Comedy is often the presence of the absurd in otherwise quite serious circumstances. Monika Smith is one of Hollywood’s comedic actresses that has become increasingly of note in this world due to her work on shows like Adult Swim’s Newsreaders. Newsreaders is the spinoff of Adult Swim’s Childrens Hospital produced by The Corddry Company (established by Emmy award-winning actor and comedian Rob Corddry of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, HBO’s Ballers, Hot Tub Time Machine, and Childrens Hospital). Many of the Corddry Company productions use an eclectic cast to add an impression of reality to their fictionalized comedy productions. Appearing in addition to Monika are personalities and actors like Dan Rather, Jane Seymour, Ed Begley Jr., Dave Foley, Conan O’Brien, Billy Ray Cyrus, David Hasselhoff, and countless others. This series requires actors of major presence and talent to perform with such recognizable faces and not become overshadowed. Smith more than met this challenge with her role as Cammie on Newsreaders.
Los Angeles may be a big city but the entertainment community is quite small for both the famous and those not as widely known professionals. Canadian born comedic actress Monika Smith had made a name for herself early on in Canada as part of Second City, the famous improv sketch comedy group. After moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, she also became involved in LA’s Second City as well as the Upright Citizens Brigade and Nerdist. Possessing this background and her talents as an actress quickly gained her acceptance into the LA comedy community. She tells, “I felt very much a part of the community right away. When it came to my work on Newsreaders, every writer, producer and actor on that show is an exceptional comedian so the bar definitely was raised. The environment was accepting, every joke was yes-anded. The comedy world in Los Angeles can feel small at times, and this was one of those moments where I felt I got to be a part of something special.”
Being a part of the LA improv comedy world can mean that you sometimes work with the same people, whether onstage or on set. When Monika auditioned for the role, she was aware of the great writers, producers, and cast members, but did not expect to be working with Thomas Middleditch (Emmy nominated lead actor in HBO’s Silicon Valley). Smith reveals, “I had performed with Thomas before this at some improv shows, and on an improvised web show (Improvise Live), so working with him was easy as we already knew each other’s styles, plus we have the bond of both being Canadian. On Newsreaders I played Cammie who was doing an undercover interview with the lead of the show who plays the reporter. Thomas Middleditch played my boyfriend and we were supposed to be in school paying for our tuition using the bang bus. The newsreaders host was interviewing us in order to catch our boss, who was supposed to be using it illegally.”
One of the stereotypes that Newsreaders like to play off of is the idea that television news personalities are more possessing of pleasing aesthetics than the intellect to properly process the information they disseminate. With all of Monika’s success as a comedic actor, who also had a thriving modeling career with Ford and Elite modeling agencies (before focusing on her acting career), she proves that this stereotype does not apply to this actor. Commenting about this idea she states, “I don’t think looks are as important in comedy. Comedy is about the circumstances created and the reactions of the people within it. Being beautiful isn’t a trope of comedy. But, this is Hollywood, so looks always factor in.”