1. That time I accidentally booked a phone sex commerical. (An essay.)

    The following is the transcript of a story I told at a fun show last month called the Dog & Pony show. I enjoyed regaling the audience (of mostly sympathetic Hollywood aspirants) with the story about the FIRST acting job I ever booked… A job that I thought was a comedy sketch for a late-night chat show (which ended up being a late-night phone sex commercial). Without further chit chat, here is that story:

    ———

    The audition was in Malibu. I drove 40 miles up Pacific Coast Highway to a run-down apartment complex on the beach. In any other neighborhood, this building would have been littered with rat poison and shopping carts stolen from Ross Dress for Less. In Malibu, this was a $2,000/month villa.

    I parked my car and walked down a gravel road and up the stairs into a sort of common room, like the kind you find in a dorm. The room had a microwave, a white pleather couch and shitty print of a Hawaiian sunset that made no sense. Why would you have a painting of a Hawaiian sunset in Malibu, which has its own perfectly good sunsets? That’s like Elton John having a portrait of Billy Joel hanging over his piano.

    Anyway, in this room were sitting two people: the casting director, a mid-20s Latina woman wearing a pantsuit that I imagine was made from fabric leftover at the Victoria’s Secret panty factory, and a fat mustached man wearing a white Havana shirt like the sleazy old man in every movie.

    For the audition I had been told I would need to wear a bikini. Which of course I had no problem with because I was 22 and had not yet experienced shame.

    So there I was in a bikini. There was no waiting area because there was no one else there. So that was weird. But only in hindsight. I didn’t think any of this was weird yet.

    Miss Panty suit took my headshot. Sleazy Stash looked me up and down. And that was it. I was told I had the job on the spot. What was the job? I didn’t ask. I didn’t care. I had a job. How much was I getting paid? I didn’t know. I didn’t ask. The e-mail said this was a paid gig so I believed it.

    At that time, only thing that struck me as strange about all of this was the fact that it was dead silent in that room. I would have expected some Kenny G. or Coast 104.5 radio but there was nothing. I didn’t have to read any lines. Panty Suit and Sleazy Stache didn’t really talk to each other so the whole thing went down in this sort of depressing silence. I didn’t feel excited that I had booked my first acting job. It felt like we were strangers complicit in some weird crime like shooting a dog and throwing it into the river. (Which, by the way, is actually legal in some states.)

    So the job approached. What I had heard was that I would be participating in a some sort of spoof phone sex commercial to appear on late-night TV. And because I trust everyone and I never ask questions, this is what I believed as I once again drove the 40 miles to Malibu.

    It never occurred to me to ask why the actual shooting location the exact same room as the audition. That seemed like a totally normal situation. When I reached that awful living room, I was not surprised to find no production assistants , no grips, no signs of any crew. There, however were three large-chested young women of varying ethnicities, all with blonde hair, sitting on the white pleather couch. They were dressed as if they had inherited whatever the other woman had left of the Victoria’s Secret factory. One of them had been visibly crying and another one brought up immediately the fact that she lived in a car. These were to be my co-stars.

    I got to know these women as we were left in this room, completely alone, for at least two hours. All the while, we were faced with what appeared to be a craft service table that was stocked only with potato chips and bottles upon bottles of Bacardi Gold. For two hours, that table remained untouched, save for one blonde girl who took a bottle to herself and chugged it as she yelled at her boyfriend from the rotary phone attached to the wall by the microwave.

    Sleazy Stache finally appeared. Or rather, he ran into the room panting with a ketchup stain on his Havana shirt. He introduced himself. I don’t remember his name but I do remember that it was something very on-the-nose, like Barry. Barry’s only instructions to us was to: “Have a drink. Have all the drinks you want.” And everyone did. I had never filmed a commercial before. This didn’t seem unusual.

