by Steve Woods

Balls. That’s what I think of when I think of when I think of my friend Lauren O’Brien (LOB for short). First of all, anyone who can take a stage at a comedy club immediately has my respect in the balls department. As someone who’s tried stand up comedy, I know it’s more terrifying than that feeling of the first day of school, your first fistfight and your first kiss, all wrapped together. And LOB does it well. LOB does a lot of things well, actually. I don’t want this to read like an obituary, since she’s obviously alive and thriving, but when I was approached to interview Lauren and write this article on her, I jumped at the chance, if for no other reason than to congratulate her and let her know how proud she’s made everyone.

You’ll read in the transcript of our interview about how it took us awhile to feel each other out. It’s true. Lauren and I had been plucked from the real world, so to speak, and were thrust on San Diego’s airwaves with zero training or experience. I’ll never forget our first day on the air, Feb. 1, 2010. My first words on the air were, “I’m terrified, dude.” I honestly can’t remember LOB’s first words, probably because she barely spoke for the first month we were on the air. But once she did … oh boy.

Some of my fondest memories were the moments off the air, when we were planning a show, or decompressing after five hours of trying to be on, awake, attentive and funny. For example, LOB and I used to co-endorse Ovation Cell Therapy (Thicker, Stronger, Longer … you’ve heard it. You know you have). LOB excuses herself and steps into the other room, outside the studio, and when she returns, she’s shoved a giant afro wig down the front of her pants. As she walks back into the studio, she exclaims, “Hey!!!! Thanks Ovation.” I died. Daily. She’s one of the funniest humans alive.

A Seat At The Comedy Table | Lauren O’BrienSomehow though, I always knew she wouldn’t last in radio. Not because she wasn’t good enough. She was TOO good for it. We all saw it in her. I’m telling you, had she stayed in radio, she would’ve broken the bank with her next contract. My bosses should consider themselves lucky she left when she did. Just raw talent, man. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it. It brings to mind my favorite story about LOB.

We started on the air the first of February, as I mentioned previously. Our company, however, hadn’t had any sort of holiday gathering yet, and it was scheduled for maybe the second week of February. At any rate, everyone from Lincoln Financial gathered at Phil’s BBQ for a little shindig. Our entire cast sat together, not immune to the stares we were getting from the “cool kids” table, made up of people who didn’t want us there in the first place and didn’t do much to hide that fact. (Side note: They’re all gone and out of radio now. They’re not missed, either.) Mind you, our cast barely knew each other, much less ANYONE else at the company. LOB decided that it would be a good idea for us to do karaoke, maybe to help lighten the palpable tension. We were the wacky morning show, after all. I went up and did my horrible Dave Matthews impression, singing “Crash,” thanking God for the five beers I’d downed before taking the stage. Then … out of nowhere, LOB goes up and launches into “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” channeling the Dan Band from Old School. Complete with F bombs. In front of the entire company. All of our bosses, their wives, the cool kids. Everyone. She didn’t skip a beat and she didn’t even seem flustered. She just went up there and nailed it and dropped the mic, as if to say: “You know what … stop taking yourselves so f’ing seriously.” Balls.

A Seat At The Comedy Table | Lauren O’BrienWoodsy: Well, on the phone with me is my dear friend and former cast mate and radio survivor, Lauren O’Brien.
Lauren: Woodsy! HI!

How ya doin?
I’m doing great. How are you doing?

I’m doing great. It’s really weird to interview you. (Chuckles).
I know, I know. This is weird, but you sound very professional.

Thank you! I have been working on my professionalism since we worked together.
And you still dip on the air?

I do, I do still. I’m not right now, but I still do enjoy an occasional chew on the air, LOB. Well, so it’s been, God, it’s been a couple years now since you’ve been in this business.
Yeah, I know. That’s weird.

It’s strange, right?
Yeah, I’ve been going on meetings recently and everyone just basically is a broken record, where everyone wants to know, “So tell me your story!” It’s so weird to be like “and then, in 2012, I left the radio.” I’m like, holy crap!

You know, LOB, for people that don’t know, this is going on our podcast as well but it will also be in 4L magazine. But, for people who don’t know and I think that everybody that will listen to a podcast that I’ve hosted, or be interested in an interview with Lauren O’Brien, we went through battles in just a couple of short years, ya know?
Oh yeah, yeah. That was a real, real boot camp.

Remember those days, like, I, I’ve blocked a lot of it out. Have you?
Me too. Oh my gosh, yes. Sometimes, one of you guys will bring something up or, like, I stumbled upon some old blogs that I saved, I must have been of myself and saved a few of them. I had just like one of those, “Oh, yeah! That happened.” 

Yeah, so, LOB of course and myself worked on The Mikey Show here. We were both radio newbies, we had never been on the radio before. Lauren was actually discovered by Mikey on YouTube.
Yeah, that is so weird. At least you were in the industry. I was just an idiot.

You were like a stand-up comedian! You did voices and everything else and he reached out to you and like, how long after he reached out to you were you on the air?
Oh my gosh. I heard from him the day after Christmas, which would be December 26 for the lay person, then we were on the air February 1. Yeah, and a month before that we were doing a mock on the air, I’m sorry, a week before that. So, yeah, it was about like, five weeks, six weeks.

