Carmen Lynch is an absolute riot. You won’t be able to find much about her on the Internet, so let us fill you in a bit. When she isn’t busting guts on the stage in English or Spanish (yes, she is a bilingual comedian!) she is displaying her acting and comedic chops on “Apartment C3,” the hilarious short series she produces with fellow female comedian (and roommate) Liz Miele. On October 2nd, she will be recording her first stand up album in Boston, and if you can’t seem to get enough of her with all of her comedy content, her tweets will keep you on your toes as well! With all of that going on, we are surprised she had time to sit down and answer a few questions for us. Now it’s your turn to fall in love with her!
Serial Optimist: Hi Carmen! Please, introduce yourself to the Serial Optimist audience!
Carmen Lynch: Hi Serial Optimist audience!
(Was that okay?)
SO: Perfect! What sparked your interest in comedy?
Carmen: It was all such an accident. I moved to NY from Virginia to pursue acting. I’d never really thought of myself as a comedian, although I always acted like a goofball. I went to a comedy club in NY in mid 2000 and watched the comics onstage – they were so funny but I never ever imagined that lifestyle as an option…something you could just do. They seemed more like martians with “a gift”. Any time I was interested in anything growing up my mother’s default response was “take a class.” So I took a stand up class and I fell in love.
SO: What were your dreams and goals at age 18?
Carmen: My entire life I wanted to be a doctor. Looking back, I think I just said that to make my parents proud. But I tried it – I went to The College of William & Mary and was pre-med for a year. I thought I was brilliant because I got A’s in Biology and Chemistry in high school. Then in college I studied and got C’s. I dropped pre-med and changed my major to Psychology…which, looking back, serves me better as a comic anyway.
SO: You have hilarious presence on Twitter. On August 30th, you tweeted: “Twitter followers are like boobies. Some are fake.” What conversation or situation sparked that reaction?
Carmen:Thank you!! Twitter is fun when you’re procrastinating from real work. I’d heard about people “buying fake followers” on twitter to appear like they have a gigantic following –that many celebrities’ “millions of followers” are faux. So I just thought of a tweet based on that. But reading it now again, it sounds like I’m saying “real” people who follow twitter have fake personalities. I guess that could be true as well…
SO: How do you feel social media has helped your career grow?
Carmen: Gosh, has it? Haha. I think posting where you’re performing on Facebook and Twitter helps. You always want people knowing where you’ll be performing although it increases the chances of getting stalked. I just updated my website with a better schedule and more videos which I think helps. But this business is so self-involved it can get nauseating to always be like “me me me, here here here!” but we just have to do it. (By the way my website is www.carmenlynch.com and my twitter handle is @lynchcarmen.)
SO: Perfect chance for a plug! Speaking of Twitter, do explain the background on your feed. Who concocted that incredible art?
Carmen: Awwww. Thanks for noticing. I’ll let my niece know. She was about 5 when she did that. She didn’t know I was using it and one day I checked Twitter in front of her and she was like, “Hey I did that!”
SO: That’s super adorable. You tell jokes in both Spanish and English. Which language do you prefer to do comedy in?
Carmen: I feel like I have multiple personalities now that I’m doing stand up in Spanish. In English I’m better at talking to the audience, because I’ve been doing it for ten years. In Spanish I feel like I’m playing an instrument I haven’t played in a while, because I used to speak in Spanish all the time as a kid and I’m re-working that muscle. I can’t say I prefer one more than the other – I love the ease of doing it in English and the challenge of doing it in Spanish. One day I hope to do it all in Spanglish.
SO: Do you tailor your writing shows you know will be more heavily Spanish based compared to an American base, or do you find your jokes and humor work for both audiences?
Carmen: I absolutely have to tailor it. Sometimes I don’t know what it’s going to be like until I get to that country. I just got back from a comedy festival in Costa Rica and stand up comedy is VERY new there, and after the show someone said, “You talk about yourself on stage? Wow.” They weren’t used to the autobiographical side of comedy yet. Standup is highly evolved in New York, and not so much in other countries where people are just starting to tell jokes on stage. So I have to scale back a little on sarcasm and do the simpler punch lines. It feels a little strange to go back to older material I don’t do anymore, but since it’s in Spanish it all sounds like a new joke.
SO: If you had to make a creative argument for the best coffee shop in New York, which would you choose and why?
Carmen: How did you know I liked coffee so much? I’m going to guess from the picture on my website. In New York, “Joe” has great coffee. So does “Cafe Grumpy”. When I’m lazy I’ll just drink instant…yes!! I do!! But that just makes real coffee taste that much better.
SO: You and Liz Miele create and star in a series called “Apt C3” online. How long have you known Liz and what made you two begin this venture?
Carmen: Liz stalked me until I’d be her friend. I sometimes have a hard time trusting people, so my standoffishness and her aggressiveness made a great match. We were bored (true story) in our apartments the night of Hurricane Irene (Aug 2011). The subways were down and Liz was making dinner for me and our other roommate Chris. Chris and I were recording something silly in the apartment and then we suddenly said “Liz, get in here!” and that’s how we developed Episode One of Apt C3 (appropriately called “Hurricane Irene”).
APT C3 “Hurricane Irene”
SO: The both of you are also recording a comedy CD on October 2nd in Boston. What made you choose that venue to record at?
Carmen: Liz didn’t want to record in Spain so we had to do it here, in America. We basically wanted to be near a city but not necessarily New York since we’ve both performed here for most of our comedy careers and wanted a fresh batch of comedy viewers. We’d both heard great feedback about the Improv Boston from comedy friends and the size of the venue seemed perfect. But the second CD we’re doing in Spain. In Spanish.
SO: What can your fans look forward to from your CD?
Carmen: Hopefully I’ll say stupid things at the taping that even I’m not aware of yet. And a few dumb pictures. I want this CD to make people laugh while they’re driving. Not like laughing so hard they crash, just laughing at a stoplight. I picture that and it makes me happy.
SO: It makes us smile as well. Thanks Carmen!
SO Note: Follow Carmen @lynchcarmen, find funny stuff and show dates on her site here, get all up in APT C3 here, and if you are in the Boston area go to her live taping at Improv Boston on Oct 2 duh! Get tickets here now!