SPRING HOT TICKETS: Cory Kahaney's Chutzpah (Festival)
Appropriately, the interview began by trading food tips.
If I’m ever in New York, I now know to ride the high-low trend of leaving your whole paycheque behind at worthy establishments such as Eleven Madison Park or Ko, only to turn around to jump into line the next day for the hole-in-the-wall delights of Pukk or Mission Chinese.
You can probably guess what Vancouver restaurants I recommend to comedian Cory Kahaney when she’s in town for the 2013 Chutzpah Festival.
Her character is an eater, and she laughs heartily over the phone when I point out that we’ve talked more about food than her show — 3 Hysterical Broads (Off Their Medication).
She’ll be performing her set alongside Dana Eagle (Comedy Central) and Emmy-award winner Judy Gold (The Judy Show, 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother), and their every neurosis, phobia and bad-habit will be the butt of a joke.
But it’s incredible to hear Kahaney (one of the standout female comics of the last two decades, whose resumé reads like a who’s who of Late Night television and off-Broadway), actually admit it’s less an act and more a mitigation of real insecurities.
“We exchanged these feelings of ‘We can’t take it anymore!’ We’re not doing the spinning, we’re not doing the yoga, we’re not doing the therapy. I am so sick of improving on myself. This is it, this is who I am,” Kahaney explains. “If we’re not role models, at least we’re putting the women who feel how we feel at ease.”
Each comedian will be embracing her anti-Angelina Jolie in a stand-up set, complete with hilarious day-in-the-life intro videos, of which Kahaney’s was filmed entirely at a Weight Watchers meeting.
“Even though I love to eat, nobody needs to pull me out of my apartment with a crane yet. Judy Gold happens to like going to doctors’ appointments all week long because she’s a neurotic Jew, and Dana Eagle swears by all her pharmaceuticals. We’ve all sort of just accepted ourselves. And I don’t see that a lot anymore.
“You look at Angelina Jolie and she’s got the five kids and the perfect body and she’s saving the world — I can’t do that. I can’t! It’s not fair that that is the barometer for being a full woman.”
So they made a show about it. And their “so what?” attitude will be making its Canadian début in Vancouver on Feb. 9 (and an encore performance Feb. 10) with a symbiosis that excites Kahaney.
“The audience that comes to the Chutzpah Festival is really smart. They want something intelligent and on the spot at the same time. We are not your typical female comics talking about dating,” she laughs.
As an 18-year-old actress in New York, Kahaney says she would often go nine months to a year without work. It wasn’t until age 29 that she stumbled upon stand-up comedy and felt the click.
“I could do four shows a night, I could do one show a week. The luxury of being able to get up on stage and feel that connection with the audience whenever I wanted was so freeing. And I’m a little bit of a control freak — I like to take credit for all the of the success, and, all of the failure. If I kill, it’s all me, and if I bomb it’s all me.
“If you’re really a good comic you’re sort of a conductor. You’re throwing a joke to the left side, or to the back of the room, because you’re trying to invite them in. And little by little, if you’re pulling all the strings correctly, you have a symphony going.”
The 2013 Chutzpah Festival runs from Feb. 7 to Mar. 10 at various venues. Head to ChutzpahFestival.com for tickets and schedule.