    Barry then explained to us that we would be filming in two locations: a bedroom and a pink Corvette that was parked outside. We looked out the window and saw the pink Corvette which looked like an exact replica of the one Malibu Barbie drove, complete with the doors that don’t open. The girls were so impressed by the Corvette that I think they had simultaneous orgasms and Barry had an orgasm watching them have orgasms. I felt like the odd one out, since I didn’t have an orgasm and I don’t drink Bacardi under any circumstances.

    We were escorted to the first location, the bedroom. This is where we met the only other crew member we were to meet: a tall man with glasses named Stan.  Stan was really quiet and boring, probably on his lunch break from doing someone’s taxes. Stan appeared to be exactly the same age as Barry and the two men seemed more like best friends than colleagues, like they met on the playground at age 6 when Barry tried to steal Stan’s pocket protector so Stan kicked Barry in the nuts they all shared a big laugh over an ice cream sandwich and have been best friends ever since.

    So it was me, Barry and Stan, and three fatherless blonde girls in a bedroom.  Stan took out a Sony handcam that he rented for $25 from his mom. And that - THAT – is the moment when I thought “this is fucking weird.” There were other crew members. No craft service. There was this guy with a $200 camera and no one has identified himself as a director or a producer.

    This is the point where Barry asked all the girls to strip down to their underwear. Since I was told only that I’d be wearing a bathing suit, I simply stated that I would wear the tank top and jeans I had on. Barry seemed really angry, but I hadn’t signed a contract so he couldn’t say much of anything. As Barry instructed the nearly-nude girls to start jumping on the bed, it occurred to me that I maybe didn’t want to be in this commercial… or whatever it was. So I said aloud, in the middle of the take “This is going to be a funny video, right? Like a spoof of a phone sex commercial?”

    No one said anything.

    After a long pause, Barry said “No. This is not a funny video.” I said, “I thought this was supposed to be for late-night TV.” And he said “Yes, these commercials air during late night TV.” As this was happening, the other girls were staring at me with an combination of impatience and the sudden realization that maybe they should have gone ahead and gotten their GEDs. It occurred to me that all of these girls were strippers.

    I wish I could say I cried from embarrassment or yelled at Barry or ran outside and drove the pink Corvette into the patio, but I just didn’t care that much. I felt bad for this fat guy and this tall guy who should have been selling timeshares. And I felt bad for the three girls who had probably left their coke babies with some inept neighbor or cousin for day. So I simply stood up and said “I am leaving. You are to throw away any footage you have of me. And if you try to use it, I will come back and cut off your balls.”

    I never found out how much money I would have made that day.

     

  2. Pool Girls is coming!

    My Tumblr needs a massive overhaul! I haven’t posted a damn thing in months and SO MUCH is going on.

    For starters, I was recently fortunate enough to be chosen as a finalist in the Funny or Die and Los Angeles Film Festival’s “Make ‘Em Laff” contest. The winner wins a holding deal with Fox and they will have their next video produced by Funny or Die. Pretty cool.

    In case you’re wondering, the video that got me nominated is called “A Mormon Coachella Survival Guide” and you can watch it here:

    http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/21d5b45f46/a-mormon-coachella-survival-guide?ts=1397240265

    On a related note… 

    I am producing a new summer sketch series called “Pool Girls!” New videos (all written and directed by me) will be released every Tuesday this summer. I’m really excited because this project will give me a chance to work with a lot of my favorite actor and actress friends.

    You can check pool girls out at www.funnyordie.com/poolgirls

     

  3. Sometimes being a goofball pays off! I have been asked to join the Funny or Die Community - a group of actors, writers and other creative types who regularly create funny content for the Interwebs. 

    Last month, my video “Single Girls on Valentine’s Day” was featured on the ForDie Valentine’s Playlist. You can expect to see more videos from me and my collaborators this month - including one video next week and another video around St. Paddy’s Day. 

    I’m excited for the opportunity to continue creating fun sketches in this  exciting forum!

