Lauren Weedman and Michael Malone share a love of character-driven, wickedly funny comedy. However, you won’t find two more contrasting performances. See them next week as they hit local stages — Weedman at Boise Contemporary Theater and Malone at the Egyptian Theatre.
‘What Went Wrong?’
People who’ve been following Weedman’s work at BCT over the past few years probably feel like they know her pretty well. She puts it all out there: career ups and downs, personal heartbreaks and triumphs, and, most recently, stories about her son.
Her first Boise show — “Bust” in 2007 — was a multi-character feast that explored her search for deeper meaning in her Hollywood life by volunteering at the women’s wing of the Los Angeles County Jail. In 2008, “No, You Shut Up” examined her new stepmother status and her desire to have a baby, which she did the next year.
In 2013, “Boise, You Don’t Look a Day Over 149” had Weedman riffing on the idea of making Boise her hometown. (Update: That’s still not likely because her TV opportunities are heating up right now, but it would be a nice place to raise her son, Leo, 6, she says.)
Then last season’s “Blame it on Boise” dealt with the end of her marriage.
“It’s been two years since the divorce, and that’s a good mark,” she says. “I’m so happy my life is more settled.”
Settled is a relative term for Weedman. She has that uneasy edge that makes for great, tearful comedy.
Now, Weedman is back in Boise with a cabaret-style variety show, “What Went Wrong?” The title comes from her list of songs that tell stories, like mini-monologues, about dysfunctional relationships. For the show, she will work alongside her guitarist Brady Harris and Boise drummer Todd Chavez.
“I started the music thing during the dark soul-destroying days of the divorce, and it really helped,” she said in a phone interview from New York City.
Singing ‘Harper Valley PTA’ is the ultimate fantasy of being a country western singer.
The list of songs includes classics from Loretta Lynn, Lucinda Williams, Neil Diamond and The Eagles as well as original songs from Harris and Weedman.
She’ll mix in a little dance and, of course, intersperse her fast-talking musings and barbed observations between songs. This show represents a new phase for Weedman, who has been developing the concept over the past year.
See “What Went Wrong?” at 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, Jan. 5-16; 2 p.m. Saturdays Jan. 9 and 16, 854 Fulton St. Tickets are $20 matinees, $26-$34 general, $16 students, $18 for previews at BCTheater.org.
Michael Malone at Idaho Laugh Fest
Being 32 is like a puzzle for Michael Malone.
“Now that I’m in my 30s, I feel I have to get my life together or just give up completely,” he said in a phone interview from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where he played at the Comic Strip.
After struggling in the business for more than a decade, he’s actually far from the latter. And from all reports, he’s on the rise.
Known for his quick, irreverent humor and wacky expressive face, Malone has two bestselling comedy albums on iTunes, and he won the prestigious Seattle International Comedy Competition in 2012.
Today he’s a hot comic, touring clubs across the country. In early 2015, his indie Christmas comedy film “Bethlehem” hit festivals. Inspired by his life, he co-wrote, directed and starred in it. Now it’s winning awards, such as People’s Choice at the recent Los Angeles International Film Festival.
“I grew up with holiday relatives. You know, the ones you only see at Christmas,” he says. “And I come from a family where everybody is the black sheep. You get this mixture in a room, and it’s hilarious and toxic at the same time. There are no sing-alongs, just alcohol and hating each other, in the most loveable way.”
The film is set in Bethlehem, Pa., a factory town similar to Marion, Ohio, where Malone grew up.
“Your family either made popcorn or washing machines,” he says. “Mine made washing machines.”
He figured out he was funny early on.
“I was the fat kid. I looked like Rosie O’Donnell in junior high. It wasn’t pretty,” he says. “It’s not that you feel funny but you don’t feel normal. It’s like, ‘Am I the only one seeing this?’ ”
I looked like Rosie O’Donnell in junior high.
By high school, he was doing Chris Farley impressions and realizing that comedy was his all-access pass to every social group possible. He dropped out of college to pursue comedy on the road.
This will mark his first Idaho gig, and he’s not working on a bunch of potato jokes.
“I don’t really do that kind of humor,” he says. “I’m a very in the moment kind of person. I tell personal stories and my comedy is character-driven. OK, maybe one potato joke.”
See Malone perform as part of Idaho Laugh Fest, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St., Boise. Individual tickets are $20. VIP Passes for the festival are $55 at IdahoLaughFest.com. More details on page 14.