You know, it’s funny. LOB and I, you know, when we met, I think it’s probably safe to say that it took us a while to feel each other out, no?
Yeah, yeah. I was just like, um, I mean, I think you are just the same through and through, it doesn’t really matter who you meet. But I think I was digesting “What does that mean?” about what kind of person you were. Yeah, it took a little while. We had some incidents with like, the recycling bin. (Laughing.)

(Laughing.) For those who don’t know, we used to do a bit, we really wanted for some reason to bring a BB gun on and shoot each other with BB guns and because, you know, it’s radio and that’s funny. I recall one Friday, I don’t recall what we did, we probably did like a “Name That Tune” or whatever.
Oh man.

Well, there were BBs on the floor and we were cleaning up the studio to make room for Hilary and I picked up these BBs because I wanted to do my part and I threw them in the recycle bin and LOB chewed me out.
(Laughing.) I was like “Those don’t go in there! You can’t put those in the recycling bin!” And I think you had had enough at that point.

I think I was done at that point.
We were a couple of caged animals. Literally, caged animals and I think back, I actually found the blog, from when we all had to submit a blog a week before we went on the air and say like, this is how we were feeling and the website was going to be launched February 1 right when we went on the air. And so our blogs were sort of like an introduction to San Diego, and I read my blog the other day and I was so positive, pumped, grateful and I can’t believe this is my life, I can’t believe I get to work with these people because we all, you know, we kind of had an instant chemistry.

A Seat At The Comedy Table | Lauren O’BrienYeah, instant.
And how, you know, that honeymoon period lasted for a little while.

Yeah, I’d say so. I mean … it was … we were on the air for what, six months until Siena got let go? After six months and, you know, when she left I think out of necessity, we had to, we had to get tighter.
Yeah, we absolutely did.

And, you know, the cool thing about it was there were days that, it’s so weird, but there were days that I would have the spotlight, there were days where LOB would have the spotlight and we were both super encouraging of each other having that, you know? There was never that jealously like, ugh, they’re getting more time in.
Right, exactly. You were probably just overall a much more positive person. You were always like a clean slate. Like it didn’t ever matter what happened the night before, the day before, any sort of tension, you pretty much always started with a clean slate and you were like, “What’s up guys!” And I definitely … (laughing).

(Laughing.) Well, you know the problem, I still stand by this LOB, had our show started at 10, you probably would have been, you would have been the next Robin Quivers.
(Laughing.) I know! I am like, the world’s, I told Mikey that when he said, “Do you have any questions for me or any hesitations?” my first thought was just do I have to be there live? I am not a morning person. I am not kidding, maybe two mornings went by that entire almost three years that I was on radio, where I didn’t wake up and say the F-word out loud. My alarm would go off and I was like, “Nooo!”

Yeah, and it always took you a couple of breaks to get going but, you know, I can say this, this stuff that we went through with that show, the drama, the stuff that literally people wouldn’t believe. It was stranger than fiction. It honestly was. It really was.
I know, it sounds made up.

It really does. We had depositions and we had rumors and we got attacked, I got attacked for stuff! And it was just like, man. It put me, and LOB, it really put our lives into a tailspin for a little while, I think both of us. You know?
Totally. It was for me, on either ends of my radio career were like, when we started so many people that were diehard music fans were like “Get out of here!”

Remember that one guy who wrote us and said, “I hope your whole show dies in a drunk driving accident?”
I will never forget. I think he said the whole show and your family members. I will never forget that or reading that. And I will never forget what his little avatar looked like either.

Me too.
And then on the other end it was “What’d you guys do to Mikey?” And the whole time we had to remain just mums the words and just keep an S-eating grin on our faces.

Oh, you can say shit on here, it’s a podcast.
Oh, you can? Oh, okay! Shit eating grin. (Laughing.)

We did. We had to put on that brave face and then … you know … um … I mean, LOB and I talked on the phone, I think every night after everything went down and we were just “What are we gonna do?” So, at some point it got to be, it got to be too much for you. It’s one of those things, as bummed as I was when it happened, for you to just be able to say you know what, this isn’t good for me I’m leaving. Take me through that, what happened? DO you remember?
Um, yeah, I think it had been a little, you know, the mornings were killing me, but then we did hit a little stride where I was like, you know what though, it would subside for these little even flows when Mikey was still there, we would have these weeks where it was drama-free and it was like, man, I could really get over waking up and just drink a little more coffee and think, “This is great, this is so worth it.”

