I’ve had the recent pleasure of watching sketch team Somebody’s in the Doghouse perform their hilarious sketches. The duo, Leah Gotcsik and Marty Johnson. have been performing all over the country since 2003. With a plethora of prestigious credentials between them, the ladies just competed as finalists in the Friars Club Improv + Sketch Competition for the second year in a row.
Gotcsik and Johnson met while working at Improv Asylum in Boston. “I like working with Leah because she'll get right on board with my weird premises, like an affable cop that murders horses,” Johnson says. “She's also one of the best comedic actresses in the world. Yeah, I said WORLD. Deal with it.” Gotcsik responds to praise with praise: “I’ll see your best comedic actress, Marty, and I will raise you your ability to keep working on a sketch until it is the funniest sketch we’ve ever done.”
My favorite SitD sketch is probably Musical Moms where two mothers deliver warnings to young women through song. Their song is surprisingly catchy and even though I watched the sketch a week ago I can still faintly hear their harmony in my head. Another gem is Today's Special (video below) where Gotcsik and Johnson play competing home shopping network show hosts. Johnson plays You're Home host Connie Roche, who appeals to the knickknack-loving scrap booking audience: "We have just sold our last one-of-a-kind, antique laminate keepsake collectible memento decorative folk art plaque. God bless you, and God bless your decorative folk art." Her adversary is Gotcsik's Marlene Mapplethorpe from The Look: "I've chosen to wear the cheetah because I'm quick, I'm sleek and I'm a little bit of a loner. I've been wearing this necklace all day, I barely remember that I have it on. But I do know I have it on because it's compliment after compliment."
"Who doesn't need this? You need this." You can watch more of their videos online.
Working as a duo is advantageous for the pair because it allows them to do the material that they want to do more forcefully than if they went at it alone. “I think we have a pretty unique style of comedy, and that can be advantageous. The industry is always looking for something they haven’t really seen before,” Gotcsik says. “Oh, and something that has already been successful internationally and has a product line attached. So, as soon we get our Roomba-themed sitcom pilot off the ground in Argentina we are going to be GOLDEN.” Johnson is clearly the more fickle half of their partnership: “Actually, it's probably the dumbest thing we could do to break into this industry. Hmmm. Leah, get lost. I'm getting myself an 18-34 year old dude to work with.”
For the most part, the two-woman show is a successful one because it is a funny one. “Once in a great while we’ll still get people, with genuine looks of surprise on their faces, saying, ‘Wow, you guys were funny. Now, I am not a sexist or anything, but I didn't know women could be that funny,’” Gotcsik tells me. Johnson adds, “Then I usually slap them, throw a drink in their face, and scream ‘Well, I NEVER!’” Gotcsik is right behind her: “Then I slap Marty and throw a drink in her face. It’s our version of good-cop, bad-cop.”
With the much-hyped success of Bridesmaids the Women in Comedy discussion has come up frequently. Johnson and Gotcsik both realize that it is still a discussion worth having, but like many other female comics, look forward to the day that there are enough women in comedy that it isn't. “Hopefully, now that it’s more normal we can stop talking about it, and move on to why we love wearing electrical tape moustaches in some of our sketches,” says Gotcsik.
Somebody’s in the Doghouse will be performing at the Upstanding Citizens Brigade Theatre this summer in New York, as well as editing some newly filmed sketches. Both women are busy with independent projects this summer as well. Johnson is a writer and performer on sketch comedy show “Vanity Project,” premiering in July. Gotcsik is doing a multi-part series interviewing women in sketch and improv comedy for Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy (new site launching July 11) as well as trying to find the perfect summer sandal.
Photos: Kelli Patterson for FrISC (bottom two photos)