Garfunkel & Oates
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Garfunkel & Oates

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"Q&A: Garfunkel & Oates How two ukulele-toting actresses are taking the LA comedy scene by storm"

When L.A.-based actresses Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome started the musical-comedy duo Garfunkel & Oates, they never stopped to wonder if it would result in hate mail from pregnant Canadians.

The pair met by chance at an Upright Citizens Brigade performance little more than a year ago and agreed to work together writing songs for a comedy video Lindhome was putting together. Soon, with Lindhome taking on the “Garfunkel” moniker and Micucci going under “Oates,” they were posting low-budget music videos for numbers like “F--- You” (a song featured as “Screw You” on the TV show “Scrubs,” on which Micucci occasionally appears), “Worst Song Medley” (which transitions from the musical detritus of “I Wanna Sex You Up” into “Barbie Girl” into “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and so on) and “I Would Never” (whose chorus is completed by the line “have sex with you”).

The clips were immediately popular on YouTube; most simply show the pair performing their songs while seated on chairs or a loveseat, singing together and accompanying themselves on guitar and ukulele. They got lots of positive comments, but G&O kept going to their acting day jobs.

And then they posted “Pregnant Women Are Smug.”

The video has had more than 100,000 online viewers laughing along to G&O’s sardonic witticisms (sample line: “You think that you’re glowing/But you have been hoeing/And now you’re pregnant”), but it has also genuinely angered some apparently humorless mothers-to-be. Recently, G&O even have been fielding serious calls for comment from Canadian newspapers because so many women north of the border are upset.

Metromix emailed the ladies to find out whom they might anger next.

So, you're practicing today—any new songs?
Riki Lindhome: We have a new song called “Sex With Ducks” based on a broadcast Pat Robertson did on “The 700 Club.” He said that legalizing gay marriage would lead to legalizing sex with ducks and we just thought that was such a hilarious and ridiculous leap. We also wondered how his mind works if “duck” was the animal that popped in his head. Ducks have got to be pretty low on the bestiality scale.

How does songwriting work for you?
RL: It usually starts with one of us having a bizarre experience or funny idea and then getting together with the other one to develop it. Then we just brainstorm like crazy until we find something that makes us die laughing—and that’s the thing that we use as our jumping off point. The lyrics will typically dictate what type of melody we use.
Kate Micucci: It seriously is like a mush of brainpower and instruments. When Riki and I are writing, it just happens.

Have there been any rejected G&O songs?
KM: We wrote a rap that we scrapped. Yo, yo. But we are going to re-work it.
RL: Word to your face.

Are any potential song topics off-limits?
KM: I'm the timid one when it comes to singing about certain subjects. Riki convinced me to sing about blowing a guy, so now I guess nothing is off limits. I'm expanding my vocabulary.
RL: Kate wrote down the line “It’s only you I want to date.” I crossed out “date” and wrote “fellate.” Pretty much any line in our songs that’s sweet and magical, Kate wrote. And any line that’s offensive or perverted, I wrote.

After you got together, wrote the first two G&O songs and put the videos on YouTube—how long until Zach Braff was calling, cash-in-hand? Take us through the process.
KM: I auditioned for “Scrubs” and when they discovered I played ukulele, they wrote me a uke-playing part on the show. When I got on set, they asked if they could use the song “F--- You” in the episode. Riki was in Spain at the time so I was calling her hotel trying to figure it all out.
RL: They said they had to change one word in that song. You can probably guess which one.
KM: The song was eventually called “Screw You.” That episode led a lot more people to Garfunkel & Oates.

Would you rather be seen as actresses who have a funny band side-project or comedic musicians who can also act on the side?
KM: I'm pretty sure that for both of us, acting comes first. Garfunkel & Oates is still so new. But it’s a lot of fun and is growing so quickly, so we’ll see where it takes us. But when one of us gets an acting job, we put the band aside for a moment.
RL: But it’d be awesome to be a hyphen—“actor slash musicians”—like Keanu Reeves or Kevin Bacon. I think I’m gonna put that on my passport.