And then, um, when Mikey was let go, if you want to call it that, then we were like okay, this is a new beginning and we had all these ideas and it was just the three of us, just me, you and Jay and we were just, you know, we were really just like family members at that point, we had each others’ backs and then, um, it didn’t go the way that we wanted it to. It went like, basically, you know, what I saw was that the writing was on the wall. There were three of us doing a job, at one point four because Hensen was there, too. Four or three of us doing a job that really one person could do and I just was kind of like, “Where does this go?” You know? And where does this end? And I wasn’t, um, I don’t know, I didn’t have the love for music and radio that you do and I could tell how much you wanted to. You didn’t care how much you got to talk, you were just so stoked on just, the station and it was just your dream job to be in radio and I could see that. And then Jay is just one of those people where, of course, he was happy to be at that particular place, but he, Jay, you could tell him to dig a ditch and if that’s his job, he will whistle while he works. And I was the weak link that was like man, you know, I was just complaining, I just didn’t feel like it was challenging for me and I felt like I was still miserable waking up in the morning and I kind of was like, alright, well, one of us is gonna get let go in this situation. I don’t know, I just felt like that. It was happening. You know, the gauntlet was getting thrown down; people within the company were getting let go because the station wasn’t necessarily performing as well as they wanted it to. I don’t know, I just foresaw that it was going to happen.

A Seat At The Comedy Table | Lauren O’BrienYeah, you know and the real drag of the whole thing is, is for all intents and purposes, LOB, we should still be on the air together. You know, had everything worked the way that it was supposed to, I mean, Mikey’s last show lasted 10 years and we lasted what, two and a half and three? And I mean, I moved out here, my life is a lot different than when I moved here and, you know, that period of my life certainly affected that. You know, it is what it is at the end of the day, but we really … There were times where at the end of the day I would go home and reflect on what we accomplished in the studio and just be like, dude, I don’t care if you hate him, I don’t care if you hate Jesus, I don’t care if you hate FM 94.9, that was funny shit. That was funny shit that other shows aren’t doing and really can’t do. You know, we had that.
It was a very like, you know, Mikey had always said, you know you wanted us to listen in on a table in a coffee shop where you hear these people laughing and yukking it up and you want to eavesdrop. You want to be like, man, what are they talking about? And we had that. We had it off the air all the time; we would be out to lunch and those were some of my favorite times. They were supposed to be working meetings, but a lot of times they would be like, we flesh out one bit and then we would start cracking up about it.

I know, just riffing. Riffing for hours, and an hour, hour and a half. My favorite, though, one of my favorite LOB stories is where we’re all, we leave the, because you know we’re here all morning and granted we had our own private studio, which is just again, Jesus Christ, no shows have that. We literally had the golden goose. You know? And it just all went to shit. And one day we’re all just like, you know what? Let’s just get out of here, let’s get out into the world, let’s go down to PB and let’s get some lunch. So we’re all in separate cars and I drive down, Mikey drives down and um, Jay drives down. We’re me, Jay and Mikey, we’re all sitting at lunch and we’re waiting and we’re waiting and we’re waiting and we’re waiting and I’m like, “Where is this girl? She’s lost. I know her. She’s lost.” No, she wasn’t lost. She was driving around looking for free parking. That’s my LOB. Driving around looking for free parking. For her car that like, literally, it’s like six feet long. A little tin can.
A little tin can. I know. That is like a thing with me. I have gotten a little better in L.A. I’ve come to be like, okay, I’m just gonna have to pay for parking if I’m gonna leave the house.

You just eat it now, at this point.
Yeah. But anyway, you can’t manufacture that. Let’s enter this stereotype person and then let’s get, you know, I think that’s what Mikey kind of went for, but it didn’t pan out that way. You weren’t just like, the jock that just like, just a man’s man. There were just a lot more layers to you than that. And I was not just the liberal …

…Ditzy blonde that he wanted.
Yeah, yeah. Well, I think that was the first thing was let’s see the fun loving ditzy blonde and then obviously that’s not me and then it was like okay, oh, maybe she leans more toward like the liberal chick on the show that’s like, just gonna say feminist stuff. I was like, well, hmm. None fit into these, like, stereotypes that you would think to have on this show.

Boy, he wanted us in those boxes though, didn’t he?
Well, yeah.

It was, it was really hard because I came on the radio every day and I just tried to be me and who I was at home was me now. At times, that got too big for him and probably others on the show too, but you know I just tried to be me and I think you did the same thing. But it was always with you, it was like, “No, LOB, you gotta be more fun loving.” And you were just like, “Look, dude” … what we didn’t do, the mistakes we never made, we could’ve just looked and said … look like … uh-oh, look at LOB, looks like she’s in a bad mood today, like exploited it a little bit. Yeah, just exploited it a little bit. Instead of being like no no, LOB, you gotta be like the liberal blah, blah, blah. The problem was that Mikey was used to radio that was a little bit more contrived than we are as people. We’re not that person. It’s hard for you to bullshit, LOB.
Yeah, I know. I really have a hard time faking it. I just think that if we had started in our early twenties, or even just late teens, or whenever some people get started in radio and you’re just old that’s how things work, it probably would have been an easier pill to swallow. It would have just been like okay. But I have already had an entire career.

