Photo by ANYA GARRETT
Stripped Stories Margot Leitman (as seen on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central) and Giulia Rozzi (as seen on MTV, VH1, Chelsea Lately) come billed as storytelling’s sexiest duo, baring full-frontal id, ego and libido for howling horndog audiences from coast to coast. Stripped Stories has earned kudos from Time Out NY, Time Out LA, The Village Voice, and Playgirl lauds their “juiciest, jaw-dropping tales.” They come to Underground Arts on Saturday as part of the First Person Arts Festival. So we got Giula and Margot on the horn for a game of truth or dare, minus the dare.
PHAWKER: Word is you two became best friends after ‘unexpectedly winding up spending three hours in a bath tub.’ Please explain.
GIULA ROZZI: We went on a road trip cross country with a few other folks after graduating Ithaca College. We weren’t super close at the start of the trip but as we travelled all over the US we got closer and closer. By the time we had reached Las Vega we were taking a bath together in our hotel room sharing secrets and laughing like crazy.
MARGOT LEITMAN: We shared a bath but I think bathing suits were involved.
PHAWKER: That’s disappointing. Was there water in the tub?
MARGOT LEITMAN: Yes!
PHAWKER: Now we’re getting somewhere. Explain the premise of Stripped Stories and how you two happened to think it up?
GIULA ROZZI: We talk a lot about relationships and sex in our friendship and it’s always so cathartic and so funny so we figured, why not turn this it into a show? Each show features us and guest storytellers sharing funny true stories about sex and love, we also play Never Have I Ever with the audience and interview the winner and we have a musical act close the show with some funny songs about sex. The show is very fun, personal and vulnerable. We really encourage guests and audience members to laugh at their romantic and sexual mishaps.
MARGOT LEITMAN: Stripped Stories is a sex themed storytelling show, but at the root of it is pure honestly and vulnerability. At the time we started the show, 2007, we both loved telling stories, but there weren’t a lot of pure storytelling shows in NYC. So we hit the ground running and created our own. And we needed a hook– we thought hilarious sex stories would be a good one. Because sex can be very very funny.
PHAWKER: What is the best story you ever heard from an audience member? Conversely, what is the worst?
MARGOT LEITMAN: I recently had an audience member tell about the time he pretended to be an pilot for United Airlines in order to get a girl in bed, and it worked. He was so understated and soft spoken that it was such a shock that he did that. Even more shocking was that it worked! Worst story from an audience member? I would say all the times people have just lied their way onto the stage. Or tried to be a show off.
PHAWKER: Every performer has a nightmare story where everything went wrong, or the worst possible thing happened, and while it was tragic in the moment, it seems funny now. Can you share one or two of those?
GIULA ROZZI: This didn’t happen at Stripped Stories, but years ago while hosting a stand-up show at a club in upstate New York I was having a terrible time and the audience was not laughing at any of my jokes. At the end of my set I was about to bring up the next comic and said “ok you guys ready for a fun night?” and this older man said loudly “I will when she’s off the stage.” I thought he was heckling me so I got mad at him and not in a clever funny way. Turns out he had a hearing aide in and was whispering to wife not realizing he was so loud, so he wasn’t really heckling me directly. It was all very uncomfortable.
MARGOT LEITMAN: I have one that happened last week. Not at Stripped Stories but at the LA Storytelling Festival. That morning I went to the dermatologist to have a small mole removed from my chin. I thought it would be okay by that night, but I went to the show with a small Band-Aid on it. Right before the show a producer and I decided it would be too distracting o keep the bandaid on, and that the spot where the doctor made the incision looked okay. So I went onstage and said to the audience, “I just had a mole removed, if it starts bleeding do you all promise to tell me?” And I got the entire audience to audibly say “I promise.” Two minutes in I felt something strange running down my chin. I stopped and asked, “Am I bleeding?” Everyone said “Yes.” I said, “You promised!” Then I touched my chin and realized I was bleeding profusely. It was like a horror movie. Down my chin, dripping down my neck. I got a napkin to dab it and practically soaked the whole thing up. I said, “Do you guys really care what happened next in my story at this point?” Somehow I told the rest of it with a napkin dabbing my bloody chin. I laughed the entire next day about it. At least it was one of the more memorable performances of the festival!
THE FIRST PERSON ARTS FESTIVAL PRESENTS STRIPPED STORIES @ UNDERGROUND ARTS ON SATURDAY NOVEMBER 8TH DOORS @ 6 PM MUST BE 21