Today I have the honor of getting 20 questions answered by April Richardson. April is a comedian who is just delightful. She has a quick wit and dry delivery that makes me laugh, and giggle, and sometimes titter. She also has a podcast called “Go Bayside!” wherein she and a guest will wax eloquent about an individual episode of the seminal Saturday morning syndicated turn of the decade TV show “Saved by the Bell.” I do not know much about the lovely Ms Richardson, mainly because I only started following her when she guested on Never Not Funny. Since then I have attempted to consume her content as much as I can. Mainly I have watched her spots she posts on her YouTube channel… I’m not an Internet researcher, and quite lazy.
Anyway… I hope to know waay more about her after these 20 questions. Here we go
I was a cartographer for many years so I have a fascination with how stories play out geographically. For example, my geographic story is rather simple. I was born in Oklahoma City and then the fam moved to Montgomery, Alabama when I was three. My dad chased a job up to Birmingham when I was five and we stayed just to the northeast of B’ham in a little place called Center Point, Alabama from about 5 until I graduated from High School. I went off to school in Kent, Ohio where I met my fiance. After graduating from Kent State (Kent Read, Kent Write, Kent State) We moved to Columbus, Ohio for grad school and got hitched there. We have lived in the Columbus, Ohio area for the past 17+ years no more than 2 miles from a Dairy Queen of some fashion. Question 1: What is your geographic story?
Well, I was born in Savannah, Georgia, where we lived until my real dad bailed when I was 3, and soon after that, my mom met my stepdad while he was on a business trip -- he lived in Atlanta, so when they decided to marry, my mom and I moved four hours north into his house about 20 minutes outside of ATL; that's where I grew up. After high school, I spent a few years in England, on and off, with a dear friend I'd met in high school -- I lived with him and his parents in Manchester until I ran out of money, came back to Atlanta, and went to college at Georgia State University. Two days after graduating, I moved to Los Angeles, and I've been here now for almost 10 years, which totally blows my mind.
Southern roots will definitely color how one looks at the world, and more poignantly, how the world looks at you. Question 2: Do you still get any people making crazy assumptions about you because you originally hail from the deep south?
Oh absolutely. When I first moved here and told people I was from Georgia, they would say the craziest shit to me -- mostly white people, of course. They would weirdly want me to like, commiserate with their racism? In my first apartment in L.A., I lived with my ex-husband in the bottom floor of a three-story house, and one day this white woman came to look at the vacant second floor, and knocked on our door to ask about the neighborhood -- she asked where we'd moved from, and when we said Georgia, she said something like, "Oh okay, so you made sure all the neighbors are all white, right?" in this creepily optimistic tone. Something super racist like that, like I was going to high-five her or something, like, "Yeah we whiteys gotta keep these neighborhoods pure!" I was like, "Uh, WHAT?!" It was insane.
But one of the raddest things to happen to me occurred only a couple of weeks after moving here -- I was driving to work one morning, and I still had my Fulton County license plate on my car, and a black lady pulled up next to me at a red light and signaled for me to roll my window down and yelled, "You just moved here from Atlanta? Welcome! I think you're gonna love it here!" and gave me a huge smile, and it was so amazing. Southern hospitality on the West Coast!
I was on a plane to England when I was 10 or so and the person in the row in front of me asked where I was from with a very thick Midlands accent. I said Birmingham, Alabama and his immediate response was “Ah, George Wallace, water cannons, and dogs.” Oh, Deep South, your reputation precedes you.
From the immortal Paul F Tompkins bit I bring you Question 3: Cake o Pie? Which specific kind and why?
Oh man. Dude. Let me say this first: I have the most ridiculous sweet tooth known to man. I will eat anything and everything with sugar in it at all hours of the day and night. This is such a difficult question for me. However, I really really love cherries (they're my favorite fruit), so at the risk of sounding like Warrant's number one fan, I'd have to say cherry pie!
I have found in my years of doing these 20 questions that people who select pie really like pie, but people who select cake would kick a puppy in the rain for a slice of cake, a slice of cake that would only be made sweeter by it being taken from someone else. Question 4: If you had to guess (and these are my 20 questions, so you do have to guess the “If you had to guess” was really me just being polite), why do you think cake-eaters are so much more vehemently desirous of cake than pie-lovers fancy a slice of pie?
Again, considering how much I love sweets, I couldn't tell you -- I'll take either/both any day of the week.
Question 5: When did you realize that you are a funny person? Was there a keystone moment or was it a gradual realization? This, of course, presupposes that you feel you are funny. You are. Carry on.
