It happened again yesterday. I walk into an audition and am greeted in a very friendly manner by the casting director who asks, "Are you back from New York?" I only know who this casting director is, because she's important, but I don't know her. So I say, as I always do in these situations, "You're thinking of Deborah Swisher."
Deborah Swisher is a comic who used to live in Los Angeles. She paved the way for me to be mistaken for her, or her sister, whenever I set foot in a comedy club. "Laura Swisher? Are you any relation to..." The thing is, we vaguely look alike. At least we look enough alike that it makes more sense to assume we're sisters than two comics who happen to share the same odd, last name.
Once, a few years ago, I went to dinner with my friend Robin and some of her friends. Turns out that one of her friends is Deborah Swisher's step brother. Naturally I had to ask for her phone number. It seemed obvious that we should meet or talk, and I had burning questions: had she been mistaken for me anywhere? Did anyone ask her if she was related to me? Keep in mind that at that point in time, I wasn't as wildly famous as I am now. I'm quite sure that today, if she walked into a random IT department of some company and mentioned her name, some techie would make the connection.
In any case, I called her. She was living in New York at the time. I left a message, probably something stupid. As I was leaving it I felt like some kind of stalker. Like what if someone called me because we shared the same last name? It's a little weird. But I still felt the need to make a connection with this person whose reputation was clearly bigger than mine. She called back, left a message. I forget what she said, but it was nice and cordial.
We have yet to meet. According to a Google search, she's a writer on the show "American Dreams," still doing well for herself. Hopefully she's giving us a great reputation as a writer.
And if anyone knows Deborah, tell her the other Swisher says hi...and that she should email me.