     
  4. Hello friends, new and old… friends yet unmet, friends never to be made. Friends fake and friends genuine. People who were once my friend but whom I have unfollowed from Twitter (actually, I quit Twitter).

    This has been quite a year. Stuff has happened. (There are 8,760 hours in one year - it would be weird if no stuff happened.) Paul Walker died. So did that old guy who used to live on your street growing up… the one who gave out silver dollars on Halloween instead of candy and it pissed you off (even though a silver dollar is worth at least two full sized candy bars… What is the street value of one Fun Size Snickers? 15 cents?).  I had a dream that Nick Lachey died and I woke up believing it was true for like a week until I saw him walk into the restaurant I work at. He drank 3 red sangrias.

    Nick Lachey is alive, my friends. And so are you, if you are reading this. (Incidentally, I believe that ghosts can read. But we shall discuss that later.)

    I made a lot of videos in the latter part of this year. The one posted here is my Christmas video featuring me, Jeanne Taylor, Sean Edwards and JP Wohl. It’s weird and silly and (maybe) funny. Especially if you like phallic humour (I’m secretly a 10 year old boy).

    A sincere thank you goes out to all of you who watched my videos, attended my shows, read my blog or helped support my career endeavors in 2013. I am super lucky to have you in my life. 

    Please be on the lookout for my “New Year’s Resolution” sketch video later this week (it features the talent of Gina Brown, Maya Imani, Jack Frank and Thomas Meaney).

    In the meantime… Happy New Year!

     
     

  5. What nail art will you wear to your funeral?

    Ladies, I think we can all agree that nail art is the best. It’s beautiful. It’s quirky. It allows us to convey our style and our personality to the world around us.

    Unfortunately, we all will die. One day, you too will kick the bucket. You will never again enjoy the simple pleasures of a bubblebath, a mimosa or a Black Friday online sale. The Herve Leger dress you saved three paychecks to own will hang abandoned in the dust-collecting closet (unless you are gauche enough to wear that to your own funeral… gross.).

    "You can’t take it with you!" they say of these favorite worldly comforts. But NAIL ART - nail art, you can take with you! You can wear whatever kind of nails you want to the grave! But which design will you pick???!

    Such a tricky decision, choosing the last pair of nails you will ever wear. But it’s an important decision indeed. Let me walk you through the options.

    FAST FOOD NAILS.

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    Maybe you were unfortunate enough to pass away from a massive heart attack outside a combination KFC/Pizza Hut… or maybe you just really love Subway sandwiches. Either way, you can leave the world screaming “I died fat and I have Nails by Janet Riffe to prove it!”

    JESUS NAILS.

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    Whether you are devout Christian or you’re just hedging your bets - nothing says “Please God, take me to Heaven!” like a nice pair of Jesus and/or Mary nails. 

    EVERYTHING NAILS.

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    Can’t decide exactly what you want to put on your nails? That’s okay, just cover them with literally everything! Panda bears, donuts, sequins - nothing is off the table with this nail art. Show that HR lady who’s boss at your funeral by sporting these workplace inappropriate talons! Cuz you’re never going back to work again!

    LOUIS VUITTON NAILS.

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    Now, here is the point where some of you are going to say “Mackenzie, the thing that saddens me most about death is the realization that there is simply not enough space inside the grave for me to be buried alongside all of my designer purses.” Rest assured, I can TOTALLY relate. That’s why I recommend selecting Louis Vuitton nails for your final resting nails. It’s just like taking your favorite handbag with you! But also not like that at all.

    CHRISTMAS FOREVER NAILS.

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    Remember when you were a kid and you wanted it to be Christmas every day? Well now it can be, every day forever!

    IRONIC SKELETON NAILS.

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    Depressing or inspirational? You decide.

    What nails will you wear to your funeral? Let me know! mackenziehorras@gmail.com.

