Adrienne Isgrigg

Read time: 18 minutes

Adrienne Leigh Isgrigg, despite being obsessive about over-analysis and over-achievement, is also a seriously hilarious person.

For pleasure, every season, she dedicates herself to reviewing the entire collections from all of the designers who have shown at the New York, London, Milan and Paris fashion shows. This process takes more than a month to complete each time.

Amazingly, she has applied the same dedication to her fanaticism for Star Trek (as a child she played a Klingon at a Universal Studios performance) and Harry Potter (as an adult she traveled to and dressed up for the theme park opening day in Orlando, and had a dearly missed and loyal canine companion named Potter; her new buddy Barbarella is seen here).

She also found time to earn a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on Neurophysiology and Health Psychology, which, because she is phonetically dyslexic, she achieved by painstakingly scanning all the texts into a computer program which vocally assisted her in reading them.

When she’s off the clock, she brings all this same diligence and resolve to laughing and cursing like a sailor.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the 17th of December 1982, of parents living on a farm in Warsaw, Kentucky, who “didn’t trust the voodoo that they call medicine in Warsaw.”

During high school and college, the family lived in Spokane, Washington. She went to grad school in Athens, Ohio, and has since chosen Portland, Oregon, as her home base.

PHOTOS BY KEVIN RUSS

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ADRIENNE, YOU’RE A BIG FAN OF GONZAGA UNIVERSITY’S BASKETBALL TEAM…

[laughing] Yeah?

WHY DID YOU PICK THEM INSTEAD OF A DIFFERENT TEAM THAT WINS A LOT OF GAMES?

[outraged] What the fuck are you talking about?! [laughing] Am I allowed to curse in this?

OH YEAH. YOU CAN SAY WHATEVER YOU WANT.

[laughing…] Okay, well, then I stick with, “What the fuck are you talking about?!”

I DON’T KNOW, WELL, IT SEEMS LIKE YOU MIGHT WANT TO PICK A TEAM THAT WINS THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP SOMETIMES.

What?! … You listen to “indie” music! You were in a shitty band that never won anything! Why would you do that?

[laughter] YOU KNOW… [laughing] I DID THAT FOR FUN AND NOT TO WIN A CONTEST.

Well, Mister Ritcher. To answer your formal question…

I DON’T LIKE INDIE MUSIC.

You do, too. … Do you remember how I went to Gonzaga Prep for high school?

I DO RECALL THAT.

And do you remember that Spokane is the shit hole of the universe, right?

THAT’S RIGHT.

So there are, like, two good things about Spokane. The only two good things about Spokane. Wait maybe I can think of three. I can think of three things that are good about Spokane. One is John Stockton, who went to Gonzaga Prep, then Gonzaga University, then played for the Utah Jazz and was a totally awesome basketball player… but is kind of a jerk in real life.

OKAY.

Two is Don Kardong who is a bronze medalist in the…

[laughing] DONG HARDON?

[unamused] No, you sicko!

[still laughing] HIS NAME WAS DONG HARDON?!

[screaming] His name is Don Kardong! [finally, a small laugh] D. O. N.

G!

Space! Starts with a K, ends with an “ong.” Kardong. He won the bronze medal in the goddamn Olympics! So there’s two athletes, right?

WHOA! SO OF ALL THE PEOPLE WHO LOST, HE DID SECOND BEST?

Yes.

YEAH. GREAT.

You couldn’t do that in a marathon.

SO?

So, you’re dumb. [laughter] Can I answer your question or are you just…

ARE YOU STILL TALKING ABOUT BASKETBALL?

[flustered] Yes! I’m getting to it! I’m circumlocuting to my point. Okay? [laughter] Are you ready?

CONTINUE.

So, Gonzaga basketball is the only thing that is currently good about Spokane, Washington. It is the only thing that ties that fucking place from being sucked into the butthole of the USA.

MMMM.

This one team that… I love Gonzaga basketball because they choose college athletes who are team-oriented than individual-oriented. And Mark Few, the head coach, takes… To me, it seems like it’s really important to have a strong team than to recruit some, you know, LeBron James douchebag guy.

YEAH.

He took the kids who would have never gotten recruited in – I don’t remember what year – this would be ’99. The first year that they made it to the tournament. These are guys who would have never been recruited to any other team. They made it to the Elite 8, they were a Cinderella team. And the thing is that they have kept their same values. They recruit kids who, in a lot of cases aren’t like top, upper players. The get kids who are non-traditional – and from the Northwest, which is unique – to have a really strong basketball team. And I think they do a really good job of giving back to the community and I just love them! They have a great attitude!

OKAY! [as in “enough!”]

