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Personal Playlist: Laraine Newman's a Coachella veteran

April 12, 2011 |  6:43 am

L_NEWMAN_3_ A little-known fact about the actress and comedian: She takes her daughters to Coachella every year. She offers a few words of advice and her must-sees: The Black Keys and the Chemical Brothers. 

Laraine Newman's reputation as an actor and comedian precedes her. She was a founding member of the Groundlings improv troupe and part of the “Saturday Night Live” cast. Newman, a lifelong Angeleno, has in recent years done voice work for projects as varied as the Adult Swim show “Metalocalypse” and the Disney animated feature “Tangled,” plus a host of Pixar movies.

Less known is her role as Coachella Mom. Newman has two teenage daughters whom, for the last five years, she has taken to the annual Coachella Music and Arts Festival, which takes place this weekend. The Times caught up with her as she prepares to hit her sixth Coachella.

So, your daughters are cool with going to Coachella with their mom?

Well, here's the thing. No. And no kid is. And the first year, since my daughter was 14, it was a milestone in that I did let her go off into the crowd, and she was with a girl named Emma …. Emma was wearing a mohawk, and I figured if I could just keep sight of her mohawk, I would never lose sight of my daughter. But that didn't work. The mohawk was enveloped by the crowd.

What kind of advice do you give them before they go off on their own at the festival?

I had this idea on what kids say that they're going to do and what they actually do. Like, you designate a place that you're going to meet at the end of the day — say at the entrance. What they actually do is they meet their friends at that place and go back to the hotel, and you don't find that out until you've frozen your … off waiting for them.... Or you say, “Do not take any drugs of any kind,” and what they actually do is not take any drugs of any kind because there isn't a drug that they could take that I haven't taken, and there isn't a lie they can tell that I haven't told, and I will know that they're loaded and they will be totally busted and grounded and their lives will be over. 

Really? Even though you've admitted to doing those same things when you were young?

Yes, because that's who their mother is.

Who are you looking forward to this year?

I'm looking forward to the Chemical Brothers. Ratatat — all they have to do is press a bunch of buttons. I've realized that they're kind of like Hamburger Helper in a way, like Hot Chip can be Hamburger Helper sometimes: They complement so many other bands when they do remixes with them, and make the songs so much better.


Coachella 2011: The headliners guaranteed to dazzle in the dark 

Stages are set for a Coachella art spectacular

-- Randall Roberts

Image: Laraine Newman as "Saturday Night Live" character Sherry Norwalk. Credit: NBC