On the Line with April Richardson

April Richardson has been making a big splash in the world of entertainment. She lives life as a stand-up comic, but wait, there’s more! Having made frequent appearances on Chelsea Lately and @midnight, her presence is felt on television screens across the world. If that wasn’t enough, she also hosted a Saved by the Bell podcast called Go Bayside! And did you know that she also has a immense love for music and fashion? Whether it’s her look, her presence on social media, her material on stage or something else, you will undoubtedly find a likable quality without even trying. Throughout our conversation, we discussed Blur, Morrissey, Danzig, Chris Hardwick, life on stage and on the road, musician fashion and more.

Alex Obert: So you recently went to see Blur. How did that go?

April Richardson: (laughs) That’s why I was up until 4 AM! I snuck into their afterparty with the help of my friend Marcia; it was rad. I got to meet them again. I followed them around in high school, like, legit saw them ten times in high school and got them to sign my senior yearbook. So I followed them a bunch when I was younger; they’re just one of my favorite bands of all time. Of all time, all time, all time. Anything Damon Albarn touches turns to gold, as far as I’m concerned. I just have everything that guy ever did, like Gorillaz, The Good, the Bad & the Queen, his solo records. The show was amazing. And even speaking of comedy, crazily, I saw like, fifty people there I knew. I got there and saw Scott Aukerman and Jake Fogelnest. I was looking at my Instagram and everyone I know is at this show right now. It was really incredible. And yes, I snuck into the afterparty … and I had the picture on my phone of me and Damon from when I was seventeen or eighteen … showing it to him, he was like, “Whoa!” I was like, “This picture’s like, twenty years old, dude.”

Alex Obert: Was it him whose door you knocked on?

April Richardson: My friend Michelle lived legit down the street from him. We were walking around London and she’s like, “That’s Damon Albarn’s house.” I was like, “Holy crap!” But no, I haven’t knocked on his door. I’ve knocked on other people’s doors. Ian Brown from Stone Roses, he answered. This is when I was living in Manchester. He was actually really cool to me. And again, I was a teenager. That’s a dick move, you shouldn’t knock on people’s doors. It’s insane. Luckily, he was very friendly. When I was in England, the accent got me out of a lot of shit. Once I started talking, I could go, “Well you know, I came from America to see you!” And he’ll be like, “Oh my God, I’m so flattered!” It was something I shouldn’t have done and could have gotten arrested for, but he was like, “Well cool!”

Alex Obert: What’s your take on men with British accents?

April Richardson: (laughs) Well obviously, I’m into it! I mean, I’m not a weird fetishist for it though. I don’t say that I will only exclusively date dudes with accents or whatever. When I was in high school, it was prime Britpop time. That was the shit I was into. I was way into all those bands and still am. I don’t think it’s a controversial statement to say that England puts out cooler shit than we do. (laughs) England has pretty much got pop culture on lock.

Alex Obert: I’m aware that you are a huge Morrissey fan. On that note, The Smiths recently received their second nomination for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. How do you feel about that?

April Richardson: I don’t care, to be honest. Not to sound like a jerk, I just feel that those kind of things are meaningless. It’s cool when people win awards or whatever, but ultimately, it’s meaningless. I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum for fun — actually, it was when I was there in Cleveland to see Morrissey play nearby. I went for a day and it was cool to look at, in a museum way. It was cool to see something like, “Here are The Clash’s handwritten lyrics.” As a novelty, it was cool. But ultimately, I don’t care about any of that stuff. First of all, I don’t think they’re gonna get it. And even if they do, it’s definitely not gonna be like R.E.M., when the original four get back together on stage. There’s no way that’s happening. I’d bet none of them show up to claim it if they did get it. Morrissey definitely won’t, a hundred percent. I don’t think Johnny Marr will, I don’t think he really cares. Yeah, I don’t think they really care.

Alex Obert: Have you ever met Morrissey?

April Richardson: I have. Oh yeah, I have like, five or six times, but they were always in passing. I met him a bunch at Cat and Fiddle when that still existed here in Los Angeles. And I met him a few times at other shows. I’ve talked to him a few times in passing. The first time I ever met him, I was in my early twenties. It was in Atlanta and I won a radio station contest, but that was very regimented. It was very much that we were ushered in, got to talk to him for five minutes, ushered out. It wasn’t like hanging out with him and getting coffee or whatever. I’ve never been able to really talk to him for an extended period of time, but the times I’ve met him, and he’s thankfully been really cool with me. Been really nice.

Alex Obert: What would you say is the biggest misconception about him?

April Richardson: I think the thing that is still the biggest is people only associating him with sadness. He’s secretly really funny, I think. And I know a lot of comedians who are also into him because they get it. Yeah, a lot of his stuff is sad and talks about depression or whatever, but it’s in a funny way. A lot of his lyrics are really hilarious. He’s kind of this secretly really funny, self-aware guy. There are people who don’t know that or just don’t like him in general, and I don’t fault anybody for not liking him. I really think he’s an acquired taste. I dated a guy for a while that could not get into him. And I understood. I get why he wouldn’t like him. But yeah, I think the biggest misconception is that he’s miserable all the time. He’s actually really funny about being miserable, if that makes sense. I appreciate that about him.

