Our 10 Weirdest Moments of 2012

As two highly organized Type A control freaks, we didn’t think we could appreciate the existence of lists any more than we already do. But this week NOW Magazine published a series of lists and, after finding ourselves included in Glenn Sumi’s Top 10 Comedy Shows of 2012, we have decided that lists are mankind’s greatest invention and that everything should be in list form, especially when it is ranking how great things are and we are included in the top 10 of said list.

So, in the spirit of list-loving and year-end roundups, we bring you a list of Two Weird Ladies’ 10 Weirdest Moments of 2012. (Some of these are more experiences than moments, but the word “moments” sounded better, OKAY?)

10. The many things that went wrong on the Fringe stage
If you saw our show, you probably thought we executed every dance move and delivered every joke with such precision and professionalism that you were tempted to file a Freedom of Information request with the government to see if we were prototypes for un-starve-able comedian robots. But there were many times that, beneath the on-stage shtick, our real selves were mentally managing heart palpitations. One afternoon poor old Manders leapt onto stage only to realize she had forgotten her ukulele pick and had to awkwardly strum our opening number with her fingers. One night my nose started bleeding halfway through the set and I had to plough through, singing, dancing, reciting monologues and even accosting members of the audience all while hoping there was not nasal blood streaming down my face. But these travesties, matched with runaway sound cues, flubbed lines and a wandering spotlight, could not stop us from being, like, the greatest and prettiest and funniest people ever.

9. Doing sketch comedy with microphones on the street in rush hour
When we booked the 6pm performance slot at the local market we didn’t imagine ourselves standing on a cement stoop at Bathurst and Dundas, performing sketch with handheld microphones so we could be heard over the squealing streetcars filled with gawking commuters. As awkward as it was to hear our songs about Nana being an idiot for believing in the afterlife echoing through the busy intersection, we ended up meeting some great Fringe performers who kindly came and saw our show.

8. Our talk show-style interviews
After being part of Larry Smith’s Talk Show – which involved us delivering rambling answers as the vaudevillian comic with a migraine drew caricatures of us in the tiny Hamilton bar that served $2 pints of “Fringe Party Beer” – we didn’t think things could get any weirder. But then we booked a slot on Mullet’s Night Show. Mullet is a zombie clown. I am terrified of clowns. I booked this show, partly because it’s a great show, partly because I didn’t want to hold Mandy back, partly because I thought the zombie factor would make the clown less scary because it meant the clown had, at one point, died and partly because I am an idiot. It is hard to endear yourself to a room full of zombie clown fans when you can’t make eye contact with the host and almost cry onstage.

7. Making some money by doing sketch comedy
Anyone who does sketch knows this does not happen. It’s not like we made enough to quit our jobs and start shopping at Whole Foods, but we were able to pay off our expenses, give bonuses to the people who helped us and cover our bar tabs. Fringe claims all proceeds go back to the performers but really they go straight to the Fringe bar.

6. Pretending to jerk off in front of our bosses
We both work fancy office jobs at which we sign off corporate emails with phrases like “Best regards” and have to go to meetings and wear pants made of tweed. Our kind, supportive directors and VPs took time out of their busy family lives to come see a glimpse of this secret comedy thing we do. What they got was us performing jerk-off motions, dropping the c-word, Mandy pretending to be mentally challenged and a scene about, well, us wanting to quit our office jobs. It was awkward. But then we both got promotions.

5. Eating a cold turkey drumstick in front of a live audience
Behind every Weird Lady is a weird director who decides nothing would be more hilarious than making someone with aversions to cold poultry and messy hands grab a chunk of meat and chew on it for a minute and a half in front of 108 people. Instead of flowers, Professional Director Kirsten Gallagher brought an insulated lunch bag containing a $9 smoked turkey drumstick to our final Fringe performance in Toronto. Mandy ate it begrudgingly. She will probably find it hilarious one day, assuming she gets dementia.