Me too. We had made money. We had made six figures before. You know what I mean? It wasn’t for us the end all be all. It was cool. I mean, I love my job more than anything but obviously for you it wasn’t the end all be all because you were like, you know what, I’ve had enough and you left. You know? So it was like, alright. Once you, you know, I gotta say that for awhile I was worried about you because I was like, man, she’s got benefits, and she’s newlywed, blah, blah, blah. But, dude, what balls you have looking back and you’ve made it and you’re okay and you have massive balls and I’ve always had massive respect for that. Well done.
Thank you. Yeah, it was a hard thing. It wasn’t definitely, immediately paying off, but I think it was the right move. I think, you know, that first week after I left, I stayed up so late watching TV and I slept my ass off and just that alone was just such a little treat. Then I would go through really little, dark valleys of really missing the radio. I mean, I told Kevin when I left, our program director, I said if there is a spot for me at another time, or any capacity where I could fill in part-time, because I really did love the station and the culture at 94.9 and, you know, really all of Lincoln Financial, but it just wasn’t the timing. It was good because then it really pushed me to move to L.A. because it was like, well, if I don’t go now, I’ll never go.

And so you have been in L.A. now for a couple years and you are married to the very handsome and beautiful bodied Matt Commerce. In the last couple years, I’ve seen you a few times and we have blown it out in L.A. a couple times, we had a blast, we have had lunches, we always stay in touch via text or talk, but for those who don’t know or don’t have that opportunity to text LOB as many of you would like to do, so for the last couple years you’ve been doing stand-up, you’ve been doing writing workshops, things like that?
Yeah, I have been kind of like, and I thought it was sort of working to my detriment, now as it turns out it’s a good thing I was doing these things, I wasn’t hyper focused on any one thing. I’ve said and I’ve heard other people say before that, you know, I just wanna have a seat at the comedy table, how ever that means possible. So yeah, I was trying to wear a couple different hats, trying to network, meet other people. Really trying to find like-minded, similar senses of humor because we had that. We were so fortunate to have that at The Mikey Show. It’s tougher to find here. There are a lot of different people from a lot of different places here. I did Groundlings classes, which is a big improv school out here, a lot of Saturday Night Live alumni have come out of there. I did those classes and I was finding any random acting gig that I could find. You could find me in anything from a Court TV show that’s called Sex Sent Me to the ER (laughing), commercials, music videos, anything that I could get.

Didn’t you and Matt do a country video?
We did. (Laughing.)

You have to really dig for it to find it, but oh, if you could find it. Oh man.

Why don’t you let everyone know where you can find it?
Yeah, maybe I’ll send it to you and you can post it. I don’t even know where I can look for it, I will have to really dig for it. But yeah, any random thing. I had a couple cool experiences that I thought were going to turn into something, where you know, you audition for something with a big name attached to it and you’re like “Ah, this is gonna be the thing” and then you do it and you never hear about it and move on.

Is that how it works? They just don’t call you and you just don’t hear from them?
Yeah, because at the time I didn’t have an agent that was sending me out on things and I wasn’t getting any kind of feedback. It was just me and I don’t have any sort of relationship with anyone to be like “How did I do?” You know and a lot of the time those things just don’t get picked up and they just don’t happen for whatever reason. After I audition for something, I throw out the lines that they give you, they’re called “sides;” I just throw them out immediately and move on to the next thing.

And so what a great segue; you just mentioned that you have an agent. Well, one of the things that you are most known for on The Mikey Show was voices. I think that even Mikey, who did a lot of voices, was intimidated because you did so many. I don’t think he had ever seen anybody who could match his chops. I know on his last show, nobody really did voices but him. I did a few just horrible ones that still make me cringe when I think about it. Then I think about yours and the upper echelon and the Nancy Grace, the characters you created that we got to, you know, this is one of my favorite things in the world is getting a chance to, you know, you’ll say, “I’m fried on doing this character Eskimo Bluewaters, Woodsey, if you wanna write for her, have a ball.” And I feel like I knew the character and I could go home and write for her which is such a new, pretty cool experience for me that I really enjoyed doing. So you have all these voices that you do and then one day it all changes for LOB. I am trying to think of anything that anyone, any normal person, could relate to. It was unbelievable. You had put out a couple of one off, little impressions like on Instagram, which is great. It’s like 10, 20 seconds of you doing Miley Cyrus, which is gold. Did the switch in your head that made you think I’ve gotta take this from kind of a vocal impression, to an actual, physical impersonation?
Yeah (laughing). I’ll tell you what happened. I’ll try and keep it as brief as I can. The first impression that I did was a Drew Barrymore impression and if you watch it, if everyone hasn’t already seen it should pause and watch it now so you could reference what we’re talking about. I was auditioning for a show, an improv show and they specifically listed characters that they would want you to come in and impersonate. So they wanted you to bring in your own original characters and a couple relevant celebrities and Miley was on the list, Drew Barrymore was on the list and Katy Perry, Lindsay Lohan. I just had this lightbulb like, oh I have never really done a Drew Barrymore and I could see other people doing Miley Cyrus, so maybe I’ll try Drew Barrymore. So in preparation for the audition, I started driving around in my car and as I was driving around I was like, let me see if this looks and sounds the way it does in my head. I started filming myself, I got in the house and pressed play and you know me. I am like, the worst critic.