     
  6. I really love this video I made with my all-female improv and sketch group, Tiny Marbles!

    Girl Talk was my favorite game as a kid. The original version, made in 1988, was marketed as a “game of truth or dare.” The questions were oddly depressing (“Name one thing you don’t like about yourself.”) and the dares were appropriately mundane (“Put a cube of ice down your shirt and let it melt.”). The thing I love most about the game, especially in hindsight, is that had cryptic fortunetelling cards that said  things like “A girl named Cathy knows something about you that you don’t even know.” Or how about this: “While visiting a dude ranch your horse will bolt and you will be rescued by a ranch hand” —?

    Woah.

    I even remember the game’s commercial. The set-up, the lighting, the jingle - everything - is so clear in my head to this day.

    I really loved the idea of remaking the game Girl Talk for an adult crowd. All of the truths and the dares would seem so heightened when seen through the lens of grown-up responsibilities and challenges. When you contrast that heavy stuff with the lightness of a bunch of “girls” playing an innocent board game (complete with full ’90s wardrobe!) it’s super funny.

    The problem is, I couldn’t find the original 1988 Girl Talk ANYWHERE (not even on Ebay). All I could find was a 1992 remake. The whole game had been redesigned. The board layout and cards were different. No more cryptic fortunetelling cards (too many mothers must have complained to the company!) I watched  hundreds of vintage board game commercials online - no Girl Talk. 

    With the prospect of making a shot-by-shot remake a near impossibility, I moved ahead with my own version - Girl Talk re-imagined. I had a lot of help from the Marbles (Jen Drohan, Jeanne Taylor, Katie Nathan, Iselle Slome and Deidre Scott), our production designer Carrie Brownstein and our sound guy Daniel Raphael. John Highsmith shot the video and supplied original music - I think we pulled if off!

     
     
  7. Every group of hot girls has that “special” friend! Happy Halloween from your sexy friends at The Smoking Section!

    (Check out this video link and vote “funny” please!)

     
     

  8. It’s a big month for improv and sketch! In addition to my weekly gigs with Used To Be Babies at Neon Venus and #TheMartiniShot Second City, I’m pleased to announce that Tiny Marbles just booked two last-minute shows next week! Lady Jam is happening at The Clubhouse on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 10 p.m. We will also be playing at CAMP at The Clubhouse on Friday Sept. 20 at 11:30 p.m.

    Tiny Marbles’ Giant Hour returns Thursday, Sept. 26 at 10 p.m.

    Check out Tiny Marbles on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TinyMarbles

    Tickets for #TheMartiniShot are available at: http://www.laughstub.com/event.cfm?id=264145

     

  9. Used to Be Babies is hosting the 9 p.m. hour every Sunday at Neon Venus

    Used to Be Babies improv is now hosting the 9 p.m. hour every Sunday at Neon Venus Art Theatre. Come & check us out for free!

    7023 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038

    www.neonvenustheatre.com

     

  10. I’m wrapping up the last two weeks of rehearsal for my Second City revue show, #TheMartiniShot,  and, I have to say, I’m pretty excited. The sketches are coming along great AND the addition of a spunky musical number has left me with a fun new hobby: tap dancing!

    I actually took tap dancing classes as a kid and I was disappointed to give up the activity when I moved on to college. As it turns out, there is a studio in Culver City that teaches adult tap on Saturday mornings and I’ve joined in the class. I’m enjoying the process so much AND we’re going to have a sweet recital in October.

    #TheMartiniShot previews are happening on Sunday nights until August 18 at 6:30 p.m. The show opens Monday, Aug. 26 at 9 p.m. More information is available at:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheMartiniShot 

    and 

    http://www.mackenziehorras.com/news.html

     
  11. Check out this weird video Jeanne Taylor and I made! We play middle school history teachers who teach our lessons to the tune of popular rap songs. This song, “Crew Full of Rebels,” is set to the tune of Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools Full of Liquor.”

    (More to come.)

