BY ALEX RUSSELL
Anyone can read a Wikipedia page. Every Wednesday in “In Case You Missed It” Poor Scholars’ Alex Russell hopes to put in context something in the world of comedy for non comedy-nerds. This week we look at Kristen Schaal, whose new special may or may not be airing soon.
You probably are familiar with…
Her in general, honestly, even if you don’t know her name off the top of your head. She’s Louise (the one with the rabbit ears) on Bob’s Burgers, and she’s had smaller roles in basically everything under the sun recently, including America’s favorite feel-good comedies Mad Men and Modern Family.
You might also know…
Her work as one of the best correspondents on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The format can be hard to fit specific comedy voices in, but Kristen Schaal’s role in the fake female response to news stories has been as important a foil to Samantha Bee’s character as Wyatt Cenac’s was to Larry Wilmore’s on racial stories. And with that sentence, I’ve finally won my made-up game of “Daily Show Bingo.”
She was apparently great on Flight of the Conchords, but if I’m honest I didn’t watch a ton of that show. The Internet tells me she played an obsessed fan. That hardly seems like a stretch based on her most recent work…
…on 30 Rock. She played Hazel Wassername, the vindictive page who became the last real villain on the show. She did a lot with a little in a weird period for Liz Lemon and company. Say what you will about the stumble towards the end 30 Rock took, but you cannot deny that if they wanted someone to play a deranged, erratic character then they found exactly what they needed in Schaal. I never loved her character, but I loved how she portrayed her.
You should go check out…
One of the first things that the text box suggests when you Google her (aside from “feet” which comes up for nearly every female comic. Try it. Or specifically don’t try it, actually) is “Kristen Schaal is a horse.” There seems to be a very “love/hate” relationship with this bit among people that have seen it, so I’ll show, then tell:
There are a ton of versions of it online and she’s been doing it with her comedy partner (but not partner-partner, that one writes for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) Kurt Braunohler for a really long time. It should be used in comedy classes for the rest of time as the prime example of “it’s funny, then it’s not funny, then it’s kinda funny, then it’s not at all, then it’s HILARIOUS.” Look at her dance like a horse.
Her appearance on the Sklar brothers’ Sklarbro Country podcast in December, where she was surprisingly candid about preforming for huge crowds, her Denver Broncos fandom (such as it is), and her career in general. The podcast is always funny, but it’s rarely personal. This one’s a good one if you like her.
Her Twitter, @kristenschaaled. She doesn’t tweet all that often, but when she does, it gets weird. Example from the day that they booked her to, if I remember correctly, follow Mel Brooks on Conan:
I’m on @conanobrien tonight! Me and Mel Brooks. Like the good old days.
— Kristen Schaal (@kristenschaaled) November 28, 2012
Why does this matter?
She may or may not have a new special coming out on April 1. Comedy Central has announced it officially many times, but there’s something odd going on here. She recently was on The Jeselnik Offensive, but when Anthony Jeselnik tried to promote her special she said “I don’t think they’re going to be airing it.” She was on Comedy Bang! Bang! recently and tried to shut the host down over and over and said she doesn’t expect it will ever air.
You can pre-order it on Amazon already, and the Internet still seems to be sure we’ll see this on April Fools’ Day. In a time where everyone promotes everything everywhere, she’s either downplaying or appearing to downplay her next big thing. It plays with expectations – and now it’s turned a special I only wanted to see into one I can’t stop wondering about. In her Comedy Central Presents she broke the format completely with guests and some amazingly strange bits.
Amazon’s got a clip, so this definitely got recorded. It remains to be seen if the best joke you could put in your Comedy Central special is pretending you have one, or if this will be an hour for the ages. Either way, like her, it’s awesome, it’s weird, and it’s worth your damn time.