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U-Hall resident guest spots on 'Portlandia'

By Kiersten Sinko
On January 23, 2012

DePaul freshman Alex Gavlick took a break from his studies to show his talent on the big screen Friday, Jan. 6, as he became a character for IFC's "Portlandia," a show about the adventures in Portland, Ore.

This episode, titled "Mixology," was the premiere for season two, and being a citizen of Portland, Gavlick was given the opportunity to be a part of the show.

DePaulia: How did you come upon the opportunity to be in "Portlandia?"

Alex Gavlick: I actually work for the Curious Comedy Theatre, which is a theatre in Portland that does sketch, improv and stand-up, so I've been active in Portland's comedy scene.

I had a string of good luck where I got into this comedy festival in Portland, I did a show with that, Somebody saw me at that show and put me on this list called ‘30 under 30: Comedians To Watch For,' and the list got me an article in my state's newspaper.

From that, a casting director read the article and looked me up, and saw my graduation speech from high school, along with everything that came before it. I ended up getting an audition for "Portlandia" because Fred and Carrie wrote a sketch that needed an 18-year-old in it.

DP: How far in advanced did you audition for "Portlandia" before becoming a part of it?

AG: The audition was June, and we filmed mid July.

DP: Has this been your first time actually acting?

AG: On TV, yes this would be my first time.

Yet, I have done theater productions in High School. My favorite role was being a Nazi in "The Sound Of Music," because, well, I was not a good enough singer to actually be one of the children.

DP: What was it like being on the set of "Portlandia?"

AG: Absolutely a dream come true, it was amazing.

They are creative, fun, weird, and everything that Portland is. The second I went on set I was really nervous at first.

The actors actually go 80 percent improv and 20 percent script, so after my first line Fred comes in and says something that was ridiculous and wasn't in the script at all.

But surprisingly, all of my nerves just went away because it really was just fun and goofing around with people I look up to.

DP: What were the actors like?

AG: They were awesome! I worked with a woman who does radio stuff in Portland, and of course, working for Fred and Carrie was out of this world. I literally could never stop saying bad stuff about them.

DP: Do you have any plans for your comedy after your "Portlandia" debut?

AG: I chose to come to school here in Chicago to be a part of Second City, the iO Theater and the Annoyance Theater to really get a strong foundation toward improv and stand-up comedy.

So far my experience has been awesome, I've been taking classes with iO and the Annoyance. I'm just getting ready to take on bigger things, like Second City.

DP: As a Portland resident, what did you think of the show before you even had the opportunity to be a part of it?

AG: I love the show just because of Fred Armisen from SNL. Getting to see the show, at first I thought of it as "hipster commentary," but then I realized the show has really evolved over time and it's become more of a genuine look at the city of Portland.

They've written sketches about feminist bookstores and bikers, but in all honesty, that is real Portland. People are always asking me if "Portlandia" is real, and I always tell them that it honestly is.

Of course, I didn't realize it until I came to a place like Chicago.

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