I was introduced to Ophira Eisenberg via my interview with comedian Keith Price. After that interview, I had to talk with Ophira as I was obsessed with her NPR show Ask Me Another. I loved her blended style of trivia, games, and interviews. She has interviewed some of the biggest names in entertainment! I also love the fact she wrote a book about her sexual escapades on the road to finding the one. With all this excitement, I'm eager to see her perform stand-up comedy on Keith Price's Lavender Shade, which will be at The Laurie Beechman Theatre for one night only, on Saturday, March 26 at 7pm! (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue, inside the West Bank Cafe).
1. On March 26, you are going to be part of Keith Price's Lavender Shade at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. What made you want to be part of Keith's comedy show? Keith and I met many many years ago when he was producing a show in the East Village at a now long gone bar, Starlight. Because of Keith's charm, infectious personality, and natural ability to create fun, this show quickly became one the best shows in the city. It attracted a loyal following and every comic wanted to be part of it. I jump at the chance to do any show with Keith because he's a pro, hilarious, and he knows how to set up the perfect show. I have no hesitations about predicting that this might be the best show I do this year.
2. How does his style of comedy fit with your own? Actually we are polar opposites in so many ways BUT our comedic sensibilities intersect in the sense that we both like creating a good time, even when we're attempting edgier material. We also both like to be autobiographical and tell stories from our lives onstage.
3. Since we are gearing part of this interview towards the promotion of Lavender Shade, what do you get from performing stand-up comedy that you don't get from hosting NPR and WNYC's weekly trivia, puzzle, game show Ask Me Another and from being an author? Well I don't actually get to insert much of my act or my autobiographical story into Ask Me Another. It's more about hosting, setting the stage for the contestants and games, and then reacting in the moment to what's going on, which hopefully creates funny spontaneous moments. Performing on Lavender Shade, I get to come on stage, crack my head open and show the audience the contents. And because it's Keith's show, I know I can show whatever I want as he'll draw a smart, cool, New Yorky crowd.
4. Who inspired you to become a stand-up comic? Do you feel, in today's world of comedy, that you face challenges as a female comic that perhaps your male counterparts do not? No one particular person inspired me to do standup, I basically found it on my own, as an adult. But once I started there were a lot of people that encouraged me along the way. As a female comic, I have felt that I have to work harder than all of the guys to both standout and be considered for work. I recently moderated a panel on Women in Comedy Writing and the takeaway was that equality will be reached when mediocre women as well and the cream of the crop women get comedy jobs.
5. In 2013, you released your debut memoir, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way Towards Monogamy where you describe your journey to finding the one. So, if we took this to a fictional place, which of your celebrity crushes would you have coffee with, sleep with, and seriously date?
I would have coffee with: Bill Murray
I would sleep with: Daniel Craig (a few years ago… sorry Daniel)
I would seriously date: Steve Carell
6. What did you learn about yourself from writing this book that you didn't know about yourself while living through your dating days? On a positive note, I learned that I really just went after what I wanted, and wasn’t afraid of saying yes, as it probably led to an adventure. I used dating to satiate my need to thrill-seek.
On a less positive note, I think I slept with a good number of guys because I just wanted them to like me. Or I felt that they liked me a bit, so I wanted to reward that. Ha. I wish I’d had a bit more self worthy. I still wish that.
7. On your show, Ask Me Another, you have interviewed so many people I love...from Sutton Foster, Tituss Burgess, George Takei, Anna Chlumsky, Ellie Kemper, Uzo Aduba, Jonathan Groff and Raul Castillo, and so many others. Who is still on your interview wish list? Prince! Okay, that's number one. But also: Helen Mirren, Carrie Fischer, Tina Fey, Catherine O'Hara and Daniel Craig.
8. As an interviewer yourself, what is one question I haven't asked that you would have? No - this is great. I'm just especially happy you took the time to ask me questions specific to what I do/have done. Not every interviewer does that!!
9. On "Call Me Adam," I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent everyday. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent everyday? Time management. Oh god how I wish I could figure out how to use my time effectively. Time defeats me! I know I use every second of it, but I think I prioritize incorrectly or something. I run my ass off every day but never feel like I get anything done. Or is that just life?
10. As the youngest of six kids, what is something you did that you thought was hilarious, but turned out to get you in trouble, but looking back on it, you still think is hilarious? Well here’s the thing - as the youngest of six, I never got in trouble. I was the youngest, the one they all teased and tortured on a daily basis. I would tell on them all the time and of course they would tease me about that too. And then one day I realized I could tell on them, any time, even when they weren’t bugging me, and my mother would yell at them or punish them. So, that’s what I would do for revenge. In hindsight, I think it’s interesting how devious I was at such a young age. And maybe a little bad ass? Before I could stand up for myself, I figured out a way to get them. I’m sure any older sibling who reads this will think I was a little brat, but I was just trying to make things equal!
Ophira Eisenberg is the host of NPR’s and WNYC’s new weekly trivia, puzzle, and game show Ask Me Another. It currently airs on your radio or you can download the episodes from iTunes or from the NPR website. It’s half raucous pub trivia, half comedy talk show with witty banter, celebrity guests, and live music blended in. It’s a good time.
Recently Ophira performed on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. She's also appeared on Comedy Central, VH-1, The Today Show, TV Guide Channel’s Standup In Stilettos, Fox, E! Channel, CNN, Oxygen Network, and the AXS Network. Back in Canada, Ophira appeared in her very own comedy special for CTV’s Comedy Now.
Her debut memoir, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy (Seal Press, April 2nd, 2013) is available now at your book store or order it through: Amazon, B&N.com, IndieBound, Powell’s, ChaptersIndigo. It was also recently optioned by Zucker Productions for a feature film.
Ophira's writing has been featured in five other anthologies including, I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America’s Top Comics alongside that of Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Dennis Miller and Joan Rivers, Rejected: Tales of the Failed, Dumped, and Canceled, and Heeb Magazine’s Sex, Drugs, and Gelfite Fish. Ophira has also contributed to US Weekly’s Fashion Police and YourTango.com.
Ophira regularly tells stories and tours with The Moth. You can see her host one of their monthly Slams on the 3rd Thursday of every month at Housingworks Bookstore Cafe in Soho, NY. Her stories have also been featured on their Audience Favorites CD, podcast, and award winning radio show.
When not doing the above, am Ophira: a) Macrameing? b) Meditating? c) Medicating? Close – she's performing standup. You can find her at pretty much any club around New York City, and at exclusive venues and bars when she tours on the road. It’s all here.