Andrée Vermeulen on ‘Angie Tribeca,’ Upright Citizens Brigade and Sexism in Comedy
Andrée Vermeulen grew up with an American mother and a Belgian father, who was very intent on her not growing up to be too “Americanized. ” As Andrée got older, she set her sights on New York City, where she would eventually move to study theatre/ musical theatre at Marymount Manhattan College. In 2010, Andrée moved to Los Angeles and began landing guest stars in TV shows like “New Girl,” “NTSF:SD::SUV,” and “Comedy, Bang! Bang!.” Andrée currently stars on “Angie Tribeca,” as well as the television version of “How to Train Your Dragon.”
We spoke to Andrée about her TBS show “Angie Tribeca,” her experience with Upright Citizens Brigade, and sexism in comedy.
How did you come to realize comedy was the path you wanted to take?
Well, I’ve always been funny, but I got into comedy in a roundabout way. I studied drama in college and in my senior year I acted in a comedic scene. It was the first time I had been able to do something like that and after, my adviser pulled me aside saying, “you need to do comedy!” I was mad at the time because I had spent so much money and time on my theater degree. But, I listened and went to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. It was the right choice because things just clicked. The rest is kind of history.
The Upright Citizens Brigade has been a big part of your success.
Yeah, I feel like they’re responsible for pretty much all the good things in my career. Definitely the training and opportunities that I got to perform are great. I’m really glad I went through UCB.
Have you personally experienced sexism in comedy?
Not in general, which is another reason I’m glad I’ve been a part of UCB. Never at any point did I feel like there was a difference between me and the guys. I was never given a role or not given a role because of being a girl. The only time I ever experienced it was when I was doing a stand-up rap battle at The Improv. Someone said “Maybe we should settle this with a wet t-shirt contest,” or something like that. I was so appalled! I was so shocked that someone would dare say that while I’m up on stage. That’s when I realized there’s a huge imbalance in comedy.
You’re also well known for a few viral comedy videos by CollegeHumor and Funny or Die.
With Funny or Die, I just knew a lot of people in comedy doing them and was asked to work on a few. I’ve done more CollegeHumor videos and a lot of those have gone viral. That was the first time I had been on camera. But again, it was just a lucky moment in my life.
What is one of your guilty pleasures?
When I was little, I was severely obsessed with Dana Carvey. I just love how he approaches a character. I think I watched Wayne’s World everyday after school for a long time. Then he had a stand up special that I had taped back in the day and I could recite it word for word.
Is he one of your comedic influences?
Of course there are the classic women in comedy that I looked up to, but Dana was the biggest influence. He once said each character has its own rhythm to them which is sort of musical. There is a certain cadence in which each person talks. So, I could easily relate that to my theater background. All his work has been influential for me.
You are working on “Angie Tribeca” and “How to Train Your Dragon.” How do you approach each character? They’re both so different.
I approached Dr. Scholls (“Angie Tribeca”) as I would a sketch character. She’s so different than myself, very cold and calculating. It was really fun, I love it. It makes it easier for me doing the show, as far as not breaking character, because she’s so different than I am. And I play the voice of Ruffnut on “How to Train Your Dragon.” Which is a gig I do regularly. Ruffnut is so insane. She’s like this tomboy, always hitting someone or jumping out of trees. It’s just rewarding being able to play such a wild woman. We are currently working on a new season — all of them will be up on Netflix. That is such a fun job, it’s so rewarding.
What’s in store in the future for you?
I’m shopping around ideas of shows that I have created. So, hopefully soon we will see a show directly from my demented brain.
Catch Andrée on “Angie Tribeca” Mondays 9/8c on TBS and “How to Train Your Dragon” on Netflix.
To learn more about Andrée, visit her official website: Andreevermeulen.com.