Lauren Lapkus is an American actress and comedian, best known for portraying Dee Dee in the NBC sitcom Are You There, Chelsea? and Susan Fischer in the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black. She has also made appearances on such television shows as Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Middle, Hot in Cleveland, and @midnight. Lapkus was born in Evanston, Illinois. She is of half Lithuanian descent. She graduated from DePaul University in 2008. After living in New York City for a year, she moved to Los Angeles in 2010 to pursue an acting career.
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I play corrections officer Susan Fischer on Orange is the New Black, I also played Vivian in JURASSIC WORLD, and I have a new show, CLIPPED, which premieres tonight on TBS, trailer! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvAI17HxlOQ
I also have a podcast, called "With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus", because I'm the guest, and the guest is the host.
Victoria's helping me get started.
OK, so AMA!
Thanks so much for joining me, guys! This was super fun! Watch Clipped tonight on TBD! XO
Was that awkward hug scene in Jurassic World scripted to go that way? It seemed almost improv
it was improvised
I love the new podcast! Any chance of having Jason Mantzoukas on for an episode of Talkin' 'Tang?
i'd love to have jason on!
Lauren, I was recently fired from my job for laughing too hard at your podcast at my desk at work.
Since then I have lost my apartment, my girlfriend broke up with me, and as a 28 year old male I have had to move back in with my parents. What kind of cereal should I tell my mom to buy when she goes grocery shopping tomorrow?
lucky charms. sounds like you need it! good luck!
Lauren, can you please have Thomas Middleditch on your podcast to reprise your roles as JJ and Murphy?
sounds like a good idea
It's been said that orange is the new black. What, then, is the new orange? Can you speak on that?
I first discovered you via Comedy Bang Bang and I think you are one of the funniest people working today.
My question is how did you come to meet Scott Aukerman and how much do you credit him with helping your career flourish? He seems to be very encouraging to young comedians. Thanks for taking the time to do this and congrats on Jurassic World and Clipped. It seems everything is coming up Lapkus!
Scott did monologues at a show I do at UCB called ASSSSCAT and he invited me to be on CBB. He has been such a huge help to me and has given me so many opportunities! I'm super thankful. :)
When will Hollywood let you be the leading lady? We want you to headline a blockbuster!
Any chance we'll see Ho-Ho pop up on the CBB TV show, maybe in a similar way to how they did Fourvel?
that would be fun!
How big is Todd's dick ACTUALLY though...?
i dunno like 8 ft or something???
Just wondering, do you still remember the words to the Hollywood Facts theme song?
I'll start it off...
well its hollywood facts and we're goin downtown going to inglewood now...
Hi Lauren, I just saw Jurassic World, congratulations on getting what was probably the biggest laugh in a packed theatre. My question is what is the shittiest job you've ever had?
i once was a caller for a boat tours company in chicago where i would yell at people walking by to take the tour. that sucked!
Hey I'm considering getting my buttcheeks pierced together, what are some advantages/disadvantages you've encountered since getting your own pierced together?
i dont have mine pierced but traci reardon does. you should ask her on twitter.
Have you ever seen Paul F. Tompkins in a t-shirt?
in a picture maybe?? doesn't count. so, no.
HUGE nerd here, I used to read science book growing up.
i think nerds are on their way to greatness. im SUCH a nerd myself. #hollywoodhandbookref
I just wanted to say thank you for making me laugh every week whether it's on With Special Guests Lauren Lapkus or Comedy Bang! Bang! You are such a talented improviser and seeing all your success recently makes me very happy.
Can you come to New York and do a show soon? Please?
Can't wait for Clipped! Ho ho!
Thank you! I hope to do some UCB shows in NYC later this year if I can. HO HO
You all hear them sirens?
Can you do a Lapkus impression of me?
hi my name is welshwordman and im on reddit and stuff
Big Fan. Just wondering, why Jurassic World wasn't released in podcast form? I like to enjoy my movies when I'm out and about and the podcast medium seems to be the best way to do that.
i'll see what i can do
Wow Lauren Lapkus! I've been such a huge fan for so long and I can't believe I get to ask you a question but have nothing great to say.
The best I can do is:
Fuck/Marry/Kill: Traci Reardon, Scott's Nephew Todd and Hoho the Elf?
Also, can you and Thomas Middleditch just keep doing those brother and sister characters from your most recent Comedy Bang Bang appearance? That would just be great. Thanks!!
i love performing with thomas!
kill: todd :(
What was it like to work with Ben Schwartz on your podcast? I'm surprised that both of you manged to keep it together without laughing, that was one of the funniest things I've ever heard. I'd watch a show where you guys just sing nineties theme songs.
Also how did you come up with the premise for your podcast? It's totally unique and a really fun way to do an interview.