They’re not showy like the goddamn Trailblazers with “this thing” [demonstrating a hand gesture of making “okay” signals with each hand then looking through the holes like glasses] the “three goggles.” They’ll be down by fifty fucking points and they’ll hit one “three” and they’ll be like, [imitating a big, dumb idiot…] “Yeahhhh! Three-pointer!!!” [laughter] Come the fuck on! You’re fucking losing!

I love Gonzaga because they’re a come-from-behind team, they always have a strong second half, they work well as a team and Mark Few is a fucking genius.

ALRIGHT! [as in “enough already!”]

It’s like the Mighty Ducks!

OKAY, WELL, THANK YOU FOR THE INTERVIEW… AND I’LL TALK TO YOU SOON, OKAY?

[throwing up her hands and raising her shoulders in a “What?!” gesture]

I THINK YOU USED UP ALL THE TIME ON THAT QUESTION. HOW ABOUT QUESTION NUMBER TWO? CAN WE MOVE ON?

[ignoring my jokes] Do you want to talk to [her cat] Peter Sellers?

YES, I DO.

Too bad. You’re not going to.

LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU, ADRIENNE.

Good. My favorite topic.

WHEN YOU SIT DOWN TO EAT A MEAL, YOU DO IT IN SEQUENCE OF THE THINGS YOU LIKE AND YOU DON’T MOVE ON TO THE NEXT ITEM UNTIL THE PREVIOUS ONE IS FINISHED. [laughter] FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU HAVE A BURGER, FRIES AND A SALAD, I IMAGINE YOU WOULD EAT THE FRIES FIRST, THEN THE BURGER AND THEN THE SALAD. IS THAT RIGHT?

You’re wrong!

NO?

No! Fries are filler!

YOU’D EAT THE BURGER FIRST?

I’ve never gotten fries that I actually liked.

YOU’VE NEVER HAD FRIES THAT YOU ACTUALLY LIKED?

Not where I would care about them. Right now, if I was at Rod Rubbin’ [a slang name for the restaurant Red Robin] …and I had… [much laughter] …a Royal Red Robin Cheeseburger with pepperjack cheese, and a little pink on the inside, no tomatoes, no pickles, no relish, and maybe a little avocado on there…

MMPH!

That sounds real good, right?

WELL, THE AVOCADO DOES.

…steak fries there, and if there was a salad. I’m gonna be honest. Right now a salad sounds real good in my head. I might eat the salad first and then the burger. But usually if I’m going for a burger then I’m probably going for a burger specifically, and would eat the burger first.

I think you have a weak grouping of food to choose from. You gotta choose something where the three foods are more comparable. Like mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and like, raw bacon.

[in disbelief] RAW BACON?

That was a joke!

OKAY. I GET IT. SO HAVE YOU BEEN EATING LIKE THAT YOUR WHOLE LIFE?

Yeah. Well, let me preface. I never eat dessert first, even if I want it more. Because dessert is a prize. If I have a plate of food, I always eat what I like first.

DO YOU TAKE THE SAME APPROACH WITHIN MIXED ITEMS? LIKE IF THERE WAS A SALAD AND THERE WAS SOMETHING IN THE SALAD THAT YOU LIKE THE MOST, OR STIR-FRIED VEGETABLES, WOULD YOU EAT ALL THE GOOD STUFF FIRST?

Like if it was a chicken salad or something, and the chicken was really good, would I eat the chicken first?

YEAH.

No. I would space the good things out in that side item. So I would make sure that the chicken is evenly distributed in all of my bites, so I was enjoying it equally as much for all bites.

WHEN YOU WERE A LITTLE GIRL…

I remember being a little girl.

YEAH. LAST SUMMER. WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?

Um… [six seconds] Well, I have three answers for this, I think. I always thought I was going to be an engineer or a math-something, so I was always better at math than I was at other stuff – I always went to science camp – and so I thought I was going to be in the sciences in one way or another. But when I was a little kid and I was pretending to be something, I used to climb up on the combines that were out behind my house and I would practice giving these rabble-rousing speeches. I’d be like, [shouting] “Blahblahblah! And then! We’re gonna take it to the streets!” [laughter] “And then we’re gonna WINNNN!”

WOW.

So I thought that maybe I was going to be a leader of some kind or an activist.

LIKE THE FÜHRER?

[laughs] Yeah, like I was gonna be Hitler. [laughter] No. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a combine, because it has a metal walkway that goes around the top…

YEAH, YEAH.

…and so you can pace back and forth and be like, [screaming] “And then this! And then THIS!” [laughter] And my dog… My dog Khalua would follow me back and forth, way down below, and she would be barking when I got all excited.

[enthusiastically] YEAH! SHE WAS GREAT. YOU REALLY GOT HER RILED UP!