4. Being confronted by an animal rights activist
During the aforementioned Larry Smith Talk Show, when asked about our director we casually mentioned that she was currently in Vietnam and had posted a photo from her travels of some horse sushi. After returning to our table of $2 Fringe Party Beer, we were approached by a lady kind enough to tell us we had better watch what we say because people should NOT eat horses and, by the way, did we have any idea of the inhumane conditions horses used to face before being slaughtered when horse meat was available in North America? She began a gory description of horse butchery when Stage Manager Jesse asked her to please stop. I’m glad she did. She was making me hungry.

3. Being “heckled” to pillow fight in a scene with no pillows
Doing 14 consecutive Fringe shows for theatre nerds of all ages kind of helped us forget that a Friday at 11pm all-male improv show at a bar might attract a younger, drink-y-er, yell-y-er crowd. That said, we never expected that our scene about two girls getting ready for a blind date would illicit cries of “MAKE OUT!” or “HAVE A PILLOW FIGHT!” We seriously considered abandoning our script for a pillow fight but unfortunately no pillows were made available to us by the venue. And we always save our make out sessions for after our shows in a private bathroom stall.

2. That day when we did not see or talk to each other
Saturday, August 18th. I was camping and did not have cell phone reception. I drew Mandy’s face on a beach ball and cooked her a strip loin steak. The next day the steak was gone. I am not sure whether a) the medium-rare meat enticed a bear to the campsite or b) beach ball Mandy came to life, ate the steak then smashed a Coleman cooler open on a rock and also ate all the raw sausages and bacon then ripped open the garbage and threw it all over the ground. I guess we will never know.

1. Having strangers say nice things about us
While we are bored to death with strangers commenting on how pretty and smart and nice we are, Fringe was our first real experience with strangers commenting on us being funny. Well, strangers, it’s about time! There was nothing more wonderful than seeing reviewers or bloggers use adjectives to describe us such as: irreverent, entertaining, explosive, popular, intelligent, fresh, fascinating, hilarious, really fucking hilarious, energetic, genius, funny, smart, beautiful, bizarre, hysterical, clever, creative, damn good, likeable, impeccable, admirable, infectious, unrelenting, fantastic, self-aware, fun, refreshing, charming, magical, 20-somethings, fast-paced, fantastic, professional, young, authentic, laugh-out-loud, top-drawer, and quality. Add to this being included in lists such as Torontoist’s Top 10 things at Fringe and NOW Magazine’s Outstanding Fringe Productions and Top 10 Comedy Shows of 2012 and you’ve got some major ego problems. Never wanting to let things go to our heads, Mandy and I are currently writing a series of highly racist sketches that take place in the bathroom, all of which are eight minutes long and end with one of us realizing “it was all a dream.”

Next year we will release a list of the ten best stages we have been booed off of. Until then, thank you, everyone, for giving us such an incredible 2012!

On looking like a deranged Easter Bunny

It was less than an hour until our Grade 12 musical debuted on the cafeteria stage. As I stared at myself in the looking glass, adjusting the strap of the fluffy bunny-ear hood I was wearing around my paint-smeared White Rabbit face, I decided to abandon my dream of going into musical theatre.

Not that I could sing or dance or act well enough to ever be cast in a Mirvish production of, well, anything, but up until the embarrassingly half-assed adaptation of Alice in Wonderland my school barfed onto a stage that year I had at least found theatre fun and exciting. But being ordered to drive my 1984 Chevette in full rabbit regalia, accompanied by a six-foot-tall caterpillar, the King and Queen of hearts and a Dormouse who looked like she was wearing blackface, to the local mall to spend an hour loitering by the food court handing out jaggedly cut flyers didn’t exactly sell the dream. It instead gave me a glimpse into what many working actors end up doing – wearing a Best Buy mascot uniform handing out coupons at Blue Jays games in exchange for $30 and a slice of pizza.