Awesome to see you in JW!
thank you! had so much fun with ben. he's hilarious.
the premise came from the fact that i used to get super uncomfortable hosting stuff... so my husband thought i should be the guest!
Hi Lauren! I am so happy of all your recent success and I hope you continue to rise as you deserve to!
Before I get to my question I just wanted to express my sincere appreciation for all of your work, and particularly your hilarious podcast appearances over the years. Especially my new favorite thing to Friday's your own podcast With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus. It's unbelievably funny, and I look forward to any podcast you appear on. It's almost guaranteed to be hilarious.
So again, I want to extend my deepest appreciation for all your work, and I hope you get all the recognition you deserve.
I don't have a super interesting question so I'll ask something I'm curious of for most frequent Podcasters:
You seem to know the 'Comedy Bang Bang universe' very well as well and you seem to catch on to any show you're on almost immediately. Obviously this has to do with how talented you are, but I was wondering if it also could be that you listen to some of these podcasts yourself. Do you have the time to listen to podcasts, or are you just quick to adapt?
Best of luck in the future and just know all of us Earwolf fans love your work!
i might just be quick to adapt... i'll take that compliment. thanks! :)
Lauren! What's your favorite band?
Hi Lauren! I love With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus, and your appearances on Comedy Bang! Bang! are always the best. Do you listen to any podcasts yourself? Also, how did you first meet Scott and get involved with CBB?
I listen to CBB sometimes, as well as WTF, This American Life and The Moth.
Hi Lauren. If 15 year old you could see you now, what would she say?
good idea to grow your hair longer
Did you ever consider going off script and saying "Yes" to Nickys advances in "Orange Is The New Black" if not what is wrong with you?
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this AMA
yeah i improvised a whole thing where i said yes and we hooked up and they kept filming. just kidding.
Hey Lauren, thanks for doing this AMA like everyone else over at /r/earwolf I'm a huge fan!
Of all the improv scenes you've done, are there any that are stuck in your memory because they were particularly great/bad/weird?
If you could get any comedian ever to guest on With Special Guest or CBB with you who would you pick?
i'd kill to have paul reubens as pee wee herman as my host.
I'm a UCB improv 201 student in NYC and I'm finding it to be VERY stressful and difficult :( but I don't want to give up. You and your band of Wild Horses have been such a comedic inspiration for me.
Any quick and/or dirty tips for aspiring Yes And-ers?
Bonus Q, did you ever feel like GIVING UP?
Thank you. I love you.
201 is supposed to feel like that. it's super hard and it's a lot of new info to process right after you just started learning how to do a scene in the first place. try to let go and have fun. don't overthink game. you will get it when you get it. it'll just hit you one day. Don't give up!
Your characters on Comedy Bang Bang are some of my favorites. Especially Ho Ho (Ho Ho!) the elf. How do you come up with them?
I also loved your part in Jurassic World, did you watch the Jurassic Park franchise growing up?
thank you! i usually just think of one funny grain of the character's identity and let it build from there. with hoho, for instance, i just wanted to be an elf who delivers toys to naughty kids.
i loved JP growing up!
Hi Lauren! Loved you on OITNB...quick question for ya:
In real life, can someone call you babe if they don't return your texts?
Lauren, you are my favorite CBB guest whose middle initial isn't F, and were one of the best parts of Jurassic World. Would you ever consider doing Traci Reardon as an animated character? Her twitter avatar is a great design. HO HO! BLECH!
thanks! that artwork is by drew crowley.
If you had to change places with one of your characters and spend the rest of your life assuming their identity, who would you choose and why?
Also, thanks for doing this and being so accessible. You're awesome.
whitney peeps from cbb tv show-- too dumb to care her life sucks
Hey, Lauren! Major CBB nerd here and I consider your work some of the best and funniest stuff out there. I love With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus just as much. Thanks for doing the AMA, I know it must be hectic these days!
But now I have to ask you something...is your dog circumcised? Does it have both its testicles?
Also, who are some of your favorite comedians to work with and why do you think that is?
i love working/performing with PFT, Wild Horses, Scott, Besser, and my UCB team Bangarang!
With special guest Lauren Lapkus is in my top 3 favorite podcasts, are you going to be able to keep doing it with your increasingly busy schedule?
It's definitely been a little trickier to find time these past few months, but I aim to keep putting it out. I love doing it. Thanks for listening!
Hey Lauren. You probably don't remember but I was the girl who accosted you on a Parisian street one night, sorry about that! I just couldn't not say something, thank you both for being so lovely. https://instagram.com/p/pM6eREMLmY/
I was wondering if Wild Horses have any plans to perform outside the U.S. at all? I know you guys are all so busy though, if not can we expect to see another FOD video perhaps? Please!! You're all so talented and I repeat listen to every I4H show and 'With Special Guest' episode with you guys. I need more!
we'd love to travel anywhere together! and yes, i remember meeting you!
we will be making more FoD videos for sure.