Alex Obert: I understand you went through a Danzig makeover. What’s the story there?

April Richardson: Remember on Facebook when everybody was doing that doppelganger thing? They were changing their default pictures to whoever they thought they looked like. I changed mine to Danzig and everybody was like, “…What?” My hair’s naturally black, so I think I kind of look like him… I mean, if I were a dude, I would look like him. And the picture that I posted is from the early days of his first album; we kinda look alike! Other than the muscles or whatever, but just the way he was posing and his hair and everything. (laughs) My best friend, Millie, came to visit me on my birthday. I was like, “Yeah, I want you to make me over like Danzig.” So she drew all his tattoos on me. I worked on my hair and basically tried to recreate that same picture. I did it and just made this side-by-side graphic; but the crazy thing is, my birthday’s May 1st and he was here on May 2nd. He did a signing on May 2nd, and it was around the corner from my apartment, literally. I knew I just had to go to this, regardless of how long the line was. I called my ex-husband — he’s the one who got me into the Misfits — I called him up and said, “Dude, we gotta go meet Danzig today.” And he’s like, “Yeah, totally.” So the two of us went and waited in line. And David, my ex, put his hair in a devilock. And we’re grown, like in our thirties, he’s there in a devilock and I had the picture from the day before. To be honest, I was a bit scared to meet him; I expected him to be mean and I almost would’ve been disappointed if he wasn’t. I would’ve gotten weirded out if I got up there and he was like, “Hey guys! What’s up? Nice to meet you. My name’s Glenn,” when you know him as super surly with a super deep voice. I got up there and I was like, “What’s up, dude?” And he’s like, “Yeah…?” I was like, “Look, yesterday was my birthday. The one thing that I asked for for my friend to do was make me over to look like you.” He was kind of like, “…What?” I showed him the side-by-side photo on my phone and he laughed. He legitimately laughed and then went, “Yeah, but your fuckin’ arms aren’t big enough!” (laughs) For real, he said that. I went, “I couldn’t get to the gym for a year before doing this!” But yeah, he totally laughed at it. It was the most amazing moment of my life. It was like making the devil himself laugh; it was pretty great.

 

Alex Obert: Which musician do you feel has the best fashion sense on and off stage?

April Richardson: I grew up idolizing all these dudes and I took bits and pieces. When I was a kid, I asked my mom to buy me Adidas shell toes and Fred Perry shirts because Damon Albarn wore those. I think Jarvis Cocker, for sure. That dude is totally suave. The older I get, the more crazy I get into goth. I want to dress like Siouxsie Sioux and wear crazy makeup. I have this friend, Kristeen Young, who opened for Morrissey for a bit. That’s how met her, and she’s now one of my dearest friends. She is stylish, so stylish. She makes all of her own clothes and looks amazing all the time. She wears all this really great stuff. It’s kind of fascinating; she’ll print words and phrases on it. The last time I saw her play live, she was wearing a homemade dress that she made that had across it “They tried to publicly shame me, but I was having none of it.” She stitched that into the dress, it was amazing. I just like people who dress interesting. Life’s short, man. I’m gonna be one of those crazy old ladies on blogs where they take pictures of me and say, “Look at what this weirdo is wearing!” That’s gonna be my future. And I don’t mind it, ‘cause it’s just like, what else am I gonna do, wear khakis? No, let’s get weird everybody!

Alex Obert: Do you sense that there are parallels between being a touring comic and a touring musician?

April Richardson: It’s definitely less cool as the comic. The process of actually traveling and staying in hotels and all that, I love that. I really, truly love it. I love being alone in a hotel room. I’m weird like that. I love going to airports. I love performing also, but I’m on stage going, “I can’t get a date!” I don’t look cool in the way that if I were on stage playing a song and you’re like, “Oh my God, look at these cool motherfuckers!” No no no, I’m on there talking about how I haven’t dated in a year and sharing stories about me farting. I don’t look as cool as a musician, but I think I talk to more people after a show than musicians do. I think comics are approachable and people get nervous to talk to musicians. If there’s a dude comic that just talked about his dick for an hour, of course you’ll be able to talk to that guy. That’s not intimidating.

Alex Obert: Have you experienced offended people walking out of your set?

April Richardson: Oh, sure! People have definitely walked out, but I don’t know if it’s ‘cause I was offensive or because I was just bad. Well, on Chris Hardwick’s tour, I couldn’t tell you because I couldn’t see anybody in the venue. And they’re all there to see Chris; I’m the opening act. I’ve definitely gotten angry emails afterwards. Whether or not people walked out, I don’t know. I don’t talk about particularly offensive things. I’m not Bill Hicks, I can’t tackle politics and shit. I’m not a good enough comic yet and I think you have to be a really good to be able to talk about that stuff. Most of my shit’s just about me and my parents or whatever. I talk about some weird sex stuff and I talk about furries. I did come home once to an email from a guy that was like, “You should know I’m a furry, we don’t do X, Y, Z! What you said in your joke is not what furries are about!” He really took me to task for not accurately representing furries, I guess. I don’t know if he went straight home in the middle of my set to write that email or if he waited until later.

