In our new G.L.O.C. feature, WE GO TOGETHER, we’ll hear from ladies who spend a majority of their creative brain power on a co-collaboration with a pal. They may have started as friends or become closer as their project bloomed but either way an important balance must be struck in order to avoid comedy & friendship melt down.
Today we’ll hear tips on a successful partnership from comedians and Broadway Vloggers EMILY FAYE OAKLEY and PATTY DEVERY. Emily and Patty met in an improv class at UCB in 2008 where they realized they shared a love of snark and all things musical theatre, thus their vlog, Patty & Emily, was born. Their vlogs have gleaned attention from major Broadway stars and they’ve become special correspondents for the Tony-winning Memphis.
Take it away, ladies!
1. Make sure your partner is as funny as you, but not more so.
EMILY: Just like if you’re in a band, you don’t want to have a bunch of shitty musicians and then a really amazing lead singer who then goes on to a solo career that leaves everyone else in the semi-famous dust.
PATTY: In all seriousness, make each other laugh. If you don’t think you’re funny, no one else will.
2. Know your limits with each other.
PATTY: Many times people ask us if we live together, to which we reply usually with panic and disgust, “Oh, God no!” We know how much time we can spend together before we want to rip each other’s heads off. That’s just the nature of our relationship. You may be able to room with whoever you’re collaborating with, constantly interacting and discussing ideas. Whereas Emily and I need distance; we send most of our ideas in texts. Texting is crucial to our partnership.
EMILY: We have a really good gauge on each other; when we’re hanging out, we both know when it’s time to split so we don’t get into a real fight.
3. Don’t force it.
EMILY: I’ve tried getting things off the ground with other people who I liked and thought were funny, and it just never quite worked out. Finding a comedy partner is like finding a soul mate; when it’s right, you just know.
PATTY: I think the whole reason our Vlog works is because we’re passionate about what we’re doing. When we started it, it wasn’t musical theatre focused. We were trying to do something we weren’t 100% behind. Once we found that focus, it all clicked. We put it out there for whoever wanted to see it, and people recognized how natural it was for us to be gushing over Liza and hating on dance-icals.
4. Go with what you know.
PATTY: We work off of bits because we’re from the world of improv comedy. Some people can sit down with the purpose of coming up with ideas. That doesn’t work with us. We hang out, go see shows, and riff on topics. That’s where our best ideas come from, like the Open Letter to Kristin Chenoweth.
EMILY: If we did videos about Math it would be horrible because we are both very bad at math, also math is really boring for everyone, except boring people who like boring things.
5. Share the work.
PATTY: Make sure everyone has tasks to do. I found that Emily was doing the bulk of the work since she had the camera and the Mac. She was editing all the videos, and I wasn’t doing much. So, I took on our neglected social networking sites, making sure they’re updated with content and engaging with our viewers.
EMILY: Patty’s the brain trust of the operation; we both come up with great ideas but she’s the one who remembers them. More often than not I’ll have a great idea and tell her and then completely forget it myself. My advice is to find a partner who is basically a genius savant with social skills.
6. Don’t leave anything out/Always have the camera on.
PATTY: Share all your ideas! We were trying to come up with ideas for Memphis videos, and I thought of one but was unsure. I shared it anyway, and Emily liked it and added onto it.
EMILY: Some of our best material comes when we leave the camera rolling and just chat, or when Patty gets left alone with the camera on and Brian Stokes Mitchell’s website open.
7. Open and honest communication.
PATTY: I know I have a tendency to be a little too honest, but it’s important that Emily know if I’m upset or annoyed or uncomfortable. Our Vlog puts us in a lot of wacky situations, and we need to let each other know if we’re not okay. Then the other one can help change the situation or help her partner get through it.
EMILY: We’re pretty good at being able to say, “You’re annoying me; I’m going home” without anyone’s feelings getting hurt. It’s also important when someone has an idea, and Patty has to tell me it’s not funny; it’s racist.
Now watch EMILY & PATTY’S “Open Letter To Kristin Chenoweth” warning her of the dangers of tweeting her location. [Fun fact: Kristin tweeted a linked to the video.]
Thanks for the tips, ladies!