Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci of Garfunkel and Oates take the stage in Chicago.
It’s a little ironic that Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, better known as musical comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates, named their band after two famous second fiddles. In just seven years together, the pair have reached millions via their YouTube channel, scored their own show — “Garfunkel and Oates,” which debuted on IFC Aug. 7 — and booked the House of Blues Chicago for Sept. 6. All signs point to the fact that these women are anything but second string.
That said, it was definitely a slow rise to fame for Lindhome, 35, and Micucci, 34. Now inseparable friends, the two met nearly a decade ago while on dates at LA’s famous Upright Citizens Brigade comedy show. “We were kinda not enjoying our dates,” admits Micucci. “I noticed Riki [in the lobby] and struck up a conversation and we totally hit it off. By the end of the night we had gone out to drinks after the show. I remember my date going, ‘You like Riki better than you like me.’ And that was true.” (But don’t feel too bad for their dates: “I’m sure they’re fine,” Lindhome laughs. “Maybe they’re in a comedy band together, who knows?”)
While their bond was instantaneous, it took the 2008 writers’ strike to bring Garfunkel and Oates to fruition. While on break from her guest role on “The Big Bang Theory” — a sitcom Micucci has also guest starred on — Lindhome decided she wanted to turn a short movie into a musical, and tapped her pal to help. “We put the songs up on YouTube and then kind of forgot about it,” remembers Lindhome. “All of a sudden we realized that people had starting watching these two videos. We thought, ‘Okay, let’s make another one,’ and we kept going from there until we had enough songs where we said, ‘Let’s play live [and] see what happens.’ ”
Now they’re touring the country, belting out hilarious tunes like “Save the Rich” and the relationship ballad “My Apartment’s Very Clean Without You.” But even if you’ve seen them live before, Lindhome and Micucci insist that you’re still in for some surprises. “Every show is different,” says Lindhome. “It’s always stories or songs or whatever’s on our mind that night. It’s a really silly and fun night.” Micucci adds, “It’s always a blast.”
When they’re not on tour, the laugh-out-loud ladies are back in LA filming episodes of their show, which combines sitcom structure with musical interludes — all based largely on Lindhome’s and Micucci’s personal lives. “My character has a story arc where I’m diagnosed with Peter Pan Syndrome, which is actually something that I was told I had by a therapist,” laughs Micucci. “And I got my eggs frozen in real life and then that was a two-part episode in the show,” says Lindhome. That authenticity is what makes the show so enjoyable — Lindhome and Micucci come across like they could be your friends. It’s what’s drawn in millions of viewers, and big-name guest stars like Ben Kingsley and the real John Oates.
The newfound irony of their stage name isn’t lost on the duo. “It’s surreal,” Micucci says. “We just feel insanely lucky.”
See Garfunkel and Oates live Saturday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. Tickets ($41.05) are available at Ticketmaster.com.
“We love all the other musical comedy people, like Weird Al and Lonely Island [above],” says Micucci. “We get inspiration from all of [them].”
• “I have a frog that’s 27 years old,” laughs Micucci. “No wait, I’m lying. It’s 20. I just lied by seven years, that’s a lot. I got him in the mail.”
• “I can’t think of anything — is that weird?” confesses Lindhome. “I talk about everything. I’m not really what you’d call a private person.”
Lindhome: “Mine was The Beach Boys [inset].”
Micucci: “Mine was Three Dog Night, so I guess we’re old-school.” Lindhome laughs, “I guess we lived in small towns.”