A Seat At The Comedy Table | Lauren O’BrienYou are the worst. You are so hard on yourself. In fact, sidebar, I tried to get LOB to do an impression of Adele. It was a Friday and we were gonna do a bit on a Monday and I was like, you know, the story is British, maybe Adele can pipe in and then Jay can make fun of her for being chubby and you can attack him. You’re like, “No, please.” I’m like, “Please, it’s gonna be so good.” You’re like, “No, I don’t wanna do it.” “I’m begging you, please do it.” “NO! I don’t wanna do it!” She throws a piece of paper at me and it slices my upper lip, a visible cut.
(Laughing.) Oh, God!

My favorite now, which I can talk about now, one of my favorite moments ever.
That was one of my most horrifying moments. That was the nail in the coffin where I knew I had to quit. Like, I just assaulted my co-worker. I really cried about that, I was like, that was terrible.

It was always like, we were always falling over with laughter and LOB would make me pee my pants and she would be like, “Eh, I didn’t really like it.” It’s, you know, it’s good though, that you’re never satisfied. You never wanna be the guy who’s like, “Isn’t my impersonation the best?” You know what I mean? Because we worked with one of those, too.
Right. So anyway, I watched it and I laughed out loud. I was like, wow, because I never laugh at my own [work]. I usually watch something that I did and I’m like ugh.

It makes you cringe? (Laughing.)
I know, I just want to delete, delete, delete. This was really a rare occurrence for me where I was like, oh, that’s kind of funny. Yeah, I was just kind of improving and saying random shit, literally just filmed it for a minute, minute and a half, talking like Drew Barrymore. Just saying random stuff, just letting whatever come out and I was like, “I’m gonna chop this up.” And that took me forever to do, until I figured out how to do it on my phone. I was just being like, “Oh, that take was better than the last one.” I put in on Instagram just to see. Like, I’m gonna turn the waters just to see if everyone else thinks this is funny and I got a really good response, people starting commenting and you can see, if you watch that one, that there is no costume because I am literally driving around with a hat on and all I did was put red lipstick on just so I could look a little more like her because that’s what I planned on doing in the audition, so I was like let me see how I look with red lipstick on my face and see if I look like her, when I make the face. Because you know, when I do impressions I make the face.

You have to. It helps just flesh out the sound. When you did Nancy Grace I pictured you, you know, you would go in the other room and you would call in as her and in my mind’s eye I would picture a woman with short hair in a business suit, you know what I mean? Because you would turn yourself into them.
I used to be blond until I recently decided to dye my hair brown, which now I wanna go back to blond again, so indecisive. I started playing with all these new impressions that I’ve never done before. I was like, “Well, who can I pull off?” I mean, I can’t do Nancy Grace anymore because I don’t have blond hair. I can’t do my Stevie Nicks, so let me think about some brunette celebrities. Then I thought I don’t look like Kristen Stewart, but I can just put my hair in front of my face. I can do Kristen Stewart, then I was like Katie Holmes; you know, she has the weird little side face thing that she does. So then I started playing around with those and then honestly what was a game changer for me was when I started doing the wigs and the costumes and everything, Meryl, our friend Meryl hit me up and she requested Ellen DeGeneres and that was one I never thought to do before. I was like, okay, well now I have long, brown hair and Ellen has short blond hair so something has to be done about this. I went and dug into my stash of costumes and all that and I found the Justin Bieber wig that I had swiped from the station. … Ha! Oops.

A Seat At The Comedy Table | Lauren O’BrienYep, we used to use that here on The Mikey Show.
Yeah, so I found that and I was like, “Yeah, that looks kind of Elleny.” Then I had a vest and I kind of started playing around with it, and playing around with my face in the mirror and I was like. “I’m gonna do it!” Then, of course, it was just a snowball from there. Then all of the requests started coming in and that’s when I started having fun with all the costumes and stuff like that.

So you put these together, right? Where was the first place you posted it?
The first place I posted it, I’ll tell you what, I put them on Instagram. My whole plan was that I didn’t want to post them on Facebook because I want everyone to be interested in Facebook with some content and then on Instagram have different content; my whole plan was let’s keep these worlds separate. But then my buddy and fellow comedian that you know, Jesse Egan, pumped a few of my videos. He was just sharing them just because he’s a good friend and he thought they were funny. He started sharing them. Well, my mom is friends with Jesse on Facebook because he and I did a tour together and she loved him.

Yeah, you guys all went up the East Coast, Jesse and a few other people, so she got to meet him.
So she is in my ear being like, “Why can’t I see these videos?! I don’t have Instagram. I want to show these to my co-workers!” My mom is all over Facebook so she had ammo, sharing them all over Facebook, see Jesse’s and then share Jesse’s post and be like, “One of my co-workers saw you on there and they saw you doing Angelina Jolie. I want to see this!” Really, a lot of the motivation was, I’ll string it together in one video and my mom can be the hero and she can share it.

All this was done to shut your mother up, basically?
(Laughing.) Yeah! Then I shared it on Facebook and it was a totally random, happy accident and honestly I think that if it hadn’t had been organic, it probably wouldn’t have done as well.

