Recently I had the opportunity to photograph the hilarious and hot ladies of Candy Slice, a NYC all-female comedy troupe of eight who met in the improv program at the famous Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater and named their group after late comedian and SNL-star Gilda Radner’s “Candy Slice & The Slicers.”
The troupe performs their monthly variety show, “Up Late With Candy Slice,” in Manhattan, and their self-produced videos have garnered over a million hits on YouTube, including their very own behind the scenes spoof of the Beyoncé and Lady Gaga video for “Video Phone” (which also appeared on Perez Hilton):
The most amazing thing about that video? They wrote the parody BEFORE the actual “Video Phone” video was released! They’re obviously oracles.
In the era of Tina Fey, Wanda Sykes, Amy Poehler and Kristin Wiig, Candy Slice is an example of a growing trend of confident, funny ladies taking over the comedy scene.
For the shoot, I had the help of talented wardrobe stylist, Sara Medd, who brought the bright threads, accessories, and lots of sweet props. We listened to Gaga, played with hair fans, and ate a lot of candy. Riese and Alex came by to ask the girls some inappropriate questions.
Hi! I’m Riese! This is our interview, which we did on camera. Because so much of the pleasure of the Candy Slice Comedy Group is PHYSICAL, we’ve included some screenshots here & there for you. But probs you will be craving more, which is one of two reasons why we’re putting together a behind-the-scenes video of the interview and our subsequent photoshoot to debut later this month. The second reason for the video we can’t tell you yet, it’s a BIG SURPRISE. Get excited, these girls are f*cking hilarious… and cute! And maybe one or two of them are maybe partially or fully gay… which is really just the icing on the cake of awesome.
So here’s our interview with Jennifer (who is also our Calendar Girl for January!), Anna, Kirsten, Shamikah, Claire, Regina and Julie!
In the Beginning …
Riese: How did you guys all meet?
Jennifer: Well, we all met at UCB. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.
Anna: That’s not true. That is a lie! Tell the true story.
Kristen: It’s sort of a – sort of a… we are all involved in UCB but most of us met through Shamikah.
Shamikah: None of them had a brown friend. Alright? This is what happened: each of them was trying to get a brown friend and I was like “Oh my gosh all of you do improv.” So then we all got together and MESHED.
Claire: It was our conduit.
Jennifer: I’m brown in the summer!
Riese: What was the timeline?
Kristen: We started getting together – there were six of us over the summer and then we brought in two new members in the early fall, Julie (she waves) and Tracy who is not here, but she’s still in the group.
Anna: Tracy plays Lady Gaga in the Beyonce/Lady Gaga video.
Alex: Where is that bitch? Get her here.
Anna: I wish that we could, but I think she’s out of state. What state is she in?
Kristen: I think she’s in St. Louis.
Anna: I thought she was in Illinois?
Regina: I think St. Louis is partially in Illinois.
The Candy Spice Girls
Alex: So which one’s like Sporty, which one’s like Scary? What sort of Slices do we have here?
Kristen: (to Shamikah) You’re our Ethnic Slice.
Shamikah: You can tell she only has one brown friend, she doesn’t know what else to say to the brown people.
Claire: Jennifer’s definitely Sexy Slice.
Kristen: She’s even sexy by accident, when she’s not trying.
Shamikah: Yeah, we’re like, “What funny thing can we do?” And Jen’s like, “I can do the salsa in a bikini. That’s funny right? That’s funny.”
Jennifer: That’s me. Yeah.
Anna: Claire’s really good at playing a stripper. I don’t know why.
Claire: I like it.
Shamikah: Claire plays guys. She’s played a man in like every skit.
Claire: And I like playing guys.
Anna: She’s a man or she’s a stripper.
Riese: So you like to play sexually powerful roles.
Claire: Yes I do.
Julie: Kristen is a wizard in most of the skits.
Kristen: Or a ninja.
Jennifer: A ninja wizard. She’s really good at playing E.T.
Kristen: Or E.T. Mythical creatures, magic …
Julie: They all do this ..
Regina: And then it’s in your face and it’s scary. It’s wizardry!
Anna: Regina’s like the “voice of reason who sounds like she’s been smoking since she was five years old” type.
Regina: [in long time smoker voice] Yeah, they have to listen to this a lot. That’s what they get. It keeps them in line. The little gal-pals, they love it.
Anna: I think my favorite is when she played Tinkerbell in one of our shows. And she was in her Tinkerbell costume and she was just like “Mwahhahhaaaaa”. It was terrifying for the children.
Regina: They loved it.
Hopes & Dreams
Riese: What’s your ultimate dream as a group?
Anna: To go to Disneyworld.
