Last week, we looked at the new batch of camp favorites including Falling in Love with Chris and Greg, Ajumma! Are You Krazy and Lars Von Blank. Today we’re going to talk to Michael Lucid of Pretty Things fame.
From the twisted mini-series Megwin and the Land of Neverwill to the deliciously bitchy movie review show 2 Tickets to the Movies, Michael Lucid has created an irreverent world of his own that is equally literate, crass, campy and shrewd.
Let’s take a look at one of the catchiest viral videos from Michael Lucid, “Straight for a Minute”:
HP: Growing up, what comedians, actors, television shows or films made you laugh the hardest?
MICHAEL LUCID: I’ve always been drawn to the funny ladies. In high school I would watch reruns of 80′s SNL episodes on Comedy Central all the time, mostly to see Jan Hooks, Nora Dunn, Ellen Cleghorn, Melanie Hutsell and Victoria Jackson. I live for the Sweeney Sisters! I was also obsessed with Outrageous Fortune, 9 to 5 and other madcap funny lady comedies as a kid. I guess it makes sense that now in my videos I mostly play crazy lady characters who are involved in some sort of caper. And my comedic tastes were also hugely shaped by the cerebral, witty absurdism of Kids in the Hall and Strangers With Candy.
HP: Do you think your tastes have changed since then?
ML: Ya know, while new shows and films have been added to the canon of my comedy faves, I guess my taste hasn’t really changed that much. I still love funny ladies, and I still love cerebral/absurdist/witty comedy. 30 Rock probably makes me laugh the most these days – Liz Lemon and Jenna are currently my favorite funny ladies. I watch a lot of horror films too. I just saw the 70′s surrealist-horror-comedy Japanese film Hausu for the first time and it had me totally LOL-ing. Comedy-horror hybrids are always great – I love the Evil Dead films, and Fright Night has always been a fave of mine. I found out a few years ago that Evil Eddie from Fright Night grew up to be a gay porn star – fun fact!
HP: I feel that everything I’ve seen you do has a queer sensibility to it. Do you think that queer humor is automatically campy?
ML: I don’t think that queer humor has to be automatically campy, but in my case, most of my videos are both very queer and campy. I think it was just organic and natural for me to make queer, campy comedy, because that’s what makes me laugh – and so it wasn’t a conscious decision for me to address queer themes or camp motifs in my videos, it’s just what I find entertaining to both watch and make.
HP: And who do you think is your main audience?
ML: I’ve always been very pleasantly surprised by how diverse my viewers seem to be, based on the emails I’ve gotten from people. I love it when queer peeps enjoy and really respond to my comedy videos. But I also get emails from straight middle-aged people, and high school-age kids – so it’s really been very broad. I love that! When I think of my favorite comedies, they’re always very relatable to a broad array of people, and never just geared towards a gay audience. Kids in the Hall and Strangers With Candy are both huge influences for me, and they both definitely have a queer-friendly sensibility. But people both gay and straight love these shows because they’re just funny, which I think is great, and what I want for my own videos, as well.
HP: So, what makes “camp”?
ML: When I think of camp, I think of something that’s colorful and over-the-top, with a heightened, cartoonish reality to it (whether that was the intended effect or not). I guess in that way, most of my videos are campy, but I can imagine a queer comedy that’s not necessarily campy. I love Gregg Araki’s films, which are very funny, sometimes in a campy, over-the-top way like in Nowhere, and sometimes more in a verbally witty, bittersweet whimsical and melancholy way, like in Totally Fucked Up and The Living End.
HP: If you had to pick one or two lines of dialogue from your work that you think captures the humor of your work, what would it/they be?
ML: Hm, this is challenging! I’m very proud of the lady lawyer’s dialogue in my “Megwin and the Land of Neverwill” webisodes – the lady lawyer wakes up one day and finds herself lost in a magical, barbaric land, and spends most of her time wandering around and wondering out loud how she got there. Here’s a link to this series:
Megwin and the Land of Neverwill (The Entire Series)
If I had to give one line that captures my sense of humor, maybe it would be from my video “Opal Gives a Ride.” I’ll just write it here, without giving any context: “I’m sorry Alexis – I forgot I was driving and I thought I was the passenger!”
HP: And what’s next on the horizon?
ML: Lately I’ve been mainly focusing my creative energies on my Damiana Garcia lady reporter character – right now I’d say that she’s the purest manifestation of my own inner funny lady! I’ve been producing a new Damiana web series called “The Damiana Files” for World of Wonder, the production company that does “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and Logo has been featuring the series on their NewNowNext blog. Here’s one of my favorite recent episodes, in which Damiana interviews inspirational life coach Toni Corvette (played by the hilarious Bryan Safi from Current TV’s “That’s Gay”):
And here’s the first “Damiana Files” episode, featuring the hilarious Drew Droege (star of the drag “Chloe Sevigny” webisodes):
I’m very excited about Damiana’s next episode, which will be Valentine’s Day-themed, featuring a side-splittingly funny and genius Madonna impersonator, Nadya Ginsburg.
Madge has got some indispensible Valentine’s Day tips to share with Damiana on how to make this day of l’amour extra-special for her, and for all of her viewers!
HP: Well, I think your work is hilarious and smart and I can’t wait to see more.