I agree. I mean, look, we talk about it all the time. Everything on The Mikey Show was improvisational. It was the contrived stuff that we said, “Okay, now you come in with this take and then I’ll come in.” I mean, no dude, the moments that slayed us and slayed our audience were things like when LOB dropped a piece of cherry pie in her lap and then LOB says, completely off the cuff, “Oh, now I know what Jackie Kennedy feels like.” It’s still the single greatest line that I have heard on the radio. Now look, I grew up listening to Stern, all the people he has had working for him. I consider myself pretty funny. I consider myself to have had a few good lines here. It’s so far above anything that could ever be reached. It’s my favorite moment ever. I asked a few cast members that we worked with to leave a memory and of course that is Jay’s memory as well. It was just so legendary. The spontaneity of it, the improvisational deal, you messing around having fun with it, no pressure made it. When I say this thing went viral, look, we’ve shared something that has had 400 likes and maybe 40 shares, this thing is in the millions. Drew Barrymore, she loved it. She loved it! She saw it, did you almost pee your pants when that happened?
Oh yeah. The thing is, it was really weird timing for me. I was moving my parents out of their house that they lived in for 28 years on the East Coast. I was literally on a plane when this happened. I was really, really busy, which I think was a good stroke of luck for me because I would have been obsessed. I would have been round the clock, staring at the computer. I was really just dusting off cobwebs, I was a laborer for four days straight so I would catch glimpses of either people texting me screenshots of things or every once and a while I would check Facebook and I would see something. Somebody else shared with me that Drew Barrymore did that.

It was incredible. It went absolutely apeshit. It really went through the roof.
I still, just if I still really think about it, it would probably be a bad thing because I would probably be a little overwhelmed about what it actually means to have that many people look at something that you do.

A Seat At The Comedy Table | Lauren O’BrienIt’s so funny too because we talked about it all the time when we were on The Mikey Show when we would do a new bit, or we would do a new character, game or something. We would do it, then we would run over to Facebook and see what people thought. Let’s say 100 people commented and 99 of them were amazing, but one person would be like, “stupid, lame.” It would mess with us the entire day. We would be so butt hurt about it. I tell you, all the websites that posted it and then posted their little take on it or whatever, knew who you were or knew what you were doing, the comments were 99 percent positive. Which is crazy! I mean look, LOB is a 10 so that doesn’t hurt. I mean, if you were a hoss doing it, it would be different. You look good and you’re funny. Guys were like, “Oh my God, she is the total package.”
I really, literally, tried to not read that many. I was saying the same thing because I know how the Internet is and I was just waiting for the shitstorm to come, for me to get hung up on that. You’re right, for me, being so positive, it was like I was waiting for the bottom to drop out. I did see a site called Barstool…

In Philly, right? They are so hardcore. I mean, they were filthy.
What the guy wrote was, “I wanted to hate this, but I just couldn’t.” He said some nice things. But, the comments below! My mom was like, “I didn’t like what that one guy said. Why are you on there?”

Don’t look at that. That is the last thing that you want your parents looking at. This thing goes out and it goes out all over the world. In Australia, in England I saw and everyone was loving it. What happened after that?
First of all, I didn’t know how to turn off my YouTube alerts. Obviously, I can picture you imagining that. Every time a YouTube comment would come in, or a new subscriber, I was being getting an e-mail, so I had just thousands of e-mails. I was trying to discern. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t delete anything, people were sending me YouTube messages as well. It was insane. Then, I had an open forum on my website that says contact me. When it comes into my inbox, every single one of those has the same subject line. It says “Lauren O’Brien Website.” I had to sift through every single one.

Right? Because it could have been, “Hey, we’re doing a casting …” You had to go through them. Probably, a lot of them were just saying, “Hey you’re so funny.” Or, “LOB, remember me? I’m M1 Dickhead …” or whatever from back in the day.
Mmm-hmm. A lot of them were so nice. Then all of a sudden all of the managers and the agents and networks and Ellen DeGeneres’ producer. Yeah, that was definitely the first one that made me be like, holy shit, I heard from Ellen DeGeneres’ producers and the video was only at 50,000.

So are you going on Ellen or what?
I don’t think so. Which is a bummer because I ended up saying no to other shows because Ellen, they wanted exclusive rights to have me on. Then it was really bad timing because they already had their lineup set from when they went off the air on the 17th of December, or something like that and the video kind of happened right before Thanksgiving. They took time off which was right before Thanksgiving, then they had people coming in promoting labels and books and stuff before the end of the year. By the time they figured out what to do with me, it was kind of like, “Well, now the video is kind of from a couple weeks ago.” Anyway, no I am not going to be on Ellen. I said no to an interview with CNN. I said no to another show called Real Talk, or something. It was a bunch of African-American women, Women of Color is what they called the show, but it runs during daytime television. I said no to Fox News. It was crazy. Then, the craziest e-mail things that really brought me to tears, I heard from William Morris, which is one of the biggest agencies in Hollywood. The e-mail said something like, “Hi, my name is Jared Jackson and I am a partner at William Morris, we loved your video. We represent Amy Poehler …” Just name after name in the e-mail and my face started getting hot, turning red and I am reading these names and it was like, “I would love for you to come in and chat.” I had a lot of meetings, but that was the big one where I was like “wooow.” I met with them and you would have loved it. I walked in, Kevin Bacon was walking out of the elevator when I was going in.

