Big Gay Sketch Show’s Nicol Paone: The Autostraddle Interview

Nicol Paone is very busy, very funny and very very good looking. In addition to her spot on The Big Gay Sketch Show, which we’ve been told by multiple sources (Kate McKinnon, Julie Goldman) will actually premiere its third season in 2010, in March maybe, definitely for sure, Nicol’s got a healthy portion of funny sketches on Funny or Die, starred this summer in Judd Apatow’s “Funny People,” and has just added “stand up comedy” to her impressive list of special skills. In fact, she was performing on the Sweet Cruise, both in the Karaoke bar and on the stage, and was very funny!

Riese & Alex of Autostraddle.com sat down (’cause like I said she’s been standing up a lot lately HAHAHAHA) with Nicol Paone on the Sweet Cruise to the Caribbean to talk very quickly about life, love, work, and other important topics.

Nicol Paone’s sketch reel mostly from The Big Gay Sketch Show::

Nicol: Let’s rip it up.

Riese: Tell me what you’re working on right now.

Nicol: Screenplay. Actually, I’m writing and I’m also doing some stand-up around L.A.

Riese: You were doing improv up until now, how did you start wanting to do standup?

Nicole Paone stand upNicol: I did standup when I first got to LA. I just loved doing characters and going in that direction. Now, the immediacy of standup is thrilling for me.

You don’t need to get directors to see your point of view or film it or rehearse it or find other people. Instead you think of something or something funny happens, you get up on stage that night, you do it, the audience tells you whether they think it’s funny or not. I find it thrilling and fun.

Riese: It doesn’t make you nervous?

Nicol: No. I don’t really have jokes. I just tell my stupid stories and people either laugh or they don’t. I’m like “Ok, that doesn’t work”. If this was my number one thing, it would make me nervous. But it’s just for fun, so there’s no pressure and it makes me think I should have that attitude for everything that I do. Just chill out, go with the flow, and see where it goes.

Riese: Now that you’re an “out bisexual,” do you feel more allegiance to gay media than you have in the past?

Nicol: Not really, ‘cause I feel the same exact way I did before, which is that the gay community is where I feel more at home, to be honest. I just feel like —

Riese: ‘Cause they’re weirdos.

Nicol: Yeah, there’s a lot of weirdos in here. It feels exactly the same way. When I came out as bisexual I did get some “boos,” and realized that lesbians don’t like bisexuals. They think we’re spies.

Riese: Right, yeah, I know, I basically identify as bisexual and — [distracted by the look on Alex’s face] — see Alex is already giving me the “don’t talk about bisexuals” look!

Alex: I didn’t do anything just now!

Nicol: I felt the look behind my shoulder.

Alex: I promise I wasn’t even listening.

Riese: I don’t know if not listening is better than giving me the look.

Nicol: Yeah, they think we’re spies. But we can’t help it, we’re just attracted to everyone.

Riese: Bisexuals just want to take off everyone’s clothes.

Nicol: Yeah, that’s the other thing too. Like, people think bisexuals are just like, sluts.

Alex: [trying to make up for giving the Evil Bisexual look] I love bisexuals! I’ve only dated bisexuals, actually.

Nicol: Really?

Alex: Yep. So there you go, I hope that I can represent for the better of us lesbians.

Nicol: I think it’s sort of an older generation thing too. But with a younger group it’s more like, “let’s not have a problem with bisexuals, let’s have a problem with people who don’t like anyone in the LGBT community.” Let’s all bind together! Instead of leaving us out.

Riese: Or feeling like it’s not our space because we’re not completely in allegiance to one side or another.

Nicol: And we’re not spies.

Riese: No, and we’re not. There’s also the misconception that a bisexual will leave a woman for a man.

Nicol: Totally. And that insults my intelligence, you know.

Riese: The stereotypes are super, super disrespectful, as though bisexual actually means “but also likely to cheat” or something along those lines which doesn’t really make sense.

nicol big boob costume

Nicol: Totally. Like, do all lesbians have toolbelts?

[pause]

Riese: Yeah. Well… kinda.

Nicol: Kind of.

Alex: Yeah.

[laughter]

Riese: Not I.

Nicol: Well, some of them are true, but…

Riese: Were [you and Erin Foley] trying to keep your relationship secret at all?

Nicol: Not really. I wasn’t shouting it from the rooftops because I don’t think it’s anybody’s business. I’m definitely a private person. I told all my friends and people that I cared about and cared about me. But I really don’t like a lot of people to know about my personal life because people are weird. We’ve had some stalkery people, they just keep showing up.

See, we publicize our shows so people will come, but when someone starts coming every time … and bringing gifts … and you know, posting everything you do on Facebook, and tagging you in all their photos…

Riese: …and you’re actually only like, in the background of the photo …

Nicol: Yeah, like it’s just the back of my head… There was one time I didn’t feel like being photographed, I just went to a play and that was up on Facebook and I’m just like “Calm down!”

