Local Married Couple Flaunts Public Comedy Habit
Chloe and Lane Ingram are ... Chlane
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
7:00AM, Thu. Jun. 20, 2019
So, there’s that married comedy duo in town, Chloe and Lane Ingram, who perform together onstage as Chlane.
They’ve had a residency at ColdTowne Theater on Airport Boulevard for a couple of months now – they were part of the recent Austin Sketch Fest – and so, following the scene’s buzz, we figured it was time to see what’s up with the two nuptially entangled knuckleheads.
To, you know, tell you a few things about them – and about the various shticks and tones they throw to their growing fanbase.
Thus, the Chronicle’s Laura Jones provides a solid review of the current Chlane show … and your man Brenner, always glad for an excuse to swig more java at Thunderbird Coffee on Manor, went and interviewed the couple a few days ago:
Austin Chronicle: How did you guys meet each other?
Chloe Ingram: We both went to UT, a million years ago. I was an architecture student. Lane had already graduated – he was an RTF major.
Lane Ingram: I was just hangin’ out, smokin’ cigarettes by the –
Chloe: By the Architecture building –
Lane: By the dormitories, getting the cops called on me. [laughs] No, ah, we met in the parking lot of the Alamo Drafthouse Village. It had just opened, it was right around Valentine’s Day of 2003, and we met through some mutual friends. We had friends who worked at the Texas Travesty, the UT humor publication. Chloe was working on the Travesty as well.
Chloe: I was still too nervous to be a performer, but I loved comedy, and the Travesty looked like the one thing on UT’s campus that I could be a part of that was comedy-related. And I met a lot of friends because of that, and I ended up meeting him.
Lane: Yeah, in the Alamo parking lot – at a screening of Daredevil.
Austin Chronicle: [laughs] Oh jeez, that piece of …
Lane: Yeah, piece of shit.
[Pause for a diatribe by your Chronicle reporter, in which he rants about the stupidity of the Daredevil casting, even though he’s never actually seen the fucking movie, has he?]
Lane: And then, a couple weeks later, we met at a party. And we clicked over Simpsons quotes.
Chloe: We were both obsessed with classic Simpsons. And I remember being so, just, enamored with this person. Because he was the natural storyteller of the friend group. People really gravitated toward Lane. At a party, a semicircle would just form around him, and Lane would kind of hold court.
Lane: It’s because of the smell.
Chloe: Yeah, the smell – everybody was gathered around, trying to create a barrier for the rest of the partygoers.
Austin Chronicle: [laughs, shakes head]
Chloe: But he was just this dynamic, this, you know, charismatic person. But he also was super funny – and that was the number one thing that drew me to him.
Lane: Chloe was magnetic in a way that, ah, she reflects back on that time and says she was a wallflower. I don’t fully buy that. She was very captivating, and incredibly smart and hilariously funny and witty – but in a quieter way. You sort of had to lean in to get it? And I was so drawn to this woman, and – she had a boyfriend at the time. A quote-unquote "boyfriend." So we were just friends for a while. And then, later, we started dating – a little over 15 years ago, April of 2004. And then we got married, and it’s coming up on 12 years.
Chloe: We’ve just always had a shared love of comedy, growing up with The Simpsons – and SNL, Caddyshack, Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters. And we loved seeing comedy, so we’d travel to different cities – New York, L.A., what-have-you – to go to comedy festivals or theatres. But never did it enter into our minds that we could do comedy.
Austin Chronicle: Lane, you weren’t already a performer?
Lane: My kooky story is, I was too anxious. I kind of struggled with a bit of a failure-to-launch thing, where I loved making my friends laugh, but I was petrified about owning it and being a performer.
Chloe: Like you can’t tell that the world is his stage. He’s a natural performer.
Lane: I’m just a sweaty ball of energy.
Austin Chronicle: But …
Lane: You know what it was, that drew us together? She loves Chris Farley. And when she saw me, she thought, “This is a Chris Farley Junior type.” I was a sweaty – well, I was thinner at the time – about 30 or 40 pounds lighter than what you see here today – but I had that Big Ball of Energy going. But, when I got to UT, I wanted to be Quentin Tarantino – that was my be-all, end-all. I was 14 when Pulp Fiction came out, and I went to UT, to do the RTF thing. But when I got there, I was like, “I’m not gonna be Quentin Tarantino.” But, you know, I could spot the people who were.
Chloe: The people who were meant to be writers and directors.
Lane: Yeah, and it took me a while to come around to the idea that I should be more of a performer-type goofball. I wasn’t willing to admit that. So, the first thing I did, right out of college, I worked in radio. I interned at the Dudley & Bob radio show on KLBJ, and they had me doing all sorts of crazy, ah – they were shooting me with water cannons, they had me in my underwear, getting spanked by dominatrixes on the air. And then I got sidetracked working for news radio, working for KLBJ AM, reporting the news. I did that at a radio station in Dallas, too, doing news reports and stuff. And then one day I was like, “What am I doing? I wanted to be Quentin Tarantino, cut to five or six years later and I’m reporting on a conservative news talk-show station. What am I doing with myself?!” And Chloe is like, “Let’s sign up for improv classes.”
Lane: We’re still comedy fans, first and foremost. Some people who do comedy are kind of like comedy snobs. But we still geek out and everything, we’re fans.