So now, instead of being an understudy for Scarborough Theatre’s production of Brigadoon, I have a job that allows me the luxury of sitting at a desk all day being as un-creative as possible. This is great because it pays me more than $30 and when people get pregnant we get lots of free pizza. It also means, however, that without creating my own opportunities on the outside I would slowly lose my mind and end up renovating my bedroom into a theatre for my eight Persian cats so I could dress them in Winnie the Pooh costumes and have them reenact the Disney movie over and over until they got it right.

This need to create my own opportunities means I never rest, rarely sleep and will likely die of old age before I turn 50. But the long nights of taking classes, writing sketches, doing shows and being drunk networking are just so gosh darn fun. Not having the training or the skills to play Sally Bowles in Cabaret – despite my striking resemblance to Liza Minnelli – means I get to write my own lines, make my own character choices and work with who I want (MANDY!). It also means the laughs I get are mine – ALL MINE! (Except for the ones that are Mandy’s.)

If I had never been forced to play the White Rabbit in that travesty of a musical (which included a dance choreographed to a remix of TLC’s “No Scrubs,” a set made of painted trees with compact discs glued to the branches, and four girls in school football uniforms dancing to “All in the Golden Afternoon”) maybe I would still have had hopes and dreams when university application time came around. Maybe I would have gone into a musical theatre program, would have never been quite good enough and ended up dressed as the Snuggle Bear handing out buttons to desperate children at The Ex. Instead I gave up on my goals early, which has proved to be one of the best choices I ever made. Thank you, (name of director withheld), for your exceptional lack of inspiration.

Seriously, though – that play was a piece of shit.

A stunning VIEW

One thing we have learned during the Toronto and Hamilton Fringe Festivals is that, when producing a sketch comedy revue, it is not only important to be funny but also to be stunningly beautiful. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt if you have a great photographer like Kevin Thom do your promo shots. Yes, this is us on the cover of Hamilton’s weekly VIEW Magazine. This cover page will hang proudly on our parents’ walls and will undoubtedly be used by strangers as tinder in their Algonquin Park fire pits or to wrap their shot glasses as they hastily pack after a terrible breakup. As this is only a few degrees away from us being on the cover of The Rolling Stone, we are going to cherish this moment, which may very well be the height of our comedy career (which is actually something we do in addition to our actual careers. You know – the ones that pay us more than $60 annually).

Here’s what VIEW had to say about Two Weird Ladies Bomb The Fringe in Hamilton:
“This high energy comedy duo belong on a stage. Both girls were afraid of nothing, never broke from their performance, and kept surprising the audience with new formats for their writing. Laura Salvas and Mandy Sellers’ show is good old-fashioned sketch comedy, with some clever recurring themes and a finishing concept that brought the show together. They vary the experience through song, voice, characterization and movement – all exceptionally well done. Their inexhaustible energy combined with how truly funny their writing is made for a fantastic time. They have intelligent thoughts beneath their comedy and they completely fill the stage with presence and talent. Outstanding!” – Katie Penrose

Thank you, Katie Penrose! You have made us feel funny, pretty and smart. Which is really the main reason we do this thing – our constant need for validation. We aren’t just in it for the $60 per annum.

Thanks from lucky stars

In a nation so obsessed with the word “sorry,” it’s astonishing how difficult it can be to utter the nicety “thank you.” Mandy and I will be the first to admit our self-deprecating neuroses and have happily showcased this in some of our scenes, such as “Blind Date,” which includes a number of references to our thinking we are pieces of garbage. Taking compliments makes us feel awkward, which is fine because usually people just tell us they dislike the pitch of our voices and move on. Things changed, however, in the last couple of weeks during our Toronto Fringe run.

