In 11 Questions, The A.V. Club asks interesting people 11 interesting questions—and then asks them to suggest one for our next interviewee.
Separately, Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci have done Shakespeare (Lindhome, in Joss Whedon’s take on Much Ado About Nothing), voiced animated characters (Micucci assists the heroes in a half shell of the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon as Irma Langinstein; Lindhome took over for Reese Witherspoon when Monsters Vs. Aliens came to TV), and been the fourth of four actresses to portray the same sitcom daughter (Micucci, who closed out the bizarrely long-lived ’Til Death in the role of Ally Stark). But Lindhome and Micucci are perhaps best known as the two halves of Garfunkel And Oates, the comedic folk act behind such songs as “Pregnant Women Are Smug,” “This Party Took A Turn For The Douche,” and “Running With Chicken (Based On The Movie Precious Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire).” Garfunkel And Oates is also the name of the duo’s new IFC series, in which they portray fictionalized versions of themselves, actresses and comedians in L.A. with a tendency to break out into elaborate musical sequences. The show debuts at 10 p.m. on August 7; a preview episode is currently streaming at ifc.com.
Riki Lindhome: I worked at a McDonald’s inside a Walmart. It wasn’t even a real McDonald’s. It’s pretty hard to beat.
Kate Micucci: I babysat kids in a ShopRite, which is a grocery store. They had a babysitting center, so that parents could bring their children while they shopped. It was awful. I also was not very good at keeping the kids calm. I was always getting yelled at for making too much noise.
AVC: So your role on Raising Hope was not true-to-life—you weren’t great at keeping the kids calm with music?
KM: I don’t know if I sang to them at the time, but I would do puppets. I just remember things flying out of the room and into the grocery store. Paper airplanes, things like that.
AVC: Have you two ever discussed how these horrible jobs were jobs-within-jobs? They’re both positions at workplaces whose main purposes were not serving fast-food or child care.
RL: No, but I did want to work at Walmart, because they made more money and didn’t have to handle McDonald’s food.
KM: If only I babysit in McDonald’s that was in the Walmart. That would’ve been perfect.
RL: Then you could’ve had a job-within-a-job-within-a-job.
KM: My parents wanted me to be a teacher. Because I could work most of the year and pursue the things that I love to do during the summer. It just seemed like a good plan. But I was like, “Why can’t I do do the things I love all the time?”
RL: I think my parents wanted me to be whatever I wanted to be. But I do remember them—when I first moved out to L.A.—sending me applications to grad school for teaching. And they said a similar thing.
KM: I think it’s scary for any parent when their kid says, “Hey, I’m going to go and pursue the arts.” I think a lot of parents—not all parents—get a little bit nervous. But look at us now! [Laughs.]
AVC: Now comedy is your fallback plan for the TV show.
KM: Sandy Bullock.
RL: I would want mine to be Oprah, but I don’t know if she’d like me.
KM: I think she would like you!
RL: You do?
KM: Yeah, totally.
RL: Thank you! Then it’s Oprah. But you know who I think I’d really get along with? Quentin Tarantino.
KM: I can see that.
AVC: You think you’d have a lot to talk about movie-wise with Quentin?
RL: I’d have a lot to listen about. I want to hear all of those stories.
KM: I used to be obsessed with game shows. When the Game Show Network became popular in the late ’90s, I was all about reruns of The Price Is Right. I knew all the prices from the ’70s.
RL: I feel like I’d be good at Password. Or Pyramid.
AVC: Do you think you two would be good as Password or Pyramid partners?
RL: So, so good. I would be like, “Remember the thing with the…” and she’d be like, “Spaghetti.”
KM: We don’t ever need to speak full sentences ever. People comment on it all the time, and we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
AVC: In preparing the Garfunkel And Oates TV show, did that tendency spill over into the writing?
RL: We tried to have it. It didn’t make as much sense on the page, but when we did it on the day [of shooting] people were like, “Okay, that’s fine.”
RL: Kate, do you have any enemies?
KM: I’m sure I do. I don’t know.
RL: I don’t know who my enemies are. I guess if you count people who don’t like us on YouTube—they would tell me to make them a sandwich.
KM: And that we belong back in the kitchen.
RL: And that we’re not funny and should shut up.
AVC: YouTube’s a constant gathering of the world’s best people, isn’t it?
RL: And constant positivity.
KM: And oddly consistent.
RL: The negative comments are oddly consistent.
KM: One person says, “Make a sandwich” and then 10 other people are like, “Oh, that’s a good idea! Let me write that, too.”
RL: I keep trying to figure out why “make a sandwich” is an insult, but I can’t wrap my brain around it.
AVC: And that’s an appropriate segue to…
RL and KM: Oh.
KM: Pickles for sure.
RL: Is it after both of us, or each of us? If it’s both of us—is there such a thing as oat bread? Because it’d be on oat bread.
KM: Yeah, Subway has an oat bread.
RL: The Riki part of the sandwich would be havarti cheese, because I’m Swedish. Kate would add some pickles—
KM: Or meatballs, because I’m Italian.
RL: Ew: Pickles, meatballs, havarti, on oat bread? No one is buying this sandwich.
RL: I haven’t made one yet. Is that weird? I have not made a grown-up purchase yet.
KM: Well, you leased your car.
