Lauren Servideo got her start in comedy in her basement, making a TV series called Funny Show with her cousin. It was a hybrid of Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Saturday Night Live where they would grade each other’s tweenage standup. As soon as Instagram launched video in June 2013, Lauren Servideo recognized its potential as a comedy platform. Front-facing, 30-second comedy shorts have become incredibly popular as of late — especially on Twitter — but Servideo was part of the first guard. Still, she’s reluctant to call herself a “video artist” as opposed to a comedian. “It would be like calling myself a neuroscientist because I have a brain,” she said.
Most of her videos mimic and exaggerate highly specific stereotypes like hungover Brits, Swedish art critics, and a Doll’s Kill employee. “I really just get a wild ride out of watching people,” Servideo said. “We live in this petri dish of wild people.” We spoke with her about Chris Farley, the deal with the devil she’d happily make, and her love of birds.
Who are the three creative people who have had the most impact on you? My mom is one of them. She’s such a thinker. Chris Farley is an easy one in this craft. Without him it feels like there would be no @servideo. The third is Buster Keaton. His physical comedy is unmatched except by maybe Chris Farley.
What kind of animal would you be? A parrot. They are adaptive, colorful, party creatures. I’m so obsessed with birds, it’s ridiculous.
What would your Real Housewives tagline be? I asked my friend Tracie Morrissey, and she said, “I may be a bird lass but I’m nobody’s wing woman.”
If you were running for office, what would your campaign song be? “Lights,” the Bassnectar remix by Ellie Goulding. Something to get people going.
What are the last three songs you listened to? “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes, “Love You Till the End” by the Pogues, and “Lucky Star” by Madonna.
What’s something you’re excited about now? I’m in the beginning stages of getting a short film into production. The fact we have people interested in it at all is exciting.
If you could have any superpower, what superpower would you have? Shapeshifting. How cool would it be if I turned into a table right now?
What’s your idea of a perfect day? I’m going to steal Natasha’s answer and say, “Walking around the East Village with my boyfriend.”
If you could master any skill that isn’t related to your current job, what would it be? I would love to be able to sing really well. I have this fantasy of being able to go to a concert and suddenly they need backup and I know how to sing. I don’t even mean that in a funny way. That would be my Faustian bargain. I would give up a few years of my life to sing a little better.
What piece of advice has had the biggest impact on you? My aunt always said, “Leap and the net will appear.” Sometimes you just have to go in head first and hope that it works out.
What three fictional characters do you relate to the most? Pasqualino in Lina Wertmeuller’s Seven Beauties. He always has a trick up his sleeve. Lily Bart in Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth, because I’m obsessed with New York social circles that are not my own. And a tachikoma from Ghost in the Shell — childlike and chipper.