Mandy and I put a hell of a lot of work into Two Weird Ladies Bomb The Fringe. During the process, we often scrunched up our ever-furrowed brows, tensed our overly stressed shoulders and asked our crew, in voices whinier and pitchy-er than ever, “Guuuuyyyyysss – is our show even funny?” Despite two out of three of them answering “yes,” we doubted ourselves to the very end. When we started our writing process, we came to realize that our shared personal mantra was: “Mediocrity is failure, success is mediocrity and perfection is merely success.” A messed-up form of logic, perhaps, not unlike the new small-less Tim Hortons cup sizes, but to control freak perfectionists like ourselves we knew it would take a lot to make us happy with our final product.

We’re still too self-doubt-y to totally get it, but over the last couple of weeks so many wonderful friends and strangers have been approaching us with earnest looks and telling us how much they enjoyed our show. And having done many shows in our lives, we know the difference between a genuine compliment and an awkward “the costumes were unique. I have to go – bye!” Realizing the compliments we were getting – many from the press – were genuine usually left us uncomfortably twitching, a common side effect of Piece of Garbage Disorder, from which we both suffer. But we’re quite certain part of the discomfort we felt was just the sensation of our hearts (not our egos) growing three sizes a la Grinch. If we could hold hands with all of you and sing kindly songs around a tree to demonstrate our happiness, we would. Well, Mandy would. I fear the human touch.

We feel so honoured that so many people in Toronto spent their time and money supporting our show and that they made the effort to pass on kind words in person and online. We sort of do this comedy thing to avoid ever having to be sincere, but now seems like a good time to try that “real human emotion” thing most normal people do. So thank you. Thank you all SO MUCH for making two neurotic, paranoid ladies feel like perhaps we maybe did a sort of okay job at something.

I’m publishing this now while I’m feeling good. There’s still times for people to boo us off the stage in Hamilton.

Two Weird Ladies On How To Write Sketch Comedy

Two Weird Ladies are a professional* sketch comedy duo.  As such, we like to give back – usually to ourselves, but sometimes to those less fortunate than us.  Ever wanted to write a professional comedy sketch but didn’t know where to start?  Try out some of the handy tips below!

* Two Weird Ladies are far from professional.  We are hardly even a sketch duo.

The official auction list! Meet the ways you can be part of our Fringe show.

This Wednesday at Comedy Bar, Two Weird Ladies bid farewell to our artistic integrity as we sell off name-drops in our Fringe show and programme for petty amounts of cash in Two Weird Ladies Sell Out! (Their artistic integrity. There are still hundreds of tickets available.) A Fringe Fundraiser and Auction.

Check out the lists below and ponder what you’d like to bid on!

Names and Places we’re auctioning off…
The girl whose underwear were put in the toilet
The guy who got banged in the bathroom at prom
A whore-faced-bride (we call your mom a whore, too!)
A lame groom
A Grade 12 science nerd
The guy who had a rat tail in Grade 3
The person who refused to be Laura’s sketch partner
The cool girl who throws a kegger
The cool guy with an in-ground pool
A guy who has loud sex on weeknights
The high school math teacher
A hideous guy who doesn’t want to date us (x2)
A VIP-only club
The local high school

Also up for bid…
THREE chances to be thanked in our program! If bids get high enough, we’ll thank you for something specific! (ie, Douglas McSanderson for bailing us out of prison.)

A CAMEO at one of our Fringe performances!

All bids start at $2 and the highest bidder gets creative control. You can use your own name or the name of someone you know (as long as they’d think it’s fun and you’re not being mean about it…). Let’s be honest, a vast majority of us will never achieve any fame. This could be the one chance you get for people to feel delight at the sound of your name. Ever.

We’re raising money for Two Weird Ladies Bomb The Fringe as we want to ensure we can afford to pay all the amazing people who are lending us their talents. Also, we thought it would be fun to include people from the community in our sketches.

And don’t forget we’ve got sketch comedy from British Teeth, improv from 2-Man No-Show, standup from Joel Buxton, hip hop from Wordburglar and character monologuing from Danz Altvater. And buttons for sale. BUTTONS!

