Ever wished you could somehow watch undiscovered ingénue Mia Dolan’s poorly attended yet career-launching one-woman show from La La Land? Thanks to Jimmy Fowlie, now you can.
Known for his popular web series Go-Go Boy Interrupted, the comedian channels Emma Stone’s La La Land character in So Long Boulder City, which recently transferred off-Broadway after a sold-out run in Los Angeles. Co-written and directed by his fellow Groundlings alum Jordan Black, Fowlie’s solo parody hilariously fills in the gaps of what must’ve been a hot Hollywood mess.
Preparing to say “so long” to New York City, Fowlie now needs a holiday miracle to rewrite the perfect ending for his final weekend of performances.
When did you get the idea to expand Mia’s one-woman show in La La Land?
I’d seen La La Land in the movie theater and loved it. But with Mia’s one-woman show, I was like, “What is this even about?” It’s called So Long Boulder City, so is it just about her leaving her hometown? She has this jukebox, a top hat… and she directed it herself? Then people were leaving, talking about how bad it was, but a big casting agent was there and Mia became a star? I just didn’t know what to make of this crazy show, and I needed to make fun of it.
Is it a challenge to intentionally act badly?
Honestly, no, because when I’m trying hard to be good, I’m kind of bad. I’ve always been the worst at drama. I’m just a comedian. Sometimes I’m actually trying to be really good as Mia, and I think that’s why it works.
How much did Emma Stone’s performance influence you?
It was more of a jumping-off point. I asked Jordan, my director, “Should I try to do an Emma Stone impression?” He was like, “Please don’t.” I think that would’ve been distracting. It’s definitely my own take on Mia.
With visible chest and leg hair, your look isn’t exactly RuPaul’s Drag Race-ready. How did you set your drag limits?
The truth is that I’m fucking lazy and didn’t want to shave my chest and legs for a year. Also, I didn’t think it was the point. I just wanted to get the essence of the character, and I hoped people would be forgiving. I begrudgingly shave my face every week because I feel like I have to.
Mia’s a small-town girl with big dreams trying to make it in Hollywood. Can you relate?
I relate to her so hardcore. Mia is just like me when I first got to L.A., thinking everything’s going to be that big break. I remember being like, “I met someone who’s an assistant for casting extras! This could be it!”
Are the La La Land stars aware of your show?
I think they’re all aware. Damien Chazelle, the writer and director, has talked to people about it. Emma Stone’s mom came to the show in L.A., and she was so sweet. Shout-out to Krista Stone! She loved it and told me she knew that Emma would love it, too. Emma wanted to come, and that would’ve been an amazing full circle moment, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen now.
Yes, it was just announced that the show will close this Sunday, three weeks earlier than originally scheduled. How are you feeling?
Look, my goal was to ride this show until the wheels came off, and the wheels are off. It’s a little disappointing, yeah, but off-Broadway has been such a bonus, so I feel lucky that I even got this far.
Can we blame the premature closing notice on Moonlight’s Best Picture Oscar win?
Right? Can you imagine if I was making up excuses like that? Or, like, “You know, it’s so cold here, so I think that’s why people aren’t making it out to the theater.”
To be fair, it is really cold.
I know. The other day I was inside, thinking, “Wait, what is this feeling on my face? Oh, you’re just cold.” I grew up in Massachusetts, so I know this weather well, but I’ve been in L.A. for 13 years.
You wrote on social media that your final wish is for Ryan Gosling to attend So Long Boulder City because his character missed Mia’s show in the movie. What are the chances he’ll be there this weekend?
I don’t know. I reached out to him on Twitter, but I don’t know anyone who knows him. Can that be the angle of this article? Just a desperate plea for Ryan Gosling to come to the show?
Sure. So is this the end of the road for So Long Boulder City?
There’s a possibility I might do a mini-tour of a few theaters. The show has been really polarizing—people either fucking love it or fucking hated that they saw it. Maybe some people thought it would be more profound? I just wanted it to be an insane, pointless waste of time. But the gay audience always gets it. So we’ll see.
Have you enjoyed your time in New York as a tourist?
It’s been incredible. I’d only visited a couple times when I was younger, on school trips or with my family, but now I get it. People here are very passionate and driven, but you could live here without a damn thing going on and that would be enough. I could live in New York for five years and only talk to people about how cool it is that we live here.
After returning to the warmth of L.A., how will you look back on your off-Broadway adventure?
It was an amazing opportunity and experience. Making people laugh is my favorite thing in the world, and I got to do that in a different city with awesome crowds. That’s what’s going to stick with me.
So Long Boulder City runs through December 17 at Subculture in New York.