The women behind the musical-comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates don't look like troublemakers.
Kate Micucci, with her ukulele and doe-eyed reactions to the chaos around her, made her the ideal candidate to play a fragile geek on "The Big Bang Theory," so intimidated by big-hearted Raj that she climbed out a bathroom window in the middle of a date. Guitar player Riki Lindhome, who had a recurring role on "Gilmore Girls," exudes a Midwest-bred wholesomeness straight out of "Little House on the Prairie."
But it's those innocent first impressions that allow them to get away with comic murder.
On their IFC self-titled series as well as on a tour that brings them to Minneapolis on Friday, the longtime friends perform peppy, poppy numbers (that have titles like "Sex With Ducks," "Gay Boyfriend" and "This Party Took a Turn for the Douche") with "Sesame Street"-like enthusiasm — and lyrics that would make Grover's hair fall out.
We spoke to the red-hot pair by phone from their apartments in Los Angeles:
Q: For a comedian, going on the road sounds awfully lonely. How much of an advantage is it to have a partner both on and off the stage?
Lindhome: I don't know how standups do it by themselves. I think I would get so sad just sitting in airports hour after hour. We were recently in a TGI Fridays in the Dallas airport. Nobody wants to do that alone.
Micucci: We were sitting there writing songs while eating cheese quesadillas in our own weird bubble.
Q: What's your songwriting process?
Lindhome: We'll have an idea and then we'll brainstorm forever, longer than you would like to know. Once we nail something down, I'll take a first pass at the lyrics and Kate works on the music. It can take months. I wish it was more effortless.
Q: One of my favorite episodes of the series is the one in which you both take a vow of silence during blind dates — and the guys don't seem to notice. Would a man ever come up with that idea?
Micucci: Maybe. I kind of feel that as women we're able to say things men couldn't say as easily. Like our song "Pregnant Women Are Smug." If a man did that, he couldn't get away with it.
Lindhome: It wouldn't ring as true.
Q: In that same episode, you do a spoof of a "Saved by the Bell" exercise video, which is pretty specific. Do you worry that certain fans will have no idea what you're referencing?
Lindhome: It might be different if we were only playing for 16-year-olds. It's not like it's a terrible video if you don't get it.
Q: "Weird Al" Yankovic recently had the country's No. 1 album, the first time a comedian has done that in ages. Does that say there's a growing appetite for musical comedy?
Lindhome: How cool is that? I think it's less about genre and more about that particular album. He's killing it. Hopefully, that will lead to more people checking out our albums.
Q: What are your influences, both in music and comedy?
Micucci: We're both big Broadway nerds. We also love '80s pop music and today's pop music.
Lindhome: Comedy-wise, Kate's big thing growing up was "I Love Lucy." Mine was "The State." The town I grew up in didn't have a movie theater or even a Blockbuster. The only movies I saw were the black-and-white collection at the local library.
Q: I know that John Oates is a fan of yours and even appeared in one episode of your show. Still no word from Art Garfunkel?
Lindhome: No. I hope he thinks we're hilarious and that he wants to take us out for lunch and sing with us.
Q: You had another great cameo from Ben Kingsley, but only Kate got to be in a scene with him. Does that mean Riki has dibs on the next big star?
Micucci: I hope so. It's going to be Meryl Streep.
Lindhome: Yeah. Meryl Streep, stop calling me!