Heh, well, if you say so, I will labor under the assumption that I am humorous. And really, as far back as I can remember being able to talk, I was cracking jokes. Classic "class clown" shit. I mean, in like, kindergarten I remember being reprimanded for yelling shit out, and then as I got a little older, like in middle school and stuff, I knew I was weird and I knew I wasn't going to be popular or whatever, so it was also that tried-and-true "make fun of myself before you can make fun of me" stuff. But I truly just always enjoyed making people laugh, making light of weird situations. I think I also knew I didn't excel at anything else -- I was a terrible student and wasn't very academically minded, so one-liners were kind of the only things I perfected during class, ha! And I guess I knew I wasn't too terrible at it because I got in far less trouble than I should have -- teachers kind of laughed at me instead of yelling at me. Also I was voted "Wittiest" of my senior class, so if that's not a solid seal of approval, I don't know what is, heh.
Question 6: What is the most bizarre place you have been for doing the stand-ups?
Hmmm... I was going to say "When you first start out, you say 'yes' to any type of show you can get," but I still do that! But I did stand-up at a rockabilly fashion show once; that was super interesting. I was modeling in the show (stop rolling your eyes, I do that sometimes), so I was all dressed up and had tons of pinup makeup on and stuff, and then the woman running the event was like, "Can you do a set while the girls change?" and I was like, "Sure!" and I went out there on the catwalk, still dressed up, with no mic, and just tried to do a set for 10 minutes, but ended up kind of just dicking around towards the end to try to loosen everyone up. I could tell they were like, "Wait, what? You're telling jokes now?" because I still looked so done up, and a burlesque act was coming up next, so I'm sure they were thinking, "Shut up, we want to see boobs!" But it ended up being fun and a really interesting learning experience on how to bring the crowd around to your side. Also I did stand-up in South Africa once, just jumping up to do a set at a club while I was visiting my friend Michelle in Cape Town, and that was surreal and amazing. I always assume my humor won't translate elsewhere, but it went shockingly well!
I currently make maps for a living, but drawing is where I am more passionate at the moment. Question 7: What is your passion/hobby besides “Saved by the Bell.”
I am a huge record collector, and still buy physical CDs and records -- I feel like a current hobby is constantly having to rip new shit into iTunes! I also started making zines when I was 14, and while I haven't made one in about five years, I still buy and read them regularly. I read books. I see movies. I write. I write a lot of prose and stuff about music as a hobby -- way more than I write comedy, which is pretty dumb. I need to switch that up. I also love clothes and fashion, just like a giiiiiirl.
Concerning “Saved by the Bell,” Question 8: Who do you identify with most from the show? Or is your specific identification with the characters more fluid pending on what is going on with you at that time?
Ha! I mean, I don't think I identify with any of them, really... but if pressed, maybe Zack? But not in the terrible sociopath way, but in high school I did kind of do whatever I wanted -- I hope I didn't fuck over as many people as he did in the process, but I really didn't accept "no" for an answer very often. If I wanted to say, go drive to another state to see Morrissey, it was going to happen -- I was going to do what I needed to do to get there, if it involved sneaking out or telling my mom I was sleeping over at a friend's house or whathaveyou. But I never sold the principal's car for concert money or anything too insane.
I never really got into “Saved by the Bell.” I was always angry when it came on because that meant that the cartoons on Saturday morning was over… “Saved by the Bell” was the death knell of the Saturday morning cartoon. As Saved became more popular, producers realized how much cheaper lower budget live action was compared to traditional animation… then shows like The Power Rangers et al… started to replace the cartoons. Question 9: Why do you hate Saturday morning cartoons?
Haha! HOW DARE YE! I fucking LOVE(D) cartoons. LOVED. I actually own some Tom & Jerry DVDs! That shit and Bugs Bunny still make me genuinely belly laugh. Bugs Bunny was truly hilarious.
Question 10: please fill in the blanks. I feel that I am mostly _____________. Others feel that I mostly ___________.
Chill; am a spaz?
Question 11: Why do you feel there is the disparity between how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you?
Maybe sometimes? But I know how ridiculous I can be, so I don't really fault anyone for thinking I'm an immature spaz, but I think sometimes when people hang with me one-on-one, they're kind of like, "Oh, you're not as nuts as I thought you'd be," heh. I never want to be someone who can't stop joking/doing bits -- that's just as exhausting to be around as someone who takes everything completely seriously. I hope I'm at least close to reaching a balance of those two things.
Question 12: There are 12 items in a “gross.” What else is gross?
