You might recognize Lauren Weedman because you've seen her on HBO in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Hung, True Blood, or Looking. Or you might have seen her at Pat's Steaks in South Philadelphia. "I was the middle-aged white lady trying to dance sexy with drinks in her hand," she says.
Weedman has spent this week rambling around Philadelphia, studying our customs for use in her one-woman show, 'Well, I Think You're Beautiful, Philadelphia'.
"Before I got here," she explained, "I asked people for suggestions for titles, and everybody was, like, 'City of 1,000 Smells!' 'Ugliest City in America!' 'Killadelphia!' That, combined with a childhood friend being killed here back in the '90s, made me think it was a city of people running for their lives."
That friend was Kimberly Ernest, 26, beaten to death in 1995 in the infamous unsolved "Center City jogger" case. When I apologize for bringing down the mood with mention of her school pal, she says, "You didn't kill her, did you?"
That kind of quick gallows humor is what Weedman does best, these days exemplified by snarky Doris, the nurse/roommate character who's just about the only female in HBO's recently renewed Looking.
Weedman did her first city-centric one-woman show in May 2013 - The People's Republic of Portland. Boise Contemporary Theater then asked for a similar project, as did Revolutions Theater Festival in Albuquerque.
"The Portland show was - as all my shows are - about myself, so its focus was about how I needed to find a place to raise my kid outside of L.A.," she said in an interview this week. "Our theme in Boise was 'Can Boise save my marriage?' because a psychic there told me it was over - and indeed things had started to feel . . . odd."
"My next show was in Albuquerque. The day before I left, I found my husband had been having a three-year affair. So that show's theme was 'I guess I'm divorced now, Albequerque.' "
"This time I'm in the dating phase ... through Tinder."
One online find took her to view the "Rocky steps" at 2 a.m. "He was telling me all about the movies - 'No. 1 ... in No. 2 ...' It was so wonderful. He explained to me who Rocky is: 'Rocky's real.' Then I got a cheesesteak with the guy."
She mentions sitting at Eastern State Penitentiary thinking about the guy she'd gone out with the night before, who had done a year in federal prison for dealing drugs. "I was thinking how bizarre it is to date at 45. That doesn't sound hilarious, more like a bad sitcom pitch. But it will be funny."
And if not? "If not, it's only 75 or 80 minutes and you're back on the streets, eating and drinking your troubles away, like I've been doing since I arrived."