Kristen: No but we want to make stuff up, we want to be able to do whatever we want and produce it. So our dream is a place where we can all come together, and if we have an idea we also have a platform, people to act in it and funny people to do what they need to do. What’s really awesome about these girls is that you’re like, “Hey put on this wig and act like a giant in fairyland,” and they’re like, “OK”. And that’s a cool thing. Right?
Kristen: Orrrr act like Adam Lambert, whatever you wanna do.
Jennifer: Or E.T.
Alex: I heard a little something about an Adam Lambert video. Did you guys do that?
Anna: Ohhhhh — yeah. Claire is gonna be playing Adam Lambert. She plays a really good Adam Lambert. She also plays Josh Groban in a sketch we have coming up. Give us your Josh Groban.
Riese: Yeah, do it. (pause) DO IT!
Claire: [singing] You raised me up, so I can stand on mountains. You raised me up!
Shamikah: So we were doing this in an elevator in Regina’s building and there was a guy with his poodle and I was like, “It’s okay, can your dog be in the video? Keep singing Claire!” And he was like — [does “brush your shoulders off” motion]
Anna: We like to make fun of social networking sites like Facebook a lot. We just find them ridiculously funny, even though all of us are obsessed with them.
Jennifer: Not all of us. Julie is not on Facebook.
Julie: (shakes her head and points) Neither is Kristen.
Shamikah: Kristen goes on the Candy Slice Facebook.
Kristen: And I’m on Twitter. Forty-two followers.
Regina: What!? Suck on that!
Anna: Remember back in the day when you wanted to hang out with your friends? But you had to call their house and if they weren’t home you couldn’t – it was like their mom and she was like (deep mom voice), “Oh, she’s at the mall, sorry.” And you couldn’t get a hold of her? That’s Kristen.
Kristen: (waves) Hi!
Anna: Then pagers came out and she wouldn’t have any of that.
Kristen: Oh yeah, I’m mysterious.
Claire: Julie’s good at playing psycho killer housewives. And her facial expressions are awesome.
Julie: I’m either myself or a disaffected version of myself [says this in a disaffected voice]. And those are the two things that I work on.
Life on Stage
Riese: Have you had any ideas for skits that totally failed that you thought were going to be awesome?
Alex: You guys perform onstage, right?
Claire/Shamikah: January 22nd.
Regina: (angry smoker voice) Mark your calendar Alex. Mark it right now.
(laughter as Alex marks her calendar)
Alex: Tell us about those shows.
Kristen: Let’s tell them about our terrible, terrible improv show.
Anna: Which one?
Kristen: We had a terrible, terrible show that was really bad. It was a Halloween show and we decided to wear costumes and…
Anna: Someone said it was a bad idea in the first place. [it was Anna]
Kristen: Anna thought it was a bad idea in the first place. And she was right. She’s always right. She’s not always right. Right?
Kristen: OK, so we all went 100% on our costumes and forgot that we had to show up and do improv, so every single scene was reduced to screaming or some sort of…
Jennifer: Airplane, we had an airplane scene!
Kristen: With screaming and everybody in the scene. Then we had sort of the lowest common denominator in improv is like “I’m black” or “rape” and we had that in every scene practically. So we were really mad at ourselves.
Claire: It was a great learning block.
Kristen: And we all made ourselves watch the video of it. Which was so painful.
Jennifer: But it was cool because we are all in costume, so maybe you didn’t know. I was the Grinch. I was the Grinch!
Claire: I was dressed up as a piece of shit.
Regina: Literally, she was.
Shamikah:We wanna do a show that’s like late night, but with improv in it. We’re gonna be Chelsea Handler soon. [Anna disagrees] She’s the only female on late night! She is! There’s nobody else!
Anna: We’re like the Sarah Silverman, if Sarah Silverman was more than one person.
Riese: Wanda Sykes.
Kristen: Oh yeah, that’s right.
Shamikah: She does late night?
Regina: C’mon, brownie.
Shamikah: How do I not know what every brownie is doing? So our show is like; we do an interview, and then some improv, a musical guest, it’s like a late night TV show.
Alex: That sounds cool.
Regina: Improv for musical guests, which is actually really awesome, audiences really enjoy that.
Kristen: And our guests are celebrities.
Shamikah: We had Angelina Jolie.
Kristen: Amanda Peet.
Jennifer: Brad Pitt, those kids, they join too.
Shamikah: Those kids, we had to improvise with them, improvising with kids is not easy.
Anna: Especially when they don’t know English.
Shamikah: Or how to talk.
Claire: They just always try to steal the spotlight.
Kristen: Especially babies are the worst though because they are just so cute.
Shamikah: Oooh actually, we did have a recent video semi ruined by a baby. I shouldn’t even say that, but the baby wouldn’t stop! We thought it would be a good idea to have the baby in it, but she just cried the whole time.
Kristen: Candy Slice hates babies.
Anna: No, no stop, that’s bad PR.
