Comedians Becky Johnson and Kayla Lorette have worked together for nearly a decade. The pair have performed around the world, worked with Second City and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and acted in Baroness Von Sketch and Schitt’s Creek. Now, they’re taking on the Yukon.
What’s your favourite comedy to watch these days?
B: Always has been and still is, going out to see local comedy live.
K: I’ve been rewatching The Larry Sanders Show, which is a classic that I love so much. There are some insanely funny character moments that I will never get enough of. I also just binge watched Killing Eve, which I guess isn’t technically a comedy, but Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s writing is incredibly clever and hilarious. What a wonderful and violent show!
Is different stuff funny to you now than when you first started working together?
B: I guess things have changed a lot over the years. One of the things I really like about working with Kayla is how organic the process is. We kind of just roll around in whatever has seeped into our brains. Over the years, that seepage just naturally changes.
K: There are things that we’ve always gravitated towards in terms of our comedy. You know, classic stuff like satan worship, crones and existential crisis. Almost anything can be funny if we think about it enough.
So the name…. why did you choose the name The Sufferettes?
B: When we started working together the theme of female suffering emerged quickly. I guess to me it has something to do with the female empowerment of suffrage paired with the general pain of being alive…but with laughs.
K: Yes, what Becky said. Plus I just love the sound of it!
Do you think everyone should improvise more? What’s the first thing you’d teach or tell someone about improv?
B: Improv is really about letting yourself be seen, and foolish, and from your worst sides at times. That is not for everyone and should not be. Embracing one’s flaws and mistakes is the most essential element.
K: I always encourage people to think about where their imagination springs from. Each person has a completely unique approach to ideas and that’s thrilling to me.
The Sufferettes have collaborated with musicians, and artists in the past, what’s your most memorable combination or situation?
B: I loved playing with a full band in Ljubljana [Slovenia]. We deconstructed the lyrics of a song while they deconstructed the music. Canadians and Slovenians ripping apart Sweet Home Alabama was pretty wild.
K: We had someone fill jars with different smells once and we had to improvise based on what the smell made us feel or think. We had a dirty gym sock that took us down a deeply disturbing and sexual road.
Your Whitehorse shows includes collaborations with musicians, burlesque dancers and local comedians, have you often performed with people you’ve just met and/or aren’t wearing all of their clothes?
B: We have performed in sort of “nude tubes” before – a combo of nude undies, bras and pantyhose – so I guess we are familiar with it in a way. But that’s more of an expression of female drabness. I am excited to see some flare! After almost a decade working together, disruptions to our rhythms are extremely welcome. A still boat is not as interesting as one on the waves.
K: I agree. I like the newness of it all. It feels like a new puzzle for the brain every time we have a fresh collaboration.
Whitehorse has a growing improv community, do you have any advice for people new to improv who want to get better?
B: Do it lots and make your own spaces and opportunities. Find people to work with with whom you can speak openly after your sets. Communicate, watch and think. Then toss out the thoughts and step on stage.
K: I couldn’t agree more. It doesn’t take very much to start doing improv and you learn best by doing.
The Sufferettes take the stage with local Yukon artists in Whitehorse on January 17, 18 and 19. The duo will also host improv workshops on January 16 and 19. Workshop registration is available at www.NakaiTheatre.com, and improv tickets are available at www.YukonTickets.com.