Rosen’s Review: Brooklyn’s Christine Covode is a one-woman comedic wrecking-crew
The 25 year-old multi-hyphenate is taking the Brooklyn comedy scene by storm. Her latest project – a one-woman show dedicated to her mother – is a revamped version of a very personal journey, beginning this week at the Soho Playhouse.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of sitting down with my good friend Christine Covode, who is quickly making a name for herself in the Brooklyn comedy scene. Her two-woman sketch team Sleepover, with comedy partner Winnie Stack, is one of the best shows on the Brooklyn circuit. But it’s the revival of Covode’s one-woman show (with guests) Dear Mom, Sorry for Being a Bitch, premiered this Wednesday, September 7, 2022 and is generating some serious buzz – it’s already completely sold out, save for one Saturday matinee (9/10). She’s one of the busiest, funniest, most dedicated artists I’ve ever come across.
The following is a conversation about her new show, but also about life, comedy, and Brooklyn.
ER: Ok, Christine Covode. How’s your Friday going?
CC: My Friday’s pretty good, I’m feeling a little hormonal but I think it bodes well for an emotional show I have coming up. Let’s see, I went to the park, I had some cookies, I was reading for a sketch show that I’m in this Saturday and just trying to memorize a bunch of stuff in time.
ER: Busy woman.
CC: Busy lady, yeah. Too much – it’s honestly a lot.
ER: So you’re less than a week out from this show [Dear Mom]. How are you feeling about it?
CC: I’m feeling good! I’m feeling as excited/overwhelmed as one person with two people helping her would feel. Originally, I was going to do this show with no help, and I’m realizing now that that would have been impossible. So, I’m feeling good, I’m feeling ready, I’m feeling like I need to get in the space and see it because it’s going to be a lot smaller than the rooms we’ve been rehearsing in. There’s gonna be a lot of adjusting and figuring out props that we don’t have. There’s a lot of costumes, there’s a ton of changes, so it’s just kind of like the calm before the storm right now. I’ve got my bags packed ready for the theatre and then we’re kind of in “go-mode” tomorrow.
ER: I’m so excited to see it. But before we get into the show, I feel like we should talk a little bit about you. Do you consider yourself a comedian? An actor? A playwright? How should people think of you?
CC: That’s a good question. I think I would call myself an actor/writer/comedian, I’d go with all three. Because I think what I love the most is being funny, but within a context that is real. You know how Modern Family is so funny but in the end you’re always crying because it’s so true, so realistic about family and love and all that real stuff and that’s where all that humor comes from? I try to make that my thing. I want us all to laugh together because this is so true and this is so cringe and this is so awkward, everything that’s about this time of life that people can relate to. I’m not someone who really goes up and tells a bunch of jokes. Would I consider myself a comedian? I don’t really know, I don’t really like putting labels on myself, because I’m still figuring out exactly what I want to do. I moved to New York and I used to think that improv was my one true love. Then I found sketch and felt like I loved it just as much, if not more. And then I realized that I really love acting, like serious acting, and I’ve been craving a drama space. I think it all ties together in just connecting with humans on a stage. I call this a one-woman show but realistically there are “guests” in it and people I interact with on stage and that is the best part – the interaction with two people. I always feel most calm whenever they’re up there with me.
ER: I think that was a great answer. And you mentioned moving to New York. We have to talk about Brooklyn because this is the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
CC: We gotta talk Brooklyn!
ER: Yes. You live in Brooklyn now, correct?
CC: I live in Brooklyn! Yep, I live in Fort Greene. My address is — [redacted] —.
ER: Haha. Tell me how it is living in Brooklyn.
CC: God, it’s been nice. I have trees outside my window, I have birds in the morning. I have space around my bed to walk to my desk. I lived in Manhattan last year and I don’t think I ever reached deep REM sleep. I just was buzzin’ and at one point my face blew up because I never slept and I was like, “My face has blown up!” I couldn’t see a doctor because I didn’t have insurance. Then I moved to Brooklyn and I was like, “Oh whoa, you can have, like, a high quality existence here.” It’s like you can still be part of that fun but actually live a high-quality life.
ER: Right. You don’t even need insurance in Brooklyn.
CC: You don’t need insurance in Brooklyn! No one gets hurt.
[Editor’s note: this is not an accurate depiction of Brooklyn, and all readers are recommended to have some form of health insurance.]
ER: My editor’s going to love this article because of your rousing endorsement of Brooklyn.
CC: It’s a good place!
ER: So, I know you’re involved in a lot of different things in the Brooklyn comedy scene and beyond. Were you in LA recently?
CC: Hah! No, you were fooled – that was a joke on Instagram, it was just people wearing glasses looking like they’re in LA. But I did go to school outside of Los Angeles – Pitzer [College] – I was a Theater Major there and I did this show [Dear Mom] at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. I never lived in LA but I did do one job while I was there where I worked on the show BattleBots, and I was a casting assistant for two weeks.