She was a great audience. So there’s two things [I wanted to be when I grew up]. But then I also always wanted to be a professional women’s basketball player. That’s when I was hoping I’d be ten feet tall.

YEAH, BUT NOW YOU’RE ONLY LIKE 5′ 4″.

[screaming] What are you talking about?!

DO YOU REALLY LIKE STAR TREK THAT MUCH?

[flabbergasted… five seconds] I don’t even know what to say to you. Why would you ask that question? Are you just trying to get me to be angry at you?

[laughs] THAT’S SORT OF MY INTERVIEW STYLE. TO KIND OF GET THE PERSON I’M INTERVIEWING REALLY UPSET. [laughter] OBVIOUSLY, SINCE YOU’VE NEVER READ MY MAGAZINE AND NEVER LOOKED AT THE WEBSITE, YOU HAVE NO IDEA…

I don’t know how to read. How would I read it?

GET THAT ROBOT TO READ IT TO YOU.

[in a robot voice…] I am a robot. I refuse to read this smut. [then answering the Star Trek question] Yes, goddammit!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE SO MUCH ABOUT IT, CHEWBACCA OR…?

[in a fit of disbelief] Oh my God! [laughter] What is wrong with you?

[playing dumb] WHAT? WHAT DID I SAY?

Do you want to know what my favorite character is or do you want me to prove to you that I actually love Star Trek?

LIKE, C-3PO? OR…?

[six seconds of the silent treatment]

MISS PIGGY?

I hate you.

OH, WAIT. I’M THINKING OF “PIGS IN SPACE” NOT STAR TREK.

[laughs] Pigs in Space! Well, Data was my favorite character, growing up, because he explored human emotion. [imitating Data…] “I don’t understand why you’re so irrational.” And I was like, “I can relate to that!”

“…BECAUSE I’M IRRATIONAL!” [laughs]

No! Because I was Data! And I dressed up as Data for two or three years in a row for Halloween.

YEAH? AND I BET YOU GOT LOADS OF ACTION, DIDN’T YA?

Hey, I was just a little kid. And I went to a Star Trek convention, and I met Michael Dorn [the actor who played Worf], and I went to the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas…

AND YOU GOT YOUR PICTURE TAKEN ON THE BRIDGE OF THE ENTERPRISE…

Yeah. And I’ve had Romulan Ale, and I have a Spock bear, and I had the schematics of the Enterprise as an architectural thing on my wall when I was growing up, and I had the Klingon-to-English dictionary…

YOU SPEAK A LITTLE KLINGON?

I can’t speak it because I’m phonetically dyslexic… as you WELL know! [laughter] But one of my favorite books… You know, I was obviously really poor growing up, but I used to get books about Star Trek from the library and one of my favorite ones was the one that had an episode-by-episode guide of Star Trek: Next Generation. So it would list all the characters and the plot lines and so I would memorize it – quotes and stuff and the characters and what floors things were on. And I went to Trek in the Park last weekend.

OH YEAH. HOW WAS THAT?

It was awesome.

THAT’S WHERE PEOPLE… WHY DON’T YOU EXPLAIN WHAT IT IS FOR OUR AUDIENCE?

It’s in Portland, Oregon. And first of all, the four “AC-tors” [laughs] the featured actors act out an entire episode of the original Star Trek. And so they’re all dressed up, it’s in a city park.

HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE THERE?

There were… lots.

HUNDREDS?

Yes. I was at the first one. The first showing always has less people than the next ones. There are lots and lots of people that usually go. They don’t use microphones or anything which is the biggest bummer part of it. I recognized the episode, but what’s kind of great about it – this is what I loved about Trek in the Park the most – was that they obviously performed it word-for-word and all this shit, but they also kind of, in their inflection and the way they interact with each other, they kind of played up on the stereotypes that were related to Star Trek. The original Star Trek was not my thing, but the African-American woman who was like the total babe on that show, they had this moment where she and… [forgetting his name] Goddamn! The Travelocity guy. [laughter]

PRICELINE. SHATNER.

[laughing] Priceline. Shatner. They have this real steamy… Kirk! They have this real steamy exchange, which was really funny. It’s not that it wasn’t there, but it’s something that through geek-lore it becomes kind of “for” something. But the mayor of Portland was there, and at the beginning of the show declared it “Trek in the Park Month.”

OOH! MONTH?

Month!

DID THE MAYOR COME OUT AND DO A CAMEO?

No, he just did the intro. He introduced everybody and was like, “This is big for our city and blah blah blah…” I was like, “This is such a cool city that the mayor would come out for something like this.” And it’s free! You just go and it’s really fun.

From K Composite 14
Photos by Kevin Russ