IN AN AGE WHERE PEOPLE ARE FAMOUS FOR BEING FAMOUS, there are very few entertainers left who are true triple threats. Laura Bell Bundy happens to be one of them. She’s gave Reese Witherspoon a run for her money when she starred as Elle Woods in the original Broadway production of Legally Blonde, and she appeared on the FX sitcom Anger Management in a recurring role. That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the woman fans know as LBB. Tack on country music superstar (she released her 3rd album Another Piece of Me this year) and Tony and CMT Award nominee, and she has a resume that makes most of Hollywood feel inadequate. Bundy’s latest venture is a digital channel and production company called Skits-O-Frenic, where she writes, directs, and stars in a majority of the content. LBB spoke with Lady Clever about Skits-O-Frenic, her thoughts on the gender wage gap, and on taking control of her career.
What’s the inspiration behind Skits-O-Frenic?
Due to my constantly bouncing in and out of character, I have often been called schizophrenic — I think it was meant in a fairly derogatory way when it was said, but it sparked an idea. “Yes! Skits-O-Frenic!… that would be a great title for a variety show!” Then my friend and creative partner, Tiffany Engen, came up with the diagnosis: “The uncontrollable urge to burst into song, dance, dramatic scene or comedic sketch.”
My co-creators — Tiffany & Brooke Engen — and I have always been obsessed with classic variety and sketch comedy shows. They had music, dance, sentimentality and comedy. Plus they just looked like they were having so much fun! We modeled our set of skills off of these types of performers.
But these show formats do not necessarily appeal to the audiences of today. The younger generations are getting their laughs in smaller and smaller doses — in short-form digital sketches — on Youtube and Vine. We wanted to create a platform for the variety of entertainment we love — surprising uses of music, dancing, comedy and drama— that folks could easily access online in those bite-sized doses… for now.
What was the process like creating this new digital space for yourself?
It felt like a very natural process, actually. I had already dipped my toe into the digital world, and have been learning a lot about its evolution over the last few years. About five years ago, I started the “Cooter County” web series on YouTube, and that was back in the day when folks were not really monetizing YouTube’s videos they way they do now or figuring out ways to make their videos go viral. We had some luck with quite a few of those videos going viral. At the same time, I was launching a record and my label was utilizing digital media platforms to connect with fans. It seemed to really work.
What is your ultimate goal with Skits-o-frenic?
I have a few goals with Skitso. It’s not only a digital platform, it is a production company and record label — due to the amount of music we are putting out and making available on iTunes and Spotify. This means it can expand on many levels as a brand people associate with surprising music, dance, comedy, and drama.
As a production company, I would like to make a long form Skits-O-Frenic sketch variety show for TV and take it on tour as a live variety show. But with it becoming an app available on Apple TV, it can feel like a digital network where we can not only create short-form digital sketches, we can create half-hour comedies, or full-length films for our subscribers.
What are your thoughts on the wage gap between genders in Hollywood? Did issues like this contribute to you starting your own creative outlet?
The wage gap in the world in general is troublesome. I personally think that a job should be rewarded for being done well in equal measure between a man and a woman. To me, there’s no difference. I personally would rather hire a woman because b**ches get sh*t done — and I mean a lot of sh*t —AT ONCE. They are the multi-taskers. But in Hollywood, with entertainers or celebrities, it’s tough to create a solution because, most of the time, so much of a celebrity’s value is dependent on that person’s fan following and ability to be recognized even more than their sex or performance ability.
I started Skitso because I am an idea person and I needed an outlet to develop those ideas. The moment of inspiration is the most energizing to me, then having a chance to follow through with that idea without asking permission, and seeing it come to life is even more energizing. I believe if you want something done, do it yourself. Don’t sit around and complain that the world isn’t giving you a chance… create the opportunity for yourself and offer the world something of benefit.
Is there an “x factor” that you’ve found to making a sketch work?
The element of surprise or just a touch of shock value keeps an audience interested. For example, we could do any old dance number OR we could do a dance number in the time it takes to place our order at a fast food restaurant and get our food at the drive-thru window. Which would you rather watch?
What’s your favorite sketch or character you’ve shot so far?
Well, I love all of the Cooter County characters and I would say they always bring me tremendous joy—Shocantelle and Euneeda Biscuit most.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My Dad always told me that “ASK” is the most important 3-letter word. I thought it was God and then I thought maybe it was SEX, but I actually do think he’s correct and it’s very much served me in life and my career.
Can you share with our readers what’s next for you?
I am currently developing a few projects— two half-hour comedies, a female This Is Spinal Tap– esque film called PussyWhipped, and a book. As an actress, I will be starring in Becoming Santa on Lifetime, which airs December 12th. In early 2016, I can be seen as a recurring character on Recovery Road for ABC Family, guest starring in Angie Tribeca on TBS, Angel From Hell on CBS, and Idiotsitter on Comedy Central.
Being a little Skits-O-Frenic sounds like a lot of fun to us!
Keep up with Laura Bell Bundy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Make sure to check out Skits-O-Frenic’s YouTube Channel for all of their videos, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so you never miss the latest hilarious update.