If Rebecca Drysdale, the Time Traveling Lesbian, were to jump back to Aspen, Colo., circa 2005, she’d witness herself winning the first-ever Breakout Performer Award at the Aspen Comedy Festival and landing a coveted development deal with HBO.
In 2006, Drysdale found herself on lists such as "Top Ten to Watch in Comedy" (Variety), "Comedy Innovators" (Time) and "100 Women We Love" (Go magazine) because of material such as a song parody of Dr. Seuss’ "The Sneetches," in which the star-bellied and starless-bellied Sneetches are replaced by butches and femmes. The song concludes, "You can’t rely on clothes to make a good match, ’cause when the clothes come off, a snatch is a snatch."
Cut to the present. Ohio native Drysdale’s original deal with HBO for a half-hour comedy has been replaced by Time Traveling Lesbian, a web series that "kinda shot out of the side of that by accident." Originally posted on Funny or Die, Time Traveling Lesbian found an even larger lesbian audience on AfterEllen.com.
I recently caught up with Drysdale to talk about the making of Time Traveling Lesbian, writing for The Big Gay Sketch Show (Logo), the writers’ strike, and why time traveling back to the Roaring ’20s might not be such a great idea.
AfterEllen.com: Congratulations on the success of Time Traveling Lesbian. It combines so many things I love: lesbians, gadgets, Quantum Leap …
Rebecca Drysdale: Yeah. The original pitch was Quantum Leap meets The L Word. I just don’t think I’ve met a human being in the world who did not love Quantum Leap.
AE: I know I did.
RD: I love time travel stuff and I love sci-fi stuff. It was like, "If I could be in any show, what would that show be?" And then, "Well, I’d probably be a time traveler and just make out with really hot girls." So, let’s make that show.
AE: Hot girls from any time in history. It’s genius. What was your favorite era to shoot?
RD: Well, I would say the era that looks the best is Rome [which appears in Episode 3]. We were shooting at Grant’s Tomb [in New York City ] at like 5 in the morning, and it was literally a thousand degrees below zero. It was totally miserable. But I think it looks the best. Everyone was like, "Where did you shoot that?" And I’d say, "We went to Rome."
AE: [laughs] By way of Riverside Drive.
RD: We didn’t have a budget, and we didn’t have the time, so we faked a lot of things and that was what was really fun about it.
AE: Sometimes that’s when you create your best stuff.
RD: Yeah. The part where I’m in the future and I pull the Yellow Pages out of the thin air? We spent 20 minutes talking about the logistics of how I’m going to get this thing. And then I was like, "F— it, I’m just yanking it out of the sky."
AE: I often think that, too. But the thought doesn’t end with "the sky." So. If we really had time travel, where you would want to go to?
RD: I don’t know. I feel like there’s always like a catch. I’d love to go to the ’40s and see Billie Holiday singing in a jazz club. But at the same time, I would have been a woman in the ’40s.
AE: Worse. A lesbian in the ’40s.
RD: A lesbian in the ’40s might not have gone quite as well as I have it in my head. I’d love to go to Studio 54 but, you know, that party turned sour pretty quickly. I’d love to see a Jackson Five concert. And I’m not at all a hippie person, but Woodstock is something that I’d want to see. I want to go to the Roaring ’20s, but at the same time, I don’t want to have no rights. I take these questions way too seriously.
AE: I want to be in the future at the moment when the aliens attack.
RD: When they attack?
RD: There’s a lot of assumptions going along with that. [laughs]