Giulia Rozzi has dished up deliciously saucy tales about sex through her popular monthly showcase with Margot Leitman, “Stripped Stories.” The Comic’s Comic profiled Rozzi in December 2009, and back then she told me that she was dreaming of a future in 2014 that included: “Living with my beau, puppy, and maybe (maybe!) a baby in homes I own in both NYC and L.A. where I play a regular character on a fantastic sitcom or amazing HBO or Showtime series (ideally one I also co-produce and write for).”
Well, there’s still time for all of that to happen.
But first, Rozzi needed to dig deep and reveal perhaps her most personal story yet, in a one-woman show that’s aptly titled, “Bad Bride.” It’s brutally honest and funny, and Rozzi has the photographic and video evidence (including a shockingly foreshadowing TV appearance) to back up her story.
Before her final (?) New York City performance tonight of “Bad Bride” at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre — she’ll take the show on the road in 2014 to Los Angeles (iO West, Jan. 16), Boston (ImprovBoston, Feb. 27) and elsewhere (Austin, off-Broadway and more) — Rozzi answered a few more questions for me.
How has the show changed since you first sat down/stood up to tell it?
“I had been writing the show in my head and keeping notes for years and working out stories on stage at Stripped Stories and other shows but wasn’t ready to really develop it till the start of 2013. I wanted to be very careful to create something that wouldn’t hurt or embarrass my ex (who I am still friends with) but would still be honest and true to my story. I also didn’t want to present something that seemed bitter or like I was against love and marriage because I’m actually a romantic deep down inside (despite my plethora of dick jokes). And I wanted to make sure I remained likable to my audience while sharing some potentially unlikable truths. One of my best friends Brandy Barber came on board immediately and served as more than just a director, she really helped me shape the script and edit and since she was my friend back when I actually got married and divorced she was able to have a firsthand insight to help keep me genuine.
The current show is the third version. The first didn’t have any videos, the second I hated because I tried doing more constructed sketch style act outs and they felt really forced and disingenuous to my performance style. The current version is my favorite, it has some artifacts (video and photos) but is mostly me telling stories and organically acting things out like I do in my stand-up vs in a sketch style. I call the current show the cliff notes because there is so much more I want to share and plan to share when I develop the show into a 60-80 minute piece.”
When did you feel comfortable enough to tell it honestly, even if and especially since it often paints you in a bad light (as the Bad Bride and all)?
“I think I may have answered this above but as an often overly TMI gal I always felt comfortable sharing parts of the story but getting to the real vulnerable and dark and unlikable stuff was really something I got comfortable with when I began working with Brandy. She really really pushed me to go to places I was afraid to go to and I am so grateful to have found such a wonderful collaborator on what we both feel is a important story to tell. That is part of it, too, each time I did the show people would say “oh my God I went through the same thing but felt so ashamed to talk about it” or often women will say “thank you for talking about stuff that women rarely say publicly in regards to marriage and monogamy and love.” The more I realized the need for my story to be told the more comfortable and confident I felt in telling it. Besides I blatantly call myself an asshole multiple times in the show, I’m not defending my story I’m just telling it and acknowledging that I’m far from perfect.
Your use of multimedia really helps the audience relate to and identify with you. I believe you’d told me that the TV footage (no spoilers, I promise!) wasn’t originally in the show…did you not remember doing that at first? Or was it more a matter of digging it up out of your archives? And how did watching it again yourself change your reflections on that relationship and time of your life?
“I had showed some of that secret footage at The Rejection Show and people loved it so in the back of my brain I knew I’d include it somewhere. The show needed something to break up the talking and as Brandy and I were brainstorming what to do we both were like OMG that footage. And then I watched it and was floored by the deeper meaning of the footage. I mean the footage was essentially predicting my future. (This is gonna sound so mysterious to your readers, guess they now have to see the show!)”
Your show sometimes has been paired with another one-person show or sketch revue that also is based on relationships (this coming week, you’re with Dan Black’s “The Pageantry of Man”). Which then sometimes leads to your audience being full of couples on dates. Does that make it more fun, more emotional, more challenging or more ______ for you to perform it? Please feel free to pick the fill in the blank option if that’s what you’re feeling.
“I actually think the show is great for couples because it will hopefully lead them to discuss relationship stuff they make have otherwise avoided. I think the show could either break up a couple (good! It means they weren’t meant to be!) or strengthen a couple because they can see the show and go “oh we aren’t like that, we must have a good relationship.”
eHarmony recently published a list of reasons to date a comedian. Which, if you’re ever going to marry one, you’d have to be convinced to date one first… As a divorced comedian, what’s your take on that?
“I’m all for people dating comedians especially now that I’m single and very fun to date. However, if our marriage fails I might write a show about it.”
Giulia Rozzi performs “Bad Bride,” tonight at the UCB Theatre in New York City. Shows planned for 2014 in Los Angeles, Boston, Austin and perhaps a city near you.
Photo (above): Giulia Rozzi in “Bad Bride” by Phil Provencio.