Regina: The number nine Candy Slicer will not be Baby.
Jennifer: We lovvvve babies.
Shamikah: Candy Slice kills babies!
Regina: What? Comedy! COMEDY!
Leaders of the Pack
Riese: Do you guys have positions within the group?
Anna: Yes. I’m the marketing director. Everyone, spit your gum out.
Shamikah: I’m the creative director of the group.
Riese: (to Claire) What’s your position?
Claire: Jen and I are co-chairs of the Social Chair.
Riese: Oh, what does that entail?
Claire: Basically we do the party atmosphere. Par-taaaay!
Riese: You sound like your job is like the culture guy on Queer Eye.
Jennifer: (puts a tissue over her mouth) I use the tissues and I try to lure you to come to our shows. (laughter) No, we create events, you know, we put amazing events together.
Jennifer: Fundraisers, and like everything under the sun.
“We all do different things, whether that’s Kristen doing her Dungeons & Dragons thing, or the rest of us, doing normal people things.”
Claire: Jen came up with a cocktail that we’re gonna pitch to do after our shows at different bars and around the venue. Because it’s kind of cool after the show to have everybody come and hang out together, it’s such a fun vibe.
Jennifer: So, our cocktail is called… come on, you already know…
Riese: The Candy Slice?
Jennifer: The Candy Slice Cocktail. And the phrase is – “It will sweeten your life”.
Riese: What’s in it?
Jennifer: Pomegranate, pink sugar on the rim –
Anna: Rim job!
Jennifer: Vodka, triple Sec, lemon soda, and maybe a cherry on top.
Shamikah: Just watch now it’s gonna be an Autostraddle cocktail.
Regina: And they’ll be like “it sweetens your life.”
Anna: It’ll get you the girls you want any time.
Jennifer: Really, it’s just a slice of candy on the side.
Riese: (to Kristen) What’s your position?
Kristen: I’m the Brand Overlord.
Regina: What the f*ck does that mean?
Riese: Do you realize that none of you guys have positions that sound real?
Kristen: We’re not real people!
Regina: What? Finance Emperor doesn’t sound real to you all of a sudden?
Shamikah: Autostraddle doesn’t have a Finance Emperor???
Regina: You guys need to get with the program.
Riese: We have a Chief of Important Matters.
Anna: [pointing to Kristen] You have to understand that this girl, she plays Dungeons and Dragons.
Regina: [laughs] Still.
Kristen: [fakes offended] Haha still.
Regina: We all do different things, whether that’s Dungeons & Dragons thing, or normal people things.
Riese: Are you the Dungeon Master?
Kristen: [Her eyes light up] You know about the Dungeon Master! You play Dungeons and Dragons.
Riese: I used to be a Dungeon Master for my brother and his friends.
Kristen: The Dungeon Master is a great honor!
Riese: I did plan ahead with snacks.
Kristen: It’s a great thing, Dungeons and Dragons. An imaginative world is an asset.
Riese: It’s good when your real world is like, “You’re weird.”
Anna: Some people do drugs, some people play Dungeons and Dragons.
Riese: Some people do both.
Kristen: And you know what, Dungeons and Dragons is cheaper.
Riese: So you’re the Dungeon Master?
Kristen: I’m the Brand Overlord.
Riese: Which sounds similar. [To Regina] And you are?
Regina: I am the Finance Emperor. That wasn’t a joke. You tried to make it a joke but I’m the Finance Emperor for reals.
Anna: That means we trust her with our money and God knows why.
Julie: I am Show Guru. With Tracy, Lady Gaga, who is not here. So we book all the acts and co-ordinate with theatres and things like that.
Anna: I do marketing. So I do things like making everyone spit their gum out when we’re doing interviews. I basically oversee the YouTube page and I started the Funny or Die page. I’m trying to get us out as a brand. I know that sounds so corporate and awful and horrible and unfunny.
Alex: That doesn’t sound so horrible to me.
Anna: Thank you. I’m basically trying to get our image unified.
Anna: To the people. Seriously, it’s really important for me that us as group have a connection with our fans!
“We think the best part about comedy is the connection. And energy and getting everybody collaborating and that makes every show successful, even when it’s bad.”
Anna: They voted Marketing Chair.
Riese: Oh these are elected positions?
Regina: Yeah, these are elected.
Kristen: The reason we decided to do this was because there are eight girls and I don’t know if you’ve ever done anything with eight girls –
Riese: I’ve never had eight friends.
Riese: No, I have done things with lots of people, we tried to plan a party with eight girls.
Kristen: It’s hard right?
Riese: Autostraddle is like fifteen girls. It’s like thirty when we’re all together. And I have to manage them all day. But hey, I don’t even know what they’re doing right now, they’re probably on g-chat.
Riese: But yeah, yeah! It’s hard! Plus I’m the CEO of Ideas, so I can’t judge your titles.
