LGBTG Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny author Alisha Gaddis, along with contributors Ilana Turner and Jamison Scala, sat down with FreakSugar to discuss the book among other topics.
Before I get into the compilation, what can you tell me about your backgrounds?
Alisha: I have been incredibly fortunate to perform all over the world in different capacities as an actor and comic (my first love). I’m in a band for children that has a kids’ television show, Lishy Lou and Lucky Too, which my husband and I created, produced and star in for PBS. Along with my husband, I also run an Artist Consulting company empowering other artists. I write books and articles, and I get to travel doing what I am passionate about. It is pretty spectacular, and I am very grateful to have success in order to keep doing what I do! (And winning an Emmy and Grammy doesn’t hurt things…)
Jamison: I grew up in NJ and went to college in Philadelphia, Temple to be exact. I moved to LA right out of college and when traditional acting classes didn’t inspire me, I got involved in improv at The Second City. I quickly fell in love and improv and sketch has become a large part of my life, taking me all over the world performing comedy.
Ilana : Having this monologue, Sugar Coat It, included in LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funnyis lovely because monologues were the first theatrical things I ever wrote. I’ve always written in one form or another, but when I started to take acting seriously, at Hampshire College, we had to write and perform a short solo show — basically a monologue. I was always terrified of writing dialogue, but I could write monologues. When I started to work on what became my first full-length play, O Réjane, I was trying to write myself a full-length solo show — a vehicle as an actress — but I could never get it to work. Thankfully, I fell in love with writing dialogue and the play was much better for it. I cast someone else in the lead role, played a supporting role and that turned out to be a great decision. That lead actress, Cara Pifko, won the first ever Stage Raw LA Theatre Award for Leading Female Performance and I was nominated for Playwriting — which felt like a huge win. I’ve continued writing plays ever since O Réjane premiered in 2014.
As an actress, I’ve been lucky enough to work in commercials, with some great directors, on stage and in indie film. I’ve done a bit of TV, too, like HBO’s Big Love and several what they call ‘back-door’ pilots.
Alisha. what can you tell us about the genesis behind LGBT Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny?
Alisha: LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny was a natural progression in the Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny series for Hal Leonard/ Applause Acting. Prior, I had put out the Women’s, Men’s, Teen Girl’s, Teen Boy’s, and Kids’ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny versions — and there was still a large gap of LGBTQ performers left within the performing arts population. I am an advocate for trying to represent all persons in every way, so this book was a good way to start.
Ilana and Jamison, how did you become involved with contributing to the compilation?
Ilana: I used to do a lot of improv iO West, and I met Alisha Gaddis there. Alisha helmed all the books in the Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny series. When she put out a call for material for this book, I immediately sent her my pitch. Thankfully, she liked it!
Jamison: Great news, Facebook isn’t just for spending hours comparing yourself to other people! Through Facebook, my friend JP (also a contributor to the book) connected me with Alisha who was looking for writers.
Alisha, I really enjoyed the compilation, but, after having read it, I realized that there has been a bit of a guff in terms of a lack of these types of monologues available for LGBTQ actors. Was that one of the impetuses behind bringing this project together?
Alisha: This is the VERY FIRST book of its kind. That was a HUGE wake-up call for me. As an ally to the LGBTQ community- when I would go to bookshops and see my books alongside others in the same genre- I first got really excited! But then realized there is a massive hole in the representation of this community- for actors who are LGBTQ and also actors auditioning for roles that are LGTBQ (which are becoming more and more “mainstream” by the minute- thankfully!) This had to be changed ASAP! I am grateful to have publishers who felt the same.
To read the interview in its entirety, click here.
LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny is the first and only book of its kind. This cutting-edge and incredibly hysterical monologue book is specifically for actors auditioning for LGBTQ roles. It features works by LGBT writers and comics (and their allies) who have written and/or performed for Comedy Central, Backstage magazine, NBC, the Huffington Post, the Onion, Second City, E!, and many more. This collection is the go-to source for the comedic monologue needs of actors seeking LGBT material, as well as a paean to LGBT characters and artists.