As your popularity increases, are you ready for tons of articles describing you as "sort of like a female Flight of the Conchords/Lonely Island/Tenacious D"?
KM: We would be flattered!
RL: We love all those bands and would be psyched to be thought of in the same category. But being the female version of that, we can get away with a lot more. Guys singing a song like “Pregnant Women Are Smug” or “My Self-Esteem’s Not Low Enough to Date You”—it just wouldn’t be as funny.

Any crazy fan incidents yet?
KM: Most people have been really sweet—I was given a bottle - Metromix - May 22, 2009

"Are pregnant women smug?"

'Pregnant women are smug. Everyone knows it, nobody says it, because they're pregnant."

Just over a month ago, Los Angeles comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates sat down in front of their camcorder, waved hello to their virtual audience and launched into an impossibly catchy song poking fun at one of society's sacred cows: the pregnant woman. To their surprise, the 2½-minute video, which mocks prissy expectant mothers who insist that they don't care whether it's a boy or a girl as long as it's healthy or refuse to divulge the sex or chosen name of their baby, really struck a chord.

Seen more than 114,000 times on YouTube after going viral on mommy blogs and sites such as, the overwhelming viewer response has been "so true." Many thanked the pair for spewing words they've long swallowed.

"Thank you x 20 for this. I don't want to see [Facebook] status updates about diapers any more," wrote YouTube user alisonnicole84.

Even mothers lauded the pair. "I've been preggers before and this is hilarious" wrote user gaffmedic.

Riki Lindhome, 30, and Kate Micucci, 29, (neither of whom have been pregnant) make up the duo and said they were surprised so many people shared their pet peeve.

"I think people are scared to say anything because it's not socially acceptable to make fun of a pregnant woman," says Ms. Lindhome, the Garfunkel of the pair. "Pregnant women are revered in our society, they're this sacred thing. Everyone says 'They're glowing and they're beautiful,' but there's this elephant in the room," she says.

She's referring to the expectation that everyone must politely ask about a woman's pregnancy whether they care or not.

Pregnant women share their own world of experience and those who prod at a realm they don't understand risk tongue lashings or worse, she says.

Inspiration struck one day when Ms. Lindhome was chatting with three pregnant women from her theatre company. "I was just listening and the one girl says to me, 'Riki, what do you even do all day?' I was like, 'What do you mean?' And she said, 'I don't know, everything before pregnancy seems so meaningless.' "

Ms. Micucci, a.k.a. Oates, admits she was a bit hesitant while co-writing the song.

"Even though I thought it was really funny, it seemed a little mean," she says. "But at the same time, I think the truth in it outweighs that."

The song resonates because some of us are just plain jealous, says Georgia Witkin, a New York psychiatrist and obstetrician.

"A lot of people who aren't pregnant have some pregnancy envy," she says. She treats a lot of women at her fertility clinic, Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, who desperately want children but can't reproduce.

Plus, she notes, women who tend to be smug were probably like that before the bun was in the oven.

Anthony Landicho caught the video and recognized the smugness his wife used to express. The 40-year-old YouTube user from Leesburg, Va., says his wife spoke in clichés through all five of her pregnancies. When her friends talked about a new car they'd bought, she'd say material things don't matter, it's all about the joy of having children, he says. Or she'd say she didn't care about the gender as long as the baby was healthy.

"Many times, in the back of my head, I'd be saying, 'Oh yeah, right, you know what you really want,' " he says. " 'You don't care if it has 18 fingers, but you really do care if it's a girl.' "

Meanwhile, mommy bloggers proudly declared their own smugness.

"I'm going to put my hand up and admit to being quite smug when I'm pregnant," wrote 37-year-old Australian Mia Freedman on her blog "I love being knocked up and am always blown away by the fact that I'm growing a human inside me."

Yet, among the chorus of "so true," some worry that poking fun of a proud pregnant woman will discourage expectant moms from revelling in the extra attention they deserve.

Women only get that kind of limelight while pregnant, so by all means let them enjoy it, says Andrea O'Reilly, founder of the Association for Research on Mothering at Toronto's York University. Teasing mothers who bask in the glory of pregnancy tends to send a negative message, she says.

"I'm sure there are some quirks and people who take it too far ... but to make it into a stereotype or caricature thing bothers me," she says. "Then any type of woman will say, 'Oh God, I don't want to be that.' "

May Friedman, a York University researcher on feminism in the mommy blogosphere, says it's often the not-so-pregnant public that focuses on the woman's impending motherhood. These women are left with little room to discuss other things, leading them to "give up" and succumb to the motherly attention.

