Lyndsay Hailey is a comedy genius who has been performing, writing and directing improvisational and sketch comedy since 2005. She has also taught acting and improv workshops in over 10 countries, including the UK, Canada, and France.
This hilarious lady has performed a number of one-woman comedy shows, including 30% Chance of Hailey which was named Critic’s Choice by the Chicago Reader and hailed as “one of the best, most inventive solo productions in years.” In addition to comedy, Lyndsay is also an actress and has starred in filmed such as Get Well Soon and Uncle Kent 2.
You will currently find Lyndsay as the Emcee for Magic Mike Live in Las Vegas. Having co-written the show with director Channing Tatum, there is an emphasis on female empowerment in terms of what the audience members can expect.
We recently caught up with Lyndsay to talk about Magic Mike, working with Channing Tatum, whether you can learn to be funny, dealing with hecklers and more.
You majored in interior design with business marketing, before deciding to pursue a career as a performer. What encouraged you to make this change in your life?
A paralyzing fear of the mundane that was so suffocating that I stopped sleeping? I kid, but not really. I believe a large part of me always knew I was going to run off to Hollywood and become Betty Boop’s human stunt double, but I spent five years behind a computer doing technical computer designs on AutoCad2000 and that was the catalyst I needed to completely disappoint my parents.
You’re currently the Emcee for Magic Mike Live in Las Vegas. How did this come about?
Some would say an email. Some would say, 13-plus years of rejection, 10,000-plus hours of improv and sketch comedy, 300 stand up sets to 3 audience members, 4 years of a soul searching sacral womb meditations, and one resounding YES.
What can you tell us about your role in the show?
Well, I will say that I believe audience members get to experience their own journey of sexual discovery and fantasy through the perspective of a woman. And that, that is my role in the show.
You co-wrote the show with director Channing Tatum – what’s he like to work with?
Channing Tatum is magic. Sheer magic. What is he like to work with? Easy. He laughs a lot. Loves to see others reach their true potential. He is strong-willed about this own baby, yet capable of trusting others to assist in the delivery room. I admire, respect and love him as a director and friend. He’s also like a brother. Which is sad ’cause that means we will never kiss — well, we family-kiss. And JENNA IS FINE WITH IT.
View this post on Instagram
Me and THE BOSS @channingtatum. So deeply honored and proud to be a part of this truly amazing show @magicmikelive! Tons of love to all my #mml fam! More pics from the #redcarpet premiere at @hardrockhotellv coming soon… here we go!!! ? ?? #magicmikelive #magicmikelivelasvegas #MenOfMML #channingtatum #hardrockhotel #openingnight #excited #magicisreal #lyndsayhailey
Over the years you’ve taught a number of acting and improv workshops worldwide. What can someone expect from one of your classes?
To hopefully lose their mind. LITERALLY. My wish is for everyone who comes to a workshop to leave their mind at the door and to attempt to communicate through the heart. In the workshops I believe people experience a certain freedom from mental chatter, learn to trust themselves, and play from the heart. My hope is that I crack open the heart centers of everyone I meet, and that they crack mine open a little more as well — that we all leave transformed, with a willingness to not rely so heavily on the mind for our comedy, acting, and life. Let’s play the game of life from the heart, people!
Do you think that someone can learn to be funny, or is it a natural talent?
I believe one can be taught. If your goal is “being funny,” of course it doesn’t hurt if you were forced into comedy as a defense mechanism as a child, but even then I believe it is taught or learned by navigating social conditions. I believe that old dogs can learn new tricks, especially if food is involved. To me comedy is a lot of things. And people laugh at a lot of things. It is subjective. Some people laugh at others’ joy. Some people laugh at the truth. Some people laugh at pain. If you are willing to strip yourself away enough to discover some authenticity in a public manner, people will laugh at the human condition. So the real question is, ARE YOU WILLING TO BE YOU?
Who or what inspires you in terms of coming up with new comedic material?
Life. Attempting to be in the present moment and seeing what tickles me. People. I love studying characters. I love people watching. My parents, my family, making them feel uncomfortable. I love that. To me comedy has always been a means of getting people to release more fully into who they really are. Being able to see what makes us uncomfortable is such a gift and hammering away at that discomfort until it’s absolutely gone — in comedy we say, “Don’t put the fire out, add gas to it.” Comedy has changed me. Instead of avoiding what made me uncomfortable, I learned to lean in to it unapologetically.
You’ve performed a number of solo shows, including 30% Chance of Hailey. Do you tend to get a lot of hecklers, and if so, how do you deal with them?
I don’t often get a lot of hecklers for my one-woman shows. I also believe that you get what you give, in a lot of ways. If you set a stage where you cannot be tampered with — and you can hold that space for yourself — it often doesn’t happen. AND THEN THERE IS VEGAS. #PeopleWithAlcohol. And when that happens, ya just do your best to laugh with them. I always try to say yes to a heckler. Saying yes is the fundamental rule of improv. And often a yes diffuses most situations. Also bouncers diffuse situations.
What advice would you give to aspiring comedians?
Do self work. Meaning, be willing to go on the deep, amazing journey of self-discovery. Say yes to every job. There is no part too small. You can learn something from every single opportunity.
Additionally, you’re a talented actress. What’s been your favourite role to play so far?
I played a small role in a short film called Get Well Soon opposite Mark Boone Jr. from Sons of Anarchy. He was so entrenched in his character, and I loved feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing next to him. He showed me a bar, a level I was not yet capable of in my own acting, and I LOVED IT and got excited to get there someday. He played my father in the piece and said lines to me inside the script that my actual father has said to me in real life. I found the role triggering in all the ways that inspired me to become an actress in the first place.
What would be your dream acting role?
Well, Wonder Woman 2, GI Jane 2, Million Dollar Baby 2. Honestly, I would love to be a superhero in a film, to play Ava Gardner in a role, to play the life story of someone whom I admire deeply. To play a man on film. There are so many weird goals I have. But it would be something where I really get to go deep and have to do all my own stunts and fight scenes in a desert.
What other plans do you have in store for the rest of 2017?
I’m finishing up a screenplay that I’ve been writing for entirely too long. Opening an improv school in Las Vegas, and attempting to fall in love with myself and the world around me a little more every single second.
Catch Lyndsay in action as the Emcee of Magic Mike Live – dates and ticket details are available here.