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Garfunkel and Oates Bring a Girly Edge to Folk Comedy

[show=garfunkeloates size=large]It takes a brave soul to tear down social niceties and expose the truth hiding behind the lies that make up the social contract. Because who’s going to tell you the truth about pregnant women? Or what you look like when you receive a present you don’t want? Or what a one-night stand is really like? Before Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci teamed up for musical act Garfunkel and Oates, the answer was no one. And the world kind of sucked.

Comparable to a female Flight of the Conchords (though Micucci admits that she’s never seen it), Garfunkel and Oates mix quirky guitar and ukulele tunes with lyrics that are equally profane and sweet, and the combination makes for one of the most unique voices you’ll find in comedy, music or online video.

Lindhome and Micucci met while waiting for a Upright Citizen’s Brigade show to start; they had a much better time talking to one another other than to their dates. When Lindhome invited Micucci to collaborate with her on songs for a musical short film, they ended up writing three songs in the first hour of their first session together, and a partnership was born. “You can’t really tell who writes what — it just kind of happens,” Lindhome said via phone. “Except that if it’s really pretty and magical, Kate wrote it. And if it’s really dirty and profane, I wrote it.”

The videos currently online consist of excerpts from that first short film, Imaginary Larry; low-fi “couch videos” of the girls performing their songs; and one full-scale music video for their song Present Face, which was produced by and featured on Funny or Die. How that happened: Jake Syzmanski of Funny or Die saw Micucci perform at a comedy festival, where he asked her if she’d be interested in making any videos. So with FoD’s equipment and help, Micucci and Lindhome were able to poke fun at the social niceties behind receiving an unwanted gift, enlisting cameos from Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother, Current TV’s Sarah Haskins, and many other recognizable faces the girls have met through the live comedy community.

While Present Face has done well, it’s the couch videos that have really helped them build an audience, with one of their latest tunes, Pregnant Women Are Smug, closing in on 100,000 views within three weeks. While the video and audio quality on these videos is essentially amateur, their performances are the selling point, and you don’t need to see them in HD to know that they’re hilarious. Pregnant Women gets savage about the one-track mind knocked-up ladies often develop, while One Night Stand is an epic tale of a single-time love affair. While most of the songs are available for download from their official site, being able to see the interplay between Micucci and Lindhome as they perform adds an extra level to each song. If you can’t catch them live, the couch videos are the next best thing.

Lindhome and Micucci cite Jon LaJoie and the Lonely Island as influences, but as Lindhome admitted, “There are no real girl comedy bands for us to emulate, really, so we kind of take it from a female perspective.” And being women allows them to be meaner, according to Micucci, who reflected that “Pregnant Women wouldn’t have worked if it’d been written by a man.”

Lindhome and Micucci got their start as actresses, with individually impressive IMDB profiles: Lindhome recently appeared in Changeling and The Last House on the Left, while Micucci’s credits include Scrubs and Rules of Engagement. But they’re devoting May to their Garfunkel and Oates activities, playing live shows nearly every other day and recording their upcoming 8-track EP, due out as early as June 1. Because of their hectic schedule, they’re taking a break from video production, but when they do return, the next full music video they do will be for Pregnant Women Are Smug. “We’ve got a concept all worked out,” Micucci promises.

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