Growing up I played soccer, and before matches I would go through a pre-game “luck” ritual, a sequence of preparation of how I got dressed for the games. I did it saying it was for “luck” but in reality, it was more of a ritual to get me in the correct mindset for the game. Question 13: Do you have any superstitions or rituals in your life? Is there a particular ritual you go through to get ready to get on stage or go on TV?
Not really? And not because I'm super logical or something, but more because I have a bad memory -- I probably would forget a ritual I was meant to do before every performance, ha! "Wait, what was I supposed to do? Kiss my rabbit's foot or something before going on stage?" I really just try to read over my jokes multiple times as to not forget them -- that's what I do most before any show or TV thing. And I make sure I don't have lipstick on my teeth. Boring answer!
Question 14: What is your go-to midnight snack?
Dude, those flavored Triscuits are MY SHIT. Literally every single flavor they make is fucking DELICIOUS, but I guess my favorites are fire roasted tomato & olive oil and the dill, sea salt & olive oil ones. I can get a whole box of them down my neck in one sitting, like a hoss.
Woe be unto me if there is Vanilla Bean ice cream in the house… for it will not be in the house long, but my usual late-night snack is something crunchy and salty.
Question 15: Is everything okay? Is this remotely interesting to you? Are you enjoying this? Please validate me.
This is great! YOU are great! You are a wonderful interviewer! Hang in there buddy, just like the poster with the kitten!
I get really self-conscious about these because of how long they tend to be. It is typically around 15 that I lose my calm cool demeanor and get all needy. Thanks for this time so far.
Question 16: In the past week, what is an interesting tidbit of knowledge that you have learned? It can be about absolutely anything...
I watched a couple documentaries about Julian Assange and Anonymous and "hacktivists" and learned the definition/concept of Noble Cause Corruption, so there's that.
I just learned that the Romans considered the rat to be a sign of good luck. I imagine that changed after the Bubonic Plague was assisted in spreading by rats… and by RATT, what comes around goes around…
Sometimes the people I am asking these 20 Questions have things they are expecting. Also this is a good way for me to make you do my job… Question 17: Is there a question that your were expecting me to ask but I haven’t? If so, what is that question and what is that answer? If not, what is your favorite color?
My mom's maiden name? My pin number? I am not telling you either of those things! But my favorite color is blue.
Turnabout is fair play, so I throw everyone that does these a bone. Here is the questions I most dread asking… Question 18: What question do you want to ask me?
When did you first get into comedy? Who was the first comedian to make an impression on you? Who is your favorite comedian?
I started watching comedian people by staying up late and watching the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson… I would always hope that a comedian would be on and would be incredibly disappointed when Johnny would bump the comedian for more time with the 5th grade spelling bee champion or the 4 year old who knew dinosaur names. This evolved into watching specials at friends’ houses and getting comedy albums via the bajillion free tapes in the BMG music club.
I loved the comedy so much that I did stand up in my elementary school talent show for both 4th and 5th grade. 4th grade was a buddy act, but Patrick was just dragging me down… dead weight. I carried him like a suitcase. 5th grade I did it on my own. 4 shows over 2 years and I killed Every. Damn. Show. I got out of the game on top… always leave the crowds wanting more, right?
I want to do it again… Well, that secret is out now.
I guess my favorite comedian out there right now is Jimmy Pardo… I would love to get him to do one of these 20 Questions but I am too afraid to ask.
Question 19: What are you taking from these 20 Questions that you did not bring in with you?
Well, I can ask for nothing more than that.
Question 20: What’s next? Be as concrete or as vague, short-term or long-term, philosophical or practical as you want to be.
I have absolutely no idea, truly. I worked on a television show for four years and that ended in August, and then my podcast ended in September, and now it's October and I am starting from scratch. I am thinking of new podcast ideas, thinking of new jokes, auditioning, writing, just doing what I can to stay creative during this downtime. I am excited for new opportunities in 2015! Hopefully! And to hopefully do stand-up in various cities across this great nation very soon!
Well, the next time you are in Columbus, Ohio or within 2 hours of Columbus, I will make sure to see your show and say, “Hi.” If possible, I would love to grab a bite to eat and chat with you in person like a human.
20 Great answers to 14 mediocre questions
Yep, that math checks out
So many things to do when I get done with this schooling
I need to change jobs
I need to ramp up my sequential art stuffs
I need to do some open mics
Crap, did I just type that?
Oh, and get a better exercise regime
Definitely need to exer-ma-cize more
That was a great 20 Questions…
Hope you enjoyed the belated Halloween 20 Questions I posted yesterday
Have a great week everyone