9pm, $5, 945 Bloor Street West. See you there for your chance to sell yourself out for Fringe by helping us sell ourselves out for cash!

Two Weird Ladies Button

Cover up stains on your clothing while supporting Two Weird Ladies!

Millions of shows coming up! (and by ‘millions’ we mean ‘five’)

Two Weird Ladies are excited about Fringe but just can’t wait until July to get on stage and show off how funny and pretty and smart we are. So we booked a bunch of shows so we could be the centre of attention and so you would have somewhere to go.

This week we have shows four nights in a row! Tuesday June 12th you can catch us at Pageant Feathers (Imperial Pub, 8:30, PWYC). We’re playing alongside British Teeth, 2-Man No-Show, Babysitter and Matt McCready.

Wednesday June 13th  we’re pleased to be part of Laugh Through This (Black Swan, 7:30, PWYC) hosted by Danz Altvater and Moniquea Marion. Other great acts include Stacey McGunnigle, 2 Hoots a the Helm, Shirley Cuschieri, Jaclyn Fleming, Liz Jukovsky, Dani Alon and Shirley Cuschieri, PLUS there’s an improv jam for all the ladies in the house.

Thursday June 14th  is a huge night for us as it’s our turn to compete with 48 other troupes for a slot in the Toronto Improv Festival and $480. Sketch Com-Ageddon is back and at 9:30 at Comedy Bar we’re up against Vest Of Friends, Warm Summer Hotness, The Whiskey Dicks, You Monster, Brain Drops and Ladies of The Sketchersons. For just $8 you get to enjoy all these troupes then vote for us. For $12 you can also catch the 8:00 show, at which we’ll let you vote for whoever you want. We’d really appreciate anyone who comes out and gives us their votes!

Friday June 15th  at 6:00 we’re doing a totally free 30-minute set at the Scadding Court Farmer’s Market! Stop by the Dundas St West/Bathurst area, buy some fresh local organic free-range eggs and watch us flail around on a patch of grass or wherever they stick us.

If you want to support us but don’t want to see us do sketch until our Fringe show, your best bet is to come to Two Weird Ladies Sell Out! (Their Artisitic Integrity. Hundreds of tickets are still available.) A Fringe Fundraiser and Auction. Wednesday June 20th we’re auctioning off creative content in our sketches. You can bid to have your name mentioned in a sketch, get thanked in our program, or even have a cameo in our show! We’ve also got amazing acts from Danz Altvater, Joel Buxton, 2-Man No-Show, Wordburglar and British Teeth. Just $5 gets you into the Comedy Bar main space and all bids start at just $2. We’d love your support. And your money.

And then, of course, there’s Fringe. Check out our Upcoming Shows tab for all the dates and times as well as further info on all the shows mentioned above.

We expect you to come to all of our shows. All of them.

Selling out our Fringe show before anyone has bought tickets

As much as Two Weird Ladies love each other, sometimes we think it would be swell if our friends could be part of our shows, too. Then we think how it would be even more swell if our friends gave us money. Then we sit down and concoct a scheme by which we can profit off of people we know while making them feel loved and included.

Two Weird Ladies have combined our lack of respect for our own artistic integrity with Mandy’s love of namedropping to create an exciting opportunity for YOU to have your name incorporated into one of our scenes while helping us pay for our Fringe shows (expenses estimated at nearly $4,000). On Wednesday, June 20th, come to Comedy Bar for
Two Weird Ladies Sell Out! (Their Artistic Integrity. There are still hundreds of tickets available.) A Fringe Fundraiser and Auction, where we’ll be auctioning off name-drops in our Fringe show Two Weird Ladies Bomb The Fringe. Starting at just $2, you can bid to be known as characters such as a detested bride, the guy who got banged in the bathroom at prom, the coolest girl in high school, a Grade 12 science nerd, the loser whose underpants were flushed down the toilet, the boy who had a rat tail in Grade 3 – and more!

