The YouTube video du jour features a young woman doing a spot-on impression of Lena Dunham "auditioning" for Jessica Chastain's super-serious role as Maya in Zero Dark Thirty. Lena, as Maya, makes the famous torture scenes all about herself in a typical Hannah Horvath kind of way: "This silence is literally torturing me," she says at one point... while holding up a cupcake that she will begin to eat. We got in touch with the comedian who starred in the video, Chelsea Davison, via email to ask her about how this viral little gem came to be—"the better part of 12 cupcakes" were consumed during the filming process. But first, watch the video:
How did you get the idea for this? It seems kind of out of left field, but it's definitely spot-on.
I just did a show at the PIT (the People's Improv Theater) where I was doing some characters and sketches, so I was playing with a bunch of impressions. I love Girls and think Lena Dunham/Hannah has a very defined voice (tonally and especially in her word choices), so I wanted to play with her. But to really exaggerate the hilarious self-indulgence she writes so well, I wanted to put her into a very serious situation totally unlike the setting of Girls. Zero Dark Thirty seemed like a perfect fit.
So it was originally performed at the PIT?
Yes, I made the video this past weekend before the show, and then debuted the sketch Monday night live. Because it went well at the show I figured it was worth sharing with the rest of the world.
And did you just watch a lot of Girls to practice the impression?
I did watch a lot of Girls to practice and actually lifted a few phrases. The bit about her friend Sophie is similar to Hannah's speech to her parents in the pilot, the opening about "I don't really see you hearing me" is from her speech to Adam after the dick pic incident, and the "severity of this situation" is from the episode where she is home with her parents and gets a date with the pharmacist. By incorporating some of the character's actual language I thought it made it more instantly recognizable.
Are you hoping to hear from Dunham herself? I see you tweeted at her.
I would love for Lena to see the video! She obviously has a sense of humor about herself and her character so I think she'd like it. And, hey, getting your work and writing in front of someone like Lena is an amazing opportunity.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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