     
     

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    Summer has just started and I’m already having a ridiculous amount of fun! Between prepping my show at Second City, playing with my improv teams Used To Be Babies and Tiny Marbles, writing comedy and shooting a film, I’m feeling pretty pumped. (The glamorous and self-confident pic above is from the premiere of a great web series, “Child of the 70’s” written and produced by my friend - and Second City castmate - Michael Vaccaro.)

    This weekend, I begin filming The CoStar 2 - a by my good friend Jeanne Taylor, directed by Amy Scribner with DP Maurizio Dotto. The film features an amazing ensemble cast, including Joshua Fardon, Jen Ray, Eric Zuckerman, Kurt Carley and fellow Northwestern alum Jonquil Goode. The story is hilarious and I’m really luck to work with such a cool group of actors and crew! 

     

  13. I’ve been wanting to write something sincere for awhile but it’s been hard to find the time and the clarity of mind to do so. My recent past been unexpected. Exciting, busy, sad, challenging, fun, hopeful, painful… it’s all happening.

    It’s hard for me to acknowledge the “good” in my life when things are not exactly as I want it them be. As much as I want things to be easy, I’ve never wanted things to be easy. It’s more exciting to view my life as a series of problems to be solved than to accept the fact that it could all end tomorrow and this could be all I have.

    And what I’ve discovered is that “all I have” is a full fucking life. Loves to be had. Stories to be told. Lessons to be learned. Everything that happens to me, everyone I meet, everything I do, is the result of a choice. I’m on a path that I chose… it can be rough or it can be beautiful but it’s always just me. And that’s about as perfect as it gets.

    I am not totally comfortable with this feeling. On the contrary, I don’t think I have ever felt more stoic and pensive than I do right now. Important transitions are in effect and it’s fucking hard to sit still and do this work. 

    I know one thing, though.

    I will get everything I need in this life. So will you. You deserve every dream and every happiness.  The universe is a big place and there is enough for all of us. 

    If you love what you do, work hard at it. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re working hard enough, work harder. Don’t give anyone any reason to doubt you. Keep your head down.

    Not everyone is worthy of your energy so don’t just give it away. I don’t love easily and I think that’s okay. Keep it locked away until it’s all you can do but to explode. When you do fall in love, love HARD. Love unconditionally. Kill fear with love. It may not work. Do it anyway.

    Love what doesn’t love you back. 

    Love yourself. Stop judging. Fuck up as much as you want to. Let other people fuck up. Fuck up together. Don’t worry about the outcome, make a mess and never clean it up. You don’t need to know where you are going, just keep moving. You can’t control every outcome so don’t try to control anything.

    Only you can do what you do.

    Keep fighting. Maybe you are fighting for someone else and they don’t even know it. Keep fighting for them too. 

    I fucking believe in you.

     

  14. Tiny Marbles updates

    I’m excited to announce that Tiny Marbles was selected to perform in the 2013 I.O. West Los Angeles Improv Comedy Festival! We’re peforming on Monday, June 3 in the 8:30 p.m. block at the I.O. West Loft.

    Tiny Marbles’ Giant Hour is also coming back on Thursday, June 27 at a new venue - THE CLUBHOUSE - 1107-A El Centro, Los Angeles, CA 90038. The Clubhouse is an awesomely fun new improv hub and we are so lucky to have a spot there. We will be going up at 10 p.m. the 4th Thursday of every month, right after Shapeshift and before The Eleventh Hour.

     

  15. Last night was my first show with my new Second City ensemble! Five of us are pictured below - we had so much fun! I can’t wait to spend about a thousand more hours with these guys.

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    Saturday night, I attended the screening of The Co-Star at the Women’s Independent Film Festival in Hollywood. The editor, Laura, Fisk, pictured here in the middle, did an exceptional job cutting the film and she is the MOST delightful person to hang out with! The Co-Star heads to both the Grand Rapids (MI) Film Festival and the 15 Minutes of Fame Festival in Palm Bay, FL this weekend.

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