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Interview: Natasha Leggero Talks Reno 911, Chelsea Lately and Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Interview: Natasha Leggero Talks Reno 911, Chelsea Lately and Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with one of television’s funniest contributors – Natasha Leggero. Originally hailing from Rockford, IL, 32-year-old Natasha has been active in the theater and television arenas since childhood.  After studying in New York City at the Stella Adler Conservatory and Hunter College following, Natasha headed to Los Angeles where her career took off.

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with one of television’s funniest contributors – Natasha Leggero.  Originally hailing from Rockford, IL, 32-year-old Natasha has been active in the theater and television arenas since childhood. After studying in New York City at the Stella Adler Conservatory and Hunter College following, Natasha headed to Los Angeles where her career took off.

You may recognize Natasha as a round table guest on the hit show Chelsea Lately on E! with Chelsea Handler, as a recurring guest star on Comedy Central’s Reno 911 and their pilot Gay Robot. During our visit, Natasha talked with me about her view on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, comedic improvisation and Lindsay Lohan. It was recently announced that Natasha would become the newest judge on Last Comic Standing hosted by Craig Robinson. Other judges include: Greg Giraldo and Andy Kindler. Natasha also starred in the 2009 romantic comedy He’s Just Not That into You.

Fans may recognize you as a regular round table guest on the Chelsea Lately show on E! Since you’ve been contributing from the beginning (2007), how has the show changed over the past three years?

Well, it used to be that they would have comedians mixed with people who write for Star magazine and places like that. Then I think they realized those people couldn't keep up with the comedians so now they try to just have comics - or at least people who are funny. They would say things like "Move over Brangelina - now it's time for The Beckhams". They would be all serious. Now it's really turned into a comedy show.

Reno 911 is absolutely hilarious and you have portrayed some of the funniest deviants out there. How much of a role do you play in choosing the characters and back-stories?

I went into the audition and did an improv where I was being arrested and couldn't find my pants. Then 4 months later, I got a call that I was to play "pant-less hooker." They get inspired by your audition and then they find a way to work you in. They are all amazing improvisers. You can tell your working with great improvisers because they make you even funnier.

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What can you tell us about the Comedy Central pilot Gay Robot? 

It was super fun to work on. Nick Swardson is hilarious and Tom Gianis, who directed it, is a good friend. Together, they had this really funny vision for it and it came out great. I think it was just a little ahead of its time.

Do you approach comedy writing differently for television versus stand-up?

When I'm writing jokes for myself on Chelsea Lately, they are for specific topics. Normally, I would never even know that Lindsay Lohan was on Hoarders or that a Jonas Brother got married. So, it's fun to write jokes about it. When I'm writing for my act, something terrible has to happen to me- like the cashier starts clipping her fingernails or I turn on TLC.

You can also be seen in the hit film He’s Just Not That into You.  How did you become involved with that project and were you surprised at all by the success of it? 

I love Greg Berhendt - who wrote the book. Apparently, they screened the film and it wasn't working the way they wanted so the writers wrote some little vignettes. I auditioned and they liked me.

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You will be performing in Montreal at the Montreal Comedy Festival this summer.  Where else can fans catch your act on the road this summer?

This summer, I'll be in Orlando, Indiana, Chicago, Portland and New York. I will also be performing at the Carlsberg Comedy Festival in Dublin at the end of July. Tour dates are here.

Are there three things can you never leave home without when touring?  If so, what are they?

Eyeliner, evening gloves, nosespray.

What are your thoughts on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?

Just by joining the military, isn't a woman admitting that she's a lesbian?

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Sarah Toce