Kristen: Seeee, right! And we got together one night and decided we needed to vote for some positions. We were kind of worried about it because you know – ladies, right?
Anna: What do you mean “ladies?”
Regina: That we’re ladies.
Anna: Oh that we’re ladies? What’s wrong with that?
Riese: That you’ll pull each others hair out and stuff.
Regina : And scratch each other.
Kristen: Exactly, but everyone was working together and it was a quick meeting and nobody was mad, right guys?
[combination of people mocking her “right guys” and agreeing]
Anna: I don’t know (shrugs) I think most of us are kind of like, “Oh, OK, whatever.”
Regina: We all really want it to work. So we were like, “Alright, let’s come together and do this.”
Jennifer: Be productive.
Anna: But I know as Marketing Chair that the most important thing is that if people are interested in what we are doing. We wanna be able to connect with them and actually talk to them and even if our stuff gets bigger…
Shamikah: Even WHEN our stuff gets bigger.
Anna: Even when our stuff gets bigger, [to Shamikah] You’re so conceited, God!
I want to make it a point that we stay connected with other comedians and other people that are interested in what we’re doing because without those people, who would we be doing this for? I mean, we do it for ourselves, but obviously we do it for other people.
Kristen: That’s actually one of the great things about the shows that we do every month. That we use up-and-coming comedians in the community and well, everybody wants a gig and we’ve created some really great friendships and partnerships with people that have come in and done a musical act or done an interview. And also our fans are best friends and our families and just people we like to hang out with anyways, so all the time we do shows it’s kind of like a party. Everybody ends up laughing and having a good time because we like each other and we enjoy going out afterward and talking to them. We think the best part about comedy is the connection. And energy and getting everybody collaborating and that makes every show successful, even when it’s bad.
Anna: Cause we just drink and forget about it.
Claire: We do have a pretend hope stick that we pass around and it’s passing around positivity throughout the group.
Riese: Wow, you guys sound very Lady Gaga-ey.
Anna: I’ve never even seen this spirit stick.
Kristen: Well, you were in Chicago.
Anna: Oh was that the one time I was on Skype in a coffee shop yelling SO WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO FOR OUR NEXT VIDEO and everyone around me was like “SHUT UP!”
Kristen: And then your face kept freezing but we thought you were being really still.
Anna: You never know.
The Show Goes On
Kristen: We have one show a month and our first show is January 22nd at Gotham City Improv and it’s at 10pm. And it’s $6 and it’s either BYOB or we have perhaps a little beer there that we might be selling by donation at a very reasonable price.
Jennifer: And we may have the Candy Slice Cocktail.
Kristen: We might have that there, too.
Anna: And what’s that made of?
Jennifer: I told them that already.
Anna: And what’s our website?
Kristen: www.candyslicecomedy.com (others sing dot cooooommmmm) OK. January 22nd. February… (looks at Julie)
Julie: Guys I don’t know the answer to that one.
Regina: You gotta check your email, that’s why she sent all those emails!
Anna: We’ve gotten into a bad habit of signing all of our emails, “Labia.” I don’t know why. Instead of “Love,” it’s “Labia, Julie.”
Regina: It’s cause of the line.
Kristen: It’s cause of camel toe, the camel toe line during our Beyonce Video, and realizing that like we all have them! We DO.
Anna: I just feel like we’re neglecting the clit.
Riese: And that’s always a big mistake.
Shamikah: Male comedians, guys, get to joke around about their junk all the time and everyone laughs so I think that we can pretty much joke about whatever we want. So if you wanna be like Dear Vagina Lips, then great.
Kristen: I think we should do a cool February Vagina Monologue.
Riese: Oh yeah, you should.
Kristen: Like the vagina dia –
Anna: And the vagina is actually talking.
Riese: Yeah where the vagina dialogues, where someone is talking with the vagina, has anyone done that yet?
Kristen: Or where two vaginas are talking? (does vagina hand puppets)
Anna: My last show that Kristen was at I actually had people talking to my vagina. [Kristen says nothing] Back me up here.
Regina: I played her vagina once.
Anna: She did, she played my vagina. She came around and was like (vagina voice), “Hellllooo”.
Jennifer: I had a show, too, not too long ago at the Wow theater where I came out of a vagina.
Jennifer: I was being born.
Claire: We could get two live camels.
Riese: And just let them run around?
Alex: I love how Claire just busts out with that. You’ve been quiet this whole time and then–
Jennifer: Well once we started talking about vaginas, she just had to say something.
Kristen: Well you get enough vaginas into a room …
If you want to check out Candy Slice in action, their first show of the new year will take place at Gotham City Improv on January 22nd.
Also check back right here, ’cause we’ll have a behind-the-scenes video and more collaborative efforts coming your way this month!