Last week, the Internet fell in love with a video of a fake Lena Dunham auditioning for Zero Dark Thirty. “I just feel like maybe you don’t understand the severity of this situation,” fake Lena says in the middle of her audition. “If I actually have to waterboard you, that is really going to scar me, like emotionally.”
The video, which now has almost half a million YouTube views and was even praised by Lena herself, was created by up-and-coming comedian, NYU alumna, and proud redhead Chelsea Davison. Davison, 24, grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland before attending NYU as an acting major in Tisch’s Meisner Studio. In addition to creating funny videos, she now works as a freelance copywriter, writes and illustrates for her comedy blog called What I Fucked Up, and performs stand-up gigs in New York.
NYU Local recently caught up with Davison, who talked about her time at Tisch, how the Lena Dunham audition video came about, and some other exciting projects she’s working on now.
Unlike some other notable alumnus, Davison “absolutely loved” her time at Tisch. She always knew that she wanted to act and was thrilled when she was accepted into Tisch’s Meisner Studio. One of her favorite acting courses was Clowning, in which students attempt to find their own unique clown character. “It’s terrifying, and you just fail and fail and fail. But you really grow a lot a as a person, just having to humiliate yourself,” she said. Davison was also an RA in Rubin Hall for two of her four years at NYU, which she described as “amazing” and “one of her favorite parts of NYU.”
While she was at NYU, Davison started blogging for Ology.com. She eventually worked on a couple of advertising projects for the site, which is how she ended up as a freelance copywriter in the field. However, in recent months, Davison has decided to cut down on the copywriting in order to focus more on her comedy. “That was one of my resolutions for the year, to kind of do it more,” she said. “Because I do comedy, but it had always been kind of a side thing. And when I actually focus on it, it seems like things come out of that. So, I would like to spend more time actually giving it a shot.”
Davison’s Lena Dunham audition video came about as a result of a gig she landed at the People’s Improv Theater. In order for her to perform there, she needed to have some character pieces and impressions prepared, so she started practicing. “One of them that I really loved was Lena Dunham,” Davison said. “I knew I wanted to put her in a very inappropriate situation, because she is very focused on the inane, stupid things. Everything’s about her. […] So to put her in some sort of life and death situation where she makes it all about her I thought would be really funny.”
When the video was completed, Davison sent it around to some of her friends, but was still “really surprised” at the huge reaction it received. Earlier this week, she posted a follow-up video on YouTube, which flips the script and has Zero Dark Thirty‘s Jessica Chastain audition for Girls. “Look, 100%, I’m the voice of my generation,” fake Jessica Chastain says in her audition. “Okay, fine. 95%, because I know certainty freaks you guys out, but it’s 100.”
In addition to creating comedic videos, Davison performs stand-up sets at venues such as EastVille Comedy Club, Broadway Comedy Club, and The PIT. She writes weekly posts with her own illustrations for her comedic blog What I Fucked Up, and at present, she is developing a web series with her boyfriend about a group of Dungeons & Dragons players.
You can keep up with Davison’s latest endeavors by following her on Twitter.