You Gotta Love Lizz

By Mary Anne Welch

Lizz Winstead answers her door with the kind of urgent hello that has you imagining her gourmet dinner is boiling over on the stove; "Come in," she says, smiling, already nearly halfway into another room. Then, catching herself, she returns with an even more welcoming smile, "How are you, come on in." Again, she's headed into another room.

Amidst a whirlwind, you've been catered to graciously, given something to eat or drink, and begin feel you could stay the week if you needed a place.

Very little seems changed in this young woman who left the Twin Cities two years ago in a move to Los Angeles. She's still slight with curly dark hair, wears a ubiquitous bold smile, asks how your family is as though your mom made her cookies as a kid and the next moment, turns a comic phrase faster than a Veg o Matic peels beets.

Despite appearances, things have changed for Winstead, who is currently in town to headline a show at the Comedy Gallery Aug. 23 27. In the past six months she's been featured on Showtime's Comedy Club Network, won a nomination of Best Female Comic of the Year, and had three callbacks to audition for a part a new NBC sitcom.

She also says her life is boring.

But behind a comment that could sound pretentious lies genuine reasoning. As much as Winstead loves entertaining, she loves Minneapolis, and never really wanted to leave it. Back in '87, as she packed for the move, she was vocally opposed to going. It wasn't a resistance that suggested she booked the flight at gunpoint. She just wasn't quite resigned to the fact that a serious career in stand up comedy meant trying her luck in the city of stars.

Now, she's paid "three times as much as a teacher to tell dick jokes to drunks." But she also says that's kind of embarrassing, and feels responsible to use the money wisely. "I figure if you're gonna (tell the jokes), then you have do something else," she adds. Winstead is planning a national benefit tour in October for pro choice organizations, a show that includes performing here at the Theater Garage. "I think the threat (of illegalizing abortion) is scary," Winstead says, her temper clearly starting to boil. "...If you have sex for the sake of having sex because it's an enjoyable thing then you automatically put yourself into the pro choice category. It doesn't matter how you feel about it, abortion has to be safe. I can tell you right now women are going to mentally freak out (if abortion is illegalized), they're not going to be sexually open and relationships are going to get fucked up.... I don't know if men realize the ball of wax they're rolling."

Most of Winstead's talk relates to politics, Christmas, dogs, and old friends, just about anything not related to comedy. You'd think she moved to California yesterday to hear her stories. Within the first few breaths of her greeting, she'll tell she hates L.A.. "There's idiots out there: people who don't have a clue about anything except they just want to be famous. They'd be on "Divorce Court" if it meant being on television... ...If you develop the acting thing before you develop other parts of your life it's really dangerous."

Still, somewhere in this woman is an ambitious streak that could keep three careers alive. She likes to be in the center of action, and that desire will probably keep her fueled for sometime. If you ask her, she'll admit to it. "Certainly, I do stand up because I have to...I can't afford therapy."

Copyright 1989 Minnesota Daily Online
Back to LIZZLAND Home