G.L.O.C.s LEAH GOTCSIK & MARTY JOHNSON are a couple of whip-smart friends who came up through the Boston comedy scene. They’ll be performing as part of the Charleston Comedy Festival this week, so let’s find out more about the weird and wonderful ladies who make up SOMEBODY’S IN THE DOGHOUSE.
When did you ladies start working together and how did that come about?
We were both mainstage cast members at Improv Asylum in Boston. They had an after-show slot, so we decided to do a show. We started doing longform improv and then, soon after that, sketch.
Where did your name come from?
We had just started performing, without a name in place. After a show, we were with our friend Sara, who got upset with her husband for eating the last frozen pizza, meaning she would have no midnight snack when she got home. Obviously, we started singing about the situation and Somebody’s in the Doghouse –our name and our theme song – was born.
What are you currently working on?
We are writing lots of sketches for a brand new show, and trust us, the stuff is getting weirder and weirder. And funnier, of course.
What has your crowning achievement been together?
Performing at the Friars Club Sketch Competition last year was a highlight, for sure. Not only being selected to perform with such an amazing lineup of groups, but the response we got from the crowd. Strangers actually went to the trouble to look us up and reach out in the weeks afterward. It was overwhelmingly awesome.
LEAH: I have been doing comedy for 18 years, and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. I feel pretty good about that.
MARTY: A comedy film I made with some friends won Best Film in an NBC Comedy Film Festival, and that experience was great. Hearing an audience laugh at my work, whether it’s a film I wrote or a live show I’m in, is the best. Sounds cheesy, but it ain’t no lie.
To each individually – was this your first collaboration with another woman? If not, who had you worked with previously?
M: I’ve worked with lots of women in other configurations. We both have a bunch of female comedian friends so we are always working with them, as well as with plenty of guys.
L: I think my first collaboration was on a show was with my sister. We did an entire dance piece to Simon & Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park and performed it for my parents in t-shirt and underwear “leotards.” My next all-female collaboration was definitely Marty, but sadly she hates wearing leotards.
What was it that drew you to each other initially? Shared comedic sensibility? Similar schedules? Work ethic?
M: Leah’s skill as a performer. I’d been working with her at Improv Asylum but when we took an improv workshop with Mick Napier and she did a kick-ass scene, I thought, “Enough is enough. Just collaborate with that nut.”
L: Marty is very quick and effortless on stage. I always think she has the exact right thing to say. I knew I had to work with her when we were doing some sort of crazy improvised music in an Improv Asylum rehearsal and her song was genius. Also, she likes party games just as much as I do. Do yourself a favor and buy Uno Attack.
Do you hang out outside your creative endeavors? What do you typically do together?
M: Yes, we do. Sometimes it’s hard for us to focus because we like to just act like friends who do fun things.
L: And sometimes we stop acting and actually become those friends.
What is the hardest part about balancing your friendship and your creation? What advice can you impart to handle that aspect?
M: I think the hardest part is just forcing ourselves to stop hanging around and talking about stupid stuff.
L: Unless that stupid stuff actually turns into a sketch.
M: Advice…hmmm…guilt? Puritan work ethic?
L: I think it’s actually great that we are friends. We often don’t have a director working with us, but we know each other well enough to give honest feedback. Like the HILARIOUS sketch I wrote recently using 80’s rock slang puns. Marty was like, “Ummmmm,” and she is probably right. I took the LICK, we gave it the AXE and moved on. Yes!
They say you’re not truly friends until you’ve had a fight so – have you had one? How did you resolve it?
M: Sure, we’ve had a few. But I’d say that’s a pretty good record, after living in a tiny cruise ship cabin for four months straight while performing together for Second City, writing a live show and two other scripts. To resolve them, we just talk about the problem. Leah’s better about that. I’d rather just hide from problems in general. Literally hide.
L: It took me a long time to find Marty on a 14-deck ship, but I found her…on a glided slipper chair in the Stardust Theater….
How would you define healthy competition?
M: Something that pushes you towards excellence without an ego getting in the way of the truth about what’s good or not good enough.
L: Friendly competition. I am much more willing to give it my all when I don’t have to be watching my back.
Do you think it’s important for women to work together and, if so, why?
M: Absolutely. Women need to work with women, as well as with men – both types of collaborations are important to getting female writer/performers and their perspectives seen and credited in the world.
L: There are some things that you only understand by “growing up lady,” and we need that stuff to be heard in the world, in addition to Lord of the Rings and comic book references. I am not saying that we all need to be talkin’ ‘bout tampons, I am just saying that comedy should come from multiple perspectives and sometimes ladies need to work together to push that through, whether in their own groups or in more gender-balanced mixed groups. I read Lord of the Rings too, but I guess I’m saying that I’d love to see what would happen if She-Ra Princess of Power found herself at Mordor…oh, all right, and had to use the bathroom.
What are your future goals for your collaboration together?
Our work together is constantly evolving. After taking some time off of live performance to work on TV stuff, we are pretty excited to be writing some new live material. After working together for so long, it’s cool to see how our style and sensibility changes as much as it says the same.
How do you think the dynamic changes with an all-female collaboration?
L: I don’t know if it’s any different than other collaborations. There can be good and bad groups, regardless of gender. I think particularly for Marty and me, our collaboration works because it is truly a collaboration. We help each other make our collective and individual work better.
What do you hope to see from the future of women in comedy?
L: I would like to see the industry change the generic comedy audience definition from males 18-34 to people 18-34. Until that happens we are going to have a harder time getting in the door, no matter how good our stuff is.
M: I hope that the attitude that women are not as funny as men, which is surprisingly, shocking somehow still out there, goes away once and for all. If more and more women keep working on their writing and performing skills, holding themselves to very high standards, and continuing to make it happen this is all going to fade away.
Anything else you’d like to say?
L: I think this site is awesome. Go ladies!
M: There is a Women in Comedy Festival that happens in Boston in March, now in its third year and it showcases a lot of great comedy from all over – everyone should check that out!
Now watch the submission from SOMEBODY’S IN THE DOGHOUSE for the 2008 NYTVF.
You can find out more about LEAH and MARTY on their website. Catch them at the Charleston Comedy Festival at the Charleston Ballet Theatre on Friday, Jan 21 at 10pm and Saturday, Jan 22 at 8pm.