably paraphrasing that. I'm sure Mike Smith is more... he has a better way at communicating ideas to people without resorting to poop, or bile, or other bodily functions.
Yea, we've gone there quite a bit already.
I know, now it's a thing. I've got to ride that theme.
I think in comedy you guys call that a "callback," right?
There it is. You don't even need me, you know all about comedy.
Well, let's not get carried away. So, it sounds like you are going to disappoint me, but everyone I've spoken to about THE RESIDUALS has nothing but great things to say about the experience, and I was kind of hoping to at least find someone who is willing to spill some dirt.
Don't you worry, Matt. Do I have a story for you? No, no I don't. I could make something up rght now if you want, but I can't lie to you. To be doing this work with people that you enjoy, and the people they brought on set? People who I have seen in commercials, but never met. Even when I was doing scenes with Emily Tarver (featured in the first picture in the article), who has been in a bigillion commercials, I was like, "Why am I in a show about commercial auditioning, with this chick, who has been in a million commercials?"
The waiting room on that show was the place to be, because everyone was so delightful, and there were no egos, there were no ass**les on that set; it was just super fun. I would hang out even after I was done shooting for the day, just to hang out with my friends and laugh.