Lauren Ash, Rory O’Malley talk Chicago Party Aunt

Rory O'Malley as Daniel and Lauren Ash as Diane Dunbrowski in CHICAGO PARTY AUNT episode 1. Courtesy of NETFLIX/©NETFLIX 2021.

Lauren Ash and Rory O’Malley spoke with Solzy at the Movies about the upcoming Netflix animated series, Chicago Party Aunt.

Ash and O’Malley join RuPaul Charles, Jill Talley, Ike Barinholtz, Jon Barinholtz, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Katie Rich, and Chris Witaske in the cast. This cast features so many improvisers who originated out of the Chicago improv scene at Second City, iO, and the Annoyance!

Chicago Party Aunt was created by Chris Witaske, Jon Barinholtz, and Katie Rich. Witaske, Barinholtz, Rich, Ike Barinholtz, Dave Stassen, Will Gluck, Richie Schwartz, Chris Prynoski, Antonio Canobbio, Ben Kalina, and Matt Craig serve as executive producers on the series.

Netflix launches the first half on September 17, 2021.

How’s it going?

Lauren Ash: Good. How are you doing?

I am doing well. It’s been a nice week for Chicago improv reunions.

Lauren Ash: Ah, I love to hear it!

Lauren Ash as Dina in Superstore.
Lauren Ash as Dina in Superstore — “Myrtle” Episode 512 (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC).

Right off the bat, what would Dina think of Chicago Party Aunt?

Lauren Ash: Oh, Dina, I don’t think would care for her. I think Dina would be very put off. I think she would say like, this lady is too loud. She’s drinking too much. She’s hitting on all the guys here. It’s just inappropriate. I’m uncomfortable. I’m gonna ask her to leave. I think that that’s kind of what Dina would feel if she was at a party—

Rory O’Malley: Escorted out of the store.

Lauren Ash: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Ma’am, you’ve got to go. Come on. Let’s go. Let’s get your box of wine and get out of here.

I know you’re originally from Toronto and of course, the Chicago experience with Second City. Did working on the series make you homesick a little bit?

Lauren Ash: Ah, listen, as I’m sure you and I may have talked about before, I love Chicago. Chicago is my favorite city in the world, no shade to Canada at all. But it made me homesick for my home because of the family element of Chicago Party Aunt and it made me homesick for my family. But it really did make me homesick for Chicago. I was like, I want to be back at Wrigley Field. I want to be drinking cheap beer, eating a hot dog with those onions that come out of that machine that shoots them out at you. I just—I miss it. I miss Chicago. It’s the greatest city ever. I’m so excited to be doing something that—I was on the Mainstage there over a decade ago and it’s so cool that now, 10 years later, I’m doing something that connects to it so directly.

There are so many Chicago improvisers on this series—it’s absurd!

Lauren Ash: It is. Well, I mean, again, it’s created by Chris Witaske, Jon Barinholtz, Katie Rich, show run by Matt Craig. You’re talking about some pretty heavy hitters of that scene so it’s a joy, for sure.

I’m sure the recording sessions were awfully fun. Ike was saying that it was in person for the first part.

Rory O’Malley: Yeah, it was for a bit. And then, when we were put into quarantine during the pandemic, we all were sent home with microphones. I’m in my garage right now and it’s a converted office. I recorded every single episode in here in our laundry room. I just put my blankets up and made it into as sound studio. It didn’t look pretty but it got the job done. I had to learn how to set up a recording studio. I’m so grateful because we were able to continue to create and the writers and the show runner, Matt Craig—everyone was making me laugh throughout a pandemic and I’m so grateful. I can’t wait for the rest of the world to get to see this and laugh too.

How quickly did you say yes to the offer?

Lauren Ash: Listen, the Chicago Party Aunt Twitter account started following me when it kind of first started and the tweets were so funny. I immediately followed back and I started to send a DM asking, who is this? Because I was like, I have to know this person. And then I stopped and deleted it because I literally was like, I don’t want to ruin the magic for myself. I want to pretend this is a real lady. I’m not kidding. When I saw that they were creating a show—I actually heard about it from Jon and that was how I found out that it was Chris who was behind the Twitter account. I was just like, it would be such a joy to be a part of this in any way. So yeah, I mean, immediately, the second they were like, we’re interested, I was like, where do I sign? I’m ready to go. It’s a dream team. (Lauren’s dogs start barking.) Oh, this is Zoom, everybody! This is Zoom interviews.

Rory O’Malley: They’re on the Dream Team, too.

Lauren Ash: They’re on the Dream Team. Yeah, they’re smaller. They didn’t do as well in the Olympics, but—

Netflix launches the first half of Chicago Party Aunt’s first season on September 17, 2021.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.