Cathy Ladman [Interview]


Welcome back to the Trainwreck’d Society Comedy Showcase! We are kicking off this week with some words from an absolute LEGEND in the world of comedy. She is one of the first comedians I remember truly loving when I was first getting into stand up comedy at a pretty young age. In the 90’s, it seemed absolutely impossible to not catch Cathy at least once a week. Especially if you are a pre-teen to teenage boy obsessed with Comedy Central. From Win Ben Stein’s Money to Dr. Katz, or her stand up specials, she was always around! Not to mention her reoccurring role on the highly underrated sitcom Caroline In the City, which I was oddly very into at a young age.

And as the years moved on, she has continued to absolutely dominate the stage with her stand up comedy and her theatre work. She’s written for shows like The King of Queens, has a reoccurring role on the brilliant Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here, which we will discuss below! And with no sign of slowing down, she has continued to be a force to reckon with in the world of comedy. And one of my absolute favorite comedians of all time. And I am so honored that she was willing to share a few words with us during our Comedy Showcase!

So please enjoy some great words from the legendary comedian, writer, and actress Cathy Ladman!

When did you first discover that you were a hilarious human being and you wanted to make people laugh for living?

I was about five years old or so. I started doing an impression of my elementary school principal, Miss Carroll, which got big laughs. Then I pranced around my parents’ bedroom, wearing my mother’s one-piece strapless bra/girdle. (Foundations!) More big laughs. I knew I was onto something. 

When I was about eight years old, I began listening to my parents’ comedy albums, in particular, Nichols and May Examine Doctors. I memorized the entire album, and, at bedtime, after I said prayers (!!!), I used to do selections off the album for my mother. She didn’t know quite what to make of it. But that was the seed that was planted for me, and it meant the world to me.

You had a wonderful re-occuring role in Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here. Although the series is set a bit before your time, I am curious to know in your expert opinion, what is this show getting right about stand up comedy? What would you consider to be the most accurate substance of the show in regards to stand up comedy?

I think that the show captures the passion and hunger of the comics, how comedy was so all-encompassing. I remember, when I started out, that standup was everything to me. I wrote things down all day, and then I put them onstage at night. It was a very simple, focussed existence. Life was simpler back then! I think that we had more fun than comics on the show. We had a lot more laughter. The show is capturing more of the drama, the dark stuff. Even the lighting is dark on much of the show. Standup takes place in the dark and comes from some very dark sensibilities.

And how have you personally enjoyed working on I’m Dying Up Here? With so many funny people around, what is the set life like on a show like this?

I have loved working on the show. It’s great to cross paths with so many of my colleagues whom I don’t get to see very often these days. Melissa Leo and Brad Garrett were great to work with, and, of course, working with Rick Overton is always a treat. 

I am always excited to ask comedians this one question: What are some of your favorite places to do stand up? What are some cities that people may not instantly think of as comedy towns, but are some “hidden gems” to perform in?

Some of my favorite places to do standup have been (many are defunct now): Catch A Rising Star in Cambridge, MA, The Comedy Store in Las Vegas at The Dunes Hotel, Main Street Comedy in Ann Arbor, MI, BARK! Comedy in Pasadena, CA, The Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, CA, and almost any theatre. I love doing theatres. Everyone is facing forward, and there’s no booze and drink service.

After all of your time in the world of stand up comedy, with the plethora of digital advancements with social media, podcasting, etc., what do you believe has been the biggest change in the scene? Is it better than you remember, or is it becoming oversaturated?

It seems to be all about Twitter followers now. I am not on the scene the way I used to be anymore, so I can’t answer to it being oversaturated. I know that when I was coming up, in the ’80’s and into the ’90’s, those were some of the best days of my life. The community was really tight, and it was home to me. I got to see a lot of the country and the world. I’ve been really lucky.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I’m currently developing and rewriting my solo show, Does This Show Make Me Look Fat?, which is about my journey with anorexia, perfectionism, and standup. I’m about to start rehearsals for a play I’m doing in LA, titled, Jews, Christians, and Screwing Stalin. And Mindy Sterling and I are going to get our podcast back up. We’re reworking it, and we’re really excited about it.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My dog.

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About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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