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Catching up with Mary Lynn Rajskub, back at Laughing Skull March 6-8

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Mary Lynn Rajskub is known as gloomy (but hilarious) tech nerd Chloe from "24," but she has been diligently building a side career as a stand-up comic as well. One of her favorite venues is Laughing Skull Lounge in Midtown.

For the third year in a row, the actress has flown in from L.A. to spend a weekend here, honing her skills. (Buy tickets here.) She has two shows tonight and tomorrow and one on Sunday.

"I really like the vibe there," Rajskub said to me in an interview Tuesday. "It's a testament to [owner] Marshall [Chiles.] He pays attention to the details and makes sure the comics and the audience are happy. He breeds the comedy fans you want."

At one club that shall remain nameless, she had finished headlining and was walking out the door when a staffer handed her a coupon like she was one of the customers. That, she said, would never happen at Laughing Skull.

Rajskub has not landed anything as big as "24" since the show wrapped but has gotten parts on shows such as Atlanta-based truTV's "Those Who Can't," Fox's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and Starz' "The Girlfriend Experience."

Mary Lynn Rajskub plays an attorney on Starz' "The Girlfriend Experience" starring Riley Keough as Christine, who is drawn into the escort world. CREDIT: Starz
Mary Lynn Rajskub on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." CREDIT: Fox

In "The Girlfriend Experience," she plays an attorney but the focal point is on a lead character who interns at her law firm but decides to do call-girl work to pay the bills.. She found the show intriguing although the work-place story line gets a bit subsumed by the call-girl angle.  But good news: Rajksub got to keep her work outfits, a series of blouses, pencil skirts and blazers.

"They look great on me," she said. "The problem is I don't wear that in my real life." Standing on stage to do comedy in that outfit, she mused, "is the opposite of comedy."

Jimmy Fallon recently gave her six minutes on his talk show to do some stand-up, where she noted how different she is from Chloe in terms of technical prowess, plus her love of Waze and power naps. She said this was the first time she got to do stand-up on a late-night show.

"That was really exciting," Rajskub said."Fallon is great. He remembered me from the 1990s. Before he went on the air, he was super complimentary of me to the audience. He used to do those clubs way back in the 1990s. He was briefly in L.A. doing comedy rooms."

On a side note, "now that I've been embroiled in the comedy circuit," she said. "I had to be reminded that you have to dress up on 'The Tonight Show.' I was going to wear t-shirt and jeans. That's not good enough!"

In July, she'll participate in the Montreal Just For Laughs festival, then the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in England in August. She said she expects to be recognized from "24," which is a worldwide hit. "As far as people making connections seeing me do comedy, that's still something that is a continual work in progress."

She said she's truly getting into the comedy groove. "I've gone from conceptual weirdo to fully grown woman weirdo with a point of view," Rajskub said. "And just more aspects of my life to reflect. It's a lot about my family and how we relate to each other. Our lack of communication. How you can hate someone but really love them at the same time."

She uses her improv background to deal with unforeseen circumstances. In New York, during a show, she heard a fight going on in the kitchen. "I had had words with these people in the front you," she said. "Then this fight happened. I turned to them and said, 'We need to be on the same side. I'm normally anti-gun but hey, does anybody have a gun? We need to band together!"

For now, she is out of the "24" world. The forthcoming reboot on Fox appears to involve all new characters. (We miss you Chloe!)

Rajskub's seven-year-old son Valentine is now aware of her fame, but she didn't think he thought much of it until a babysitter told him she was an actress.

"Out of nowhere, he said, 'Yah, my mom is an actress!' He busted it out. Super proud. When it really comes down to it, he couldn't accept someone else could be an actress. I was the only actor to him. That was very sweet."


Mary Lynn Rajskub

8 p.m., 10:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday


7 p.m. Sunday


Laughing Skull Lounge

878 Peachtree St.

Atlanta, GA 30309



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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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