For those of you who haven't seen it yet - I did a skit with the Funny Or Die people and also sat down to answer some questions about the experience.
This must have been a strange experience. What was it like?
I was a bit nervous to do this skit at first, because I feared it would amount to little more than showing off some vocals dressed as someone else. I was worried it wouldn't be self-effacing enough. I'm much more comfortable making fun of myself (as I did in the Snaggle Tooth skit I did on Jimmy Kimmel) than I am of showing off. But Mike Farah assured me it would be ok and play well, so I really just trusted him and his team. They obviously know what they are doing! I was very excited to do full prosthetics - I had never had a real disguise like this before, and I was looking forward to it.
You have a new single out from your new album, Sweet And Wild called “Satisfied,” does this skit relate in any way to your current music?
My new single is called “Satisfied” off my new albumSweet And Wild. It’s certainly not a silly song, but it does reflect my goal of trying to reach a balance in my life. This is a career that can eclipse a celebrity’s abilities to have a normal life that actually makes them happy. Many celebrities are some of the most miserable people I know. Even P. Diddy came out and said how profoundly alone he feels. I wrote the song about making sure I spend my time doing what truly makes them happy - telling someone you love them while I can, investing in my personal life as much as my career. If you can do that, then you truly are satisfied. That's why I tour less now and work less, and to take time to do silly skits like this one for Funny Or Die - because I want to enjoy what I have along the way.
How did you expect people to react? Did performing as someone else give you a new perspective on yourself in any way?
I was pleased that my co-actors and I were able to pass ourselves off as some business folks looking for a good time. I felt my disguise worked and everyone accepted that I was someone named Karen, with an unfortunately large nose.
There was a very sweet mood in the crowd - everyone was rooting for each other. By the time “Karen” got up there, full of nerves, it felt like they really wanted her to be ok and comfortable. They were very encouraging.
As I started to really sing well, the change in the audience was palpable. It really surprised me to see everyone react like they did. They seemed genuinely blown away by Karen, and I saw many mouths drop open. It was touching. It seemed like everyone felt like Karen was going to make it out of Frozen Foods Inc. and make it big. The high fives at the end were so genuine, it was just very sincere and heart warming.
You've of course acted before. Did you use anything you've learned from acting in the past? I imagine Ang Lee might have had some thoughts for "Karen."
I really love acting, though I gave it mostly up so I could live in Texas and maintain some balance with my love life and a full time writing and music career without the added double career of acting. That's why I relish any opportunity to act, even in these small ways. This did not require much, as the costume did most of the work for me, and I love improv, so this was a small chance to do that - and luckily as someone else. I would LOVE to do more of it in the future. A dream gig would be a show like Curb your Enthusiasm. As a writer, a chance to create a character I get to act out, instead of write out, is always welcome.
This skit came together VERY fast - we talked on a Wednesday, and shot two skits on the following Monday!
I shot a second skit with Funny Or Die, that will get released next. It involves my other home state Alaska legend, Sarah Palin, and I can't wait for people to see it. It’s hysterical.
I wonder if this reminded you at all of your early days, before you became well-known, singing in coffee shops?
You know, it did remind of that. It had been so long, but the fan reaction of those that came to see me as an unknown singer-songwriter in San Diego, was a lot like what happened at the karaoke bar. Fans seemed blown away by me, and they were so kind and pulled so hard for me - this girl they didn't know but seemed to care about anyway. Those fans pulled me through a tough time, as I was homeless back then. They believed in me more than I believed in myself.
Do you ever do karaoke just for fun? If so, what do you like to sing?
Sometimes my band and I will go out after a show and sing karaoke. My favorite is going out to a gay or drag club for karaoke as no one sings harder than a tranny who’s working it! It's funny when they realize who I am and serenade me with my own music. Once a Miss October in a drag bar in San Francisco did a killer version of “Foolish Games” for me, complete with a sequined balled gown and fire engine red hair.
Is Karen working on her own music? Could this be a Chris Gaines thing?
Ha! No, I don't think so, though I did hear one person say Karen was "like an American Susan Boyle" - so maybe I should consider it!