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Entertaining People I Know: Catherine McCafferty

Welcome to Entertaining People I Know!  I got to thinking about it and realized I know a lot of cool, entertaining people that would be fun to interview.  So I figured it was time to dust off my old reporter’s hat and do just that…until I came to the conclusion I didn’t have a reporter’s hat!  Despite this damaging setback, I was able to persevere and I met up with my friend Catherine McCafferty.

Catherine is a hilarious stand-up comedian and actor in Los Angeles.  She co-hosts a monthly show at The Virgil called Truth or Dare, and you can catch the next one this Friday February 23.  Read on for more information about the show along with insight into the worlds of stand-up, acting, biology, and so much more!


Catherine you’re an actress/comedian/model/biologist, is there anything I’m missing?

I feel like that’s too many slashes.  They do say just have one or two, so like now I’m just a stand-up who is also an actor.  I like just the one slash, comedic actor who does stand-up.

What came first?  Did stand-up come first?

No actually, it didn’t, it came last.  I was interested in acting, and then I started modeling just as a fluke, and it was like paying my bills in Chicago more often than not so I kept doing it, and then it just became a distraction from what I actually wanted to do. I wasn’t getting enough work to keep it consistent, so I really stepped away from that world.  And I wasn’t getting enough stage time in my opinion and someone just suggested writing more.  So I started writing more comedic one acts and doing storytelling and then I went to open mics and started doing stand-up and that was like three years ago maybe.

Were you doing any of these before moving to Los Angeles?

I probably did stand-up like pretty sporadically for, I don’t know, maybe three or four months before moving out here.

Are there any similarities/differences between acting and comedy?

Yeah I mean it’s all putting yourself out there, I think stand-up prepares you for the amount of rejection you’re going to get when you’re an actor so you can’t really take anything personally going into a commercial audition.  It might be because you dressed wrong, but especially for commercial auditions it’s not based on talent, it’s based on whatever they need at that time.  And with stand-up it’s obviously gonna be, I mean, there’s certain things that can just be bad and you’re just bad at doing this thing and that’s why people aren’t laughing but for the most part it’s subjective.  Like a joke might work in a certain room that doesn’t work in another room, and you learn that, and you learn how to take the room’s tone and you also learn just dealing with silence, which helps I think walking in cold to auditions.  It might go terribly but it’s just going to be four minutes of my life.

Do you have any official advice for someone looking to get into acting and/or stand-up?

Acting – Yeah, just do it.  Most people who want to do it don’t, so it’s like half of it is just putting yourself out there and I’m just going to do this now and it’s going to be really uncomfortable for awhile, both in acting and stand-up.  Most people just are afraid to get up there.  Anyone can do it, anyone can sign up for an open mic, and honestly, unless your going to be racist or sexist you’re not going to be the worst one there.  But you will be bad, and you’ll be bad for awhile, and you can hopefully keep being bad – that’s what makes you better.

Any advice for the person that’s not living in a big city like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, what can they do to try and get into acting or stand-up?

Make stuff.  Write sketches.  But don’t just put out stuff just because you want to put it out.  I would say there’s like a lot of content out there, and I don’t really know what the right thing to do or like how to do anything, there’s like really no concrete plan.  But I think that if you want to be writing then you need to be reading, and if you want to be doing stand-up you need to be watching alot of stand-up.  If you want to be on a sitcom, watch a ton of different sitcoms and be like how are these people acting, and just go from there.  

Are there any open mics for biology?

(laughs) No.  Science is just like something that I’ve always been interested in and I just wanted to go to school cause I like school (laughs), so I decided to study biology but it’s definitely not part of my daily life now. You kind of have to turn on certain parts of your brain and that part of my brain is not.

So we met at a zine drawing night…


So even though you don’t want to add slashes, we have another slash to add because you make comics…

Yeah, I love comics.

Cool, how long have you loved comics?

Here’s the deal, I’m not like good at knowing (comic books), I would say I’m definitely on the peripheral of that whole world.  My brother was really involved in it and so like he collects them.  I enjoy drawing them and I also really like some (comic book) people on Instagram who are stand-ups…so they’re comics who also draw comics…and that has always kind of fascinated me because there are jokes in both. But graphic novels and stuff I’ve just like kind of dabbled in where I’ll read this one off and then I’ll read like Fun Home.  I just finished reading that and I’m definitely late to the party on that one but it was so enjoyable and I think I just forget that I like it, so I’ve liked it for awhile but I go through long periods of forgetting.

Your comic may be one of the most therapeutic comics I’ve read, would you like to talk about it?

Aw thanks.  Well right now I’ve been exploring a character that’s me and then she talks to a rubber lamb, so like that’s kind of the thing I’ve been doing.  I started drawing and going to this comic book meetup zine night and I was really just drawing representations of myself and going through big emotions – it was like having a meltdown or something like that – and then I needed to introduce at a certain point another character to be reflecting back at me so that’s where the rubber lamb (eventually) came in.  My most recent ex-boyfriend gave me a rubber lamb and I think I started drawing it because I felt like it connected me to him a little bit.

