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Baroness von Sketch Show’s Carolyn Taylor Talks Clam-juice Culture Shock

The co-creator of Baroness von Sketch Show on the perks of an all-female cast and crew.

Carolyn Taylor

Hometown Montreal

Home Base Toronto

Claim to Fame Comedian, actor and writer with credits on shows like This Hour Has 22 Minutes

Current Project Co-creator, showrunner and star of CBC’s comedy series Baroness von Sketch Show, which returns for a third season this month

Dream Destination New Mexico. “I’d love to hang out with Shirley MacLaine and look for aliens.”


Does your all-female writers' room affect how the show comes together?
I’ve been the only woman in writers’ rooms before, and a lot of energy can go into fitting in. What’s exciting here is the shared experience among the writers – it’s easier to gauge relatability than in a room full of men who know nothing about perimenopause.

The show started airing in the U.S. last year. Is there anything you thought might not work for an American audience?
The big one was the cottage sketch in season 1 where we drink Caesars. They drink Bloody Marys in the U.S., so we did a take with Bloody Marys to be safe. That’s the only time we actually shifted the creative for an American audience.

The sketches can be viewed individually online. Does that affect how you come up with ideas?
We think of a season’s sketches as 150 short films that can be viewed on their own, and that’s how we write them. It’s after the fact that they get put together in the running order for a full episode, with a mix of fast and physical scenes, big production ones and interpersonal sketches.

Do you have a favourite type of character to play?
I like playing the flawed villain. In the scene called “Work Emails” I call Meredith into my office to discuss her e-mail etiquette, and how she’s not using enough exclamation marks and where’s the smiley face and, come on, throw in a poop with eyes! I really like satirizing office culture like that. And I love improvising on set; Meredith and I have a lot of fun riffing when we play characters together.

How much is improvised when you’re shooting?
Some sketches need to follow the script for the comedy or for the point of view to come across, but we do have a lot of improv. We ask our directors to keep the cameras running at the end of the scene because when it’s technically over and we’re just messing around, often an unexpected twist or a nice ending on the ending arrives.

What’s coming up in season 3?
We usually write a season a year before it’s going to air, so topics have to be somewhat evergreen. We have a return to academia – in season 1, we had a queer theory reading group in the sketch Gender Studies and we revisit those characters, but at an academic feminist conference. We dabble in the Cold War, we travel through time a little – not an actual time travelling scene, but we’re ladies in the 1800s. We take on some political topics around gender and sexuality and violence against women. And Billy and Donnie, the construction workers, come back. We’ve got a lot going on in season 3, and it’s 10 episodes, our longest yet.

What do you like watching on when you fly?
Last time I flew I watched Call Me by Your Name, with the little old lady beside me looking over my shoulder, shocked at what she was seeing. And when my castmate Meredith and I were flying to L.A. together, we both watched a great documentary on Warren Buffett. We were like, “OK, are you ready? Ugh, you hit play a second before me, let’s start again.” It took us about 20 minutes to get it right, but once we did, the dividends were fantastic.

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