Comedy duo Krystyna Hutchinson & Corinne Fisher have supported each other through both the ups and down of standup comedy – and one very bad breakup that inspired their hit podcast, Guys We Fucked. The anti-slut-shaming podcast, which has listeners that range from their teens through their seventies, tackles a number of serious issues around sex all while probing into the humor of the sex lives of the pair and their guests. I recently sat down with the two to talk about the podcast and their paths in comedy.
Was it crucial having a friend during the process of getting into standup? It seems like you guys had a buddy system that worked.
Krystyna: Yeah, I think that was a really smart move because neither of us really knew, she knew a little about the improv world and I had taken a class at the Peoples Improv Theater, but it’s just so much easier to go at it together and say “we’re going to go to these parties, where a lot of comedians are at, we’re going to see these shows, we’re going to talk to these people, we’re going to network, we’re going to get shows, but we’re also going to be pursuing our standup separately.”
Corinne: I think it’s about pulling your resources but also on top of that it’s motivating. Walking into these open mics – open mics are very uninviting until you’ve been doing comedy for a while and people know you a little bit.
K: And finding your footing in the comedy scene, you really have to do something that earns the respect of others, that’s really funny and true to you and something everybody respects. We were doing just project after project trying to figure out what we thought was funny – we did a two person show at UCB. We produced a really good show at Brooklyn Winery that got people like Hannibal Buress on. And the podcast was the first thing that really skyrocketed…
C: We were okay with packing out shows in New York City but it was like okay, how do we get beyond this, beyond people who knew us through a friend of a friend of a friend.
So did the podcast come out of a desire to reach out to a larger audience?
K: This was a result of life happening and then us saying, “how do we make it funny?”
C: [After being dumped] I was having a breakdown but Krystyna and I were still doing a lot of work. We were working on web projects, we were still working on Sorry About Last Night shows. And so I was like let’s do like a High Fidelity and interview everyone we’ve ever slept with and make it a Sorry About Last Night project. And she sort of brought in Guys We Fucked, an anti-slut-shaming podcast. So the show is separated into these two levels, the intro is very personal, kind of an audio reality TV show starring Krystyna and myself where we share the intimate details of our life. And then it goes into part two, which taps into a lot of broader social issues.
Do you ever worry that you might lose your audience with some of the more serious material or how you’re going to balance the two things?
C: It’s not like we’re not still going to make jokes. I think that’s the important thing, that’s the mistake that people make like “when we’re going to talk about a serious issue it’s just going to be serious,” and it’s like no, if you’re doing a comedy podcast it’s always going to be comedic and that’s part of the point of comedy. It’s about talking about things that are hard to deal with and making them easier to talk about by joking about them because we all have trouble talking about stuff like that.
K: One of the things I want to say about our listeners is that a lot of them aren’t comedy fans, a lot of them are just people who discovered the podcast who really like it, but they don’t listen to comedy podcasts…We’re really trying to push the message that it’s OK to laugh about really dark stuff.
You both appeared on the Sam Roberts show lately where Corinne’s dislike of Luis J. Gomez [from Legion of Skanks] came up. So he called in and you had it out, but I was reading some of the comments on the video and…
K: Oh yeah, I’m sure they’re brutal.
Right, and so I wanted to ask how you two deal with that kind of sexism, both obviously from people who are just listeners…
K: The comment section of the internet, it’s kind of like being behind the wheel of a car and telling someone who just cut you off that they should go die. It’s the same thing you’re not using your filter you’re usually being an asshole because you just like being an asshole… There’s a whole Reddit thread about us that says we should be raped, we’re whores, “I bet your dad’s really proud.” The first time it happened I got really upset, but then I got over it immediately. Now I look at those comments and I think they’re truly hilarious.
So that’s just about internet trolls, but what about pushback you get from other comedians?
K: Women tend to talk a lot about sex when going up on stage and curse a lot because they feel like they have to be edgy as a new comedian. I think a lot of times female comedians tend to fall on that as a crutch. Sometimes, not all the time, it’s different for everybody. Sex is so relatable. I mean everyone has sex or some relationship with sex, male or female. But women talking about sex I love because we need more examples of that.
Right, but do you ever get pushback yourselves being female comedians who talk about sex?
C: It’s not backlash. It’s more, “they’re the sex girls” and anytime there’s a project or show or anything about sex or relationships we’re definitely called in for that. It’s like pigeonholing. But that’s the whole entertainment business. But yeah we talk a lot about how we’re the surprised the backlash against this wasn’t much worse. We definitely thought when doing something like this that we’d just be called a slut and a whore non-stop and there would be a ton of backlash from the comedy community and there’s not at all.
K: We’ve gotten so many more spots because of it and comics that we really admire like will come up to us and be like “I really love your podcast” and we’ll be like holy shit really that’s awesome. And it’s really cool and I think it’s because there’s no bullshit. A lot of the times when people say they’re going to do a sex podcast, it’s coded in bullshit and when you’re talking about sex you’ve got to be real. We purposefully wanted this to be a podcast format because in no other realm could we make the conversation as real as we have it so it’s just capturing the vibe of friends hanging out in the living room and drinking beer and talking about sex.
Speaking of podcasts and bullshit, you guys don’t do a ton to monetize like some other shows. What it is the reasoning behind that?