A Seat At The Comedy Table | Lauren O’BrienFriggin’ Footloose, dude. That’s my favorite movie ever.
I know! It was my birthday. I walked in to my big meeting on my birthday, the elevators open up, and it’s like an episode on Entourage. The place is white. White, white, white. Open windows. Just exactly what you thought it would look like. I see Seth McFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, chattin’ it up in the lobby with a couple of people, just real show biz. I just kept thinking, “Is this staged? Shut up. This is weird. This is so weird.”

Yeah, we’re gonna do a new reality show. It’s called Crush a Dream. You have cameras on you and we’re just gonna follow you around and kill your dreams.
Yes, that is exactly how I felt. There is no way this is real, there is no way this is happening to me. Then the assistant comes down and gets me and is like, “Well, they’re ready for you.” I start walking back into the office and there are four agents, there are cupcakes sitting on the counter for me because they knew it was my birthday. They have pictures of every famous person you can imagine around the office. Amy Poehler’s book sitting right there next to the cupcakes and I would be lying if I could tell you I remember anything that was said in that meeting.

You’re just nodding. Just yep. It’s just so incredible.
It ended with an, “Alright, well, we’re really excited about this.” I literally left the meeting and I didn’t know if I had signed with them or not. I don’t know what this means. I don’t know what just happened. We shook hands, but it wasn’t …

Yeah, they don’t just slide you a piece of paper or something …
Yeah, it’s just like, we’re doing this. Then it’s just like, you know, I think that just happened. Then, the very next day, my meetings start getting scheduled.

So you are represented by William Morris?
I am.

I am so happy and proud of you. That is so incredible. Now listen, ladies and gentleman, kids either reading or listening to this, follow your dreams because they do come true. LOB, you are represented my William Morris.
I know. It’s insane. It’s insane. I keep waiting to wake up from it because it’s one of those things that when I got into radio, people would ask me, “I’m interested in getting in radio, too. How do I get where you got?” My path was real unconventional and I got really, really lucky. It’s the same thing with this. I’ve been here for a year and a half. A lot of people have been here for a lot longer, done a lot more work and I got really, really, friggin’ lucky. It comes at a time where I was like, eh, I don’t know how many more years I want to do this. I already started thinking about getting a real job again, having kids. I can’t be trying to be a superstar for too long.

Forget that.
Well, that was going to be the conversation I was going to have with myself in 2015. I have to reevaluate, what are my goals here? What do I want to accomplish this year? How long am I gonna be doing this for? Then that happened. Again, I keep talking about all the times I have cried. I met with the Happy Madison people; for people who don’t know, it is Adam Sandler’s production company, which are my favorite comedic movies of all time. My favorite comedic actor of all time and I’m in his office and I’m looking at his memorabilia, his pictures. He didn’t come to the meeting, but just knowing that he had sat in there and came up with ideas, signed deals, I just started crying. I just started crying before the meeting even started. When they walked in I was like, “Hi.”

That to me is like The Deftones calling me and saying, “Hey Woodsy, I know you’re a big fan. Do you want to produce our next record and hang out with us when we play?” It’s so far above any expectation. It’s also a great lesson in that good things really do happen to good people. It just goes to show you. I’m just blown away, LOB. You met with Happy Madison. Now, you have an agency. You are no longer … I mean, things are happening where you don’t have to go out and chase anymore?
In some ways, more than ever, people are like, “Okay, so what you got?” “Well, I’ve been working on this pilot, it’s like this and that…” “Okay. Next.” “What do you mean next?” It is like people are looking at me to be, “You obviously wrote all that stuff you had on the video and you’re a writer, so what else do you have?” Okay, so I have to tighten up a little bit. Which I did a lot over the holidays. Right now is real, real preliminary and none of these meetings are specific. They’re just meetings and introductions. I have always taken life this way. Where even if this lasts for six months, or even if this only lasts for a year, it’s always going to be amazing that I get to look back and say how cool that I got to do that? When the video got to where it was, I was like all these agents could change their minds when I sit down with them. But, how cool that they even e-mailed me. When I went to Happy Madison it was on the Paramount lot, which is a place I used to drive by when I lived in Hollywood, every day, looking at it like I wanna be in there, I wanna be in there. For the gates to open up and get to go on and have a pass waiting there with my name on it like, “Paramount welcomes you” … I mean, how cool. Nothing compares to how cool is this. I am really just trying to take every step to like, how cool is this and how lucky I am. It’s crazy.

