I interviewed one of my favorite people today. Karissa Lynn Barney. She also just so happens to share a desk with me at 54 Below. She's witty, kind, insanely funny, and oh an awesome actress too...plus she's a wiz-kid at Excel.
I'm so happy she's my desk buddy, but sometimes, we get so absorbed in our work-related tasks (cough because we're responsible cough) that I don't just y'know check-in, ask her how she's feeling, or more importantly what her favorite kind of deli meat is.
However, during our lunch break, I received all the answers to my burning questions.
Kate: So what is your favorite kind of deli meat?
Karissa: My favorite kind of deli meat is turkey with chipotle mayo, avocado and provolone cheese. With lettuce and tomato of course. And onion.
Kate: That's not really the exact ques--
Karissa: That being said, I could also do a nice caprese sandwich with mozzarella, basil, tomato on some like y'know really, really fresh brioche bread - that would be delightful. (Puts on funny winter hat) I feel like it's appropriate if I put this on during the interview.
Kate: Definitely. So. What would you call your own cabaret show?
Karissa: Or the "Opposite of Nothing."
Kate: Let's just go with no title. Who would your guest performers be?
Karissa: Helena Bonham Carter. The cast of Once. And Kermit the Frog.
Kate: In that order?
Kate: What would you and Kermit sing together?
Karissa: "Rainbow Connection." Duh.
Kate: What's your dream role?
Karissa: Okay, give me one second. (More than one second passes) Sister James in "Doubt," Abigail Williams in "The Crucible," Anastasia in "Anastasia..."
Kate: The animated movie?
Karissa: Yeah. (Another pause)
Kate: Do you think Spanx are taking over Hollywood?
Karissa: (Hesitates) Yes. And I think people should start looking into a solid set of underroos.
(Pulls up this picture on the computer)
Karissa: Superhero underwear, see. But y'know, I don't know if Spanx are a good thing or a bad thing. I'm just not sure.
Kate: What do you love about your desk job?
Karissa: I actually really enjoy this cushy roller chair that I get to sit on. It supports my bum. And my back.
Kate: What do you dislike?
Karissa: I don't have a window.
Kate: Do you think we should have a 54 Below mascot?
Kate: What kind?
Karissa: Well, so every time I tell people I work at 54 Below, they think I work at that Below Zero arctic bar.
Kate: So we should have a polar bear?
Karissa: Yes. Or some celebrity in an elaborate fur coat.
Kate: What song are you tired of hearing performed?
Karissa: "Lily's Eyes." Although I love that song!
Kate: What's your go-to audition song?
Karissa: My go-to songs...I mean it obviously depends on what I'm going in for, but if it's something just like classic up-beat musical theatre, it'd be "Orange Colored Sky."
Kate: And if you have to play a sad character?
Karissa: I would do a monologue from "Killer Joe."
Kate: Do you judge yourself for that?
Kate: Like how much? Like really judge or just like a baby judge?
Karissa: Like fruit loop size.
Kate: What's the worst kind of actor?
Karissa: Masturbatory actors. I won't name this person, but an individual who was in the Les Mis movie, and she might have died. In the movie.
Kate: What's the worst kind of cabaret show?
Karissa: Y'know, Kate. I really root for all cabaret shows. We'll just leave it at that.
Kate: What do you stress-eat?
Karissa: (Sighs heavily) Cheese. Charcuterie. Wine. Dairy. Meat. Booze. All of it.
Kate: Do you think pigeons are offensive?
Karissa: Offensive? Yeah! They're like the rats of the sky! Actually, y'know what I think is really offensive about them? They travel in herds, so it's always like 50 birds coming at you, and y'know this one time - this one time I saw a pigeon on 8th avenue, eating a Cheeto out of a ripped McDonald's soda cup on the ground, and it - I mean I didn't find the pigeon actually offensive at the time, but that moment - the whole image I just found generally upsetting.
Kate: No, yeah I hate everything about that.
Karissa: Taylor Swift could write a song about it.
Kate: What would your theatrical super power be and why?
Karissa: To fly. Wait, no. Back up. To transform into Meryl Streep upon opening my mouth. No, upon selectively opening my mouth...no wait--
Kate: To be Meryl Streep.
Karissa: When I want to be.
Kate: Final question. Am I a good desk buddy?
Karissa: Um. Duh. Desk buddies for life. You're so great. And your name rhymes.
Kate: Aw, thanks. Yeah, rhyming is rad, plus it would be super awkward if we got to this question, and you y'know...didn't answer that way.
(Weird pause, then high-five)
END OF INTERVIEW. Moral of this post? Be nice to your desk buddies, get to know them. If you show them a level of respect and curiosity, you'll inevitably have more fun at your job. I mean, I have bundles of fun, and that's largely due to Karissa. And the occasional Idina Menzel sighting. That too of course. (Idina, I think you're amazing - not in that creepy way, I swear).
STAY TUNED. There could be more "Desk Buddies" interviews coming your way, and perhaps we'll even start filming them if y'know, people actually wanna see all those weird pauses.