Lena Dunham riffs on crazy cousins, ex-boyfriends and sci-fi fantasy dorm rooms

The "Girls" creator performed impromptu monologues to an intimate gathering in New York City Sunday night

Topics: Lena Dunham, Girls, HBO, Asssscat, lizz winstead, Comedy, improv,

Providing a high-profile show for a small gathering at Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York Sunday night, “Girls” creator Lena Dunham yesterday performed monologues as part of a benefit hosted for women’s reproductive rights. “Daily Show” creator Lizz Winstead emceed the improv comedy performance, “A is for Asssscat 3000,” at the Chelsea theater.

The “Asssscat” show, which runs every Sunday at UCB for $10, is organized into improvised comedy and monologues. The way the show works is that initially, someone in the audience will raise a one-word suggestion, which becomes a prompt for a monologue. After the monologist riffs (for about two minutes), her monologue then becomes the inspiration for a series of scenes improved by UCB performers. Together, they perform three to four sets during the night.

As last night’s monologist, Dunham shared intimate stories about her experiences in college, a video game-addicted ex-boyfriend and her wild cousin, excerpts below:

On cousins, Dunham explains that she has a cousin who loves to party and used to live with her parents. He also worked on the set of “Girls”:

“A crew member knocks on my door and says, ‘He’s in Steve TV’s room—we have a crew member named Steve TV—he appears to be high on marijuana, he’s wearing a toga, and someone just posted a bunch of pictures of it on Facebook’ … The next day, I said, ‘Listen, man, I know you need to do what you have to do. I’m not a buzzkill. I had some good times in my youth … And he said, ‘None of that ever happened.’ And I was like, ‘But I saw the pictures Steve TV posted.’ And he said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ And I was like, ‘Cool angle!’ He’s coming back to work for us again this year and has graduated to the job of ringing the bell so everyone knows it’s time to be quiet and we’re ready to shoot. He asked to live with my parents again. They said no, so I offered that he should live with my boyfriend. We’ll just see how it all works out!”

On video games, Dunham explains her ex-boyfriend’s addiction to “Call of Duty”:

“It was early on in our dating life and I was late coming over to his house, and I texted him, like, “Sorry I’m late!” And he said, he said, like, “No prob. But now I’ve gotten really into this video game so there’s no way I’m stopping once you get here.” And I was like, “Oh, hahaha!” I wrote back, like, “You putz,” or something. I don’t know what I wrote back. I got there, and he was totally fucking serious. I swear, it was, like, three hours of me sitting there, watching him play — it was World of Warcraft, it wasn’t Call of Duty, it was something with guns that was like the fifth iteration [the crowd offers "Halo”]. His mom had sent it to him as a present. And so he played for, like, three hours, while I just sat there. And then I — just as like, an experiment — was like, “Maybe I could take a controller?” And he was like — like I was the biggest idiot — “This is a single-player game.” Like I’m the biggest idiot he’s ever met in his life. But the best detail is that his name, like his name in the video game, was Alanis Morissette …

Then I kept dating him for, like, five months, after this horrible thing.”

On time travel, Dunham describes dorm life at Oberlin college, her alma mater:

“There was a dorm at my college that was like a sci-fi, fantasy dorm. There was a dorm that was a ‘safe space’ for women and transgendered people, which I feel now I’d be really into, but back then I was like, I’m here to fuck! And then there was a dorm called Harkness, which is just an Eyes Wide Shut sex-positive nightmare dorm. They had a gang-style shower, and there was a guy who lived there who was the leader of the sex gang. He was French. His name was Jeremy, but he called himself Zebulon. He had six girlfriends. He was really into contact improv … It’s where you dance, but always have to have one point of contact with the other dancer. I wrote for the newspaper and thought, I’m going to go in undercover style and find out what really happens at a contact jam. What happens is you roll on each other’s bodies. I was so freaked out cause he kept coming up to me and saying, ‘You’ve got to loosen up.’ ”

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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