You may have seen her as Alice’s other half (or third) on The L Word: Generation Q, but on Saturday, February 22, comedian Stephanie Allynne will be performing two shows with long-form improv team Wild Horses at the Kennedy Center. Here’s what she had to say about Wild Horses, The L Word, and queer representation in media.
Wild Horses is made up of yourself, Mary Holland, Lauren Lapkus, and Erin Whitehead. How did you meet and decide to form the group?
We all met performing at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles and were fast friends. Lauren was asked to do a comedy festival in Portland, and the festival was offering to pay for hotel/travel. We all went sort of pretending to be a real team. At that point we had never performed together. We did two shows and guess what? They were incredible! When we got back to LA we continued to do shows and thus began the formation of Wild Horses.
What’s the meaning behind the name Wild Horses?
I’m pretty sure, but could be wrong about this, but I believe Lauren made up the name, and I actually have no clue where it came from. Maybe I should inquire.
[Checks with Lauren]. Stephanie is right! Lauren did make it up, and shared the following quote: “I think we had an email chain going of potential names and it was just one that I threw onto the list. There’s no real meaning behind it…which is probably true for most improv team names.”
Where do you draw your comedic inspiration from?
I’ve never set out to make people laugh; it always feels like a byproduct of my personality. I see humor in most things. I’m very quick to laugh, and I can’t seem to turn that part of my brain off. It’s definitely the lens through which I see the world. I was that way as a kid too. I was never the class clown, but I definitely had a lot of comments I had to whisper to the person sitting next to me.
What is your favorite part about doing improv comedy?
I love everything about improv and could talk about it ad nauseum. I love the “Yes, and” philosophy. I love the value placed on listening, and I love supporting and building up others. Before every show we (Wild Horses) connect with each other and say, “I got your back.” It’s a nice way to live.
How did you get involved with The L Word Generation Q?
I auditioned, and they said yes so I showed up on set, and no one ever told me to go home.
What was your relationship like with the original series?
I was, like so many people, the person who watched the show and realized I was gay. It’s a great feeling to see yourself represented, and I hope The L Word: Generation Q has the same impact.
What can you tell us about your upcoming feature, First Ladies?
I’m co-writing it with my wife, Tig Notaro, and we are also producing it alongside Gloria Sanchez, who did Booksmart, Hustlers, and Dead to Me. The movie will star Jennifer Aniston as the first female president, and Tig will play her wife, the First Lady. Their dynamic is loosely based on my relationship with Tig. We are likely filming this spring.
What kind of LGBTQ representation would you like to see portrayed in media and/or live comedy that you haven’t seen yet?
More, please. Inclusion and visibility should be the standard at this point, and yet, it still feels niche to me.