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60 Seconds With . . . Lauren Weedman

January 24, 2008|Lea Lion

Lauren Weedman isn't afraid to laugh at herself. Best known for her work as a correspondent on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" and as a contributor to NPR's political satire program "Rewind," the Los Angeles-based comedian turns her quick wit on herself in her solo show "Bust," which begins a five-week run Tuesday at Bootleg Theater.WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR "BUST"?

"Bust" is about two interwoven stories. It's about me working as a volunteer for this organization that helps women in jail. While I was doing that, I was asked to write an article for Glamour that was based on this lie that I told when I was 18; a lie about rape, but nobody was convicted. It was a teenage lie gone bad. They sort of spun it to me like, "Write an article about how the truth set you free." So, I had this idea that I was going to write this article that would change women's lives.

BUT IT DIDN'T WORK OUT THAT WAY?

I was dumb enough to believe that I was going to do this Eve Ensler [playwright of "The Vagina Monologues"] kind of article. But it ended up being titled "I Lied About Being Raped" and I started getting tons of hate mail and having a little breakdown from the shame of feeling like I am this bad person. All in all, I can try to make it funny, but at my core, it turns out that I'm one of the bad ones. And it's the same thing with these women in jail: They sort of give up on themselves.

HOW DOES "BUST" COMBINE THE TWO STORIES?

Well, another issue in the show is about having your story being heard. A lot of these women in jail, unless you have a lawyer, no one cares about the actual behind-the-scenes stories. And that's kind of how the Glamour thing was. They didn't really want to hear the story of what happened; they just wanted [the reader] to be able to point to my picture and be like, "Oh my God! I hate her."

DID WRITING "BUST" HELP YOU RECLAIM THE EXPERIENCE?

I wanted a play that could maybe change the system -- or make people think about it -- and a play that wasn't about me. But, of course, it's all about me, ironically. What ended up happening is that I felt like -- damn it, I can't think of another way of saying it -- I got my power back.

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-- Lea.Lion@latimes.com

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