Interview with The Blogologues
We do a lot of music interviews here at Independent Philly so we decided to switch it up this week and give you something a little different. We got wind of a very funny show called ‘The Blogologues’ that’s blowing into town for a quick series of shows and spoke with the creators Jen Jamula and Allison Goldberg to get the inside scoop on what comedy fans can expect from the performance.
Blogologues is a sketch comedy show which features scripts culled 100% from the Internet and performed word-for-word on stage. Productions each center around a loose theme. Philly will get to see: “BLOGOLOGUES: Dat A.S.S. (Annual Sex Show)”.
We’ll be checking out the show in person and think you should too. Laughter is undoubtedly one of the biggest joys in life. The Blogologues runs June 7, 13, and 14 at (8pm) at Studio X of Theatre Exile. If you’re easily offended by off the cusp sexually related material, you might want to stop reading here.
Independent Philly: How long have the two of you known each other and how did you first come up with the idea for The Blogologues?
Jen: We’ve known each other since college. We went to Yale together; we were both theater majors, but we weren’t great friends in college. It’s not like we were enemies or anything like that, but we didn’t know each other well. Then we were both acting in New York City for a few years and Alli started a theater company that became Blogologues eventually. So she started the theater company with somebody else, that other person moved away, and she she and I decided that we wanted to start creating projects together when we became a little bit disillusioned with just acting. We basically came together in 2010, that’s when we decided we wanted to start doing crazy projects together. The first project that we did was interviewing strangers on the subway in NYC. We were fascinated with how people walk into packed subway cars but never speak to one another. So we began a series of interviews, it was called “Why Are You On My Train?.com”. Beyond that we decided, one night Alli was reading a blog post out loud and she thought it would work so perfectly as a monologue.
Allison: I said, “Jen, it’s a monologue!” and she said, “No, it’s a Blogologue!”.
Jen: So we rented a theater and put on a show and we didn’t know if we were going to humiliate ourselves or not. This was in May of 2011, and it went very well. The show ran for two nights and from there we got a residency at a theater. The project has now been going on for 3 years.
Independent Philly: I know you just finished the annual sex show in NYC, how do you choose the themes for the shows you’re going to do?
Allison: We’ve actually started polling our audiences so they can vote on the next theme. Otherwise, and especially before we started polling, we just thought about what might be interesting and what kind of themes might serve as good umbrella topics. For example we did “Fame” this past Fall which was pretty neat because Fame covers a lot if you think about it. We were able to cover old-school Fame and we had a piece about Meryl Streep, and also Youtube stars and how everyone is famous nowadays. We had a thing about cats on the internet because cats are now famous on the internet. So we look for things that give us interesting material. Our next show is “Animals” and we actually had people vote on a variety of themes and that’s the one that won.
Jen: We’ve also done “Family” theme, “Religion”, “Employment”; we’ve done seasonal themes before. I think our favorite seasonal one was “Winter”.
Allison: And then of course, as they say, “Sex sells”, so we did our first “Sex” show last year, March to April, 2013. Needless to say people were very into the sex show and that’s when we decided to do that theme annually, so this is our second annual “Sex” show. It was super fun and it’s the one we’re bringing to Philly. We hope you can make it. It’s going to be awesome. We know that because we’ve already done it in New York. We’re very excited about it.
Independent Philly: How do you go about the process of selecting the material you’re going to perform? Do you have people who are combing the internet for you or do you find them yourselves?
Allison: That’s a good question. So what we do is, once we choose our theme, Jen and I come up with a list of keywords. For the “Sex” show, actually that list is probably not appropriate for this interview…”
Independent Philly: Don’t worry, it’s appropriate.
Allison: (laughs). Ok, we were Googling “Anal Sex”, “Tinder”, “Sex With Animals”, “Bronies”, and just all kinds of stuff. We come up with a list of keywords and we just start Googling. It’s mostly me and Jen but again we are starting to really encourage audience submissions. When you see the show, if an audience member submitted it to us…actually, backing up, behind every single theme, there is a projection that credits the Blogger and the source. So if we’re performing something from someone’s blog it will show the Blogger’s name, the URL, etc. Then, if someone found us that link, it will say “Found By” and have that person’s name. Encouraging submissions is a really fun way to get people involved, especially because it’s not traditional theater. It’s sort of like everyone is in it. The Bloggers often attend the show. Then we also have team members who often help find material as well. It’s a lot of scouring the internet for unusual material.
Independent Philly: How are people able to submit blog posts to you?
Allison: They can ‘Tweet’ it at us. If people want to submit to our next show, “Animals”, they can ‘Tweet’ us @blogs_ologues.
Jen: There’s actually another Blogologues in India. I don’t want to talk about it.
Allison: So yeah, @blog_ologues or people email us.
Jen: Or Facebook message.
Allison: Yeah, however our audience members are following Blogologues they can contact us and submit it to us.
Independent Philly: You’ve been performing in NYC for a while now. What made you decide to make the leap to another city and how did you choose Philly?
Allison: People have been telling us for a while that we need to take the show on the road but obviously that’s a lot of work. We just started thinking, what are some cities that have a really cool vibe, and aren’t too far away, and have a vibrant art & tech scene? Our followers in NYC are pretty mainstream now but it really started out that we had a lot of supporters from the tech community here in New York. It’s still true that a large portion of our audience is from the tech community, and will make it a ‘company night out’. Philly seems to really have a growing tech scene and a nice art scene and when we talked to people – we all have some friends who live in Philly – it seems there’s a really great vibe there. And Jen’s brother lives in Philly right now.
