JULIE KLAUSNER. PHOTO COURTESY OF CONRAD VENTUR
Even if you haven’t listened to Julie Klausner’s podcast, How Was Your Week?, chances are you’ve heard of her. Her webseries The Cat Whisperer has reached viral status, as have her other videos “Mommy Time” and “Welcome to Our House.” Her debut book I Don’t Care About Your Band has been optioned by Will Ferrell’s production company for HBO (to star Lizzy Caplan, no less), and her young adult novel Muses will be released in 2012.
Then there’s the podcast itself. Though still fairly young, past guests include comedy forces such as Joan Rivers and Patton Oswalt, garnering critical acclaim and placement on both Rolling Stone and GQ‘s Top Ten Comedy Podcasts. Really, a live show of How Was Your Week? was the next logical step for the Upright Citizens Brigade alum. On October 20, Klausner will be bringing the podcast to the Bell House in Brooklyn, with guests Paul F. Tompkins, Billy Eichner, and Fred Armisen. In between traveling across the country in preparation for the show, Klausner was able to sit down and talk with us over a cup of coffee.
STEVEN GADZINSKI: Why did you decide to do a live show?
JULIE KLAUSNER: That was something I’d been thinking about and talking to Ted Leo about for a while. I’ve always wanted to do a live show version of it. But what I wanted to make sure of was that I was doing something more than just a live version of the podcast. So knowing what I wanted to do and knowing that it would be more ambitious than just setting up a microphone and recording the way I would do in my bedroom or whatever, I wanted to get a producer on board, so my friend Marianne Ways signed on to help me organize it, find a venue. I had a conversation with Ted Leo about him being the house band, being onstage the whole time, and playing live music beds. I talked to my friend Alex Scordelis, who I wrote The Cat Whisperer with, about writing some new bits for the show. Because it has to be something visual and engaging. So we’re writing some original material. So once I realized I had a team and it wasn’t me alone, I was able to say, “Okay, I hope I can do it.” I don’t know. I think I will. It’s definitely something I work on every day. And then once I get the hang of it, maybe it’ll be a more regular thing.GADZINSKI: Do you want it to be?
KLAUSNER: Yeah, I would love to do that. I definitely—I don’t want to say I miss performing, because I perform when I want to and on my own terms, which is great, but I love performing. I think it’s just a question of figuring out what I like to do. Because if you’re not going to get paid for it anyway, you might as well have fun doing it.
GADZINSKI: And you’ve done so many forms of comedy—you’ve done stage, you’ve done video, and you’ve done podcasts. What’s your favorite medium?
KLAUSNER: Definitely the podcast. Oh, my God, just talking to that mic and going over my list of things from the week that I’ve been dying to discuss with people or I have been discussing with my godforsaken poor friends who have to listen to me talk about Nancy Grace for about a million times, or my poor fuckin’ boyfriend who has to—he doesn’t even pretend to care about Real Housewives stuff, but he does have to nod, I don’t care if he listens or not. But the idea of just being able to talk about whatever I want and discover my point of view on it as I go, and to discover jokes on the way, and actually communicating. And more importantly than that, not only connecting with my audience like that, but meeting people as guests and to be able to smell Jackie Collins. Who gets that opportunity?! It’s just the best. It makes your day.
GADZINSKI: See, I think the best part about your interviews is that you bring the element of the fan in there, and I do believe that fans give the best interviews.
KLAUSNER: I hope so.
GADZINSKI: Because they’re going to ask the questions that a regular journalist won’t ask, or won’t even think about.
KLAUSNER: You want to get into the deep questions or the point of view, like “You said this, what do you think of that?”
GADZINSKI: And that’s what makes your interviews so engaging.
KLAUSNER: I hope so. I don’t want it to be all genuflecting and sycophant stuff.
GADZINSKI: I don’t think it is.
KLAUSNER: I try not to. It’s tough sometimes, when you have Joan Rivers or whoever. But it’s also been helpful for me to deviate from the standard interview format, which is, “Okay, you’ve got something to plug and we’ll do that and I’ll ask you the questions you’ve answered a million times.” I do think the perfect podcast is the first guest has a topic, the second guest is a celebrity you’ll have an engaging conversation with about their career and things they ordinarily wouldn’t be talking about—but to have Patton talk about Splash, you know, to have Paul Scheer talk about things he’s pretended to have read and has never read. I think that brings another element of almost stunt journalism into it.
GADZINSKI: So, what do you think about more on a daily basis, basset hounds or the Countess Luann?
KLAUSNER: Oh, my God. I think about the Countess Luann at least five times a day. I think of basset hounds whenever I turn on my computer, because I have photos of them. And if I’m lucky and I see one on the street, I know it’s going to be a good day. They really are like a four-leaf clover. [Gadzinski laughs] You see one and you’re like, “Yes.” But I think about Countess Luann constantly. Have you read her book?
KLAUSNER: Oh! You have to read her book. It’s all about how to be a woman, how to approach life with grace and style. I cut my hair after I read it. I was like “I need to have a more mature haircut!” And I was right! Oh! There’s a whole chapter about walking. She is, by far, the funniest. That people don’t understand how funny she is makes me so sad. And that people are like “She’s so snotty and she thinks she’s better than everyone else.” And you’re like, “Would you say Archie Bunker is a racist?” Like, what’s your problem? She’s the funniest person on television. And then I met her last week and she touched me and I passed away. She was so gracious. She was so warm and kind and she did that thing where she tosses her head back and laughs. I strive every day to be more like her.
GADZINSKI: She’s your life coach.
KLAUSNER: She’s not only my life coach, I feel like she is my steering presence. And then she’s happy and she’s found love and she knows how to have a good time and likes to go for it and she’ll sing, why the hell not? Oh, and she mentions Gstaad four or five times. So many things happen in Gstaad. I had to look up where Gstaad was. It’s in Scandinavia. It’s like a ski town. It might be in Vienna. I have no idea where Gstaad is.
JULIE KLAUSNER WILL BRING A LIVE VERSION OF HOW WAS YOUR WEEK? TO THE BELL HOUSE IN BROOKLYN TOMORROW EVENING. FOR MORE ON KLAUSNER, VISIT HER TUMBLR.