Insanely competitive housewife Gayle Waters-Waters, of Chris Fleming’s Web series “Gayle,” hails from the fictional town of Northbread, Massachusetts. But Fleming will tell you, it’s basically Stowe. That’s where he grew up, where his parents (his mother plays Gayle’s rival/friend Bonnie, and his dad plays Gayle’s husband Dave) still live, and where most of the show is shot. They even share a zip code.
It’s a perfect showcase for Fleming, who excels at both physical comedy and getting all the little details, from Gayle’s impressive array of matching vests and pants to her freakout over the lack of volunteer activities on her daughter Terry’s college application. He also got to work out his dance skills in a TV commercial for Loctite glue that ran during the Super Bowl.
Fleming brings “Gayle Live” to the Brattle Theatre Friday. The early show is already sold out, but there are a few tickets left for the late show. For those unfamiliar with the character, Fleming has been taping a series of shorts featuring Gayle ranting in her car (check out her St. Paddy’s Day-themed edition below). Shooting for the rest of season three begins in May.
Where does the live show pick up? Is it part of the timeline of the Web series? Do we see Gayle and Bonnie on the lam?
Oh, you mean the wedding? The wedding was a flashback. That was the one time it ever went back in the past, I guess in the ’80s. This does pick up in season three. It’s all kind of centered around the new development, and the fear that Bonnie and Gayle have of being obsolete in the face of the new development.
Will your parents be joining you on this show?
Yeah. We haven’t done the show with them for a while. It’s been just me and Melissa doing kind of deconstructive shows. The last couple of shows have been kind of crazy. They’ve been a little more sketch [oriented]. This one more closely resembles the Web series in that we have Linda coming back, we have Bonnie coming back. We’ve got Rick Gausmann, we’ve got Dave. Bruce is in Florida, so he can’t do it.
The show is selling out in other cities, but does it mean more to you to sell out in your hometown?
Oh yeah. Boston’s the best. They’re always the best shows. It means way more. I guess because it’s kind of unique to New England and to Massachusetts, the show. And the fact that we shoot it all here. I think people like that. I care most about Boston shows.
Do you know people like Gayle?
Oh yeah. You bet I did. Oh yeah. I didn’t realize it was a thing that was outside of Stowe. I guess I would recognize it in Natick and stuff. But I didn’t realize it was such a national thing, and overseas, too. But yeah, I knew a fair share of people like Gayle in my childhood.
Have you started shooting next season yet?
No. There are going to be a lot of puppets in the next [stretch]. There’s a Jimmy Buffett. People’s pumpkins will get eaten by squirrels and stuff. You’ll go outside and there’ll be big chunks taken out of your decorative pumpkins. Turns out Jimmy Buffett has been doing that. He’s like a feral fisher cat. Jimmy Buffet is like a neighborhood pest. There’s a new group of girls called “The Jennys,” 15 little girls on razor scooters that attack the town like conquistadors. They’re so young they don’t recognize Santa anymore. They recognize “Gigi the Christmas Snake.” “Gigi the Christmas Snake” is going to be this big animatronic lizard that delivers gifts. We’ve been planning this stuff. We’ll be shooting as soon as the snow melts in May.
Do you want to keep doing Gayle or are you reaching a point where you want to move on?
As soon as it starts to feel repetitive, if we feel we’ve exhausted all the different possibilities. When we’re sick of it, that’s when it’ll end. The new writing is exploring different subsets of suburban culture. Like “Mall Couples” for example, that was the most fun episode to make. Just painting these pictures of different groups or different cultures that I saw growing up in Stowe and in Massachusetts. There’s still a lot more of that to do.
Friday March 20 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre