Riki Lindhome: As Happy/Busy As She Can Be

Photo by Robyn Von Swank

Riki Lindhome is most commonly known for her partnership with Kate Micucci in the comedy/folk/pop/indie group Garfunkel & Oates. Her acting credits span film, television and the world wide web. She’s recently started her own podcast, too. She has a love for comedy, is intelligent and not difficult to look at. She is easily every nerdy guy’s perfect girl – you can probably include non-nerds as well. Riki’s most recent project is a solo album titled Yell at Me From Your Car – a personal glimpse at how she views herself and the world around her.

I Skyped up a proverbial storm with the talented lady recently and covered all the aforementioned talking points along with some unexpected  yet delightful anecdotes.

CR:  You and Kate are working on a new CD and I’ve noticed you’ve been tweeting late at night from the studio.

RL:  Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. It makes you nuts, you know? Being there so late. You just feel the need to tweet about it.

Is a lot of it happening when you guys lay something down and then wait for it to get produced or polished?

Not really. I’m essentially a producer on the album. I’m there every second and it’s like a total partnership between me and the engineer. My only downtime is when Kate is in the booth.

And that’s when the late night tweeting happens.

Yeah, exactly. Or if something is rendering.

Your new album, Yell at Me From Your Car, seems a lot more vulnerable than songs we’ve heard from you and Garfunkel & Oates.

Totally. I just found out, thank God for Twitter, there was a problem in the transfer and two of the songs had major skips in them. I was like, “Oh my god.” They were totally perfect on the master and so now I’m trying to fix that but I’m waiting on the mastering guy who hasn’t gotten back to me. So I’m just going to give it away for free on my website after I get the revised tracks. It’s a bummer.

I just purchased Louis CK’s new show.

Me too, that was awesome.

I loved it. HD, fantastic. But I downloaded it and my computer would screw up, I’d pause it and start over. But you only get two downloads when you pay for it. I almost bought it 3 times – which I would totally do – it’s worth it. I guess that’s the rub when providing online content.

It inspired me. I was like, “should we do that?”

Totally do that.

Yeah, I’ve looked into this. I don’t know. I think it could be cool. We’d need some help with the financing. But now that Louis has done it, maybe we can get some investors who get their money back first. That kind of thing.

Photo by M. Berru

I’m getting the impression from this CD – and this takes me back to its vulnerability – I think it still has your voice, but you’ve knocked down that protective comedic wall. It’s snarky still but also reveals how you feel about yourself.

Yeah, its very different. Except for the last song on the CD, I wrote those songs a couple years ago, so it’s how I used to feel about myself – not so much now. I just never had the time to record them because I was doing so much Garfunkel & Oates stuff. I finally just took about a month to do it. I was so busy producing our albums and working on our stuff that I never had a chance to do this.

It’s probably the reason why Kate and I don’t both work on them because these songs just don’t apply to her. Our songs kind of apply to both of us and mine are just so clearly about me that it doesn’t make sense to sing it from two people. If Kate wanted to, then we’d totally do those songs. We do sing the song Self Esteem sometimes though.

When you go back to buffalo, you should not feel like you’re only pretty when you’re there like your song [Only Pretty in Buffalo] suggests.

The thing is, I’m a character actor here. I only play the friend and not the pretty girl. Which is fine. It was an interesting observation because it was pilot season and I had tested for two things and the feedback for both of them was that I wasn’t pretty enough. So that was the reason I didn’t get two big parts in one week. Then I went back to Buffalo to meet my nephew and everyone was like, “What the heck!” It was just a weird juxtaposition that made me want to write that song. The songs are really just a snap shot of how felt in just one moment.

How do you deal with that level of rejection. The audition process seems like it can be very rewarding but mostly the rejection sounds so brutal. What do you do to cope with that?

Write songs about it. The thing about being an actor is that there’s always another opportunity and now you can always make your own stuff. So it kind of lessons that blow. I think it was harder in the beginning when I wasn’t making anything on my own and I was completely dependent on the auditions for years and years and years. I feel like that’s the tougher position to be in mentally because you don’t have any control. But now, I haven’t had any auditions this week but I could have gotten rejected yesterday and then last night go and do an amazing show with Weird Al Yankovic. That lessens the blow. We got to play in this amazing lineup. It was my comedy dream. Like, we went after Patton Oswalt – are you kidding me?! Having that in my life really lessons the blow when I don’t get other stuff.

Filming a movie is a really neat experience but I get to have these other really neat experiences. It really balances out. Where as before, I would go get rejected from an audition and then have to go and be a waitress. It was a lot more damaging to my soul.

Photo by Liezl Estipona

That’s a great way of looking at it. Is there anything creatively that you haven’t been able to do that would like to?

Yeah, it’s weird because G&O is such a do-it-yourself kind of thing that it takes so much more time that you can even imagine. Because of that you don’t have much time to do other stuff.  Like Kate always wishes she were painting more and I always wish I was writing more. [phones chimes] That’s probably Kate. Oh my God, it is! I have this weird thing where the second I say someone’s name, they text me. She’s coming to pick me up in like 2 minutes. Sorry, I had to reply. What were talking about?

I don’t know, your psychic premonition ability threw me off. We were talking about writing.

Right. Like, I want to write a movie but I only have so much creative energy and it’s tough. I would like to carve out 2 months to write a movie but right now we’re touring, I’m auditioning, we’re making videos, an album – it’s hard to spend 5 hours a day writing something.

You and Kate are extremely busy. A new CD, countless shows at Largo and UCB, an HBO show in development–

Kate and I have no personal lives.

That’s a bummer.

I don’t know how we would. I don’t think it’s really possible. You know, it’s a trade off. I like what I’m doing.