Jen: We’re from Reading, Pennsylvania and another one of our company member’s family is from Philadelphia, so it really made sense for housing considerations. We know a lot of people there as well.
Alllison: We had a lot of cities on the list and (Philly) just quickly became the obvious answer.
Independent Philly: You’ll be in town June 7, 13, and 14. What can our readers expect from the show and will every show be the same or just incorporate the same theme?
Jen: Every show that the audience will see will be the same show (for the Philly dates).
Allison: They are by theme but then the shows are identical. So “Dat A.S.S.” shows are the same and then “Animals”, which will be in New York July through August, will be the same show for that run.
Jen: “Dat A.S.S” covers topics way across the board. We have a piece about “Bronies”, who are Bros who love ‘My Little Pony’. We found a community board explaining who they were, talking about how proud they were to be them, so we turned it into a music video. It’s performed live, it’s not an actual video, it’s just in that format.
Allison: We set it to Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ and made it into a rap song. With our sketches, we take everything very out of context. The text we perform is word-for-word from the internet but then we create unlikely characters and scenarios without changing a word. This post is from an online forum and the title is “Bronies who want to hug ponies both sexually and non-sexually”, and that’s the chorus to the rap.
Jen: We are also performing a Facebook page called “Parents Against Weird Sex”. We are unclear if it’s a parody page or not but we’ve created it into a sort of prom theme. It’s in a parent’s house and it’s him and a young man who are waiting for his daughter to come down the stairs and he’s explaining all the weird sex things they should not partake in that night. We’re also performing a series of ‘Tinder’ messages from the dating APP. We put them together into a piece where you’re following the journey of one nerdy guy, who I play; there’s a lot of gender bending in Blogologues. It’s his journey to find love through ‘Tinder’, and he ultimately does find a match.
Allison: It’s pretty cool because we took actual ‘Tinder’ messages and then part of our process was choosing the order to tell a story.
Jen: We have a piece about ‘Sugar Babies’ that have ‘Sugar Daddies’ who pay for their lives and love them.
Allison: There’s a page about the elusive female orgasm. Do you want more or should we keep going?
Independent Philly: No that’s good, we should leave a little bit to the imagination.
Jen: I agree.
Independent Philly: I’m sure you’ve seen a slew of crazy posts in the time you’ve been doing this but are there one or two that are just so off-the-wall that they’re burned into your memory forever?
Jen: The one that jumps out to me is called “Dolphin Sex: A Fantasy”. Luckily “a fantasy” is tagged after “dolphin sex”. It was from a site called ‘Zoklet.net’, and it’s this fictional story about this man who would like to have sex with Dolphins and it goes into extreme detail. In our first “Annual Sex Show” we decided this was a piece we had to perform so we had to find a way to make it palatable to the audience and not have it seem like some weird rape scene. We made it a love story where it was completely consensual between the Dolphin and the man. I played the Dolphin.
Allison: I was thinking of a sketch that was so insane that we haven’t actually performed it, although part of me still wants to. There is, and you can Google this but enter at your own risk, Hitler/Jesus fan fiction, in which Hitler goes back in time, meets Jesus, and has sex with him. So that’s probably the craziest thing I’ve seen — no wait, I’ve seen crazier. Interestingly we’re starting to make our “Animals” script, and a topic as seemingly benign as “Animals” has so far been the most scarring for me. Animal brothels are apparently a thing in Germany and some other countries where people pay to have sex with animals. There are animal dildos sold on the internet where you can get dildos the shape of a horse penis, or a dog’s penis. Now that I’ve thoroughly probably scarred you as well, we can find another topic to talk about.
Independent Philly: It takes a lot more than that to shock me. I’ve come to the realization that no how matter how depraved something is, there is at least one person out there on this planet that enjoys it.
Allison: (laughs) Yes, it may seem like I’m joking but doing the Blogologues has made me extremely gullible. I used to think of myself as a very savvy person but now someone will tell me an outrageous story and apparently they are completely lying but I’ll believe it because I’ve read dirty stories like that on the internet.
Independent Philly: It’s way past my lunch time and I’m starving. If I was going to make a Blogologues sandwich, what ingredients would make it jive with your brand?
Allison: That’s the best question we’ve ever been asked. I think it’d be something weird and spicy. It’d have to have bacon because bacon by far is the most delicious thing.
Independent Philly: No arguments here.
Jen: Can we get some ice cream on that sandwich?
Allison: We can put some ice cream on top I think.
Independent Philly: They actually make bacon ice cream. You could, if you were so inclined, combine it into one ingredient.
Jen: I ate some ‘Miso Cherry’ ice cream one time and it was both salty and sweet. We’re doing that. (laughs)
Allison: I think it’s definitely got some jalapeno in there. It’s a jalapeno, bacon, and ice cream sandwich. Anything else Jen?
Jen: We need some crunch.
Allison: And, a cucumber. One of our company members thinks cucumbers are awesome because they are so malleable. You can make a cucumber into a pickle…I guess that’s it. (laughs)
Jen: Cucumber, jalapeno, bacon, and Miso Cherry ice cream. On what kind of bread?
Allison: Whole wheat. Does that sound delicious?
Independent Philly: It’s nauseating yet intriguing.
Allison: Alright good, that’s what we were going for.
Independent Philly: Finally, tell us something about yourselves that would surprise or even shock our readers.
Jen: Alli was once attacked by wild monkeys in Nicaragua. True story.
Allison: In middle school, Jen was a member of “Berk’s Pride”, a song and dance ensemble that expounded the virtues of being drug and alcohol free. On performance days, you could identify ensemble members by their matching turquoise shirts and white jeans. Jen refused to walk with the other members of the ensemble on those days.
[Interview by David Miller]