Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Desperately Seeking Carla

I seem to be forever missing Carla Collins.
I missed her the day I made my obligatory visit to The Weather Network back in the days when she was trying to break into the business.
Then I missed her when I visited the set of Paradise Falls, the screwball comedy series shooting on location at Whitevale.
Carla was off that particular day but this was her first big acting gig and she was very funny as Rusty Sinclair.
Signed initially for one episode she wound up doing 30 and shone in a talented cast that included Victoria Snow, Deb McGrath and Art Hindle, all accomplished scene stealers.
When I covered the taping of Carla's series for The Comedy Network I spent so much time back stage while she was out front interviewing guest Don McKellar that she had left the premises when I finally decided to interview her.
It was in a darkened pub on St. Clair Ave. west that we finally interconnected.
First impression: she's as tall as I am which is pretty tall. She's just as pretty in person but she's also super nice.
She likes making fun of herself but doesn't tear into other people which can happen to stand ups --they often turn on anybody available.
She was back in T.O. publicizing the second season of her reality series Carlawood (made by Lone Eagle Entertainment). It premieres on TVTropolis on Monday May 31 at 11 p.m.
The show plays like a reality sitcom.
She's the Gracie Allen type who is constantly in flux from her Los Angeles town home --she's out running a marathon, trying out new assistants who all seem to be aspiring stand ups themselves or she's out walking dogs from the Bark Avenue shelter.
The George Burns character here is her second husband Tyrone Power Jr. --guess who his famous father was?
He's ever patient and his droll asides sometimes leave her speechless.
He's always caught cooking up a new batch of eggs but Carla swears he's a master chef. "He really can cook. And I think he's funny in his own way!"
So I ask the standard question? Is she sorry she left Toronto?
"I never felt I was closing the door. I come back often. I wanted to test myself in a bigger market. And Los Angeles is the most competitive."
She'd like to land a supporting gig on a new sitcom, she says. "I did two pilots with Jerry Zucker for TBS that did not sell at the last moment. That was a big let down."
She had a guest spot booked on NBC's Chuck but at the time only had a green card for doing stand up comedy --not television.
She seems to work all the time --she also has a book she's peddling titled Angels, Vampires And Douche Bags.
Carlawood like most reality outings is craftily planned in advance. "I have to have a basic outline so we don't shoot for weeks. We travel light --a cameraman, director, sound guy and an executive producer (Michael Geddes) who's back pulling it all together. It's not scripted but I like to work that way. I just go with the punches."
Of course I entirely missed the first season of Carlawood --that's my story with Carla, I guess.
The episodes I've seen from Season Two are fast paced and very watchable and with 16 episodes to her credit Carla should now be able to make a deal with a U.S. network.
Future plans? "We have to move. All that driving to the beach is killing me. And I have to work at my improv skills. It's something I simply must to do every week to stay sharp and focused.
"You know it's a lot of work being funny but I'm not even half way to where I think I can to be."
So will it be Carlawood the third season or a network situation comedy?
I think I already know the answer: Both!

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