Armed with songs, jokes, poems and of course capital-B Beauty, this performer’s weekly “Cabernet Cabaret” was / is the toast of the East Village, winning her a much-viewed spot on late night TV. Now with an upcoming livestream showcase and a book of poetry in the works, Catherine Cohen is once again ready to embrace the masses… from a distance!
Thotyssey: Hello Catherine, thanks for chatting with us today! So how have these seven or eight Covid months treated you? Are these times for the creative juices to flow, or is everything too horrible and scary and boring?
Catherine Cohen: OMG, not performing has obviously been hell on earth. I’m famously addicted to attention, so I miss the stage. But I’ve been filling the void by eating lots of Taco Bell and writing lots of poetry.
What is your hot take on recent developments? Is the collective stupidity of Trump and all the non-masking lunatics around him getting sick tragically funny, or just tragic?
Bravely, I feel that everything is sad to me right now.
Aren’t you proud of NYC for leading the country on What To Do During A Pandemic… even if no one wants to listen to us?
NYC is the best place on earth! I feel very lucky to live here.
You are a Texas native! What was that like? That state is getting a little more blue year by year.
Let’s turn Texas blue, baby! Growing up there I was always like “help get me out,” but now it’s actually chic to me.
Were you always funny, or did that develop later in life? Do you have any comedy inspirations / icons?
Always funny, always gorgeous, and I never feel pain! My first comedy icon was Molly Shannon in Superstar.
OMG, you went to Princeton! What was that like?
It was truly magical. I basically lived in a castle, read poetry, and got drunk and cried about boys for four years.
How did you begin as a stage performer?
I grew up always singing, and doing musical theater (tale as old as time).
How would you describe a Catherine Cohen stage experience today, for the uninitiated?
Bliss! if that makes any sense…
Writers are usually very structured, while stage performers are often very loose and in the moment. Are those two conflicting ways of being challenging to balance?
The only time I’m ever living in the moment is when I’m on stage… I feel very grateful for that. When I’m in reality, I’m always focused on the past or the future, which my therapist has deemed “unhealthy.”
Do friends, family, partners, etc. all accept the fact that their antics are going to wind up in your act somehow?
What’s the weirdest thing that happened to you while performing?
I got a tattoo on stage.
Last summer, you performed your comedy song “Look At Me” on Late Night with Seth Myers! What was that experience like?
It was heaven! Everyone there was so nice and welcoming.
“Cabernet Cabaret” is your (pre-Covid) weekly Wednesday show at Club Cumming, the famed East Village spot owned by the legendary Alan Cumming, and one of that venue’s most popular attractions. Tell us a bit how the show came to be, and what it’s like.
I had always wanted to do a weekly show, and my frequent collaborator Henry Koperski had just played a gig at Club Cumming. So we reached out to the Club, and the rest is history! It’s a very special place.
Club Cumming has presented a few livestream and digital shows since lockdown began. This month they will be offering a series of highly anticipated events, including a digital edition of “Cabernet Cabaret” (October 14th at 8pm EST and again on the 15th at 3pm EST). I understand that’s gonna be filmed live from the Club.
Yes, I am thrilled to be back at the Club. Currently figuring out what I will wear. I miss getting dressed up!
Looking ahead, you will be releasing a collection of your poetry God, I Feel Modern Tonight in February of 2021! Your hilarious poems are a big part of your stage show, with crazy titles that are often a joke in themselves alongside the stream of consciousness verses. What can you tell us about this collection?
I’m so proud of this collection. It has some poems I wrote in 2016… and some I wrote last week. So it is very near and dear to my little heart.
Looking forward to it all! In closing: what will you be for Halloween this month?