By Lord Neville Charles Randolph-Gladstone III
Caveat: The Pathological Upstagers recently graduated from Antioch College. The school’s paper, the Antioch Record, nearly featured the Upstagers in its “Senior Profile” column. Lord Neville Charles Randolph Gladstone III, who previously brought the Upstagers to international attention with his riveting article for The Independent, graciously volunteered to conduct the interview.
Lord Neville Charles Randolph-Gladstone III: Who are The Pathological Upstagers?
Vee Levene: Us.
Jill Summerville: I think that he [Randolph-Gladstone] wants us to refer to ourselves in the third person. Then the readers will know us by name.
Levene: Oh. I hate when people do that.
Summerville: As do I.
Randolph-Gladstone: (Impatiently) The Pathological Upstagers are Vee Levene and Jill Summerville. Ladies, how did you come to form the Pathological Upstagers?
Levene: I’m not a lady. I’m an andro-dyke.
Summerville: I am a winsome gimp. At least, I aspire to be one.
Randolph-Gladstone: Very well. Andro-dyke and winsome gimp, how did you come to form The Pathological Upstagers?
Summerville: We, as individuals and as a unit, are greatly concerned about the lack of irony on the Antioch College campus. People take themselves quite seriously. We formed The Pathological Upstagers in an attempt to prove The Importance of Being Ironic, if you will pardon the Oscar Wilde reference. However, we wanted to prove that comedians can address serious issues as well. Since Vee was running the Open Stage Nights in the autumn of 2005…
Levene: By myself, thank you very much.
Summerville: We started performing as The Pathological Upstagers there.
Levene: We will have been performing together for eight months by the time we graduate.
Randolph-Gladstone: Interestingly enough, that story of your origins is contradicted in an article about you that ran in The Independent.
Levene: The one where Jennifer Saunders calls me a fledgling contortionist?
Summerville: And Rupert Everett talks about how good I am with my tongue?
Randolph-Gladstone: The very same. There, you insinuated that the two of you had met in London, and risen to prominence when Ms. Saunders and Mr. Everett noticed your work and took you on as…Proteges.
Levene: That story is true.
Randolph-Gladstone: Then why did Miss Summerville just claim that you had formed The Pathological Upstagers under other circumstances?
Levene: That is our cover story.
Summerville: We cannot have stories about our affairs printed if we wish to keep those affairs secret.
Randolph-Gladstone: I see. I apologise for my indiscretion.
Summerville: Forgiven. Your indiscretion was nothing compared to the one that I committed last night. (To LEVENE) Did I tell you? Last night, Rupert put whipped cream–
Randolph-Gladstone: (Interjecting) How did the two of you decide upon the name The Pathological Upstagers?
Summerville: The phrase ‘pathological upstager’ comes from a French and Saunders sketch.
Levene: Well, several French and Saunders sketches–
Summerville: Right. Where Jennifer Saunders turns to her comedy partner, Dawn French, and yells–
Levene: (In a pitch perfect imitation) ‘What are you, some kind of a pathological upstager?’
Randolph-Gladstone: Did you know that the phrase Pathological Upstagers can be shortened to PU? You know, like (holds his nose) PU! PUUUUUU!
Levene: (Loudly) No offense, but f**k you!
Randolph-Gladstone: (After an awkward pause) If The Pathological Upstagers had a tag line, what would it be?
Levene: Putting the ‘and’ in ‘random.’ Or putting the ‘us’ in ‘humourous.’
Summerville: Trivial comedy for serious people. Or serious comedy for trivial people.
Levene: God, another bloody reference to Oscar Wilde. Be original for once.
Summerville: The trouble with being original is that it is such a difficult pose to keep up.
Randolph-Gladstone: Many of your sketches make reference to a condition known as ‘fantasexuality.’ What exactly is ‘fantasexuality?’
Levene: Fantasexuality is the condition of being fantasexual. A fantasexual is someone who can only fall in love with people who are unavailable to her. At least three insurmountable obstacles must be preventing a relationship before the relationship is officially fantasexual–the fantasexual Rule of Three. Some common obstacles are celebrity, marriage, a large difference in age, and an incompatible sexual preference.
