When I talked to Comedienne Lynne Koplitz last week, I was in the comfort of my day job cubicle and she was in the comfort of her local grocery store. It’s hard for her to grocery shop since she is on the road a lot and does hate to waste produce, something I can completely relate to—there’s nothing worse than watching an avocado go from perfectly soft to too soft all because of your own hectic lifestyle. At one point—after a good rapport was established—Lynne asked me to hold on for a minute. Then I could hear her say something along the lines of, “Hey, honey! Yeah, just give me a call and I’ll get you free tickets! Yeah… just call me! Okay bye, sweetie.” Lynne still bears a bit of a southern accent, so even without the “sweetie” or the “honey” sprinkled in there, it was a very genuine and friendly sounding exchange. As it turns out, she was talking to the check out lady at the grocery store. If you’re thinking what I was thinking, then allow me to confirm for you—yes, the check out lady at Lynne’s grocery story in Manhattan has Lynne’s phone number. As Lynne and I continued to talk, this became less and less surprising to me.
Lynne made it pretty clear from the get-go that she is a comic’s comic. I never know what people mean when they say that, but I have decided that should not preclude me from using the phrase. So here is what I mean by that. I introduced myself, we chatted briefly, and then I mentioned my particular interest in her since I am also a comedian. To which she replied, “I like you. You sound funny. Do you want to do my show?” But now I’m just bragging. She’s worked hard as a comic, served a lot of time on the front line (as she describes being on the road) and isn’t afraid to show a little love to the people still in the trenches. She does acknowledge however, that things moved much more quickly for her than they do for the average up-and-coming comic. Within a year of her first open mic, Lynne was at the Montreal Comedy Festival and then auditioning for Saturday Night Live. Within a year and a half, she had a casting deal with NBC. These are goals that many comedians consider ten to twenty year goals; Lynne met them in fewer than two.
Lynne was a struggling actress in the South before she moved to New York City and, as she tells it, she realized she was going to die on the streets if she was going to try being an actress up here. She got an editing job, which she admits she didn’t excel at, but where she did start to meet the right people. She and a friend started a local television show. Lynne was the host and she had a sidekick who was pretty and funny. In an effort to make herself stand out on the show, she eventually gave the sidekick no lines. Unfortunately for Lynne’s ego, the woman was still funny, and pretty.
At the suggestion of her friend, Lynne decided to give stand-up comedy a shot. Her first open mic ever was at Gladys’ Comedy Room. Lynne’s mother came up from Virginia for the big event and Lynne had her set list in hand until right before it was time to get on stage, at which point she handed the set to her mother and said, “I don’t like that.” Apparently that was the right move, because when she got off stage, Gladys herself tapped Lynne on the shoulder and asked how long she’d been a comedian. Lynne replied, “Well, I don’t know if I’d call myself a comedian, but I guess about… two hours.” Gladys told Lynne she’d let her have weekend spots in exchange for barking in Times Square. Barking is what a lot of comedians do to get spots on shows—it’s handing out flyers on the street to passersby in order to get an audience at the show. If you’ve been to Times Square, you’ve seen them and probably even interacted with them. You could call that the first, and rather early, break for Lynne’s comedy career.
The next break came when Lynne did a bringer show at Stand Up New York. Bringer shows are run by clubs and aimed at new comics looking for stage time in a real club, as opposed to at an open mic. There are a minimum number of people you have to bring as paying audience members and in exchange, you get time on stage. It’s a necessary evil in the New York City stand-up world, since there are so many comedians competing for so few spots at clubs. It can get challenging for new comedians though, since you have to find willing and paying audience members every time you want to get on stage at a real club. Luckily for Lynne, this particular bringer had the result that we all wish we would get at a bringer show. When she got off stage, she got a tap on the shoulder from the owner of the club, who offered her the club to come work out her material whenever she wanted, and who eventually became her manager. That relationship is what landed her an audition for Saturday Night Live before her first year of stand up was over.
These days Lynne is a working stand-up comic, as well as an actress. Lynne’s schedule, blogs, videos, contact information and much more can be found at www.lynne-koplitz.com. She can be seen on the show Z Rock on the IFC (Independent Film Channel), a partially scripted comedy about a real life band. Lynne plays the role of the band’s manager, Dina.
Lynne will also be on a new reality show on WE TV called Mother Knows Best? starring Joan and Melissa Rivers. The show is set in Los Angeles and will feed off of the trials and tribulations of Joan moving in with Melissa, as well as Melissa’s son and boyfriend.
Lynne also hosts a monthly show here in New York at COMIX (www.comixny.com). The show is called Bad Ass Dolls of Comedy and features Lynne’s funniest female friends and comedians. Another testament to her role as a comic’s comic, Lynne started this show to showcase female talent, partially in response to the infamous claim by Jerry Lewis that women are not funny. I had the pleasure of attending the June edition, where the line-up included local comedians as well as established actresses—Diane Neal from Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Sherri Shepherd from The View. Both women were very funny, and Diane Neal impressively claimed to have written her entire set earlier that day.
Lynne is an ideal comedy show host. She is energetic, engaging, interactive, and most importantly, funny. She played to a mostly female audience with ease, and even welcomed us by covering the tables with candy and other treats before we arrived. At forty-two years old, she is able to cover relatable topics to women of every age—she has the advantage of experience but also the style of a thirty-something. After the show, all of the comedians came into the showroom to mingle with the audience. It was a treat just to be able to tell these women that they were great, and was quite satisfying when they seemed genuinely interested in meeting their audience.
The next show is Thursday, July 1st at 9:30 p.m. and according to the COMIX website, will again feature Diane Neal, as well as Amy Schumer, Veronica Mosey, Halley Boyle, and Rachel Feinstein. With a fantastic line-up, a perfect host, and a table full of candy necklaces waiting for you, this is a show that you won’t want to miss.
Lynne Koplitz’s Bad Ass Birthday Bash
353 West 14th Street