“You should always find a stranger to obsess over, and then genetically modify yourself for that stranger!” True, it’s no, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” or “Thou shalt not kill,” but the sage counsel offered by Danielle Uhlarik in the guise of the Little Mermaid in her series of “Advice From A Cartoon Princess” YouTube videos has reached one and a half million viewers. The popularity of her ironic creations notwithstanding, Danielle — a writer, filmmaker and established performer with The Second City improv and sketch comedy club — has plenty left to say in her own voice.
As an actor, writer, filmmaker and comedian, you seem to wear more hats than the average sufferer of male pattern baldness. Which of your roles do you most relish?
That’s so hard! I love them all. I know that there are these real defined boxes in Hollywood that people want you to fit into — either actor, writer, producer. But I guess it depends on the project. I write all the time: I wake up in the middle of the night and write. Most of the 4 a.m. stuff is probably not worthy of seeing the light of day. I really, really enjoy performing, too, but I can’t imagine doing just one forever.
But if you had to do one for the rest of your life?
If I had to do one for the rest of my life, I would have the best writers in the world create roles for me to perform while I produced the show… and wrote the script for it.
Oh, so you’re being crafty?
I would also think that being a performer and providing people with a face to associate your name with might be a good jumping-off point when trying to get your work produced. Have you found that to be true?
Yeah, definitely. The other thing that helps, too, is that I usually write roles for myself, roles that I know I want to play.
So you’ve had a lot of success Second City — first, writing and performing at the club’s Chicago location, and now as a writer and performer for The Second City Network YouTube channel. So how have you evolved as a comedian from where you started with Second City to where you are now?
Well, I’ve had lots of birthdays and I’ve literally grown inches. But outside of that, I think the experiences I’ve had have helped me to get more stories out through writing. I’ve written a film that I produced and starred in — it’s already gone around the festival circuit and won some comedy awards. I’ve really honed my writing craft and have what people call a voice, I guess. But the older I get, I think mainly I’ve really just gotten more comfortable wearing princess dresses.