Brooke Van Poppelen Is Planning for What’s Next

Brooke Van Poppelen
Season 3 of Hack My Life, truTV’s comedic exploration of life hacks, premieres tonight at 10PM. Co-hosts Brooke Van Poppelen and Kevin Pereira have already taught the masses clever, time-saving ways to make an omelette, clean their gutters, and quickly chill a warm beer. This season promises even more tips, tricks, and shortcuts to save time, effort, and money. Brooke called me from Detroit to talk about the new season, figuring out her comedic voice, and breakfast burritos.

Are you in Michigan to visit family or are you doing shows there?

I started a show at Third Man Records in Detroit. We were having a meeting about that. We did our first one at the end of December. We’re hoping that at the end of February I can come back and do another one. It was awesome. It was such a good collaboration. Third Man couldn’t have been more supportive and more amazing to work with. It’s such a good setup. It’s a state-of-the-art facility. They’re on it, dude.

What are your ties to Detroit? I know that you did comedy in Chicago, then New York, now L.A.

I grew up in the Detroit suburbs. I was part of the music scene when I was younger. I was a little scenester in my early twenties before I started comedy. I have a lot of ties and old friends who are still doing music and doing great there. It’s great to reconnect and have music and comedy come full circle where I’m from.

We talked last year when Season 2 of Hack My Life was about to premiere. At that time you mentioned that you had just ghosted New York for L.A. Are you settled in and happy there?

Yeah. It takes a little bit anytime you overhaul your life, but I love the vibe in Los Angeles. It was a good year to reflect and think about the craziness of doing comedy for 13 years without stopping. L.A. lets you enjoy your life and kind of do comedy at a little more of a leisurely pace. Now that I’ve taken stock of everything that I’ve done and I know how I want to move forward I’m excited and feeling tactical about starting my own show locally. I’ve seen what I like in Los Angeles and have tried to figure out how I can fit in and do my own thing. It’s been really lovely. No regrets on moving to L.A.

You also put out your first album in October. How did that feel?

I was thrilled. I was so happy to work with my friends’ independent label in Austin, Sure Thing Records. They’re all comedians, so it’s a comedy label run by comedians. We’ve all been friends and have performed together over the years. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to do something with them and be part of a small group that really cares. It’s been really well received. The great thing about having a product is that you can keep pushing it. It’s evergreen until I make another one.

Is the second album already in the works?

I’d love to do a live special. I feel like that could be a six month or year goal. I’ve taken a little break this past year to rethink my voice and figure out what I want out of standup. The consistent takeaway is that I like to do things my own way. Who knows, maybe I could even approach Third Man in Detroit and film something back home?

You said that you were taking a little time to rethink your voice and figure out what you want out of standup. Could you elaborate on that a little bit?

I’ll start with my personal voice. I think we are experiencing very interesting cultural times right now. Standup — as much as I love it for being goofy, observational, and light-hearted — is…I think we’re moving into a time when I can’t not be topical and talk about the state of the world and politics. I want to think about how I fit into that and how I’m going to approach it. I’ve never really shied away from having strong opinions. It’s just that I’ve never had so many opinions all at once. We’re all kind of going through it. I’m trying to figure out how I can add something to the dialogue that isn’t just more crazy noise. And as far as what I want out of standup, standup isn’t the only thing that I love. It’s something that, when I’m really doing it, I really tend to go for it. But when I’m not sure what it is exactly that I want to put out into the world I tend to back off a little bit and try not to mindlessly do it. I tend to write more and get more involved in other areas of things that I like to do. It’s been a sleepy year for standup for me aside from having the album come out. I also struggled with some health issues, which thankfully are now on the mend. But I had down time that I was sort of forced into.

Season 3 of Hack My Life is about to start up. Can you give us some teasers from this season?

I’m super excited because the food stuff kicks even more ass time around. I genuinely enjoyed some of The Lazy Cook stuff this time. We realized that the food doesn’t have to be gross when we do this. It’s gotten really awesome and clever. I’ve hacked some ways to make your breakfast burrito life really easy. I’m a big breakfast burrito person and we have the best, mind-blowing hack ever. It’s awesome.

I really like the bacon bowl one that you did. But some of the food hacks, like the corn on the cob attached to a drill, are things I would never do.

I’m not sure we agreed that that was a hack in any way, shape, or form. That one can be filed under Ways to Embarrass Brooke and Kevin, which I think is now a regular segment on the show.

How many episodes are in this season?

We did a few more than usual. Last season we did 12, which included a holiday special. It was really fun and people loved it because it pertained to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah. I got to do a segment with Tom Scharpling, who I love. He’s a fan of the show, so we invited him to do a segment and be on The Lazy Cook with us. He was his delightful Tom Scharpling self.

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