Smart silliness sells on multiple platforms for comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates

Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci (aka Garfunkel and Oates)

Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci (aka Garfunkel and Oates)

By Randee Dawn

Breaking into funny business is not easy and not often funny, as Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome have discovered. As the pair behind comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates (named after “two famous rock ‘n’ roll second bananas”) they’ve persistently sought out different platforms for their unique brand of offbeat, profane and definitely funny tunes and personae. Since they first paired up in 2007 to provide songs for a short film, they’ve carved out a successful YouTube channel and featured projects and shows with HBOGo, Comedy Central and IFC. How do they do it? They might not even be sure themselves … but as they told Cynsiders, persistence helps a great deal.

Cynopsis: I was sorry to learn that IFC has decided not to renew your sitcom Garfunkel and Oates for a second season (it premiered in 2014).
Kate Micucci: It won’t stop us from making other things, for sure!

Cynopsis: What’s been the most challenging element of you trying to find a home for your style of humor?
Micucci: So many things. We accidentally found a home with YouTube in the beginning; we didn’t understand how that was going to lead to other opportunities. Without YouTube, especially in the beginning, we wouldn’t have made it.
Lindhome: We’ve never had a challenge in finding homes for our comedy – we had the right home for it from Day One and it really brought people to our music and comedy.
Micucci: It wasn’t even a planned thing. Riki put the videos up on YouTube to show her family back East [both women are from Pennsylvania but now live in California]. No one knew that anyone else would actually watch them, but it informed us that we could keep going with this.

Cynopsis: How should aspiring performers use YouTube to launch themselves?
Lindhome: I don’t know if we used YouTube to the best advantage. The key is consistency. I would actually advise people to not do what we did, but put things up on a consistent basis.
Micucci: When we were first starting [Feb. 2008], YouTube would feature videos on the front page. And there weren’t so many videos even up there, so it was easy to get featured – and we got featured a couple of times. We lucked out.

Cynopsis: You both met as part of the Upright Citizens’ Brigade improv group; did you ever sit down and have a not-very-funny business talk about how to achieve world domination?
Lindhome: I don’t know that we ever had a world domination talk, but at some point our fan base began to grow, and we had to say, “How do we proceed? What way is our time best spent? Touring, recording, making music videos?” We have to have those talks on a pretty regular basis. But a lot of it is also going by instinct.
Micucci: We really just started out having a good time, and writing songs.
Lindhome: It’s constantly changing. There’s no template on how to do this.

Cynopsis: You had one of your songs (“Screw You”) featured on Scrubs in 2009. Did that open doors for you?
Micucci: It happened right at the beginning. I don’t think we even had a name for the band just then!
Lindhome: That was pure luck, no calculation about it. We literally never tried to have it happen again, because our songs are so specific to us and so dirty.
Micucci: It was crazy luck getting that on a platform where a huge audience heard our song, and it brought a lot of people to us and our music. Getting placement on TV shows and in movies is a big deal now; record contracts aren’t what they used to be.

Cynopsis: So what are your next plans?
Lindhome: We’re finishing up a show that airs June 23 on Comedy Central; it’s a period piece, a show set in 1902 called Another Period, with me and Kate in period dress [Ben Stiller’s production company Red Hour is producing]. No music, though. We also have an album called Secretions that should come out this year.

Cynopsis: Any advice for aspiring performers who want to follow your path?
Lindhome: Get out there. Perform stuff.
Micucci: Keep making things, and keep putting things out there. And push yourself.

Garfunkel and Oates make their Las Vegas debut performing at The Venetian as part of Lipshtick on March 21.

The Cynsiders column is a platform for industry leaders to reach out to colleagues, followers, and the public at large. In their own words and in targeted Q&As, columnists address breaking news, issues of the day, and the larger changes going on in the ever-evolving world of television, video and digital. Cynsiders columns live on Cynopsis’ main page and are promoted across all daily newsletters. We welcome readers’ comments, queries, and column ideas at RDawn (@) accessintel.com

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