RL: Leasing a Prius—I don’t know if that’s a huge grown-up purchase, is it? What’s yours, Kate?
KM: College, maybe? Does that count?
RL: That counts. That’s a considerable purchase.
KM: And also a painting. When you’re buying paintings, it feels grown up. It’s a painting of a really awesome swimming pool by a painter named Scott Yeskel.
AVC: Cars come up with this question a lot, especially for people who are based in L.A. Because you can’t get by there without a car.
RL: I got lucky because for my first car out here, my mom gave me her old car. She drove it across the country so I could have it.
KM: Was that the one that blew up?
RL: Yeah. [Both laugh.] That’s not my mom’s fault, I had it for years.
KM: That’s such a sweet gesture of, “Hey, you’re staying out here, we’re proud of you.”
AVC: What caused the explosion?
RL: I don’t know what happened! It was at the time that a bunch of cars were exploding—like the tires or whatever. Mine was one of them. It was luckily in a little garage and nobody got hurt. And it was one of the first ones, so I was asked all of these arson questions. And I was like, “It’s all I own! Why would I blow it up? And how?” They were like, “Yeah, you didn’t do that, did you?” And I was like, “No! Now I have no car! I went from one car to no car!”
RL: “Lose Yourself” by Eminem.
KM: I’m really shy—I don’t do karaoke.
RL: You did karaoke once with me!
KM: I did. I was Riki’s hype man for “Lose Yourself.”
AVC: So what do you see as the difference between singing someone else’s song onstage and singing your own songs with Riki?
KM: I still haven’t figured that out. I have no idea. Just the other day I was at a party and karaoke was happening and I just couldn’t do it. It’s really strange. Then again, I’m in front of a bunch of people singing all the time—but to sing along with Billy Joel, I’d be scared.
AVC: Riki, do you have the lyrics of “Lose Yourself” memorized? Or do you need a refresher from the karaoke machine?
RL: I have them memorized, but I also like to have the safety of the karaoke screen to refer to.
KM: But Riki is a lyric girl. She will know lyrics that I’ll be like “What? How do you know that?”
KM: I don’t know if I can even talk about it…
RL: When you lived in that guesthouse?
KM: Yeah. I had a crazy, crazy landlord. I wish I could tell you, because I have some really good stories. I could write a book about it, though. [Laughs.]
KM: Not many people.
RL: Maybe just children. I don’t think either of us are particularly tough. What’s an example of what people would say?
AVC: Lots of people think they can only take a child. Ron Funches thinks he wouldn’t be able to take his own son, though.
KM: When I was little, I would fight my brother—but now he would beat me up. Oh, I know! The little mushrooms in Mario Bros.
RL: That’s how you know you’re from Jersey: “Mair-ree-oh Bruh-thuz.”
KM: We often have a discussion on certain pronunciations. I say “Mair-ree-oh,” people out here say “Mahr-ree-oh.”
RL: The only autograph I ever got, which I do not have anymore, was Matthew Fox when he was on Party Of Five. I was in high school, and he came to our local amusement park, and I stood in line and got an autograph. [Laughs.] I don’t know what happened to it.
KM: I used to mail away for autographs. I’m sure it’s just some assistant’s autograph—I don’t think I actually have Robert De Niro’s autograph, but I did get Robert De Niro and Mira Sorvino. Two Italian-Americans, on my wall.
Then, when I was first checking out L.A. to see if I wanted to move here, Ed Harris was on my plane, and he drew in my sketchbook. I asked him for an autograph, and he drew a whole sketch. It was awesome. It was right around the time of Pollock—he was doing all this abstract stuff.
12. Bonus question from Eddie Pepitone: Since we live in such dire times economically, and there’s so much injustice going on, what would be your method of political activism that would really make a difference?
RL: Oh wow. Eddie!
KM: Yeah, thanks a lot, Eddie.
RL: Well, we work for Malaria No More, and I feel like that’s actually making a difference, which is nice. Gosh, we have nothing—this is a hard question.
I think I would put bowties on polo ponies, maybe.
KM: Bowties on what?
RL: [Laughs.] On polo ponies.
KM: My mind went immediately to “More instruments in schools” or something like that. But I don’t know if that does anything.
RL: You can have mine. We’ll both put bowties on polo ponies.
KM: Okay, that sounds good.
RL: That’ll make a difference. [Laughs.]
AVC: It’ll make a difference in the lives of those ponies—they’ll be the fanciest ponies in the stable.
KM: Maybe we can paint something on their butt, like a My Little Pony.
RL: Oh yeah: We turn polo ponies into My Little Ponies. That’s political activism.
KM: We’ll get giant brushes—because they have to be to scale. So they’ll have these giant plastic brushes that you can brush the horses with.
RL: Who’s the next person?
AVC: Paul F. Tompkins.
RL: When he wears sweatpants, does he feel like Clark Kent? Does Paul F. Tompkins ever get recognized if he’s wearing sweatpants?
AVC: If the schedule gets changed for any reason, do you have another, non-Paul F. Tompkins-specific question?
KM: It can still be the same question, just “Do you think that when Paul F. Tompkins—” [Laughs.]
RL: “—Wears sweatpants, he pulls a Clark Kent?”
I hope the next subject is like the poet laureate. “Excuse me? Who? What?” And we’d be like “Listen: It’s easier than Eddie Pepitone’s question.”