Friday, November 28, 2008
Patrick Borelli started his career in stand-up at The Comedy Studio a decade ago before moving to New York, where he works for a book publisher by day and works the stand-up clubs by night. Today, he’s back in Boston at PA’s Lounge for a “reading” of his new book, Holy Headshot: A Celebration of America’s Undiscovered Talent, which he co-wrote with Douglas Gorenstein. Essentially a collection of headshots from aspiring actors, the book provokes a lot of laughter and a bit of sad sympathy for its decidedly offbeat hopefuls. Union Square Roundtable. Friday, November 28th, 9 PM. $9. PA's Lounge, 345 Somerville Avenue in Union Square.
What possessed you to produce this book?
I've always loved looking at offbeat headshots and working with odd actors. When I first started out at the Comedy Studio in Harvard Square, I paired up with an peculiar elderly stand up named Lady B. She was in her late 60s. We would write and perform sketches together. From the very beginning of my career I was seeking out strange performers.
Do you have an honest appreciation for what these people are trying to do in their careers?
I started out in Boston which has a great comedy scene but is not the center of the entertainment industry like NY or LA is. More than half the people in Holy Headshot! live in small towns or cities throughout the US. I do appreciate that they're trying to build a career for themselves outside of LA or NY. I know how hard that is. I'm totally pulling for the folks in the book.
Did you get submissions from anyone you knew in Boston, either from the Studio or local actors?
I did not get submissions from anyone that I knew. I could have easily filled the book with Boston comedians I know like Eugene Mirman, Larry Murphy, Jen Kirkman, and Brendon Small, but that's not what I was looking for.
What, exactly, will you be doing at PA's Lounge? What are the videos you said you're showing?
I'll be showing some of my favorite headshots and resumes in Holy Headshot! I shot some short videos with some of the actors in the book. I did a basic interview with them and then asked them to perform a skill they had. Most of them performed a monologue or acted out a scene from a favorite film. I have a great video from an actor named Yenz Von Tilborg. If you combined a pirate and a hairdresser, you'd have Yenz. In his video, he performed a dramatic monologue from Dracula. All the videos are on www.holyheadshot.com.
Is what you're doing at PA's Lounge the same thing you've been doing at other book-related shows?
At PA's Lounge, I'll be doing a one-man, powerpoint presentation of my book. In NY, LA and San Francisco, we did a talent show featuring talent taken straight from the book. But since this is Thanksgiving, we were having trouble finding actors that were available to perform.
Have you gotten any responses from people included in the book?
Yes. They are ecstatic with the book. A number of them have been contacted by talent agents or have been called for auditions. Which is exactly what we were hoping for. Here's a message I just got from a Louisiana-based actor, Eric Gipson:
"I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be in the book, and to also be one of the 10 actors selected for the NPR story photos. It's a kick, an honor and a hoot! I wanted so bad to get in on the NYC and Los Angeles talent showcase action; but I may touch base with you soon about at least showing you some video samples of my lunacy, er, acting that is! How about a show in middle America or the South? THIS DOG IS STILL HUNTING!!! MY EYEBALLS ARE A-WIGGLIN, BABY!”
Seriously, I already feel like the other 102 actors in the book are my family as we continue our efforts in this bittersweet (but mostly wonderful) business. Entertaining people is my passion and I hope we can all connect one day.