It’s one of those words of advice, just take it in. One of the things that I have always loved about working with you is that we learned in a lot of cases of what not to do. I think both of us were like, okay, let’s keep a level head. I think that has really served you well moving forward. LOB was a stand-up comedian, a waitress at one time. Three weeks before we were on the radio, I was a recruiter. The next thing you know, a week after we’re on the air, there are 500 people at a meet and greet waiting to get our autograph. We’re looking at each other kind of going, “What’s going on?” The cool thing is that I am in the position I want to be in, you are obviously in the position you want to be in, and we both kind of pinch ourselves every day like holy smokes. We learned what not to do in that respect, of let’s not take ourselves too seriously at the end of the day.
And that’s one thing I’m seeing from going into these offices; people are sitting in their cubicle and they work for HBO, but they’re still just sitting in their cubicle answering their phones. Whatever industry, whatever job it is that you do, it’s all what we end up doing to pay the bills. And hopefully, if we’re really, really lucky, we get to also love what we do while paying the bills. But you see. You see those inner workings and you’re like, “You know, Kevin Bacon was just going to a meeting, too. Same place I was.”

He has to put his rubbers on and his slickers and go to his meeting at William Morris. With, who also represents LOB, which is just so awesome. Alright, so you’ve got all these meetings. You’re still doing stand-up, right?
Still doing stand-up. In fact, after I get off the phone I have to shower and get going over to Irvine Improv tonight. I am doing a show there at 10 o’clock. I found out that they put me as the main name on there, which is just ridiculous. I am on there with people who are much more experienced and, I think, funnier than me. I haven’t really been doing stand-up a whole ton, I’m a little rusty. But, I just recently got invited to open for Kevin Nealon.

I heard about this. And this is what I wanted to ask you, then I’ll let you go because I know you’ve got to prepare. You are opening for Kevin Nealon …
Kevin Freaking Nealon.

Where and when?
Yes. It is American Comedy Co., which is down in the Gaslamp, here in San Diego. It’s January 23rd, 24th and 25th. Two Friday shows at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., two Saturday shows at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and then a Sunday show at 8 p.m.

I will be there for one of them, at least.
Yeah, I assume that they know he is going to sell out that weekend and that is why they tapped on another show. So I would, depending on how many people listen to this, I would get those tickets right away because I am assuming he is going to sell out. I can’t wait to meet him because he just seems like he is just the nicest, coolest guy.

I met him. I met him at a bar once!
Oh, you did?

Yeah, I met him at a bar in Addison, Texas. We were sitting there for happy hour and he was going to play at this comedy place across the street. He was in there, this place called Sherlocks, I think. He was having drinks and dinner and, you know me, I just walked right up and was like, “DUDE! I love you man! Kevin Nealon. Super, super nice dude.
He seems like it. He brings his own feature with him on the road. I’ll be the opening act, then there will be a feature and then it will be him. His stand-up is so funny that I’m just excited that I get a front row seat to go see him.

I can’t wait. I definitely will, if you are free to grab lunch or dinner or something, then we can do that. LOB, much continued success, keep up the great work and we love you and are just so proud of you. And we will see you at the American Comedy Co., my dear. And on the cover of 4L Magazine. Now you know you’ve made it!
I know! We did that shoot the other day and it’s gonna be really cool. I hope it ends up even better than I imagine because it’s a really cool concept.

Just keep kicking ass, LOB. It’s so good to hear as dark of days as we both faced, that we are both sitting here, me interviewing you, for your cover story, for my podcast here at FM 94.9. I’m writing the cover story. You know, they asked me and I was like yeah, no brainer. Done deal. I’m just so proud of you, I can’t tell you enough. You’re such a genuinely nice and good person and just to see everything that has happened and to see you come through it is pretty remarkable, my dear. Keep up the good work, we will see you in San Diego real soon.
Sounds good! Love you!

A Seat At The Comedy Table | Lauren O’Brien

There’s not enough room in this magazine to share all of the hysterical LOB stories. Seriously. This is the girl who recorded a very sultry “Santa Baby” on her computer for her boyfriend. In the bathroom. This is a girl who got her first headshots off of Craigslist. For free. By some random guy in his apartment in Oceanside. I solicited Facebook for some of her fans’ favorite memories and besides all of the funny stories, a former listener, Amy Quintero, summed it up so well: “Too many on air stories. The list could go on and on, but what really sticks out for me was when I first met her in person. She was kind, friendly and approachable. She has a little girl innocence about her but in a grown up body with a grown up mouth. She’s genuine and the world needs more LOBs.” I couldn’t agree more, Amy.

But you forgot one very important thing. Balls. She’s got balls.


A Seat At The Comedy Table | Lauren O’Brien

Who’s down with LOB – yeah you know … me.

by Meryl Klemow

Lauren is my best and favorite friend in the whole wide world. She is the Laverne to my Shirley, the Lucy to my Ethel, the Liz Lemon to my Donaghy. If I could choose one friend to choose to move to a remote island with, eat plantains until I pop, fully grow my beard out and have it taped for a sitcom called Crazy Broad Broads Abroad, it would be her. Yes, she is a comedic genius and we have had some very successful videos and sketches together (see her YouTube page for them) and are continuing to make more in 2015. However, one of my favorite Lauren moments was last year when she had a nasty cold and then I caught it from hanging out with her so much (not exchanging fluids; sorry Woods), and we were both at separate CVS Minute Clinics in LA/San Diego at the same time, texting each other photos of the nurses taking our temperatures, blood pressures and generally watching us just being clowns. One of the only girls I know who can make a pamphlet of “You and Your Flu” and a stethoscope into comedic props.