You may not know Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci by their real names yet, but you’ve probably caught them on Youtube as their alter ego comedy band, Garfunkel and Oates. The duo garnered millions of views for their takes on the smugness of pregnant women, breaking up with someone by avoiding them until they stop calling and a host of less printable topics. They’re now starring in a fictionalized version of their lives for IFC called “Garfunkel and Oates.” It’s a surreal take on the world, wherein a puppet plays their manager and Micucci, the more innocent of the two, has to audition for a very sexy scene only to discover that she’ll be performing the scene with Ben Kingsley. We talked to them about how they picked their character names and what it’s like to work with Sir Ben.
You’ve named the characters after yourselves. How close are they to what you’re like in real life?
Lindhome: I think they’re based on us. We’re like the jumping off point, but they’re maybe more exaggerated versions of ourselves.
Micucci: We talked about it, and we were like, do we name our characters our names? And it just seemed like the logical thing to do.
RL: It would have felt too weird like calling you Deborah.
KM: Yeah, I’m definitely not a Deborah.
RL: You’re such a Deborah. What would my name be?
KM: Um. Estelle.
Estelle and Deborah are a little old fashioned.
RL: Yeah, they are. Estelle Getty? Is that who you were naming me after?
KM: I don’t know!
RL: I was naming you after Deborah Gibson. You’re welcome.
KM: Oh, thank you. Well then, I guess I’ll go with Estelle Getty.
Debbie Gibson might be a little better.
KM: I know! Sorry. I wasn’t thinking ahead.
RL: At least mine’s alive.
How did you pick Ben Kingsley as the most awkward person for Kate to have to hit on in an audition?
RL: We just got incredibly lucky. Our casting director had a connection to him somehow, and she reached out and talked with him about it and he said yes, and we were just thrilled.
KM: Yeah, I mean we couldn’t believe it when he said yes. We were so excited.
RL: Yeah. The show is basically us, all of our friends and Ben Kingsley.
Was Ben Kingsley OK with you getting pink lipstick all over him?
KM: He was totally game for everything. He’s such a nice man. Also, to look into his eyes is very mesmerizing. He’s very handsome.
Did you get lost in the moment while you were filming with him?
KM: Yeah, a little bit.
What other difficult situations will we see you guys get into on the show?
KM: We meet our porn equivalents.
RL: Yeah, we meet the people who play us in a Garfunkel and Oates porn.
KM: As far as we know, that does not exist.
RL: We looked. It’s hard to figure out if it exists, but I don’t believe that it does.
KM: Our characters try to go on more serious journeys in episodes 7 and 8, but still entertaining!
RL: Kate dates a high schooler.
Are auditions for sexy scenes really that awkward?
RL: They’re so awkward! They really, really are. Some parts, that’s all you’re really being judged on. It’s hard to convey. At least for the two of us.
KM: I once had an audition where I had to give a blow job in the scene. How do you do that? It was very tricky.
RL: Whoa. I would pass on that audition, I think.
KM: I put a piece of paper in front of my face.
RL: There you go. That is so awkward!
KM: It was awful.
See them live!
The band is out on tour now (check www.garfunkelandoates.com for full details) but will be in Boston December 6 at the Wilbur. Tickets are $30-$190, and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.