Viva la Influence!

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JJ tagged me to list some of my major artistic influences and some unexpected ones as well. For some reason, this proved to be very difficult to me. First of all, I don't think I would ever really describe myself as "artistic." On a good confidence day, "creative" maybe, but mostly I would just describe myself as "weird." Sure, there are things I thought when I was a kid that I wanted to do as I grew up, but I couldn't really put my finger on a good equation to get me from my childhood to the career path I have taken. So it was good to ponder upon. What I list below is I think a good representation of what I have been influenced by at an early age. Some may be expected, some not--that is yours to decide.

1) My Family--well, yeah, who isn't influenced by their family? But I was inspired by them. I literally came from 2 of the funniest people in the world and the funnest, funniest and best older brother anyone could ever dream of. Mom and Dad showed us so much stuff and let our imaginations run wild and supported us at every turn. They never hesitated to take us out of school or rehearsal to go to a concert, and we would drive for hours and hours to see concerts all over the Southeastern United States. My first concert was when I was 5 years old. They even drove Christopher, me, Jeremy and Billy to New Orleans so we could go to Lollapalooza in 1994--damn, that was a good time--and wrote us notes when we were too sore from moshing to make it to class the next day. Even as an adult, some of my favorite memories are of me living in Chicago and talking to both Mom and Dad at the same time on the phone and us laughing and telling stories for hours. I really miss that.

2) Saturday Night Live--Oh, yeah, baby. This might be the biggest factor that got me wanting to do comedy (and the other bazillion comedians that moved to Chicago.) In MS growing up, it wasn't actually live, they held it a while and showed it at midnight CST, so that meant little Erica stayed up every Sunday morning till 1:30am and then had to be woken up off the couch to get ready for church the next morning. I have watched SNL since I can remember, but probably the most influential years were the Molly Shannon, Ana Gasteyer, Cheri Oteri glory days. My friend Jessica made me a booklet of all of our favorite moments (handwritten out on a handmade notebook, no less) I think when we were freshmen in HS and she called it the best SNL moments in the "pre-Erica years." Aww. Even though, my aspirations are different now, still, it is a major influence. Kristen Wiig can do no wrong in my opinion.

3) MTV and VHI, or really music videos in general. I love them. Always have, always will. nothing will keep me up late more than a good string of vids on MTV Hits. If I see a video once, I will see it in my head everytime I hear the song after that. As a kid, I loved the dance videos the most--the Janet Jackson ones and Paula Abdul. As a teenager, it was Insomniac Music Theater and Crossroads on VHI. Man. I still love dance videos the most. When I hear songs that I don't know the video for, I either make one up, or choreograph to the song in my head.

4) Esther Williams movies. I "am not a strong swimmer" but I used to watch those movies for hours and hours all day long.

5) Beavis and Butthead, Ren and Stimpy, The Simpsons. Nothing makes me laugh harder than Beavis and Butthead watching and commenting on music videos. God, thinking about them is cracking me up right now. They taught me stupid humor. Ren and Stimpy taught me the art of being random. The Simpsons taught me the art of writing good comedy.

6) Fashion Magazines. I am no fashionista, nor do I try to be, but the visual art of fashion has always been so intriguiging to me. I used to pour of Harper's Bazaar like it was the last magazine on earth. I think It made me weirder.

7) My parent's non-descretion with age appropriate movies (mainly my dad.) I love that they wanted to show us the movies that they thought we should see, but some movies (The Wicker Man, Stepford Wives, The Big Chill, The World According to Garp) are lost on or scary as hell for kids age 7-12. It really taught me what kinds of movies I DO like. I wonder if my love of non-plot came from this, or from the non-plot movies dad mom and dad watched that I did like.

8) Solid Gold! It made me want to be a dancer. Later, I was inspired by In Living Color, because I wanted to be both a comedian on the show and a Fly Girl.

9) Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, GIlda Radner--and all other amazing female comedians that I grew up watching. They made me never doubt for a second that I could make people laugh and follow my dreams.

10) Grab Bag! David Letterman, Seinfeld, Tom Waits, Jethro Tull, Broadway Musicals.

I always knew that whatever creative path I chose, it was going to be a little off kilter and not the norm. I think I have stayed true to that. Of course, I am still trying to figure out just exactly what I want to do and what I am good at, but I guess that it is a good thing, cause it keeps me on my toes and keeps me always learning and striving for something different.

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The mental image of you as a Fly Girl is too awesome.