I saw your improv group perform in Chicago a few months ago and got to meet and take a picture with you, thanks for that it was awesome!
I was wondering how you guys came up with the name Wild Horses and how long you have been performing together?
it was my idea! i can finally take credit! i wanted something simple and easy to remember. we've been performing as a team for a year and 8 months or so... but we've been friends longer.
Hi Lauren! I loved you in JW and thought you did wonders with the lines you were given. How long were you on the movie for, and please can you give us a story from the control room set?
i worked on JW in hawaii for less than a week, and in new orleans for almost 2 weeks. vincent d'onofrio taught me a magic trick!
Hi Lauren! <3 I'm a massive fan of everything that you do and I struggle to understand how you keep up with all the things you do. Any chance of a Susan Fischer return on OITNB? I was unaware of you when I first viewed Oranges: The New Black so I feel like I was robbed of the full Lapkus Experience.
i am not in season 3 but would love to do future seasons if they ever want fischer back! i loved being a part of the show.
Hi Lauren, thanks for doing this AMA! I was a huge fan on you in Orange is the New Black, and I was really sad when your character got kicked off of the show, you were really good in Jurassic World too! I have two questions.
What is your dream role that you really want to play?
What was it like to work on a show like Orange is the New Black where there's a lot of sex and nudity and stuff like that. Does it get awkward or is everyone pretty comfortable with each other?
Thanks again for the AMA keep up the great work!
i'd love to play someone with a bad attitude. i am usually in the optimistic role. as for your 2nd question, i don't know! susan fischer didn't get it on with anyone so i didn't have to cross that bridge.
Hi Lauren ! I became a big fan of yours listening to you on Comedy Bang Bang and Improv4Humans. It's great to see you become more and more successful !
I got several questions,
Thanks and I wish you the best of luck in the rest of your rising career !
How did Traci Reardon's grandmother REALLY die?
i think we all know the answer to this
Hey Lauren, I have been an avid fan of yours ever since I decided to listen to a backlogged episode of Comedy Bang Bang with the "that one chick from OITNB".
From my incredibly outside perspective, it seems you are taking a very unconventional route towards notoriety and fame, simultaneously working on giant projects while still very much involved with the less-visible world of improv and the UCB.
Given this somewhat odd dichotomy (which is very much reflected in the roles you are cast in, and the characters you choose to inhabit), I am curious as to 5-10 years from what type of projects you want to be involved with?
Are you aiming for something like Kristen Wiig or Steve Carrell, who appear to be more interested in acting than just purely comedy. Or are you hoping to achieve something like Amy Poehler or Tina Fey who are mutli-hypheneated particpants of their numerous passion projects? Or even someone like Scott Auckerman who is pioneering and expanding out what was once an incredibly niche and isolated medium.
In other words, what do you consider to be your dream projects?
I hope you achieve whatever it is, and I wish you all the best! And thank you for providing me with so many strange looks in public places!
i'd love to do more of my own stuff in different ways...vague enough for you?
Hey Lauren! Thanks for continuing to do so many live shows, even as you have more and more projects on your plate. You are one of the funniest, sharpest improvisers that I've had the pleasure of watching at UCB over the years. What keeps you coming back to the stage?
i survive on laughs alone thank you for supplying
Just wanted say congratulations on all your recent success! 3 years ago I attended my fist UCB show in LA. It was a really energetic Harold Team called Bangarang and I remember being so absolutely blown away by you and everyone else on that team that I started thinking about learning improv.
I finally bit the bullet last year, started taking classes and attending shows, and was surprised and impressed to see you were now also performing in ASSSSSCAT and that Bangarang had graduated from Harold Night to Superteam status before getting your current prime time spot. Just want to say, you're an insanely talented performer and comedian and I'm super happy that your career has been taking off so fervently. Congrats and looking forward to seeing where you go from here!
I'll cap this with a question: Were you regularly performing at Second City and/or iO prior to your move to LA?
thanks so much! i started at iO chicago in 2003 and then moved to NYC in 2008 and did ucb there, then LA 2010 where i did some stuff at iO but mainly UCB.
Who is your favourite comedian?
some faves are amy sedaris, louis ck, erin whitehead/mary holland/stephanie allynne :)
Did you and Thomas have a game plan with the kid detectives, like did you know they'd be evil or did you just let that happen naturally?
it just flowed, baby
You quickly have become my favorite guest on cbb. You also happen to have an incredible rapport with my other favorite guest, Thomas Middleditch. What's it like working with him? You guys seem to have an almost brother and sister like ability to play off of each other. Any plans on working on anything together in the future?
i love performing with thomas. we go way back to old school improv days of chicago!
