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September 11, 2013
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‘Funny or Die’ comedian doesn’t hate Lake Tahoe

It’s pretty hard to hate Lake Tahoe, but improv comedian Suzi Barrett found a way to do it.

Well, not really.

Barrett is the comedian behind a short video called “I Hate California: Lake Tahoe” that went up on www.funnyordie.com late last month. The 2-minute, 20-second video has racked up 66,000 views and is likely on — or within one degree of separation of — your Facebook News Feed.

In the video, Barrett tours Lake Tahoe while bemoaning the area’s universally lauded attributes, griping about things like “stupid sense of adventure,” “stupid nonstop fun” and “bunch of fresh air in my ears.” The video also includes the soon-to-be-heard-on-the-slopes phrase “butt tunnels.”

It is sarcasm to the extreme, and it’s funny.

Most people have gotten the joke, Barrett said during a Monday phone interview. Some commenters have urged her to give the lake another chance. Despite her attitude in the video, which contains more than its fair share of foul language, Barrett isn’t actually the world’s worst tourist.

The 34-year-old comedian is a Michigan native who teaches and performs at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles. She has also appeared in commercials for Metamucil and Esurance.

The few days Barrett spent at Lake Tahoe in April filming the clip were her first in the area. She said she is the complete opposite of the character portrayed in the video.

“We’d turn off the camera and say, ‘Oh my god, can you believe how lucky we are,’” Barrett said about her and producer Lauren Smitelli. The pair went on a two-week road trip to create the “I Hate California” video series.

The five-part effort arose out of a similar video about Los Angeles Barrett did for a friend in 2009, she said. The original video wasn’t intended to go viral, but gained popularity, leading comedy website www.funnyordie.com to contact Barrett in February about doing a series of videos about other areas of California, Barrett said.

A video poking fun at San Francisco was also released in August. “I Hate California: Wine Country” was released this week. Shorts lovingly bashing the California coast and camping in California should be out soon, Barrett said.

The vasty majority of the Lake Tahoe clip was improvised from just touring the area, Barrett said. She said she had more than 1,000 video segments from her time in the area. Editing the clips down to just more than two minutes was the time-consuming part, Barrett said.

“Editing time was brutal,” Barrett said, estimating it took between 40 and 50 hours to get the jokes in the right order and get the comedic timing right.

The timing of the visit may have been just right for Barrett, who said she is considering becoming a Lake Tahoe resident one day.

“I love it. I may retire there,” Barrett said.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Sep 12, 2013 03:32PM Published Sep 18, 2013 11:52AM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.