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Koplitz gives lesson in Comedy 101
It is past 8:30 p.m. and comic Lynne Koplitz has yet to take the stage. The audience (presumed to be only Quinnipiac students) is told that Koplitz is in the building. When Koplitz finally takes the stage, she is treated to an unwelcome surprise from a heckler, who has seen her in the past and taunted her for an entire show. Only this time, Koplitz would not put up with the “douche posse.” Moments after the sparring between Koplitz and the creepy older men, campus security showed up and assisted them off campus for trespassing.
“Lots of times, when people heckle, they think they are helping the show. Like that little douche,” Koplitz said. “But you have to put him in his place. I steer the ship. I’m in control.”
Indeed, Koplitz is in control of both her career and life. Since she was a child, Koplitz had aspirations of becoming an actress, but kept that dream between herself and God. But, Koplitz’s dream slowly became a reality. Little performances she put on in her living room as a child would prepare her for the career she would eventually lead as a stand-up comic and actress.
“Once I moved to New York, I realized I was going to die on the streets trying to be an actress,” Koplitz said jokingly.
After getting a job at a production company as an assistant, doors began to open. Koplitz started to perform stand-up comedy after a suggestion from one of her friends.
“Sometimes you are in the right neighborhood on the wrong street. All doors opened through stand-up,” Koplitz said.
On her slow ascent to reaching her dream, Koplitz hosted a dating show, “Change of Heart” and co-hosted a syndicated talk show, “Life & Style” with Kimora Lee Simmons and Jules Asner. Hired as the “every woman,” Koplitz was instructed to relate everything back to the audience, which sometimes entailed asking professional chefs if Velveeta was one appropriate substitute for cheese.
Currently, Koplitz stars on a loosely-scripted comedy on IFC, “Z Rock,” about a fictional rock band that plays kids parties during the day, but manages to rock out at night. Koplitz likens her character Dina to Ari Gold from “Entourage.” Joan Rivers plays her aunt and Koplitz proudly calls Rivers her friend.
“[Joan] paved the way for all of us,” she said. “To the public, I am still a female comic, but I think people like Joan Rivers have made it so that a comic is a comic. She broke all the barriers.”
The most difficult part for Koplitz as a female in comedy is being on the road. Koplitz compares it to being a female rock star in that it is a completely different world. In her experience, Koplitz has become more careful everywhere she goes, especially if she is playing in one area for an extended period of time.
However, Koplitz specifically likes visiting college campuses because the audience is respectful and they go to the show because they genuinely want to laugh.
“I always feel when I’m coming to colleges, I’m like, Comedy 101,” Koplitz said. “College audiences are great because you almost never deal with heckling – ever.”
During her act, Koplitz spoke about her family, sex and an assortment of topics perfect for the college-aged crowd. The ambiance of the café startled Koplitz a bit comparing it to “some weird basement party.” But, Koplitz handled herself with grace and used her humor to cut those hecklers who were intent on ruining a night of comedy.
“You were all giving me that look. ‘Oh my God, a homeless man just came in the back kitchen and is yelling at mom. What do we do?’ It was great,” she said.
Thankfully, Koplitz has experience dealing with hecklers such as the time she was trying to help a drunken woman, who had something in her hair. Unfortunately for Koplitz, this resulted in a drink being thrown at her, which completely ruined her weave. Koplitz turns these experiences into stories and bonds with her audience.
“Being a comic is like being a hooker,” Koplitz said. “Sometimes you get the big, main stage area and sometimes you get some seedy, little, nasty trucker stop place. This is what I do for a living. This is an awesome job and it is always an adventure. Part of the excitement is that you never know what you are going to get.”