First Chelsea Lately, Now the Fillmore: Comedian Sarah Colonna Has Arrived

Sarah Colonna
Sarah Colonna was an Arkansas-bred, Los Angeles-based standup veteran of nine years when she started appearing on the Chelsea Lately roundtable. She parlayed the roundtable into a full time writing gig on the show. Colonna is also a TV staple, having appeared on The United States of Tara, Monk and Invasion. She is featured on the Comedians of Chelsea Lately Standup tour, which comes to the Fillmore on Miami Beachthis Friday, with Josh Wolf, Brad Wollack, and Loni Love. We caught up with Sarah and chatted about writing for Chelsea, the MTV VMAs, Lindsay Lohan, appearing on Scare Tactics and her family's trailer.

New Times: Are you in the Chelsea Lately offices (as we speak)?

Sarah: I am, I'm reading about Lindsay Lohan going to rehab and important things like that.

Is the whole Lindsay Lohan thing just gold for you all?

It's funny. When we had Lindsay on for the VMA's with Chelsea she came and was so professional and was pushing her flight back so she could stay and make sure her bit was really funny and I was like , "wow, she's really got her shit together" and a few days later she failed a cocaine drug test. I actually like her. It's weird, once she failed that last one it was like, oh, she isn't partying, she has a problem.

So much of the Chelsea Lately show is taking celebrities down a notch, does there ever reach a point where it just get's depressing?

Yeah. Someone like Paris Hilton is great because she doesn't care and doesn't have any reservations and is just an idiot and is great to make fun of. But there's definitely been times in the real world where we'll just stay away from something.

You grew up in Arkansas, has that sort of upbringing affected your comedy?

Definitely. Actually we just did a show in Nashville and my family drove down and they went camping and I was like 'you know they have hotels?'. But they got the trailer and they called me at the hotel Sunday morning and asked if they had a place where they could park their camper. But they're very supportive. And so I have that perspective and the Los Angeles perspective and they're so different.

How long had you been doing standup before the opportunity to do the roundtable on Chelsea came around?

Nine years. And I did the roundtable for a few years before I started writing with them full time.

How did the transition from being on the roundtable to the writer's room go?

I wasn't expecting it at all. It was actually started by them wanting someone to do bits around the office for their website and they thought I may be good for that so they approached me. That pretty quickly led to me writing for the show.

Now, you have amassed some pretty impressive credits acting wise, including being a regular on (horror prank show) Scare Tactics. What was it like working on a show that not only was a hidden camera show, but also one with the intent of scarring people into believing things like monsters were attacking them?

Crazy. You really couldn't script the show. We had bullet points that we had to hit, so you had a story and had to convince this person they were in a completely ridiculous situation. It was on your shoulders to get them to buy it, and if you didn't, you may not get hired again. Every once in a while someone would spot a camera, though and we'd just have to end it because they caught on. It would often be them handing me a script and I'd just be like "no one is going to believe I'm giving birth to a devil baby".

Were the prank victims' reactions ever to the point where you felt unsafe?

One time a guy started to come towards me, not in a violent way but in a way where he wanted out of the situation. Usually when it gets to that point you just go to the part where you tell them they're on Scare Tactics. One guy cried and I felt terrible but then he signed the TV release forms.

What was it like writing for the MTV VMAs?

Really fun. A lot of work, we were working here everyday and then prepping something like that, which was live. I don't know how Chelsea did it. Getting to meet people I love, like Eminem and then watching him rehearse with seven other people was a once in a lifetime experience.

You perform at the Fillmore on Friday, have you been to Miami before?

My family lived there for a while when I was little. My dad worked at the Miami Herald, but I don't remember much. Everyone I talk to loves it.

Well thank you so much for your time and have a great rest of the day.

Thank you so much!

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Drew Spears