In case your name has stage fright, we’ll also be auctioning off things like references to towns and schools, plus thanks in our program and even the possibility of an on-stage cameo!

But as much as we want to simply rip the money out of your supportive hands, we thought we might as well be nice and offer you some high quality performances to watch amidst the auction. The night will feature sketch by British Teeth, improv by 2-Man No-Show, standup by Joel Buxton, character comedy by Danz Altvater and hip hop by Wordburglar. These are all people we really respect as comedians and guarantee you will enjoy their performances. Please note that is NOT a money-back guarantee. We will be keeping every cent we get from you.

Two Weird Ladies will be hosting the auction alongside our Professional Director, Kirsten Gallagher. We will all look very pretty.

The fun takes place at Comedy Bar – 945 Bloor Street West, west of Ossington – on Wednesday June 20th at 9pm. It’s just $5 to get in. Please bring some friends, place some bids and be part of our show! Especially if you’re really cool and saying your name on stage will make the audience really impressed that we know you.

Facebook event be here.

Two’s Company. We can’t remember what three is…

There are many reasons Mandy and I became friends and subsequent sketch comedy partners. Most of these reasons have to do with alcohol, being perfectionists and no one else wanting to hang out with either of us. But upon making the formal decision to be friends and sketch partners, neither of us realized that getting into two Fringe Festivals would result in us having to spend every waking moment at each other’s houses, looking at each other’s faces, listening to each other’s high pitched voices as we wrote sketches and/or complained about our lives. Having made a pact last November to remain friends until at least August 1st, we have managed not to punch each other in the face yet. But that’s partially because we’re both aware jail time might ruin our Fringe show.

As things get more intense, and having just seen the Avengers movie in 3D, I become increasingly worried about us turning into Hulks and punching each other, or, more reasonably, Mandy punching me repeatedly. As a former Girl Guide I like to be prepared, so I have come up with a list of tricks Mandy and I can use in the next month to help us to continue to remain friends and keep our rehearsals punch-free:

  • Each print off a life-sized portrait of someone the other Lady would never want to punch in the face and make it into a mask. For instance, Mandy could wear a mask of my Nana and I could wear a mask of Tony Luca from The Voice.
  • Start every rehearsal by watching Saved by the Bell episode 3-22 “Rockumentary,” in which fame goes to Zack’s head and his bad attitude almost drives Zack Attack apart… until they sing “Friends Forever” and everything is fine.
  • Call in sick to every rehearsal and just avoid any potential for conflict.
  • Alienate all our other friends and family to a point that they have all written us out of their lives and we are each literally all the other Lady has. Even if we hate each other, we will have to cling to each other because we have nothing else. The only downfall to this is that no one will come to our Fringe show.
  • Bake Mandy cookies every week so if she gets mad at me I can say, “but I baked you cookies!” Also there will be sedatives in these cookies that prevent her from getting angry.
  • Say there is a prize for whoever can go the longest without getting upset. We are both so competitive we will take our bottled up anger to our graves.
  • Get one of those lobotomy things that were all the rage in the 40s where they stab you in the brain so you’re never angry again. An unfortunate side effect is that you’re never happy again, either, and I think I read something about losing all passion for sketch comedy.
  • If things start to get tense, create a diversion by talking about Lost (note to self: watch Lost).
  • Intentionally break my legs and spine so I am in a full body cast. Mandy will pity me so much she won’t have the will to be angry. Mandy can keep her body intact; I already pity her.
  • Put all the reasons we should remain friends into a cohesive, colour-coded spreadsheet and distribute via email.

As I said, these are simply backup plans in case things go awry, but for now Mandy and I remain the very best of friends and I cherish every precious moment I get to spend in her beautiful home, looking at her angelic face, listening to her smart-sounding voice (oh, yes – showering her in compliments is another tactic I’m trying).

If we do get to the point that we want to punch each other, it just may happen on stage in an Oasis-style blowup. So come see our Fringe show! Or we’ll punch you!