This month, we had the pleasure of interviewing moms and comedians Leeann Dearing and Michelle Fortin. With over 40 million views on their many viral videos, including one that was adored by Joanna Gaines herself, this duo is a force to be reckoned with! Read more to find out about their journey, the process behind their videos, and advice for creatives!
Q Please tell us a little bit about yourselves and what you do!
A We are Leeann Dearing and Michelle Fortin - two moms from Arizona who love to make you laugh! We make comedy through many mediums; parodies, sketch humor, commercial production and live shows. Our many viral videos have racked up nearly 40million views and they’ve been featured across local and national media outlets - including: USA Today, The New York Times, TODAY, Inside Edition, Southern Living, and PARENTS.
We have backgrounds in commercial acting, television news, and comedy. We have provided video talent for numerous brands, appear regularly on local media, sell out our improv shows (when there's not a global pandemic), and even earned the adoration of the one and only, Joanna Gaines (true story).
Q How did you guys become Leeann and Michelle and what made you want to do comedy?
A Way back in 2017, I (Michelle) had just completed my very first improv comedy class when I was asked to perform for a large MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at my home church, Scottsdale Bible Church. I needed a partner! Leeann was an acquaintance, another local mom who I knew did improv - so I asked her if she would do the show with me. I said, "I've been doing improv for five minutes and one person told me I'm funny. You've been doing improv for a decade, so I know you're funny. Want to do this thing?" She said yes! The rest, as they say, is history. The show went very well and we decided to keep making comedy together. Later that year, we had two parodies go back to back viral (If You're My Friend Then You'll Buy This and What Would Joanna do?). After that, our platform grew and we've been at it ever since.
"I've been doing improv for five minutes and one person told me I'm funny. You've been doing improv for a decade, so I know you're funny. Want to do this thing?"
Q What is the creative process like behind your skits and videos?
A Honestly, it varies every time. For parodies, I (Michelle) usually come up with an idea (I listen to top 40, while Leeann only listens to show tunes). I'll find a song, come up with an idea and sketch out a script. I'll send it to Leeann, who re-writes every last word (but makes it 10 times better). She's also the one who knows music, plays music, sings - so she's better at that part. I'm the idea person!
For sketches, we have a long list of ideas that's constantly growing. We try to save them for our clients. We've been blessed to work with several businesses who see the value of attracting clients with comedy. Again, we'll go back and forth while writing scripts. On set, we'll stick to the script - but also leave room for our first love, improv.
Recently, we've been making videos about the Enneagram - a personality tool that's incredibly interesting. We improv our way through the nine Enneagram types in different scenarios - at Starbucks, Breastfeeding, using a planner, etc... we have nearly 50 of these videos up on our YouTube channel!
Q What has been your proudest moment so far and what do you hope to accomplish in your career?
A We have many moments we're proud of: memorable moments from live shows, being interviewed by people we greatly admire, and creating so many videos we love. However, our proudest moment so far is the success of our "Look what Joanna Made Us Do" video. Joanna Gaines actually saw it, loved it, sent us PRESENTS and a signed card, which we now have framed and often show off at our live shows. There's no shame in our brag game.
Together, we hope to accomplish bringing a bit of joy into people's lives! It's a simple goal, but one we take great pride in. We want to continue being the best full time moms we can be, while creating comedy that impacts and inspires people.
"..we've learned to just do SOMETHING. It's okay to let it be bad at first"
Q How do you get out of a creative block?
A Good question! Ugh, creative blocks are the worst and they definitely happen more often than we like. However, we've learned to just do SOMETHING. It's okay to let it be bad at first. We give ourselves deadlines and put something on paper. If it's rubbish, it will eventually work itself out - we just keep trying. Once you free yourself up to be bad, good things can happen.
Favorite video you’ve made?
L: Marcella the Minimalist
M: The Diet: A Parody of The Bachelor
L: Angela Landsbury
M: Melissa McCarthy
Best advice you’ve received?
L: Creativity is discipline, there's no shortcut. There's no way to have fast genius. It's just a grind.
M: Everything you put out there has to be better than the last thing. It doesn't need to be the best thing you've ever done, you just need to keep getting better.
- Interestingly, both of these pieces of advice are from Leeann's husband - Matthew Dearing - an amazing acting coach.
Improv or script?
Q Lastly if you were to give a title to your life story, what would it be and why?
A Leeann: Laughter-Induced Incontinence: How L&M won the hearts of women by causing them to tinkle a little
Michelle: Let her Laugh, for when she is done, she will have peed - a Mom Comic's Memoir