Alex Obert: I’m glad you mentioned Chris Hardwick because I wanted to discuss your appearances on @midnight. For each time you’re on the show, do you notice a significant increase in Twitter followers?

April Richardson: Totally! Oh my God, yes! The nights that I’m on there, I get like, a thousand new followers.

Alex Obert: How did you and Chris first meet?

April Richardson: I first met Chris years ago at either a party or a show. His ex-girlfriend, Janet Varney, is one of my closest friends in the world. Me opening for him came about just because we were at dinner one night, he was like, “Hey, do you wanna open for me?” And I’m like, “Uh, yeah! That would be cool.” (laughs)

Alex Obert: @midnight is just one of several big projects that he is currently taking on. What’s your take on how hard he works?

April Richardson: He is the hardest working person I’ve ever met in my entire life; that’s not an exaggeration. There’s a lot I admire about him; even hanging out as friends, I’ve never seen anybody with better time management. I’ve never felt lazier hanging out with somebody. (laughs) The fun thing about being on the road with him is we are friends, so when we’re in different cities, we really will go to museums and go out to eat and see the city. But then I’ll be like, “Let’s do this! Let’s go to a movie, let’s kick it!” and he will be like, “No no no, I gotta go to my room because I have a conference call. I’ve gotta write the rest of my set. I’ve gotta decide which joke I’m gonna put when.” He’s always very responsible and his time is always accounted for. I wish I could do that like he does! He never loses his patience. I’ve been around times where eighteen people are trying to get a hold of him and he’s gotta have a conference call and he’s gotta text this guy back and he’s got a meeting. He’s never snappy at anybody. If somebody calls me twice, I would be like, “WHAT!!!” That is very admirable. And on top of all that, if we don’t talk for a couple days, he’ll call me if he knows I’m bummed out or something and say, “Hey, I’m just checking in. Are you feeling okay? Is everything going okay?” He’s already managing seventeen jobs and he’s also a good dude and a good friend. I’ve got a lot to learn from him.

Alex Obert: Whenever I see you on @midnight, you always stand out with your look. How do you determine what you’re going to wear? I bet it feels like going back to deciding what to wear on the first day of school.

April Richardson: (laughs) When I was on Chelsea Lately, I made a point of wearing a different band T-shirt every time I was on. I made a point of doing that, which was inspired by seeing Dave Foley wearing a Smiths T-shirt on a Kids In the Hall sketch when I was like, fourteen. But now with this, honestly, a lot of places give me free clothes. Shoutout to Pinup Girl Clothing, shoutout to Mode Merr, shoutout to Steady Clothing. And again, I just wear the weirdest, most colorful thing I can think of. Same for when I get to the makeup lady Amy and hair lady Nena there, they are so rad. I just go and I’m like, “Hey, make me look like a John Waters character. Make me look like a girl Elvis Presley would have dated in 1963.” I watch a Cramps video the night before and so I’m like, “Yeah, make me look like Poison Ivy.” If you’re gonna be on TV, why would you not look as weird as possible? That’s my whole philosophy for if you’re gonna be on TV or on stage. I don’t mean weird like gross, but just like, that’s the time to get nuts. When I first started comedy, Paul F. Tompkins, who is one of the greatest of all time, I admired how he put so much effort into what he’s wearing. I loved him making sure that it’s like, “I’m here to perform for you. I am a performer.” As soon as he steps on stage and you look at him, you realize that he puts effort into what he does and he cares about it.

Alex Obert: I brought up misconceptions about Morrissey earlier, but what would you say is the biggest misconception about yourself?

April Richardson: I think in life, I’m very loud and boisterous. But the weekends I’m not out doing shows or whatever, I’m at home reading a book on my couch. In social situations, I’m super loud and obnoxious, super chatty and always want to yell about all the shit I’m into. But at the end of the day, yeah, I’m pretty chill. More chill than maybe I come across. Maybe?

Alex Obert: In closing, can you fill readers in on some upcoming shows?

April Richardson: I’m opening for Chris Hardwick through January of next year. We have a few more dates this year and then every weekend in January, we’re out. Then he records his special at the end of January and that’s it. Then I gotta go find another job. I’m actually gonna try to do a headlining thing like I did in July. I did my own tour while I was following Morrissey around, doing my own shows in between. They were tiny, like punk clubs and stuff, but it was so fun. I’m gonna try to do that again because I would love to just drive across the country again.

Alex Obert: Sounds like it’ll be exciting! I’d love to thank you so much for your time and a great interview.

April Richardson: Thank you so much, man! Thanks for having me.

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