Ingrid Jungermann and Desiree Akhavan on “The Slope” and writing funny lesbian jokes


AE: How did you get Michael Showalter as a guest? Any other guests coming up we should know about?
One of my first classes at grad school was with Michael. He mentored Desiree and me last semester so we could get his feedback on the show and write the feature version. I just asked him to be in an episode and he said yes; he’s always been a supportive teacher and anytime I wanted to talk to him about projects outside of class, he was really helpful and available.

DA: Michael Showalter has been incredibly supportive from the start. He’s a great teacher and I’ve been a huge fan of his since The State.

IJ: I want to find Jane Lynch. I feel like there’s someone we know who knows her, but I haven’t found that person yet. To work with her would be a dream. I want her play my big sister.

DA: No celebrity guests are planned as of yet, but I’m on a desperate campaign to get Tegan and Sara on. If you are reading this are you have access to Tegan and/or Sara, please get them to watch the show. I know they’re recording in LA right now, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. I think they’re so funny and I’m bursting with ideas.

AE: It can be hard to make jokes about being a lesbian or bisexual without being cheesy and predictable or offensive but you guys are able to sidestep both of those things. How do you think you’re able to do that so well?
DA: Thank you so much! I’m so glad you feel that way. I’d like to think that’s because we’re both funny people with good taste. I see the world through an absurd comic lens, so it’s my nature to poke fun at myself. However, since coming out as bisexual, I’ve been exposed to the pain and complications my sexuality has introduced to my life, so I’m pretty sensitive to the cliche and offensive.

IJ: I think it goes back to question one. People think comedy is about laughs, but it’s not — it’s about honesty and being able to locate and expose your faults.

AE: What do you hope to accomplish with The Slope?
IJ: At best, we get a paying job out of it. Right now, The Slope has proved to be an amazing way to learn, shape our skills and gain an audience. So if nothing ever comes of it, I think it’s a testament to what Desiree and I can produce. Plus, online distribution is going to take over the independent scene, and I’m happy we are getting involved in that early on.

DA: My highest aspiration is for the show to call attention to social stereotypes and biases while uniting a diverse audience through the power of a shared sense of humor. I like to think that you don’t have to be gay or even bi-curious to appreciate the jokes.

AE: Anything else you would want viewers to know about you guys/the show?
Desiree and I are writing our own scripts and we’re both excited about those projects. I’m writing a satirical sci-fi about a biology professor who forms an underground female fight club so they can overpower the male race. So be on the look-out for us asking for more money. I know people are waiting with bated breath to hand it over.

DA: I’m moving forward with a feature film based on the “Desiree” character that will be going into production during the next year. I have to raise a bit of money for that, so if anyone has ideas or a trust fund you should hit me up.

Also, people should know that publicizing a show about lesbians has been an endless struggle, and it seems like the moment someone hears the show is a comedy about gay women they stop listening. Even one of my all-time favorite publications, Bitch magazine, wouldn’t give us the time of day.

If you like the show, please share it with your friends because that’s the only way content like this is going to get out there, and if it doesn’t we are all going to be stuck with Whitney from The Real L Word as the voice of our people.

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