Speed Dating with Kristen Schaal

I had the pleasure of meeting comic Kristen Schaal last Valentines Day on the 13th Floor of the HBO Building in New York. She’s just as charming and delightful and brilliant and funny in person as she is in her screen roles.

Kristen can currently be seen as “Mel” in the HBO hit series Flight of the Conchords and on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. She recently won “Best Alternative Comedian” at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival and is also the winner of the second annual Andy Kaufman Award hosted by the New York Comedy Festival as well as Best Female Stand-up at the 2006 Nightlife Awards in New York.

We also changed the background music from my piano rags to the starry piano jazz of Chicago musician and pal George Goetschel to fit the mood of the posh lounge setting. George has a background in improv, scoring shows for Second City Theater and the ImprovOlympic (io) Theater, where Kristen, George and I share a common background.

If you like the music in this episode, you can get George’s CD “In the Moment.”

Speed Dating is a matchmaking process first introduced in 1998, designed for singles to meet a large number of prospects in a short time. Men and women are rotated to meet each other over a short series of “dates,” usually lasting from three to eight minutes.

A list submitted by each person at the end avoids any immediate rejections, and if the feeling is mutual, the couple hooks up later. It’s become a cultural phenomenon, seen on “Sex and the City,” “Law and Order” and “The Simpsons.” A 2005 study of speed dating events found that most people make their choice within the first three seconds of meeting.

I enjoyed my speed dating experiences, except I felt embarrassment and the pressure to perform, plus none of the sessions led to anything.

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4 Responses to “Speed Dating with Kristen Schaal”

  1. Robert Says:

    My experience with speed dating has been largely negative. I won’t deny that there have been fun times, but the whole process is entirely formulaic; borderline revoltingly so.

    A number of times I tried to break out of the consistent mold because you simply cannot 30 different people “So… what do you do?” without making it seem like a chore. Some of my choices were either asking about their day, or if they had a good morning, or a good work day. This tells you a lot more about who they are. I found that throwing a curve-ball question about natural daily activities was more significant. Asking about their lunch, or what kind of food they liked to eat sometimes revealed a fair amount also.

    The downfall of the process in my opinion is that you forget a lot about each person you meet, unless by some incredible cosmic alignment you happen to make an instant connection; so many faces and responses get totally blurred and it’s hard to remember anything substantial unless you happen to be one of those photographic-memory types.

    I totally agree with you on the embarrassment and pressure to perform. On some occasions I’d feel like a total jerk if they weren’t taking down notes.

    On some occasions, there was an imbalance of the men/women ratio and some would be forced to sit-out that round. I kind of feel bad if a woman has to do that, but in the same vein, chances are anything you have to say to your current teller you cannot repeat.

  2. Norm Nason Says:

    Oh man, guys; that was awesome! Funny, touching, charming. Really has that atmosphere thing going as well. I’m having to work overtime this Easter Sunday, and that really cheered me up! You two are the best (and Kristen Schaal was fantastic). “It’s Jerry Time” is a national treasure. 🙂

  3. Kent Says:

    Shucks, we thought you two were made for each other! Shows how much we know within the space of three minutes. Therein lies the problem with the process.

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