Randolph-Gladstone: Ah. Then fantasexuality is synonymous with unrequited love.
Summerville: Absolutely not! Unrequited love is love that is unreturned. A fantasexual is always secure in the knowledge that her fanta-fancy would return her love, if only certain obstacles to the relationship were not present.
Randolph-Gladstone: I most sincerely beg your pardon, but I suspect that that term is fictitious.
Summerville: You suspect wrongly. Fantasexuality is listed in the DSM IV.
Levene: No, but it should be.
Summerville: (Produces a copy of the DSM IV and a red pen. Marks the DSM IV) It is.
Levene: (To SUMMERVILLE) Why do you have a copy of the DSM IV?
Summerville: (To LEVENE) I carry it in case I need to diagnose myself with something. All of the dating books that I have read say that people are defined by their needs. They define a love interest by how he or she meets their needs. The more I need, the more I will date.
Levene: (To SUMMERVILLE) But what could be worse than being a crippled fantasexual fag hag?
Summerville: (To LEVENE) I see your point.
Levene: (Looks down at her pants) (To SUMMERVILLE) No, you don’t. I don’t have one. I’m an andro-dyke, not a man.
Randolph-Gladstone: What made the two of you want to reveal your fantasexuality in your work?
Summerville: We wanted to reach out to others like us…
Levene: But not reach out so far that we had to touch them. Or interact with them in any way, really.
Summerville: (To LEVENE) Because then we could not love them, being fantasexuals?
Levene: (To SUMMERVILLE) No. Because I don’t like people.
Randolph-Gladstone: Which of your sketches best exemplifies your work?
Levene: ‘Confessions of a Fantasexual.’ Definitely. We love ‘Confessions.’ We love the slide show of Jen and Rupert, and the lingerie…
Randolph-Gladstone: (Definitely interested) Lingerie?
Levene: Yeah. We wore lingerie for ‘Confessions.’
Randolph-Gladstone: Uh-huh. Miss Levene and Miss Summerville, you refer to yourselves as ‘The Monsoon’ and ‘The Wood Nymph’ respectively. How did you earn these provocative…Uh…Evocative nicknames?
Levene: I call myself ‘The Monsoon’ in honour of Jennifer Saunders. She and her husband, Ade Edmondson, own a company called Monsoon Productions. Also, Monsoon is a surname that they have both used for characters, as a play on the name Edmondson. ‘The Wood Nymph’ was a name of mine in East Providence. I let Jill use it.
Summerville: I like the name for its Shakespearean allusions. I think of Titania from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Levene: She likes the name because it helps her to get laid. Nymphs are supposed to be hot.
Summerville: What? A name reminds me of a classical play, and you…
Levene: A classical play where the wood nymph keeps trying to get laid by the fairy prince. Fag hag.
Summerville: Oh, all right! For the record, Lord Neville, I am a virgin.
Summerville: (To LEVENE) Some people do not count or…Never mind.
Levene: I’ve taken a vow of celibacy. That means that I will never have sex again. Ever.
Randolph-Gladstone: Since the Pathological Upstagers will–sadly–not be having sex in the forseeable future, what will the two of you be doing?
Summerville: We have never talked seriously about what we, as a comedy duo, will do upon leaving Antioch.
Levene: We have never talked seriously.
Randolph-Gladstone: Will you continue to work together?
Summerville: Absolutely. We are Siamese twins. We will be together even when we are apart, whatever that means.
Levene: Siamese twins are the only people who aren’t truly alone in this world. But the rest of us surrounded and separated from others by skin must fend for ourselves.
Summerville: But not us.
Levene: No, not us.
THE PATHOLOGICAL UPSTAGERS is an improvisational comedy duo that is comprised of Vee Levene and Jill Summerville. Visit the Upstagers website, and tell Vee and Jill that you love them. Now.
LORD NEVILLE CHARLES RANDOLPH GLADSTONE III first profiled the Pathological Upstagers in The Independent in the autumn of 2005. He has since become increasingly admiring of their work. Formerly a closeted homosexual, he is now madly in love with both of them. How convenient for him that they are Siamese twins.