"I remember when I was pregnant and one of my friends said, 'How am I ever going to call you for advice about guys when your kid is going to have their first tooth?' And I was like, 'But that's boring. How interesting is it that my ki - The Globe & Mail - May 15, 2009

"Garfunkel & Oates Bring a Girly Edge to Folk Comedy"

It takes a brave soul to tear down social niceties and expose the truth hiding behind the lies that make up the social contract. Because who’s going to tell you the truth about pregnant women? Or what you look like when you receive a present you don’t want? Or what a one-night stand is really like? Before Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci teamed up for musical act Garfunkel and Oates, the answer was no one. And the world kind of sucked.

Comparable to a female Flight of the Conchords (though Micucci admits that she’s never seen it), Garfunkel and Oates mix quirky guitar and ukulele tunes with lyrics that are equally profane and sweet, and the combination makes for one of the most unique voices you’ll find in comedy, music or online video.

Lindhome and Micucci met while waiting for a Upright Citizen’s Brigade show to start; they had a much better time talking to one another other than to their dates. When Lindhome invited Micucci to collaborate with her on songs for a musical short film, they ended up writing three songs in the first hour of their first session together, and a partnership was born. “You can’t really tell who writes what — it just kind of happens,” Lindhome said via phone. “Except that if it’s really pretty and magical, Kate wrote it. And if it’s really dirty and profane, I wrote it.”

The videos currently online consist of excerpts from that first short film, Imaginary Larry; low-fi “couch videos” of the girls performing their songs; and one full-scale music video for their song Present Face, which was produced by and featured on Funny or Die. How that happened: Jake Syzmanski of Funny or Die saw Micucci perform at a comedy festival, where he asked her if she’d be interested in making any videos. So with FoD’s equipment and help, Micucci and Lindhome were able to poke fun at the social niceties behind receiving an unwanted gift, enlisting cameos from Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother, Current TV’s Sarah Haskins, and many other recognizable faces the girls have met through the live comedy community.

While Present Face has done well, it’s the couch videos that have really helped them build an audience, with one of their latest tunes, Pregnant Women Are Smug, closing in on 100,000 views within three weeks. While the video and audio quality on these videos is essentially amateur, their performances are the selling point, and you don’t need to see them in HD to know that they’re hilarious. Pregnant Women gets savage about the one-track mind knocked-up ladies often develop, while One Night Stand is an epic tale of a single-time love affair. While most of the songs are available for download from their official site, being able to see the interplay between Micucci and Lindhome as they perform adds an extra level to each song. If you can’t catch them live, the couch videos are the next best thing.

Lindhome and Micucci cite Jon LaJoie and the Lonely Island as influences, but as Lindhome admitted, “There are no real girl comedy bands for us to emulate, really, so we kind of take it from a female perspective.” And being women allows them to be meaner, according to Micucci, who reflected that “Pregnant Women wouldn’t have worked if it’d been written by a man.”

Lindhome and Micucci got their start as actresses, with individually impressive IMDB profiles: Lindhome recently appeared in Changeling and The Last House on the Left, while Micucci’s credits include Scrubs and Rules of Engagement. But they’re devoting May to their Garfunkel and Oates activities, playing live shows nearly every other day and recording their upcoming 8-track EP, due out as early as June 1. Because of their hectic schedule, they’re taking a break from video production, but when they do return, the next full music video they do will be for Pregnant Women Are Smug. “We’ve got a concept all worked out,” Micucci promises. - NewTeeVee - May 5, 2009

"Actresses Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci teach a few lessons on folk rockin' at the Fake Gallery . . ."

Live Review: Garfunkel and Oates - The Fake Gallery, Los Angeles
As vapid and vacant as Los Angeles can be, there's still a lot of life beating in the city's stillborn heart. Beyond the gloss of Hollywood clubs, like Opera and Les "Duh," and tourist traps, like the "walk of shame," exists an underground artist community that's producing more genuinely fulfilling product than most major studios are. In the smallest nooks of Hollywood, there's some great art, comedy and music just waiting to be devoured by starved enthusiasts. However, you've got to find it. Not that it's hidden from the general public, but you've got to know where to look. It's not necessarily coming out of the indie music hotbed Silverlake, either. Garfunkel and Oates is simultaneously a product of this vibrant artist community and the larger machinations of the entertainment industry. That's possibly why they are Los Angeles's best kept secret—not for long though.