Any plans to either do a webcomic or to make your own zine?

Yeah I do want to start a webcomic through maybe like tumblr or Instagram or something.  I’m building a new website and connecting it through that medium, yeah it’s definitely in my consciousness.  I lost my dad last year and I drew every day and I spent like 12 hours a day in the hospital, which is soul sucking, so I drew every day just like when I was in the hospital – that’s like all I could do – so I have a bunch of pages from that that I think  are interesting so I would like to go back and redraw those and post them as like a web thing. And also I’ve always wanted to sell those as like cards for people who are like losing a loved one because no one really knows what to do when you’re like going through something like that.  People do want to send you cards or get you candy or something and there’s really no card that says “sorry you’re watching someone die, hang in there.”

In addition to comedian/actress/model/comics you also host 2 shows in LA, tell us about those.

One is on hiatus for now, that was just kind of like whenever we were able to.  We were approached to do a show at this coffee shop that raises money for animal shelters and rescues and stuff, that one I’m not doing at this time.  The Virgil is our main priority and I’m partnering with Ruthie again to do a show at Nerdist, our first one there is gonna be Feb 2 and be more of a low stakes, fun hour of like exploration.

Tell us more about Truth or Dare, your monthly show at The Virgil.

Truth or Dare is a monthly show at the Virgil I started with my friend Michelle Christine in May 2016 and it’s now evolved into a show that I do – Michelle now travels – so I’m now partnered with Ruthie Holmes.  We are a duo and we host and produce the show. The audience writes down truth or dares and Ruthie and I do them on stage in between comics.  We have five stand-up comedians doing regular time in between the truth or dares and then we also ask them to participate in the game so it’s really fun and positive.  We try to book comics who might not be getting alot of stage time and then also one or two that are more well known.

Do you get to see all the truth or dares that come through?

No, we don’t read them all.  We just get through as many as we get through and then we just throw the rest away, which kind of, I don’t know I was saving them for a certain amount of time and it’s like why?  I always think maybe I’ll be more artsy than I am but then life happens.

Those would make a cool comic page.

Yeah, it would, but it’s just like, I don’t know, I’m not together enough to do it right now.

Is there a truth or dare that you haven’t done that stood out to you that you want to do right now?

No, nothing that comes to mind.  It’s always fun to see what people write down cause some of them are so tame and I love that.  It’s like “list your favorite TV shows” and you’re like “what” but those are adorable and they’re a nice surprise in comparison to like all the weird sex stuff that comes up.

Your mom was at your last show so it was a nice relief that none of those came through that time around.

I know.  Well I mean, one was like “have you ever had sex in public…”

That is tamer than some of the other shows I’ve been to.

Yeah, that’s true.  And that’s also just like whatever.  My mom knows I’m a person.

What movies are you looking forward to this year?

…I have to go the movies so that my friend is texting me and is like “wanna have a movie night tomorrow night” and I’m gonna say yes, because I haven’t sat down to watch a movie in so long, so I don’t even know how to begin to answer the question.

Are you planning on seeing any of the big movies coming out this year, like Avengers: Infinity War, Ready Player One, etc?

Yeah I’m planning on seeing ALL that.  I don’t know, I go through phases where I don’t go to the movies.  Some of my friends really enjoy it – it stresses me out.  Its two hours of my life, it’s thirteen dollars, I know there’s movie pass now, I don’t know, I just can’t figure out how to make time to relax and go to a movie.

Hopefully you do.

At some point I will.

What podcasts do you listen to?  I have a couple  I could recommend.

I listen to so many podcasts.  Lovett or Leave It I listen to every Saturday morning.  They actually record it at the Hollywood Improv, I want to go to a live recording of it, it’s such a fun pod.  I listen to pretty much anything Crooked puts out.  Crooked Media puts out With Friends Like These, Pod Save America, Pod Save The World, those are all great.  And then I listen to The Hilarious World Of Depression, that’s like a really close podcast to my heart. And Ignorance Is #Blessed, that’s another really good podcast.

Where can people find you?

On Instagram I’m @catherine_mccaff, you can just google me and watch my stuff, I’m posting some more stand-up videos online soon.  Twitter, which I probably tweet like every other day is @WannaMakeaMovie.  And February 23 is our next Truth or Dare.

Any acting things people can see you in?  I randomly saw you in a YouTube video commercial.

Yeah that’s a thing where people are like “are you in a grammarly ad” and I’m like “yeah that’s me.”  A musical video for a digital series is going to be coming out in the next couple of months and then I’m releasing a web series that I co-wrote and co-produced and acted in and that should be released by the end of February, that’ll be called Bothered.

Is any of your stand-up online anywhere?

Yeah, if you just Google my name.

So Google, YouTube, etc?

Yeah, just search on Google and YouTube Catherine McCafferty and like I’m sure a bunch of stuff I don’t want people to see will come up.


Steve Waldinger
I write comedy & comics! See also where I co-create live improvised comics, &, the podcast I co-host! Find me on Twitter and Instagram - @stevewaldinger

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