What Patti Harrison Is Listening to Right Now

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Patti Harrison

Patti Harrison is a comedic sleeper agent. Whether she’s playing the sardonic office assistant Ruthie on Shrill, a short-fused campaign worker on Search Party, or a disconcertingly Santa-obsessed co-worker on I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson, Harrison is that rare type of actor whose supporting characters frequently steal scenes and leave you wanting a spinoff. But as she proves in the endearing new movie Together Together, her talents go beyond the oddball bit parts. She’s got main character energy—and main character nuance—in spades.

But even as her mainstream star rises, Harrison, 30, remains a steadfast weirdo. (See a recent incident involving Sia, Nilla Wafers, and bisexuality, which resulted in her suspension from Twitter.) During lockdown, Harrison, Sasami Ashworth, and Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko formed an absurdist hardcore trio called the Dildo Police for a performance at the L.A. comedy series Weirdo Night. As Harrison explains by phone, their lone track, “I Am Not Gay,” comes from “the point of view of a guy who’s screaming about how he’s not gay, and the breakdown is full of really high screams and low guttural growls.”

Harrison met Tamko back in Brooklyn, where the two would occasionally appear on mixed music and comedy bills. While the shows themselves could be hit-or-miss, Harrison recalls how thrilling it was to be around music, especially after growing up in small-town Ohio. “There’s a symbiotic relationship between comedians and musicians where we each admire what the other has, in terms of how we express ourselves,” she says. “If you’re a serious musician and people find out that you’re funny, it’s delightful. But since comedy is often critical of others, when you try to do something serious it’s like, ‘Oh, this person who’s been shitting on everyone for three years now wants to release an album called My Hopes?’ I’ve always wanted to quietly make earnest music, but my butthole is completely puckered in terror at the idea of being sincere.”

We caught up with Harrison to discuss some of the music she’s been enjoying lately, from ferocious German metalcore to sleek and sexy indie rock. “If no one stops me,” she adds, “I’ll keep talking about music until my teeth rattle out of my mouth.”


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Patti Harrison: I had a moment in lockdown where I felt really nostalgic and revisited a lot of the metalcore and screamo music that I loved in high school, to see if any of it still holds up. I stopped listening to metal from college until now basically, because when I tried to in college it was really a deterrent for people. I think listening to metal in high school was me being edge-lordy or feeling like I had this thing that no one else liked, but I needed to reassimilate into society a little bit.

 

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