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15 Minutes With The Sufferettes

The Sufferettes are Becky Johnson and Kayla Lorette. The improv duo recently performed at the Canadian Improv Games Anniversary Celebration at the Great Hall.

SDTC: What should we be paying more attention to?

Becky: We are at a point in this city wherein I am very scared that we are pricing out our weirdness. If we don’t make a concerted effort to maintain affordable housing and the normal, basic shops and services that human beings need, we run the risk of becoming a place where it is impossible to make risky nonsense.
Kayla: Gosh, so many ways to answer this question. The government? Climate change? The collapse of our civilization as we know it? Let’s just go with your friends. Send ’em a text. See how they’re doing. I’m too stressed at the moment to handle those other things.

What was the last Netflix series you binged on?

Becky: The OA. I was late to the party and super annoyed I bothered to show up. Vagueness is not abstraction!
Kayla: The OA. I don’t know why or how. I’m pretty sure I slept through an entire episode and didn’t notice until I finished the series. I will never get that time back and I’m still confused, but there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll watch the second season. My brain is sloppy disaster.

Kayla Lorette

One new thing you learned this year?

Becky: I just learned to blow-dry my hair in the right direction! By fifty I hope to have mastered loose, flirty curls.
Kayla: I taught myself how to make this really hideous rug from fabric scraps. The process is very time consuming and inefficient. It’s not done yet but I’m sure the true lesson of this project will emerge eventually. The lesson will likely be related to buying rugs from a store. I’ll keep you updated.

What memory brings a smile to your face?

Becky: Oh, goodness, there are too many to count. I definitely look back very fondly to the times Kayla and I have been on tour and we get giddy and weird at the end of the night like exhausted toddlers do.
Kayla: There are some moments from shows I’ve done with the Sufferettes that make me super happy. We’ve done so many absurd things that will only ever happen one time so I’m happy to hold them in my mind. Sometimes I’ll get a flash of Becky doing something so truly brilliant yet so utterly stupid and I’ll smile a big dumb smile.

Becky Johnson

What book/song/lyric/etc is resonating with you right now?

Becky: The line all my favourite singers couldn’t sing from We Are Real by The Silver Jews is like a life mantra to me.
Kayla: I’ve been recommending Scott Carrier’s podcast Home of the Brave. He’s one of my favourite people. His stories always illustrate the importance of empathy, communication and critical thinking. I’ve been moved to tears more than once. He did a series of episodes following the refugee trail and I think about it often. He’s a pretty special man.

Describe the funniest thing you’ve experienced in recent memory.

Becky: AI-generated recipes. Like, it’s terrifying that the singularity is nigh but I cried laughing. Look them up.
Kayla: Have you seen pictures of these fish that have teeth like humans? Well, this really kills me. I’ll think about this fish and laugh and laugh and laugh. And when I found out they prefer to eat nuts and seeds? Forget about it. Love those guys. Great stuff.

Best advice you’ve been given?

Becky: “Toronto eats her young.” – My mother
Kayla: Oh, I love the classic “drink water.” I’m reminded of its power in so many situations and I’m very grateful that it’s an easy piece of advice for me to follow as I know that’s not true for everyone.

What is the best part of being your current age?

Becky: It’s finally happening; I am giving way fewer fucks and it’s amazing!
Kayla: I’m twenty-nine years old, so I find myself doing a lot of reflecting. This isn’t something I would always describe as “the best” or even “a little bit fun,” but it’s nice to grow closer to yourself. For the most part.

What word or phrase should we use more often?

Becky: I don’t know. Really working on saying less and listening more this year. It’s hard.
Kayla: Soft. Loose. Tender. Gentle. These are words I like. Match any of them with the word “vibe” and we’re talkin’.

What’s on your night table?

Becky: A pristine, dusty copy of Flannery O’Connor’s collected short stories. I guess I am hoping it will send me southern gothic dreams.
Kayla: Well, ya caught me here. I have been living in my current apartment since November and still haven’t purchased a night table. So let’s rephrase this: what’s on the floor near my bed? Always water, chapstick and a few books I’m pretending to read.

What one item would you be lost without (besides your phone)?

Becky: Girl Guides taught me that a knife was pretty important to have on you at all times.
Kayla: I developed a small chapstick addiction in elementary school and have never been able to kick it. Current brand of choice? Blistex DCT. I’m sure it’s full of chemicals that continue to fuel my addiction, but I’m crazy about the stuff. I’m currently incredibly stressed because I don’t know exactly where that little tub of lip joy is and I will probably get up right now and go look for it.

Your biggest comedy pet peeve?

Becky: What? No. Comedy’s perfect. There is no way to do it wrong.
Kayla: Oh brother. I guess the trend towards super sincere storytelling in comedy? I know there’s a lot of love for this style but I’m a ding dong that likes absurdity, broad jokes and the occasional wig. But I guess if it’s funny, I can be convinced. I just prefer some escapism in my comedy.

What trends are you loving right now?

Becky: Houseplants and the sharing economy.
Kayla: Are big eyebrows still happening? I love that.

Who was your celebrity crush when you were a kid?

Becky: Gord Downie. I also credit watching so many of his performances as a major influence of my improv development.
Kayla: I had a pretty intense thing for Johnny Depp as a young woman but I look at what he’s become (the scarves and all the other stuff) and worry about my taste. I also had strong feelings for Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice. That’s not good either.

What do you love about Toronto?

Becky: Every summer I am dazzled by the fact that the pool at Sunnyside Pavilion is free. Toronto, if you ever take that away from us, I will feel forever betrayed.
Kayla: So much of it! It’s stimulating and strange and exciting. I’ve lived here for almost ten years and continue to find more things to love. On days when I have the time, I love to walk wherever I need to go so I can take in all the details. It’s always changing and moving. And we do food very well.

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