Michelle Buteau interview continued:
How did you get into doing commercials and films?
MB: Itís going very well. Itís baby steps. Itís a lot of hard work. Itís
just like comedy or anything else in the entertainment business. You
have to pay your dues, do a lot of free stuff and a lot of shitty stuff.
But as long as you believe in yourself and have a slight amount of
talent, these things will happen.
Everyone has a different story about comedy and acting. For me, I did a
lot of open mikes and barking [where comedians distribute flyers for a
club in exchange for stage time]. My first commercials were [from] a lot
of Craigís List ads, ads on New York websites, and I did a lot of
auditions that maybe werenít even auditions, but thatís the best kind of
education as opposed to going to an acting class. Itís a slow networking
process and then I eventually met managers and agents. Even in comedy,
getting on Premium Blend on Comedy Central, a lot of people have seen
it, and they might be talking to someone who has me in mind for a show
or a commercial. Itís just a snowball thing, thatís how it works.
J: What do you have in the pipeline?
MB: Lots of things. Iím going to Nashville next month to do the NACA
convention [National Association of Collegiate Activities, where student
bookers from colleges come to see acts] Ö and hopefully the college kids
will like me. Then Iím going to do the HBO Comedy Festival in Aspen at
the end of February, which is pretty cool.
Iím writing a pilot that I plan on pitching in March, and hope that goes
well. Thatís not really my thing. Itís basically the Cosby Show meets
Party of Five, but funny and believable. Iím excited about it -- not
much gets me excited but Iím excited about this.
J: Do you have a best or worst experience story in comedy?
MB: Thereís a lot of bad and good ones. The first time I went to L.A.
and did comedy, the host got me onstage and said, ĎPlease welcome
Michelle Buteau -- another female trying to be funny.í I was so new in
the business that I had no idea I should be insulted and that I was
allowed to say something. The great thing about comedy is itís a free
forum. Thereís no rules except to be funny and have a point really. Itís
the best kind of education. Afterwards, the host was talking to me and
said he couldnít believe I did comedy and wasnít gay, because all the
really successful female comedians are gay because it takes balls to do
comedy. I told him he needed to get a hug from his mom, and I hoped his
dick was as big as his mouth. So good times there.
Thereís a lot of good stories too. I just did a college in North
Carolina, and I did an hour and a half for 19 to 21 year old
Republicans. Normally I wouldnít think we have anything in common but
thatís the beauty of comedy, to connect with these people. The week
before I was in London and did an urban room -- itís beyond urban, itís
like straight up African, people from Tanzania in African garb, like
ĎDonít you hate it when Kenyans try to act Ethiopian?í It was like a
comedy show for ďComing To AmericaĒ and I was able to relate with those
people too. Thereís a lot of good stories, but any good comedy story has
a great ending when everyoneís laughing and satisfied and walk away
thinking, ĎOh my god, females are funny.í
J: Do you always mention youíre single in your act?
MB: No, not really. I just do whatever Iím feeling, and for the last few
months, Iíve really been feeling single. Itís been the holidays and
everyone says, ĎCome to this party, and there will be a lot of couples.í
Thanks but no thanks. I have to talk about what I know, being female and
being ethnic and being single because thatís what Iím going through
For the most part, I am entertaining a lot of couples and married
couples, so Ö [being single is] what Iím getting known for now, so Iím
not sure if itís a good thing or a bad thing. Iím sure if I meet someone
I like more than three weeks, my whole act will change.
Michelle Buteau is competing in a Comedy Central contest to open for
Greg Giraldo in a special show in Jamaica (the contest also offers a few
lucky voters a chance to attend the show). More information can be found
http://comedycentral.fearlessconcepts.com/getupstandup/. She also
has numerous upcoming New York City shows including: Jan. 8 -- Ho & Mo
Therapy; Jan. 9 -- Chicks & Giggles, and Comedy Village; Jan. 11 --
Potty Mouths; Jan. 14 -- Electric Shock Comedy Hour with Adam Sank; Jan.
16 -- Mad River Grill; and Jan. 20 -- Mo Pitkin's.