Has WSGLL become the new home for your characters over Comedy Bang Bang? I know you pretty much create a new character for every episode now. Do you think more will reoccur? Or make the jump to Bang Bang? If so can it please be Pamela from big bear?
i like to try new characters on both shows, so i will keep doing both as long as scott will have me. maybe i'll bring pamela over there. she's insane.
Lauren, who would win in a fight between Traci Reardon and Marissa Wompler?
You have a tendency to play bratty characters on CBB (Todd, Ho-Ho, etc.). Do you draw on what you were actually like as a kid when performing as those characters?
i hope i wasn't as gross and horrible as they are!
Do you listen to any of the podcasts you appear on? Or even episodes you aren't in?
i do sometimes listen back to episodes of shows i've done so i can relive the fun. but more often than not i listen to episodes of shows i'm not on.
Hey Lauren, I'm a huge fan of your podcast appearances and your own fantastic podcast, With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus!
What's your favorite movie, comedy or otherwise?
Will you ever be a guest on How Did This Get Made? Will Tracy ever be a guest on Womp it Up? If I have a question for Pamela from Big Bear will you relay it to her?
yes, i am sure i'll do it eventually-- i haven't been available yet but paul and i wanna make it happen. traci would love to be on womp it up. ask pamela anything (APA)
What was it like performing in that first ASSSSCAT at UCB Sunset with the UCB4 and every other amazing talent? That was one of the funniest shows I've ever seen.
it was so exciting! thank you!
Your role on Clipped, and a few of your other roles, seem so different from your improv style and your podcast characters but are still incredibly entertaining. Do you actively pursue these different roles and would you like to get a regular gig as a more zany character?
Also you are one of the best long form improvers around. Wild Horses is gold and you were amazing in House of Lies Live. Did you get into improv in order to make the transition into movies/television or do you plan on being involved with both? Also, since you got your start in Chicago, did some time in NYC, and are an LA lady now, what is your favorite improv city? Would you recommend someone doing all three or just shooting straight for the LA UCB arena?
And..and...I think that's it.
I. Think. That's. It.
Four words...4 Washington Avenue.
The next clue is at the White House!
I don't actively pursue these roles but I think I must have something about me that reads as sweet-- I definitely don't play that way in my improv, as you said. Thanks for the compliments. I did improv to do improv... I didn't think it would lead to TV/film. Happy it did! I wouldn't say you need to go to all 3 cities. But be dedicated and work hard in whatever city you're in.
It's a comedy (clipped) and oitnb is a kind of realistic drama , jurassic world is a sci fi movie!
So many hats! Which is ur favorite?
Or what kind of project would u like to be a part of?
What do u do in ur free time? If u have any!
i love them all, but comedy is my fave foreva.
You and PFT are my favorite guests on Comedy Bang Bang, and I can only hope that Tracy and Ice-T can sit with Scott soon.
Having a role on OITNB (a show released all at once, on a subscription streaming service), and a podcast in which you are the guest every time, rather than the host, as well as being fearless in your approach to putting events/limitations/complications into the canons of your characters on CBB (Tracy can't sit down for more than a half hour, your characters are... um... unorthodox in their appearance, etc), I wanted to ask if you do these unorthodox approaches to comedy and acting consciously, to keep yourself entertained, or are these entirely coincidental?
Thanks for the time - I look forward to seeing and hearing whatever you do next.
i just take everything as it comes, so i suppose it's more coincidental than anything.
What is your favorite show at UCB besides the ones you perform in?
This Show Is Not Funny is awesome.
Hi Lauren, I'm a big fan of your appearances all over Earwolf. Can you talk a little bit about where Traci Reardon came from? She's such a weird character, I'd like to know more about what inspired her or where you started from in creating that character. Thanks!
the initial idea was that i wanted to do a character who couldn't pronounce her R's but was very judgmental and called everyone "weird." she became so much more...
Hey Lauren, big fan for a long time! Any advice on where less experienced improvisers should go to study improv if they want to improve their craft? (Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, etc)
they're all good, go where you will be happiest. if you wanna do tv/film might as well move to LA
Hi! Lauren, I just wanted to say that Wild Horses is an inspiration to me and my improv group. We aim to have the kind of chemistry you ladies have. How did you decide to form a group? And how long had you known each other?
Do you have any tips for "finding the game" in scenes that doesn't feel forced?
Thanks! HO HO!
that's so nice. i was invited to perform at an all-female festival in portland called all dick, no jane. i decided to bring 3 fun friends and that became wild horses. we'd been friends for a couple years, but being on the team together brought us close as a foursome. and sometimes you don't have to find a game and it can still be a funny scene... or make a choice about how you feel and the game will appear.
Does Regina Crimp sing the theme song for Clipped? What is your favorite TV theme song?
she does! we've got clips from coast to coast... to cut your haiiiiir... one of my favorite theme songs is three's company