Meet Lauren Servideo

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Lauren Servideo is a comedian known for her quirky Instagram videos in which she flaunts original characters and her sharp wit. After starting in a makeup career, she eventually transitioned to being part of the Community Lab team at Instagram. She shares her comedic inspirations and how she maintains her sense of style.
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Vintage Polka Dot Blouse from The Cast NYC, Shoes, Carven

Vintage Polka Dot Blouse from The Cast NYC, Shoes, Carven


I wake up at the ass crack of dawn. I make my bed every morning. I catch up on news radio while I dress. If it is above 50 degrees outside, I’ll walk across the Williamsburg bridge to work. Some days I listen to music, and some days I listen to the cars going by—my own urban reverie!

on her college years

I grew up under some power lines in Upstate New York. I went to SUNY Albany for journalism and women’s studies. The only other person to graduate with this degree from SUNY Albany is Awkwafina. Suffice it to say, that major/minor combo is a potent catalyst for a career in comedy. I graduated a semester early and immediately searched for media jobs in NYC. I snagged an interview with an academic publisher and stayed with them for five and a half years.

on performing and getting into comedy

I grew up clowning around for my family and friends. I used to dramatically throw myself down the stairs for my elementary school friends and call it my “Birthday Surprise.” I think my humor elicits the same reaction as looking at bad conceptual art, which is the whole “I could have done that!” broadside. I’m not inventing anything new with my videos. I just have simple ideas and observations that I want to put out in the world.

on making her instagram videos

I have been making videos since we got our first family computer (with external Logitech webcam!) in February 2003. The decision to keep doing that when Instagram rolled out the video feature (which was done to compete with Vine, RIP) made sense. I film on my iPhone and use iMovie on my phone to edit them. I never had an audience outside of my friends until this past summer. I think people are surprised to see that there is an enormous backlog of videos.

Vintage Polka Dot Blouse from The Cast NYC

Vintage Polka Dot Blouse from The Cast NYC

It seemed far fetched to ever have a real, “capital C” career in comedy. Then again, it’s pretty far fetched to have a journalism career that could support you in 21st century New York City without having to moonlight as a waitress and bartender and babysitter. I never took improv as an adult, but I did two weeks of improv camp when I was 12.
— on having low expectations
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on her brief stint in makeup, and using that skill in comedy

I interned for Theo Kogan when she ran her own lip gloss line. I spent quite a bit of time steeped in that industry. I thought a logical step career-wise was to go to the Make-up Designory to learn how to do special effects makeup for movies. Going catatonic watching hours of beauty tutorials on YouTube was no substitute for the school experience, but it wound up being the more cost-effective route. I can apply a bald cap like a practiced artist! This skill is serviceable the one time a year I decide to make a “Millenial Colonel Kurtz” video.

on developing a comedic style

I tried reading Freud’s Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious recently. It’s very dense and I had difficulty understanding some (maybe most) parts of it, but I enjoyed the bits where he dissects why we laugh. Comedy is dependent on the current zeitgeist, which is why it tends to age so poorly, but laughing is timeless! Think of what makes you laugh and go with that feeling.

on working at instagram and finding a balance

I am on the Community Lab team of Instagram which is responsible for looking through various communities on the app to see how people use the platform. I happened to know the right people at the right time to get my foot in the door. I try to dedicate at least two nights a week to making videos after work.

on the artists that inspire her

Patti Harrison, Cat Cohen, Mitra Jouhari, Sandy Honig, Alyssa Stonoha, Lolly Adefope, Ana Fabrega, Lorelei Ramirez, Greta Titelman, Megan Amram, Aidy Bryant, Nina Tarr, Ayo Edebiri, Kate Berlant, and Chloe Fineman just to name a few. There isn’t enough room here for the endless praise I have for their comedy.

Jumpsuit, Dusen Dusen

Jumpsuit, Dusen Dusen

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I would make pasta from scratch and top it off with my mom’s red sauce. Tomato-based sauces pair well with a Sangiovese wine, so we’d probably drink some Chianti with the meal for a sweet social lubricant. I would invite Jesus, Mickey Rourke, Assata Shakur, and both of my deceased grandmothers. I would do something stupid, like accidently burn my hand on stove, to provide some preparatory conversation fodder.
— on the five people invited to her dream dinner party
Top, Engrish Store

Top, Engrish Store

on her creative pursuits and self-care rituals

Like some kind of fucked-up racehorse, I perform my best when I put my blinders on so that I can dedicate my entire focus to the task at hand. I taught myself how to bake bread. I taught myself how to knit and crochet. I’m currently trying to relearn piano on some cheap-o Yamaha keyboard. I’m the type of person who finds un-knotting headphone cords and assembling Ikea furniture “relaxing” (i.e. completely unhinged).

on her style and shopping habits

I like consigned clothes. I mostly shop at Beacon’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange. I don’t know if I have a definable style. I love a soft, old t-shirt paired with a mini skirt and oxford shoes.

on her beauty and skincare routine

My biggest tip was introduced to me by my childhood friend Nai who is a talented esthetician. Most people use face soap for 15 seconds max, which doesn’t allow the soap to properly break down dirt and oils. Let the soap lather for at least 60 seconds before rinsing with tepid water. You will see a difference! I use Biologique Recherche Lait VIP Face Wash and Lotion P50, Jao Goe Oil, CeraVe SA Body Lotion and Supergoop! Glow Stick Sunscreen SPF 50.

I am a huge fragrance freak. The alchemy of perfume is fascinating. It is tied to memory, and therefore, in some way, bound to history. That is so cool! Bitter almond is also the scent of cyanide. My current favorite is Burnin’ For You Rose + Leather. I also like Byredo’s 1996.

For makeup, I use Milani Infinite Liquid eyeliner with some L’Oreal Voluminous mascara and Inglot Matte Lipstick in shade 401.

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Jumpsuit, Dusen Dusen

Jumpsuit, Dusen Dusen

on her favorite books

My best friend Grace has never recommended a book I didn’t love. Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood is one of them. Lockwood’s dad is this zany priest and she will have you belly laughing at his shenanigans. I read a review once that described the memoir as a serenity prayer. Lockwood is begging God to be granted the serenity to accept the things she cannot change, including her kooky religious family. I also recommend Five Flights Up by Toni Schlesinger, Surveys by Natasha Stagg and The Godfather by Mario Puzo.

lauren’s favorite albums

Sonic Youth’s Evol, A Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi, Ella Sings Gershwin by Ella Fitzgerald and Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run.

lauren’s favorite films

Marriage Italian Style by Vittorio De Sica, When Harry Met Sally by Rob Reiner, Casablanca by Michael Curtiz, Wizard of Oz by Victor Fleming and Heartbreak Kid by Elaine May.

lauren’s favorite places IN new york city

Aedes Perfumery for scents, Commodore to eat and do crosswords on Sunday mornings but also for piña coladas in the middle of January, Roxy Cinema for movies, Smalls for after-hours jazz performances, Casa Magazines for print publications, and Saved Tattoo (special call-out to artists Michelle Tarantelli, Tamara Santibañez, Virginia Elwood, and Stephanie Tamez).

Coat, Lindsey Thornburg, Bag, KARA

Coat, Lindsey Thornburg, Bag, KARA