Carmen Lynch and Liz Miele are roommates, co-creators and co-stars of the web series APT C3 and they’re recording their albums together Tuesday Oct 2 at Improv Boston in conjunction with Rooftop Comedy Productions. “We just can’t do anything apart,” Liz explains. Their, “Natural dynamic of weirdness” – as Liz puts it -was evident throughout the interview, as they riffed and built off each others’ answers like a comfortable comedy team… or an old married couple. “People are gonna think we’re lesbians by the end of this. And I’m okay with that.”
The pair knew of each other for years around the New York comedy scene, often being booked on the same shows, then moved in together when Carmen needed a change after a breakup. “I had been living in my apartment in New Jersey for eight or ten years,” Carmen says, with Liz jumping in to point out, “Eight or ten? That’s a big gap!”
“Yeah, I don’t know what happened year nine..” joked Carmen. “It was really bad. No, but I went to visit Liz in Brooklyn and she had an opening so I moved in.”
Carmen (and cabin fever during Hurricane Irene) became the driving force behind the web series. “I was always kind of anti-sketch,“ Liz admits. “I’m not a very open person, usually. Carmen is the one who is bubbly and she’s also physical. She’s not just funny when she writes things, she’s just very funny.”
Carmen convinced Liz to join her and their other roommate Chris in making a web series that often recreates real moments that pass between them. “Sometimes there’s just one thing we’re trying to make sure we get to say and it’s just a lot of improv.”
Though Carmen claims, “The only difference between us is our height,” their stories and their comedy careers are actually quite different. For one thing, Carmen is bilingual and performs in both Spanish and English. While many of the jokes are the same, the two acts are quite different.
“I start by translating the joke, but then I often have to change some things to make it work. And in a lot of cases I’m telling older jokes of mine in Spanish because New York audiences are so evolved, but in a lot of the places I perform in Spanish, comedy is a newer thing. So the jokes need to be more simple. And the way I speak and the way I perform is different in Spanish. I think it’s from my parents. My mom, which is my Spanish side, is a little sassier and my dad is more deadpan.”
Liz, who just returned from a trip to Spain where she had the chance to meet Carmen’s parents, chimed in like a good fake lesbian roommate, exclaiming, “That totally makes sense!”
Liz (who is the shorter one) started out on her comedy path at the very young age of 16. “People sometimes use the word ‘prodigy’ but I think to be a prodigy you have to have been more successful, sooner,” she jokes. Even now, a decade later, “people still think I’m a teenager. I’m so short and look so young, people don’t listen to me. That’s a huge insecurity for me. I don’t think I’d be doing comedy if it weren’t for that insecurity.”
She broke the news that she wanted to be a stand-up to her parents when she was only 13 and after starting in 3 years later did as many spots as she could in spite of being under 21. “I never felt like the age difference was weird. I never really felt it at all. Most of my friends now are 30 or 40 but are not adult people. I feel a much bigger gap with my college friends who are ‘older’ than me in terms of lifestyle.”
When asked what they each might be doing if they weren’t doing comedy, Liz and Carmen fall into a silly patter, showing how well they naturally play off each other.
Carmen: I always thought I would be a doctor… or did I just say that to make my parents love me more? Or maybe I could be a therapist, or travel, I don’t know, something different
Liz: YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT PEOPLE DO IN REAL LIFE!
Carmen: I know I couldn’t do anything in a cubicle.
Liz: I wanted to be a lion tamer. I don’t think much has changed (referring to her cat, Pasta, who is the fourth member of the APT 3C cast). I don’t have a backup plan.
Carmen: If I don’t make it here, I’ll just go to Spain.
Liz: It’d be like boy bands! Like how they would go get popular in Europe and England and then come over here. It was like a soft launch.
Turning back to the subject of Plan A, comedy, Carmen explains that in choosing Improv Boston as the location to record their albums, the first criteria was simply, “Not in New York. It would be great to perform in front of a bunch of friends, but there’s something refreshing about a new city. And Liz had just been there and really liked it.”
Liz adds, “It’s a small theater, not a club, so we don’t have to deal with things like having the checks drop and there’s no two drink minimum. But there is a bar. You can come and drink. Just come, we just want to be loved. We’ll probably even give you your $5 back just for showing up.”
About the Author: Amy Hawthorne is an LA-based stand-up and writer and the founder of ComedyGroupie.com. She is convinced that the food industry is being unduly influenced by Big Avocado.