On April 8th, we welcomed the indubitable Julie Gomez as our honored guest, as we read the equally indubitable Tim Duncheon’s latest work-in-progress. As part of my long con to make Tim Duncheon my new and very bestest friend, I took some time to interview Julie about her love of improv, contested archipelagos, and antipathy for creepy crawlies.
Jeremy Wine: Are you really from San Andres y Providencia? I’ve never met anyone from there. Do you consider yourself American, Colombian, Nicaraguan, Caribbean, or something I can’t get my ignorant head around?
Julie Gomez: I am! It’s a beautiful little island in the Caribbean that belonged completely to Colombia, until recent legal battles that resulted in Nicaragua owning the waters that surround the land. It’s a strange and long history. I moved away when I was about 4 to Louisiana then to Texas later on in life, so the question about what I consider myself to be is one I love to contemplate. I became a naturalized citizen 3 years ago, which I am very honored and proud of, and I have a very strong tie to my family and Colombian culture as well as southern culture… so I like to think of myself as a cultural mutt. So D, all of the above, is my answer. I love all my frankenstein parts.
Jeremy Wine: With your background in improv, how does that influence what appeals to you in the scripted theatre world?
Julie Gomez: I studied theater in college and it’s been fascinating to see the world of theater and improv merge at UCB. I still deal with scripted material since I produce comedy web videos and UCB also teaches sketch writing in addition to improv.
We have made successful videos in the past that have had hilarious and well produced scripts, as well as videos that have had much of the script improvised. In both cases I’ve seen the writers and directors give freedom to the performers we cast, who are talented improvisers, to work with the dialogue or premise given.
Of course this doesn’t happen all the time, there is a great value to the writer and the work she has written, but I enjoy seeing an on-going process with scripted material with a creative team that includes the director, writer, and performer. I think that aspect of theater appeals to me as a producer (and perhaps why I enjoyed Lather, Rinse, Repeat so much!) to see creative minds nurturing an idea.
Jeremy Wine: You’re a producer at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Please pardon the unmotivated exposition. That sounds like an impossible job to me. Please explain.
Julie Gomez: HA! Makes me feel like a super hero. I am the producer for the Video/Film Department of UCB called Don’t Think Productions. I’ve produced many of the comedic web videos you will see on our site and Youtube channel. We are currently producing a feature length documentary on the Del Close Marathon and I also produce branded content videos and commercials for our company.
Jeremy Wine: If, to save a million lives, you had to punch one animal in the face, what animal would you punch?
Julie Gomez: Maggots. I would punch so many of their stupid chubby no-faces.
Jeremy Wine: Mike Nichols once said “Because it’s funny.” is a pretty good answer to the question, “Why are you telling me this?” What do you think?
Julie Gomez: Oh yeah, I agree. Give me funny and I will laugh everyday all the time.