Actress-comic Lauren Weedman

Lauren Weedman tells stories -- outrageous, true, hilarious, sad. The 35-year-old came to L.A. via New York and Seattle, where, in addition to performing one-person shows, she was a correspondent on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart." Her latest work, "Wreckage," directed by Jeff Weatherford, runs tonight through Saturday at Highways Performance Space (1651 18th St., Santa Monica, [310] 315-1459). Portraying 15 characters, Weedman recounts the fallout from a lie she told about being raped at 19.

The lie in this show wreaked havoc. Why revisit an episode that people find disgusting?

I got to L.A. and people told me, "You gotta say the most nasty, graphic thing to get people to come to your show." Karmically, I have this thing about using it -- "Watch me cash in on my rape lie" -- though there is an element of [disgust]. The fact this whole story's been a pitch and I act like I've evolved so much since that time, yet here I am using it to get work.

Self-esteem doesn't seem to be a strong suit.

There's one story in particular that disturbed me. In the show I talk about getting home from college and going out with this guy. He tells me, "Just so you know, I'm used to dating girls who take better care of themselves." And I continued dating him.

What's the appeal of a one-woman show?

I can do what I want without hitting anybody else's neuroses. I don't tell people I'm doing solo theater, because the whole room is, like, "Me too." "Mine's about lying about rape." "Me too." "Is yours a musical?"

Do you get needled about your name?

Only in California. I gave my credit card at this surf shop and the clerk says, "Weedman. Oh, God, excellent name."

You're making a Showtime pilot with Eddie Griffin, "Pryor Offenses," based on the life of and co-written by Richard Pryor. What's that like?

I'm basically unkempt and haven't shaved my legs for 15 years. For this, I'm a comedy club owner and sort of the other woman, so hair and makeup ordered me to shave my legs. I have to start now. It'll take me all night.

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