At first blush, Lauren Maul comes off as Brooklyn’s most cheerful, harmless comedian—then her stand-up swiftly disabuses you of this impression. On stage she once said her first ever personal mantra was “breathe in, breathe out;” in college it became, “Everything is ok, everything will be ok,” and then she moved to New York City: “You fuck with me, I’ll stab you.” See! You didn’t see that coming! And she smiles through it all. Disguised as it is, her comedic force is that much more and unexpectedly powerful.
Now collaborating on a musical comedy project with fellow funny Brooklynite, Lane Moore, Maul is also co-creator of Dudes Being Dudes Being Dudes. There, Maul uses disguise (this time literal), again, to humorous ends. She and non-white, non-gender-comforming comedians dress up as white dudes, and tell jokes that real white dudes cannot. Thus she ingeniously reveals the pitfalls of an all-white and all male-dominated stage. Once again, Maul proves herself to be (as she said in another standup bit) “Maul like what the bear does to you,” not “mall like where the bear shops.”
When was the first time you remember making someone laugh? What happened?
Up until the first grade I considered myself a dramatic actress/serious playwright/fancy artist. I thought laughter was a sign of great disrespect and I had absolutely no tolerance for it. UNTIL my first grade teacher gave our class some old magazines and told us to make collages. I found a picture of a porcelain baby doll and pasted a giant terrifying toothpaste ad smile on top of it, which made me laugh out loud with a mix of shock and glee. My class and teacher gathered around and laughed with me and I thought “What is this powerful magic and how can I make more of it???”
What is the toughest part about being on the comedy scene in Brooklyn today? What is the best?
Being a performer and having to hustle for stage time is so tough for me—but being a producer who creates shows is always delightful.
Who do you find funny?
Selena Coppock’s on-stage energy is electric and she always makes me laugh with her personal tales. Katie Compa’s brutal and witty honesty is ridiculous. And Calvin Cato has the ability to make me laugh so long that I get embarrassed because I’m still laughing even though he’s moved onto the next joke. I’m just glad I get to produce shows with all of them so they can make me laugh on a regular basis.
What was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
I teach a theater class to 11 year olds where I let them play “theater company.” One kid is the writer, another is the director, and the rest are actors. (For some reason, most of the material they write is liberally taken from “Law & Order” episodes.) We were in the middle of our rehearsal and one of the adult teacher’s aides was being a little hyper. Our 11 year old director spun around and shot him a steely glare while sternly telling him to “RELAX.” Watching a child scold an adult is one of the most entertaining things I have ever witnessed.
What are your goals for your comedy career?
My general goal is to create comedic art that I’m proud of with people I enjoy while inspiring others to make their own kind of art-magic. Someday I would love to open a creative campus/farm in the city so the people of New York can have a place to go and express themselves while connecting with nature. So basically… it sounds like I want to be a cult leader.
What is your favorite knock-knock (or otherwise goofy) joke?
One of my theater students was upset she wasn’t the director that day so she told the class this joke: “KNOCK KNOCK” (Who’s there?) “BORING.” (Boring who?) “THIS IS BORING.”
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Photo by Nicolas Maloof.