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Interview: Comedian Abby Feldman on Babies & Being Bilingual

In the very crowded world of internet comedy, certain videos and sketches can bleed together in our collective memory. There are a lot of old ideas and regurgitated premises that make for pretty forgettable content. However, I feel very comfortable saying that you won’t be having that problem with comedian Abby Feldman.

I’d never seen anything like her new webseries, Ovulady, and I likely won’t for some time, unless it comes from Feldman herself. She’s a writer and comedian based in NYC who came up through the hallowed UCB Theater, before appearing on shows like Redacted Tonight and Netflix’s bilingual series Gringolandia. You can find episode one of Ovulady below, and her Twitter here. I talked to her about her career, today’s comedy scene and what it’s like to be bilingual in her field.

Salute: Is the “Ovulady” concept something you’ve thought about for a while, or a new idea? What sparked it?

I began cooking up Ovulady a couple of years ago when I started getting ‘clucky,’ as the Brits say. I wanted to show this perspective we haven’t seen before- a woman who wants to have a baby and isn’t concerned with what society or anyone else says because she marches to the beat of her own very eccentric drum.

Salute: I think my favorite moment was when you blew a raspberry on the guy’s stomach and said, “there’s more where that came from.” Was a lot of that foreplay awkwardness scene improvised?

Yes. My costar in episode one, Ezequiel Campa, is a friend and wonderful comedian. We kept to the beats of the script but a lot of the dialogue was improvised- especially his lines in Spanish, the part where my character is trying to convince him not to go and when she talks to her unborn baby.

Salute: You’ve created a number of different web series. How has the immediacy and availability of the internet changed your comedy?

The internet is like the 24 hour news cycle where you have to ‘feed the beast’ except the internet beast is filled with more content than anyone could ever dream of watching in a lifetime and still its never satiated. My goal is to make the kind of content I think the world needs- truthful, love-steeped comedy- in a way that is dynamic and attention-grabbing enough to shine through the poo-storm that is the web.

Salute: How close do you feel your comedy persona is to your actual personality?

I feel my comedy persona is an exaggerated version of of some aspect of myself depending on the role, but my friends would probably say my comedy persona is me.

Salute: Who are some of your personal comedy inspirations, and who do you think are the best comics working today?

I think Kate McKinnon and Ali Wong are some of the best comedians today. I also love what the girls of Broad City are doing, and Louis C.K. blows me away. Coming up at the UCB, I fell in love with Amy Poehler and Scott Adsit & John Lutz. I love when comedians find a way to say something truthful and dark or ugly in a loving way. I don’t like when comics are too angry.

Salute: One of your characters in your “Meet the People Who Got Trump Elected” sketch drew comparisons between American and Argentinian politics. Did your familiarity with that history affect how you viewed the recent American presidential election?

Yes. I just moved back to NYC from Argentina where they elected a guy who’s actually a friend of Trump. Living between the US and Argentina I’ve learned that governments can be better or worse, more or less corrupt, but at the end of the day we just have to keep making art and letting the crappy external circumstances inspire inversely great comedy.

Salute: What kinds of opportunities has being bilingual afforded you in the comedy world? Has it ever had a negative, pigeon-holing kind of effect, or is it just an advantage?

Being bilingual has given me the opportunity to create content for a much bigger audience, and creatively has opened up my world to so many more experiences and characters. I made a documentary about patients in an Argentine psychiatric hospital, performed stand up on TV in Chile and Argentina, created series with actors, writers and producers who I otherwise wouldn’t be able to communicate with. The only problem is that since my last name doesn’t “sound Hispanic,” a lot of times people think I’m just a run-of-the-mill gringa. I’m thinking of changing my last name to Feldmano.

Salute: What’s next for you? More Ovulady coming soon, it seems? Anything else in the works?

I’m pitching Ovulady to networks and platforms and hope to have more episodes out soon. I’m also in the process of developing a new twist on a dating show, and a political comedy series. I’m always creating one-off sketches and performing improv and stand up around NYC. And tweeting. Every great comedy writer must tweet.


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