Alex: The Internet’s a crazy place to be. We just talked about this with Erin as well.

Nicol: It really is! It’s like, anything you do now, everybody knows about it. You’re doing it in an auditorium.

“It’s like the most fun I’ve had with anyone in my whole life. Just morning ’til night we’re dying laughing.”

Riese: And if you actually don’t do it, still everybody can know about it too. ‘Cause people just make shit up and then people believe them. I’m actually obsessed with this right now [low embarrassed-to-admit-this voice] because of um, lindsaylohansdad and everyone talking smack abut her [back to normal voice] —  just how someone anonymous will just write something and everyone’s just like “Ah! I KNEW IT!”

Nicol: Well, yeah, I saw it in print! Gotta believe it!

Alex: It must be true!

Riese: So do you and Erin make each other laugh a whole bunch?

Nicol: Oh, God, it’s really ridiculous. I mean she’s a lunatic. She’s a total lunatic. It’s like the most fun I’ve had with anyone in my whole life. Just morning ’til night we’re dying laughing. Like going to get milk is like a stupid occurrence between the two of us. ‘Cause we’re just like “Milk, huh, you want milk?” like there’s some stupid character that comes out of it. And we’re both creative people so we can’t really get anything practical done, like looking for something she’s like “Babe, babe I can’t find my keys, babe I can’t find this, Babe, where are you, babe do you have the children? babe? babe? babe?” That’s her joke, so I’m going to give her the credit for it but it’s so true, we really cannot get anything done.

NICOLRiese: Do you help each other creatively at all?

Nicol: Yeah, which is really fun, I’ve never had a relationship where someone has helped me, they’ve always criticized me. [laughs] You know who you are. But we do the same thing but it’s also sort of different, so she comes at it from a different angle. So whatever I write, she makes better, and whatever she writes, I make it better. It’s really kinda cool and very easy.

Riese: That’s cool.

Alex: How’d you guys meet?

Nicol: We met at Logo Celesbian interviews.

Riese: Oh, at the [Julie Goldman voice] Julie Goldman Celesbian Interviews?

“I was dropping [Erin] off and so I just turned and I went in for the kiss. She got scared and turned her head and she ran away like a little girl.”

Nicol: Yeah, Julie Goldman’s thing! Erin’s interview was right after mine and I was in the makeup chair and straight and she walked in and I was like “Oh! She’s so pretty!” And then her side of things was that she couldn’t look at my eyes, and then I was like “I’m gonna stay and watch her interview.”

And then we kept bumping into each other over the next year and I saw that she was doing standup somewhere and I was like “I’m gonna go see her do standup,” and then I heard she had a crush on me and she got friends to take me out dancing, and we were dancing and one of my friends was like, “You’re ‘straight’… so you’re gonna have to put it out there with her.. to let her know that you’re interested.” And I was dropping her off and so I just turned and I went in for the kiss.

[Alex: HUGE GASP]

Nicol: (con’t): Yeah, like not like [aggressive interrobanging noise] but just like putting it out there. But she got scared and she turned her head and she ran away like a little girl.

Riese: Did you run after her like a little boy?

Nicol: No, I just said “Alright, great to see you!” But the big bad lesbian got all nervous. Then we talked for a week back and forth, I invited her to a midnight screening of Milk — I just wanted to show her I was down with the community

nicole karaokeRiese: Did you cry at the end of the movie?

Nicol: Yes. But I tried to hold it back. But I probably shouldn’t have, I should’ve just let that out, let her know I’m sensitive. I didn’t. And then we went on a date.

Riese: So you did consider yourself straight before then, or you were just sort of like whatever ..

Nicol: I was kind of like whatever. ‘Cause a year earlier I’d had a crush on a friend of mine so I was kind of like, “Oh, okay, well I guess this is what’s going on now..”

Riese: And then you were on the gay show.

Nicol: For me it was very individual. When I developed a crush on my friend I was like, “Oh.. I like you!” And it was never a big deal. I’m really surprised that it’s such a big deal to people, it really is. It’s never a big deal to the people going through it, it’s always a big deal to everybody else.

Riese: Yeah, but also bisexuality scares the shit out of people.

Nicol: Everybody.

Riese: And they don’t believe in it.

Nicol: Yeah, they really don’t. I think there’s a ‘B’ in LGBT, isn’t there?

Riese: Yeah there is, but they don’t really care, that’s just inserted in there to seem accepting.

Alex: Yeah they have to include you otherwise they’ll get in trouble.

Nicol: Well, no, they’re already in trouble because they don’t include us.

Alex: That’s true.

The Bisexual Flag... for real!

The Bisexual Flag... for real!

Riese: Luckily we have Tila Tequila.

Nicol: And we have our own flag … I like it better than the gay flag. It’s better colours, I think. It’s like magenta, like a darker pink, and then a purple. It’s coordinated.

Riese: But if we ever really did have a parade —

Nicol: We should have a parade.

