Lauren Weedman’s new book, “Miss Fortune,” delivers painful, hilariously honest personal essays that cover her time with an experimental theater troupe in Amsterdam and the discovery that her husband was cheating on her with their baby-sitter.
It’s pilot season in Hollywood, which means that Lauren Weedman is auditioning for pretty much everything.
The other day, it was for “a very frenetic professor on a sitcom,” she said. Inexplicably, singer Macy Gray walked out while Weedman was in the waiting room. Could she have been up for the same part? Who knows?
“They aren’t super-careful about what you go out for,” she said of agents. “It’s got this cattle-call feel to it and I am too old and bitter for that. I don’t want to go, but they’re like, ‘Oh, but the casting agent loves you!’”
Lauren Weedman with Dan Savage: ‘Fresh Perspectives on Having it All’
Thursday, March 17, at 7:30 p.m., Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave.; $5 (townhallseattle.org).
As well they should, for a part like that.
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Weedman, 47, is a theatrical whirling dervish. Her one-woman shows — which started with 1996’s “Pants on Fire” at the now-shuttered Empty Space Theatre in Seattle — are stories delivered as if there were a bomb ticking in the wings. They are fast-paced, a little frantic and scattered, but painfully, hilariously honest.
Her new and second book, “Miss Fortune,” does the same, in a series of personal essays that include her time with an experimental theater troupe in Amsterdam, and finding out her husband was cheating on her with their babysitter.
(I’m so sorry about that, I told her. “I don’t blame you anymore,” she cracked.)
Weedman will bring the book to Seattle’s Town Hall on March 17, when she will banter onstage with Dan Savage, editorial director of The Stranger.
Then on March 19, Weedman will take over Teatro ZinZanni for a midnight performance of the raunchily titled “Tits & Sass.” She describes it as “a high-octane, stream-of-consciousness gay cabaret as done by a straight woman.”
This is what she loves to do, even though she has racked up plenty of movie and television credits, including Seattle’s “Almost Live” and Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.”
Most notably and most recently, she was a regular on the HBO series “Looking,” about a group of gay men in San Francisco. Weedman played the straight woman friend, Doris, until the show ended last year after two seasons and 18 episodes. (She just wrapped the series finale, which is being presented as a two-hour movie.)
“I can’t even bear it sometimes,” she said of the show’s demise. “I’ve never been part of a project that I cared about so much. But it wasn’t watched by enough people, apparently.”
‘Tits and Sass’ with Lauren Weedman
Saturday, March 19, at midnight, Teatro ZinZanni, 222 Mercer St., Seattle; $25-$35 (206-802-0015).
Don’t cry for her, though, Weedman said. Much as she may seem one part away from, say, Melissa McCarthy-style stardom, she’s happy creating and performing her one-woman takes on places like Philadelphia and Boise, writing essays and spending time with her 6-year-old son, Leo. They live in a rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica, which allows Weedman to be choosy about her work.
She feels bad for her parents, both in their 80s and convinced she will someday hit it big, win an Oscar or an Emmy. Something.
“I don’t want a break,” Weedman said. “I want to keep having more opportunities and keep going, creating.
“I know too much,” she continued. “I know what it takes to do what Melissa McCarthy has done. And I know the kind of focus you need to do that, and that it comes with a price. I certainly want the work and the fun, but in order to get to that place, you have to make some amazing sacrifices. It’s not just about getting that one thing.
“Luckily, I have been around enough to think, ‘Why can’t I get a shot at that?’ And then when I get on them, I’m like, ‘They’re OK, but they’re too male-dominated’ or something else.”
Weedman started “Miss Fortune” while she was pregnant with her son.
“The book took me a long time because of how stunted I felt,” she said. Once she found out about her husband’s affair and how it had been going on for three years, “All of the stories I was trying to write seemed fluffy and manic.
“Once I found out the truth, I was able to tell the stories with more depth … So now I am working out these traumas in front of other people.”
She misses the people of Seattle — the creative types who collaborated with her on her shows, or filled the seats in her audiences, minds and hearts wide open. She had moved here in 1996 for a theater internship at The Empty Space Theatre, and went on to appear on “Almost Live” and to produce several one-woman shows here, including “Homecoming,” which she took to New York.
“That was the height of it, for me,” she said.
It makes sense, then, that most of her friends in Los Angeles are ex-Seattleites. Writers. The kind of people who, like her, weren’t the least bit interested in watching the Academy Awards.
“I don’t watch them,” Weedman said. “I’m not a fan of the whole award show season. Here in L.A., it’s just running for mayor. Whoever can afford the most side-of-the-bus ad campaigns. It’s so dumb.”
She waits a beat.
“But of course, I’d be thrilled to be nominated.”