INTERVIEWS

Carmen Lynch: Always Ready to Kill.

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carmen lynchCarmen Lynch will be appearing at Rooster T. Feathers on January 2-4th. From her multiple appearances on Late Night with David Letterman to her weekly web series Apt C3, Carmen Lynch is establishing herself as a bilingual, multi-talented, international stand-up comic.

 

SUSC: Hey Carmen. How is it going?

Carmen: Pretty good. It’s still early.

There’s plenty of time for things to go wrong.

Exactly.

Are you in NYC?

I live in Brooklyn.

You grew up on the East Coast, looking forward to winter?

I hate it. I don’t want to be here this time of year. I want to leave, but yet I stay. I’ll be very happy to come out there in a few weeks.

How come you haven’t done what everyone else does and move to LA?

Because so many people come back. I think I will eventually. I’m waiting for something more to motivate me besides the weather. The comedy is pretty solid in New York and I like it and that’s what keeps me here.

Would you say a lot of comics you know go to LA and come back?

I’m kind of joking, but there are people I know who do come back. There seems to be more stand-up opportunities in New York. But I have nothing against LA, if there was work, I would be out there.

How do you feel about Northern California?

I was born in Monterey. I get it. I remember how beautiful it was.

As a baby? It must have had a great impact on you.

I have a really good memory, even back then.  I’m taking the drive up the coast to Rooster T. Feathers. I try to enjoy California as much as possible when I am out there.

Do you feel there is an increase in the amount of comics in New York over the last decade?

There’s always more. I don’t know if the numbers are actually increasing over the years, but comics always come and go, so there seems like there is always new comics here. We have so many great comics now that it motivates me to keep writing, and that’s really good. I feel like there are more comics all over the world now. Whenever I travel internationally, the big cities always have comedy clubs. It’s become a huge thing.

When you started off in New York City were you a lone wolf, or did you have a group of people you came up with?

I did a lot of stuff by myself, I’m kind of a loner sometimes. I came up with Michael Brill, we always were doing shows together. I don’t seem him much now. After a while everyone branches out. It’s a cool business because you have so many colleagues or co-workers. When you work at a regular business it’s always the same people every day, but in comedy I meet new cool people I work with every night.

When you first started did you hit every mic you could?

Yes. I was pretty hardcore. I like to write a lot. I fell into comedy by accident. I was pursuing acting, but I was writing a lot, and not for stand-up, but I was always one of those journal kids, who wrote in their diary. I just tried to write funny for a year. So when I started doing open mics, I had stuff I wanted to talk about. I wanted to act, but I never thought doing stand-up would be something I would enjoy. I tried it for the sake of my acting, thinking stand-up would get me acting work. I never thought I would love it as much as I do.

What initially gave you the acting bug?

I think I wanted to engage in other peoples characters. I thought it would be fun to be other people. And honestly, nothing else really worked for me. I worked in a bank in Virginia when I figured out that I wanted to move to New York and become an actor. And when I moved here, you can’t make money, so I worked at an investment bank. I tried to get a job at an advertising agency, I tried really hard to get other stuff but nothing really worked out. Looking back on it, I guess it really worked out that nobody liked me.

Is it true that you applied for the FBI?

That’s true, I did. That was something I always wanted to do, even when I was in college. I called them and I said, “I speak Spanish.” Back then it was a bigger deal then today when every kid speaks a second language. They told me, “When we need somebody who speaks Spanish, we’ll call you.” I knew it was a blow-off and that they would never call me, and then one day they called me and said they were looking for people who were fluent in a second language. So, I took the first set of tests, they have a lot of tests, it was a math one and a personality/psychology test. I don’t know which one I didn’t pass, maybe both of them, but I got a skinny little envelope in the mail telling me I didn’t pass. I was bummed because if I passed I got to do the physical test, and that’s what I really wanted to do. I wanted to be Clarise from Silence of the Lambs. But failing those tests put an end to that.

Do you think you will still get a call one day, or a van will pull up to you after a show and they’ll be like, “Get in, we have a mission for you.”

I love that stuff. Even if I could just get hired to act. Like how Jennifer Gardner is a badass. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. Right now I just watch a lot of Homeland and The Killing. . .

You’re staying on point doing research so you’ll be ready when the call comes in, you’re always ready. Always ready to kill.

After being funny, or listening to people be funny, or working with funny people, I like to watch those killer shows, those crime shows.

I can see you like Chuck Barris in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, popular funny television personality and also a trained government killer.

I don’t remember that one, but it’s great.

I can see you doing that.

That’s the other thing the FBI said. They told me when they have somebody who speaks Spanish we send them to our drug areas like Miami. That’s when I decided I don’t want to be a FBI agent anymore. I can handle the murders, I just don’t want to work on the drug side.  I think its best that it didn’t work out. I’m kind of a scaredy cat.

Well, that might be the reason they didn’t pick you.

That might be a problem.

So, you’re hustling in NYC, hitting mics every night for years, what was your breakthrough moment? Did you get the Letterman gig through Just for Laughs?

No. I never did New Faces. I hadn’t done Montreal until last year. I guess Caroline Hirsch, from Carolines really wanted to see me, and it just so happened she was in the audience when I was at the Comic Strip. They weren’t even there for me, but that was a moment that put a lot of things in action.

So, it was a combination of hard work and serendipity. You were the right person in the right place at the right time.

I think eventually it would have happened anyway. But it got to happen earlier then it would have, which is kind of cool.

How nerve wracking was it to go from performing on comedy stage to performing on the Letterman show?

It’s very exciting which helps the nerves. I thought, “Oh my god, this is something I always wanted,” at the same thinking it was something I thought I would never get. I did think that the second time I did it I wouldn’t be as nervous, but it’s a different kind of nervous, because they asked me back and I wanted to prove to them I could still do it and that they would still like me.

For something that big, do you invite your family?

Hell no. I’m the worst at that. I’ve never been one to invite people I know to my shows. When people tell me they can’t make it, I’m actually very happy. So I only bring one person who stays with me. Its not something I like about myself, but I do better when I don’t have a ton of people I know in the audience. I do better in front of strangers. But I do need to have one person around me that it’s a good friend and has positive energy, that makes me happy.

I’ve not found one comic who says, “Yeah, I do better when my mom is there.”

They live in Virginia, so they just don’t come up and see a show. They came once in my first year of stand-up and it was probably the worst show of my life. I knew I would never go through that again. I think it really screwed them up. And it screwed me up seeing their faces. When you want to pursue your dream and you look out and see the dead stares, the first thought is to never do that again.

So why put them through it and why put yourself through it, again?

Exactly. They are very supportive when I am on TV.

When’s your comedy album coming out?

That’s a really good question. I told myself 2015, so I have a year to work on that. I’m telling you and throwing it out to the universe.

Interviews, Uncategorized
12/20/2014

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