K: We’re in our second week of monetizing with a company that makes really cool leggings, called Poprageous. We make custom leggings that are adorned with all the things we get called. We’re very honest about things we don’t like and the last thing we want to do is advertise a product that we think is bullshit so we were kind of waiting for the right product to come along that we were passionate about.
You started out incubated in New York Stand Up Labs and that didn’t work out. You’ve had issues with iTunes censoring your content. What did you learn from these setbacks?
K: This is a thing we’ve learned, and Corinne taught me this because she always made us do it, and that’s stand up for yourself. Take a second before you sign something. If you feel like you’re being taken advantage of just say something.
C: Young artists, especially in comedy, are so desperate to succeed, to get exposure, to do anything that will get them that next big break…I think it’s about knowing your value. We realized early on the value of Guys We Fucked and once you realize you have something valuable of course people are going to try to take it or mooch off of that and you just have to be patient.
K: Know when it’s a good idea to say yes to a free thing and when it’s not.
So, I’m curious, how do you vet your guests? Both the guys you fucked and guests you haven’t fucked. Obviously in a podcast setup the guests are important to how well a show goes.
K: Some comedians that we know of have interesting situations. Like Troy Alan, whose dad was a pedophile so that was something we were interested in having him come on to talk about. He was willing to talk about it which was important.
Vetting guys for me was difficult because most of them aren’t performers so there’s nothing in it for them. My pitch with the guys that I had sex with is “this is a really important conversation that needs to be talked about in the least bullshit way so let’s just go to the source and talk to guys that have had sex with us.” It was just more about placing the importance of the conversation we were having on sex.
But when they’re comedians it’s way easier because they’re like hell yeah I’ll come on…Some of them have wives and girlfriends now and don’t want to do it out of respect for them, which I don’t understand and that frustrates me, but at the same time if you don’t wanna do it you don’t wanna do it I’m not going to force you to.
Can you tell me about other projects you have in the works?
K: I love the show I have, Glamorpuss. There’s one September 29th, Tuesday, at Zinc Bar. That is a really fun show I kind of lucked out with co-hosting with Wendi Starling, who’s been on the podcast. It’s never every certain Tuesday of the month but it’s monthly. I would really love to do a one-woman show, I’ve been thinking about it for like two years. I want to do cartoon voice over work so bad, so if anyone is reading this and they have a cartoon, I will do it.
C: I have a monthly show that we just celebrated our one year anniversary at New York Comedy Club that I do with Blair Socci called Nacho Bitches and that’s been really fun and a good way of doing standup. And then I did The Comedienne Project at Fringe Festival, with Katie Hannigan. I was just very tired of talking about sex, honestly. Like once a week is fine but then it just sort of takes over my whole life so I decided to write a bunch of material that has nothing to do with sex or or men because I feel like women have a lot more to say than just that. So we challenged ourselves to write and workshop and put together 20 minutes that wasn’t about men and I honestly was not even sure that it was going to be funny. It had gotten so bad that I wasn’t sure if I could be funny without talking about sex or if people even want to hear a woman talk about other shit. Obviously we’re writing our own standup but I definitely want to write a lot more
Corinne mentioned getting sick of writing about sex. Have you also experience that kind of burn out?
K: No I haven’t. A lot of my act is weird. It’s just about my mom or my boyfriend. I did a lot of jokes about how my boyfriend use to date a pornstar because that was something that was a huge insecurity with me and then I got so sick of myself saying those jokes on stage because I got over the issue so I stopped saying the jokes. My jokes are about how an asian lady at a nail salon pointed out I have a mustache.
Who are your comedy inspirations?
K: Maria Bamford and Pete Holmes are two of my favorites. I listen to them once a week. I listen to Nice Try The Devil like someone would a Radiohead album. Mitch Hedberg. Michael Kosta who’s not a huge comedian but should be. Sarah Silverman obviously, Tig Notaro.
C: There’s a lot of comedians I love. I think the first person I’m going to credit is John Leguizamo who is actually not a standup comedian. I’m very anti-social so I used to literally wait until everyone was asleep and I’d stay up and watch HBO. And they started playing his one man shows and people don’t even know this about John Leguizamo, they just know him as an actor, but he’s an amazing storyteller. I think they now know him because he did like Ghetto Clown and stuff on Broadway but he had like five shows before that. I had never seen someone tell a story like that. And that stuck in my head, I was going to get on stage and tell a story like that, and that’s why I did my one-woman show.
I feel like Kathy Griffin really opened that kind of door of being the funniest friend at lunch and making that into who you are on stage. It’s difficult because the funniest friend at lunch is often not the funniest comedian.
K: I forgot I have to add Gilda Radner to mine. Since I was a child I knew I was going to be a woman child and she embodied that and embraced that and used it in a way that I never see anybody else do.
Do you have any advice for aspiring comedians?
K: The notion of doing what you think is funny and following that is a really great start. Corinne and I we kind of went off that gut instinct and did what we thought was funny and as you do it more and watch more comedy, you’ll begin to hone your instinct. If you’re the only you and shave away all the bullshit, it will be really good. Read Splitsider, it’s a really good tool!
C: Mine is very simply work hard. Because as much as it’s about going out to party and meeting people it’s like why are you in comedy? Because you like to schmooze or because it’s the reason you get out of bed in the morning? The hard work will pay off.
Photo by Dee Guerreros.