Chloe: We watch The Office every night before going to bed – it’s like our lullaby.
Lane: We still watch SNL.
Chloe: We watch it every week.
Lane: But Chloe inspired me to go to grad school. So I quit radio to become a therapist, which is what I do now – my day job.
Austin Chronicle: What sort of therapy?
Lane: I work with people with anxiety. I have a little private practice near UT. And so I’m doing that, and Chloe’s in grad school for architecture, and in the middle of all this, she says “Let’s take improv classes!”
Chloe: It just felt like we were doing so much on the academic side, and we were living in far north Fort Worth.
Austin Chronicle: Oh, jeez.
Chloe: Yeah, it was a place to live.
Lane: Over by the Texas Motor Speedway.
Chloe: And I was like, we’ve just gotta try something. It was kind of a dare to each other: Let’s try improv. And I knew he would be a natural at it. But I wanted to do it because I was so terrified of being in the spotlight. I was fine around my friends, but the idea of strangers looking at me, and just putting myself out there, it was so scary. But, at the same time, I was self-aware enough to know I shouldn’t be this afraid of something. And I knew this would be really beneficial. So we thought we’d take a Level One class, just a small commitment, nothing’s gonna happen with it –
Chloe: And here we are, 10 years later. We studied in Fort Worth, then decided to move to Chicago for a couple of years – to continue our post-graduate comedy studies.
Lane: Our comedy journey.
Chloe: And we studied at IO –
Lane: That’s Improv Olympic. And Second City. So, the couple of big comedy theatres in Chicago. And we got really into it, and the comedy scene in Chicago was incredible – but we could not handle the winter. The winter’s like seven, eight months out of the year. After a couple of those, we were ready to go back to Texas. So, five years ago, we moved back to Austin.
Austin Chronicle: Where are y’all from originally?
Lane: We’re both from the Dallas area, even though we met down here.
Chloe: Our families are still up there.
Lane: We were away from Austin for about 10 years, and then found our way back in 2014. And were so glad to be back.
Chloe: It’s one of those things where, every day, I’m like, “I’m so glad I live here.” I love it – it feels like home. And the comedy community –
Lane: It’s awesome.
Chloe: It’s blown up, too, and it’s becoming more and more nuanced, with so many different types of comedy.
Austin Chronicle: And not all the stand-up comics hate all the improvisers. Mostly, maybe, but not all of them.
Lane: Yeah, Dallas had a little bit of that.
Chloe: Dallas definitely had that Sharks-versus-Jets kind of mentality. And it’s cool to see crossovers between the two. In fact, the director of our show, Katie Stone, she’s done stand-up, and then she got sucked into improv, and she threatens to just keep going back and forth. So we conned her into being our director, through friendship.
Lane: Katie’s about to become an advertising executive – probably in Los Angeles. So she’ll make a lot more money in advertising than any of us comedy people – but she’s fantastic and did a wonderful job directing. So the thing that’s really been sinking in, now that we have a little more perspective – now that we’ve been doing the show for weeks – we’ve realized that one of the things Katie was tasked with was wrangling a married couple who have 15 years of history and baggage. We bring all that shit to the table – the neuroses and anxieties, all that stuff.
Chloe: Nervous energy. All the things that creative people suffer.
Austin Chronicle: Is this the first time that y’all have been onstage together?
Lane: No, we’ve done stuff before – but there’s a big difference with this one. Wouldn’t you say, Chloe?
Chloe: Yeah, we have a two-person improv duo – which is Chlane – and then, through several iterations of performing at Coldtowne and Fallout – we were able to get to know Will Cleveland and the other folks at ColdTowne, and they got to know our comedy stylings. And we’d been talking with Will about, “Could you ever see us doing a sketch show?” Just like how we were nervous to do improv, and we did it, we were nervous to do sketch.
Lane: We had done sketch, though. We’d done a lot of sketch comedy, but it had either been done separately or we’d worked on individual pieces that would fit into a larger show. The difference here is that we’re hanging our name on it, saying “This is An Evening with Chlane,” it’s an hour of just the two of us.
Austin Chronicle: And it’s sketch?
Chloe: It’s sketch, yeah.
Lane: But a lot of it is inspired by improv we’ve done together over the years. Also, the other difference, we do a style of improv that you don’t often see in Austin. It’s called the Organic Style.
Chloe: It’s very Chicago-based.
Lane: It’s a lot different from the UCB, which is more what they call “premise-based.” We do what’s called “organic transitions,” where you’re trying to create the illusion that every scene is sort of morphing into another scene.
Chloe: It blends from one to another, it’s very woo-woo.
Lane: Yeah, it’s woo-woo.
Chloe: People will sometimes come up and be like, “I don’t know what I saw, but that’s cool.” And that’s what I want.
Lane: And the greatest compliment – a friend of ours, Mason Pitluk, who helps run the Fallout Theatre, he came up after the first time he’d ever seen us do our two-person improv. And he goes, “I know what y’all are up to: Y’all are up there trying to fuck each other.”
Austin Chronicle: [laughs]
Lane: And we hadn’t thought of it from that point of view, but it really changed our energy onstage.
Chloe: It’s not that the scenes are necessarily about sex – there’s just a lot of chemistry between us. And, hearing that description from a friend who’d been observing, I was like, “Oooh, I think we can embrace that.”