Interview with Ana Gasteyer

She’s always been one of our faves; from her hilarious Saturday Night Live skits and movies to her singing career. Ana will be performing at the Ridgefield Playhouse on December 18th. Read on to get to know Ana Gasteyer!

This time we’re going to have a lot of glockenspiels!

Ana Gasteyer

What exactly is going to happen at the Ridgefield Playhouse? 

I’m singing music from my holiday album Sugar & Booze and we’re bringing the best of the season and a sense of joy and good times. We’re going to be singing some of your favorites, some originals, and we’ll be dressed up in fancy clothes, Santa hats, and yarmulkes! 

Holiday food + drink (a love/hate relationship)

My mother is half Greek/half Romanian so she makes Greek cookies which I hate, and she forgets every single year and is always deeply saddened that I hate the cookies. We also make lemon curd. I guess to try and support our WASPy side. 

Garrett’s Popcorn from Chicago often makes it into the house – it’s that caramel/cheese corn, which my husband calls the self-hate/self-pleasure big circle. You start, you feel sick, you stop. You start it, you feel sick, you stop. It’s an endless cycle. 

Charlie, my husband, makes a signature drink which I always find hilarious. He always calls it a Turkey Lurkey but I think one year it was a combination of ginger ale + bourbon which was fantastic. 

And I love stuffing, and I’m in the new old-lady mode, you know, in our carb-free world, but I LOVE stuffing. I love traditional cornbread chestnut stuffing. You’ll be seeing me on the 18th, so maybe you’ll see how much I’ve had!

I love old lady candy!

Ana Gasteyer

The last thing I love is old lady candy that comes around this time of year. 

Wait, like what??

Like gumdrops; piano teacher candy! Lemon drops, spearmint leaves, and ribbon candy. I love. So they’re very dangerous for me. 

Sugar or booze for the rest of your life…pick one.

That is reallllly hard. I mean that’s realllllly mean, that’s like a Sophie’s Choice kind of question. 

Ok, how about just for a month…

Now that makes it extra hard because if I say I would choose booze then I sound like an old drunk but if it were just a month I suppose I could give up booze. But it kind of depends on the time of year. Oh God, I literally can’t answer. It’s just too hard. It’s like cutting my album in half. We’re just going to have to say all or nothing!

We’ll make it easier…favorite sugar item and your favorite drink:

So this year I’m going through a tequila thing. It was actually really fun in our Audible series, we covered 2-½ decades and so we played with the idea of which drinks were popular when. But I’ve been doing mezcal, which is a smoky tequila so that’s fun. 

And I would say my favorite sugary stuff…I’m a white sugar person. I’m not as much of a chocolate person. So I like all that old lady candy, and I like lemon bars and anything citrusy. Oh, and this time of year I have to say I have a soft spot for peppermint bark. Those boxes from Williams Sonoma. And Trader Joe’s, in general, is just a total asshole. Because everything at Trader Joe’s could kill me this time of year. So fantastic, but deadly (laughs).

Childhood idols…

Oh, it was a variety. Everyone from like Lily Tomlin, to Maria Callas who my parents listened to. I listened to a lot of Ella Fitzgerald growing up, and Aretha – real vocalists. Comedically, I’d say Lily Tomlin was my first real point of admiration. Later in college, the women of SNL. Obviously Nora Dunn, Jan Hooks, Jane Curtin, and Gilda Radner. 

Whatcha bringing on tour with you?

We have a joke because I’m incapable of going out with the band without ridiculous instruments. Julian [Fleisher], my producer who always comes on the road with me, makes fun of me because I’m like, “Should I bring the kazoos?” 

Of course, you should bring kazoos!

I always want to add something ridiculous. This time we’re going to have a lot of glockenspiels because it’s for the holidays and it’s a lovely magical sound. We were laughing because we’re going to be moving around. We’ve got glockenspiel, mallets, and some high-class jingle bells. We’re like this is going to be the most insane TSA precheck. We’ll be setting off every alarm at JFK. 

You played the violin as a child, then studied voice and theater in college. Do you have a love for acting or singing more?

It’s not an either-or. I basically wanted to be a performer and I was a musician from a very classically trained background. I played the violin like you said, and then I sang my way into the voice department at Northwestern. That’s how I got into college. So I went off to college to become a very conservative musical student. And I found comedy people and I was like I’m so out, I’m doing this. I found my tribe and switched to the School of Speech, which is now the School of Communication. 

Interview with Ana Gasteyer by Lora + Bev/Photos provided by ID PR.

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