Riese: We’d get a lot of shit thrown at us. And a lot of guys would be standing there going “MAKE OUT!”

Nicol: “I wanna do you BOTH!”

Riese: “I think you and your girlfriend are really hot!” .. So your Big Gay Sketch Show third season — coming out next year?

Nicol: Coming up in March, yeah.

Riese: So what are you doing with the screenplay?

Nicol: Yes. Well, I actually just finished the screenplay and I signed with the big agency so we’re going out with it in about four weeks. I was in Funny People over the summer, so I got to know some cool people from that movie and hopefully they’ll like what I wrote.

Riese: So do you feel like it’s been harder to get work now? Because of the recession?

Nicol: No, things are kind of booming, actually, because there’s so many different avenues for comedy. I just got a web deal where I’m working on different videos and I haven’t even started that yet. There’s a lot more outlets, more content, so I think it’s easier.

Julie Goldman, Nicol Paone & Kate McKinnon

Julie Goldman, Nicol Paone & Kate McKinnon

Riese: Are you friends with your castmates from the Big Gay Sketch Show?

Nicol: Oh yeah. Definitely. They’re awesome, it’s a great cast, it’s a dream job. Except for the fact that it’s only ten episodes.

Riese: What are some sketches that you wanted to do that you didn’t get to do?

Nicol: That’s a good question. There was this one sketch I didn’t write it, it’s called “Bring Your Fag Hag To Work Day” and Julie Goldman and I were these fag hags and it was really funny because people at Logo brought their fag hags to work and so we were like making fun of Logo a little bit, it was really, really funny. I wanted to do a new CSI show, Dyke Drama Unit. That was pretty funny.

Riese: That would be funny on several levels too, because if you actually tried to call the police to handle actually dangerous dyke drama, they don’t care.

Nicol: I know!

Riese: And so it would be like a political message too, you know, which is always good.

Nicol: Honestly this season I got to do a lot that I wanted to do.

Riese: What is the best thing that you’re most excited about coming up?

nicol paone sketch showNicol: I got to do the voiceover for Damages, that was fun. There was this one sketch that I thought was hilarious, it was called “Guess What I Had for Lunch?” and it was all these celebrities burping in the contestant’s face and it was really funny. There’s this really cool sketch, it’s called “The Caves,” it’s basically like MTV’s Afghanistan, it’s not Cribs, it’s like The Hills but set in Afghanistan. So it’s really funny. It’s about how ridiculous those people over there are with women and women’s rights and all that stuff in a really funny and scary kind of way.

I did this Mother Theresa sketch, it’s really funny, it was based on the Christian Bale rant, and so it was like as if Mother Theresa went off on one of the nuns, and I know like, Mother Theresa’s gonna curse me, the Muslims are gonna have a fahtwa on her head. It’s like, we’re in trouble this season.

Riese: If you get a lot of people to watch Logo you guys could be in big trouble.

Nicol: I know. Thank God that, no. There are more people watching actually, we’re rated now.

Riese: We really like Logo.

Nicol: That’s great. My dad does too. My dad wears a Big Gay Sketch Show jacket around. This Italian man in New Jersey he’s like, “Yeah, my daughter’s on the show.” It’s really cute and funny.

Check out Nicol in Funny People, on MySpace, and on Twitter.

Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2672 articles for us.

19 Comments

  1. I BELIEVE IN THE SPECTRUM HELLO I WAS INDOCTRINATED INTO THE COMPLEX SOMETHING OF MARGINALIZED IDENTITIES AND ISMS AND POSSESS COMMAND OVER A VAST, PRETENTIOUS LEXICON OF QUEERSPEAK. also i have a small, wireless power drill.

  2. 1. Def did not know we had a flag
    2. It def reminds me of My Little Ponies, like maybe I just happened to have three in those exact colors
    3. Dyke Drama Unit is literally my dream show, please make it happen

  3. I love Nicol Paone. She is so ridiculously funny and seems like such a cool chic, not some crazy ass comedy bitch. Can’t wait to see her and Season 3 of BGSS. She’s my all time favorite cast member. Hot and Funny, that is a rare combo.

    • I know! I would like to use the Mismatched Boob Cop Hat photo up above as exhibit A. Like, I do not know what is happening in it, but it is hilarious to me. And also Nicol is super hot in it. PERFECT COMBINATION.

  4. i’m so glad she talked about all the ‘being bisexual’ stuff. i love autostraddle, but i feel like we don’t hear about as many bi ladies (except lilo, duh.) and you guys are totes right about the parade 😉

    • BTW – It’s not that the Dish Network sucks, it’s that they don’t like GAY people. They are a conservative company and will not carry a GAY CHANNEL! Leave DISH IMMEDIATELY!!!!

  5. I just re-read this interview because I saw Nicol perform at Dinah Shore. I fucking love this girl. Her stand-up was really good. She did this Glenn Close bit and I roared in my seat. Looking forward to the new season!

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