Garfunkel and Oates, a duo of actresses Riki Lindhome (The Last House on the Left, The Changeling, Million Dollar Baby, My Best Friend's Girl) and Kate Micucci (Scrubs), concoct hilarious folk tunes about everything from guys who can't commit to a smart girl and nuns to smug moms-to-be and dudes they just want to be friends with. Their wit is razor sharp, and they put on a theatrical show with its own undeniable duende. Playing The Fake Gallery on Melrose Ave. and Vermont last night, Garfunkel and Oates brought their acoustic songs to life with enigmatic showmanship. The girls traded vocals seamlessly, enhancing each joke, rib or witty remark with dry and clever facial expressions. The opening song, "Fuck You," followed a methodical dance routine to Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step I Take," and the packed crowd instantly fell under Garfunkel and Oates' spell.

"The Nun Song" and "Present Face" proved sidesplittingly funny, as Riki and Kate swapped lines that carried melodies about Jesus and getting sucky presents. The highlight of the set was a brand new song entitled "You, Me and Steve." Its narrative lyrics, about dating a guy who always brings his friends out, were simply hilarious. The track was packed with double entendre, and Riki made sure to enunciate each and every line, never missing a joke. In between songs, she and Kate took turns reading poetry from the "voice of our generation," Ashanti, and her "predecessor," Suzanne Somers. The deadpan reading of Ashanti's "metaphors and stuff" couldn't have made a more perfect segue into songs like "Silver Lining," "Self Esteem," "Beige Curtains" and "Pregnant Women are Smug."

The girls can play too! Everything from trumpet to clarinet was utilized at one point or another, and it gave the show a bombastic feel. These two could hit an arena, no problem, which is one of the coolest things about G&O.

However, there was one serious moment that proved somewhat poignant, given the context. Riki prefaced "As You Are" by explaining that the last time G&O played it, a few friends asked if it was about them. However, the person the cut was inspired by didn't. The song's tone was sweet and somber, but Riki conjured that dynamic balance without missing a beat.

It was an interesting break from the show's mostly funny tone. However, recently, legendary Tool frontman and strong proponent of Los Angeles' underground art scene Maynard James Keenan told this writer, "The key factor in any vocalist is if the comedy, tragedy and passion come through." G&O bare all three proudly, and they prove L.A. still has some soul. - Live Review - April 3, 2009


Still working on that hot first release.



Garfunkel, a.k.a., Riki Lindhome
Riki Lindhome was born in Coudersport, PA but grew up primarily in Portville, NY. Her first break came when Tim Robbins cast her in his hit play, Embedded, which played at the Public Theater in NYC, Riverside Studios in London and The Actor’s Gang Theater in LA. Shortly after, Clint Eastwood cast her in her first film role, as Mardell Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby. Since then, she has appeared in several films and TV shows including The Last House on the Left, Changeling, My Best Friend’s Girl, The Big Bang Theory and Pushing Daisies. She also wrote and directed two short films, Life is Short and Imaginary Larry. She has been seen on: Nip/Tuck, The Last House on the Left, The Big Bang Theory, My Best Friend's Girl, Pushing Daisies, Heroes, Gilmore Girls, Million Dollar Baby, Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Oates, a.k.a., Kate Micucci
Kate was born in New Jersey and spent most of her school years in Pennsylvania. As a kid she focused on playing outside in the woods and playing classical piano. In college she majored in art, focusing on painting and making puppets. She received an A.A. in Fine Arts from Keystone College. After a small stint watering banana and pineapple plants in Hawaii, Kate decided to go to Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles where she made more puppets and received a B.A. in Studio Art. Kate has appeared in Scrubs, Rules of Engagement, Cory in the House and the upcoming When in Rome. She has been seen on: Scrubs, Rules of Engagement, How I Met Your Mother, Malcolm in the Middle, 2008 Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal

Television Musical Appearances:
The Jay Leno Show