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Interview: Funny Lady Allison Dunbar's Planting The Flag for SISTER GROUNDLING: MY COMEDY, MY CHOICE

Groundlings' Allison Dunbar and Emily Pendergrast are producing a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood September 16th

Interview: Funny Lady Allison Dunbar's Planting The Flag for SISTER GROUNDLING: MY COMEDY, MY CHOICE

When funny ladies Allison Dunbar and Emily Pendergrast decided to produce a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood September 16th, they simply picked up their phones and called their Sister Groundlings to participate. The roster for September 16th includes current main company members, as well as Groundlings alumni. Deanna Oliver directs Lauren Burns, Patty Guggenheim, Rachel Harris, Phyllis Katz, Lyric Lewis, Karen Maruyama, Laraine Newman, Cheri Oteri, Jessica Pohly, Ariane Price, Lisa Schurga, Annie Sertich, Cathy Shambley, Mindy Sterling, Christen Sussin and Michaela Watkins. I had the chance to catch the very busy Allison to respond to a few questions between her recent nuptials and the fundraiser.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Allison!

I'm happy to do it!

Was there a specific moment that motivated you and Emily to produce Sister Groundling: My Comedy, My Choice?

Interview: Funny Lady Allison Dunbar's Planting The Flag for SISTER GROUNDLING: MY COMEDY, MY CHOICE Emily and I heard the news about Roe V Wade being overturned and, like most women, we were shocked and outraged. A moment of despair quickly turned into, what the hell can we do about this? And brilliant Emily suggested, let's do a fundraiser show and support women's freedom to choose.

The general public has a misconception of Planned Parenthood as a singular cause. Would you describe all the different services Planned Parenthood provides?

Planned Parenthood does it all really, in terms of women's health. Breast cancer screenings, birth control, cervical exams- they take care of women's health issues. And they especially serve communities where women may not have the access or funds to private care. Planned Parenthood is a saving grace for all women.

Interview: Funny Lady Allison Dunbar's Planting The Flag for SISTER GROUNDLING: MY COMEDY, MY CHOICE Was it as easy as a phone call or a text in getting your impressive list of Groundlings alumni to participate in My Comedy, My Choice?

Absolutely. We all got on the horn and started calling the funny gals we know- anyone who wasn't out of state or coughing with COVID said, 'Name the time & place!'

What inspired you to choose your clever title My Comedy, My Choice?

Our dynamic director Deanna Oliver suggested the title! (Actually, you might want to fact check that!!)

What cosmic forces first brought you into The Groundlings' universe?

I came to the Groundlings on a date in 1998 and my face almost broke from laughing so hard. I still remember the show. I saw Edi Patterson (who would be here in a heartbeat but she's filming Gemstones), Jim Rash, Stephanie Courtney, Ariane Price, Jeremy Rowley, Karen Murayama, and Kevin Kirkpatrick. I ditched the date but got hooked on Groundlings forever.

Interview: Funny Lady Allison Dunbar's Planting The Flag for SISTER GROUNDLING: MY COMEDY, MY CHOICE Would you describe your path from fledgling newbie to main company member?

I would describe it as SLOW AF. I didn't honestly think I could possibly be as funny as those people I saw on stage. It took me a long time to accept that I am one of the clowns in town. So every level that I passed, I would think that my teacher must have gotten me confused, or passed me by mistake, hahahaha, and I would immediately take the level again. I slow tracked myself!

Any one Groundlings alumni really impress you or had an impact on your comedic talents?

All of them, honestly. It takes a very special kind of weirdo to do what we do, so I am blown away by everyone's style. Kevin Kirkpatrick was a big influence on me because he was always out in the audience, doing his structured improvs. Just riffing in the moment with whatever bizarre reactions he got from the audience- I really wanted to get on that train of breaking the audience's chops while making an idiot out of myself. I love the freedom and the reckless feeling of improvising, especially with the audience. I also got very inspired watching Edi Patterson because it feels like she literally runs towards the unknowing - she's brave and true and nut.

Interview: Funny Lady Allison Dunbar's Planting The Flag for SISTER GROUNDLING: MY COMEDY, MY CHOICE What's the most unexpected audience response you ever received from a Groundlings audience?

I got a thank you letter from a young woman. She was in a very dark place, she randomly was given a show ticket, and I guess something I performed made her laugh so hard it made her feel hopeful. It made her decide to sign up for class. That letter was the kindest gift to me; because I had been struggling with 'Why do I do this? I should be doing something meaningful.' And she made me realize, making people laugh is meaningful. I especially see that after going through a frigging worldwide pandemic, and so many other atrocities in our country. People need to laugh.

I and many others love to see Groundlings members break character on stage. What are your tricks to keep from doing that yourself?

You know, I used to NEVER break. I was so serious about that! But again, after this pandemic, I allow myself a little giggle if something really kills me. I TRY not to, but hey. I need to laugh a little too.

Interview: Funny Lady Allison Dunbar's Planting The Flag for SISTER GROUNDLING: MY COMEDY, MY CHOICE What's your secret in amassing over 30,000 followers on Instagram?

Bikini pics, cute rescue dogs, hot husband. :)

Have you been doing anything special the last few months? Fly to Italy, by chance?

Hahahaha! Flew to Italy, got married, came home, got married again and guess what? I got married officially by a beautiful and talented Sister Groundling - Can you guess who?

What's in the near future for Allison Dunbar?

I shot a movie called Maggie Moores starring Tina Fey (yay for funny women!) and Jon Hamm and I can't wait for you to see it!

Thank you again, Allison! I look forward to checking out your sisterhood August 16th.

We hope to see you there!

For tickets to this one-night fundraiser September 16th, click on the button below:

Regional Awards


From This Author - Gil Kaan

      Gil Kaan, a former Managing Editor of the now-defunct Genre magazine, has had the privilege of photographing and interviewing some major divas of film, television, and stage in... (read more about this author)


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