ER: That’s amazing. Has BattleBots influenced this show at all?
CC: Yeah totally. Lots of crashing of heavy machinery.
ER: Let’s talk about [Dear Mom]! What genre is this show?
CC: I would call it a dramedy.
ER: And where did this idea originate? It was performed first at the Hollywood Fringe Festival like you mentioned, but where did the idea spark come from?
CC: I knew I wanted to do a solo show in 2019 and I thought about what that could be for about a year, and I remember thinking the title was originally going to be “All the Things I Never Told You.” But it sort of sparked when I realized in college how much I loved my parents and how much I felt like I shut them out for so long. It didn’t dawn on me until leaving, how much I appreciate them. So, I think I was in the midst of really missing home and really longing for my mom. I wanted to tell the story of my life and was wondering, how do I blend the relationship with my mom into that story? How did it evolve throughout the ages? And how can I make this funny and how can I make this relatable? Then I just thought about it for a while and that’s how I write most things. I just think about it forever and then I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and jot something in my notes like a psychopath and then all of a sudden something comes together. I’ll go to a library for three days and churn out something, edit it slightly and be like “ok I did it, I made something.”
ER: And how does your Dad feel about the show? Does he expect the next one to be about him?
CC: Yeah my dad has an amazing quote. He always says, “I can’t wait for the sci-fi fantasy sequel called ‘Dear Dad, How Can I Help Around the House?”
ER: Haha, that’s amazing. And, in this show, you play a younger version of yourself at different ages?
CC: I start at 10 years old, I grow to 13, I grow to 16, I grow to 19 and I end in present day – which is 25.
ER: Wow, and what is that like? Do you ever jog old memories while you’re doing it?
CC: Yeah, there’s so much to do in putting on this show. I’m wearing so many different hats at once – I’m directing it, I’m changing up the script, I’m working with two other actors, and I think I forget sometimes that I’m also acting in this and I have to disappear into these ages. It’s definitely the biggest challenge for me – remembering the physical shape of these characters and their thoughts and feelings, what it was really like to be 10 years old. It’s been a challenge but it’s been very cathartic to get up on stage and say, “This is who I actually was! Take it or leave it.”
ER: I could imagine! That’s actually very cool. And you mentioned these other actors or “guests” in the show. I know Sarah Spangler, another talented friend of ours, is helping produce the show. Can you tell me a little bit about the team you’ve gotten together for this?
CC: Yeah, the Dear Mom Team. They are the best. I called up my friend Sarah who offered to help. Then a week later I found out my roommate had a friend who’s an associate producer on Broadway. Her name is Liv Rhodes and she’s been incredible, she’s put together a budget and has created the whole organizational brain behind the whole thing. Sarah is more the line producer, she’s in charge of the schedule and is also stage managing, she’s awesome. Then Alex [Dickson] is in the show, she’s my improv idol and has performed with UCB on some really great teams. She plays my mom in the show. And we auditioned for the character who plays the different archetypes of boys from my past; my first kiss or first makeout or random guy passing me in the hallway. His name is Dan Kelly and he is a superstar. My sister Becca and my mom have been running the social media campaign. You can always tell which posts are by my mom because they sound so much like they are from a mom. But yeah, we got a pretty badass team of women and the show is pretty much all sold out!
ER: I saw it was almost sold out. What do people do if they want to come see it?
CC: I can imagine if all these people come to see it, hopefully there will be a buzz that generates and it will get extended. It’s a dream job for me, to get up there and do this. I wanna keep doing it until I can’t do it any longer.
ER: And where can people watch you in the meantime? Any other shows going on?
CC: You can catch me at the next Mr. and Mrs. Hoyt-Schermerhorn show, a new improv group I’m a part of. I’m also performing with this sketch team One Bad Egg & Friends – monthly at the Brooklyn Comedy Collective, and you can also catch me on my two-woman sketch team Sleepover, soon to be performing monthly at BCC as well and some other venues.
ER: Oh Sleepover is coming back? I was going to ask because it is one of my favorite shows.
CC: Sleepover is definitely coming back. That is my true joy, and my sketch partner Winnie Stack is also playing my mom, stepping in for Alex Dickson, for one show at the Saturday matinee (Sept. 10th). Winnie is one of the most dynamic and beautiful performers in the world.
ER: I’m pumped for that. That’s the show I’m going to. Is there anything else you’d like people to know before we go?
CC: I’d just like to say that the show is dedicated to my mom and to all the moms out there who have kids who don’t notice them or treat them like they’re invisible. I’d like to say to them that you’re not invisible and we love you. We’re just adolescent little b****es, but we’ll come around!
ER: I hope my mom hears that.
CC: I want every mom in the world to see it. Every mom who’s ever struggled with a teen.
To purchase tickets to Dear Mom, Sorry for Being a Bitch, visit https://www.sohoplayhouse.com.
If you want to follow Christine Covode, you can follow her on instagram @christinecovode.
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