Australian comedians Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan are perhaps the most unlikely of foodies, and ones to start a show about food fads, nonetheless. In the words of McCartney: “I f*cking hate cooking” and of McLennan: “I don’t watch any food shows at all. Because they’re boring.” Yet here they are, with over millions of views and 83K YouTubers subscribed to their digital endeavor, The Katering Show. But this isn’t the average cooking program. The two satirically poke fun at our food-obsessed culture, tackling topics like food styling, diets and the “appliance moneysuck” known as the Thermomix. And while using plenty of self-deprecation, it’s their unique and interesting dichotomy of being completely off-limits and possibly offensive, yet still empowering to fellow women (such as Katy Perry and Ellen DeGeneres, who have both applauded the show).
Taking it back before The Katering Show was born last year, the two moms have worked hard at a life in comedy and didn’t wake up one morning just thinking, “I’m funny.” “I did stand up and I’m a comedy writer, we made each other laugh,” McCartney tells Bustle of the pair’s beginnings. “Everybody was like, ‘The dynamic between you two is really, really good, you should cultivate that.’” The two didn’t necessarily think of themselves as the next Amy Schumer, and McCartney says, “It started with other people telling us that we were funny.” Her sidekick McLennan chimes in, “I’m hilarious!”
Their gift of comedy and “f*ck it” attitude made the love child that is The Katering Show. The two know they’re navigating in a world of over-sensitive Internet trolls on the prowl, and dealing with topics like food and dieting can definitely cause wildfires on the web. Still, there’s nothing they’re afraid to speak about. “I don't think you can be afraid if you're doing comedy. As long as you think about your target, thinking about your position on something, thinking about treating it with respect,” says McCartney.
And while they may poke fun at the fifth diet your friend has given a stab at this year, it’s their non-preachy and light tone that allows audiences to embrace them. McCartney says her favorite fad to poke fun at so far has been the Paleo diet, because to her, it ironically “really speaks to what [they] care about.” “We’re really against the idea of policing women’s behavior in any way, shape or form,” she explains. “We really wanted to train our eye on that in the second season.”
As they say in the show, they’re not “assh*les.”
“Bottom line, we try to be thoughtful about what we’re saying and be able to back what we’re paying,” she McCartney. “And punch up, not really punch down. We try not to upset people necessarily.” But of course, users of the Internet may have felt these two ruffled some feathers with the premiere of the show last year. “In the first season, I think there were people who were standoffish. But ultimately, I think a lot of them have actually come around,” says McLennan. She acknowledges that this could continue to happen with the second season, which premiered last month. “I would say in this season, that people who really get a taste of the Paleo [episode] might be a little put-out by the broad assessment of what Paleo is,” she explains. The episode is introduced with McLennan saying, “The Paleo diet is a modern-day food cult largely undertaken by activated nut jobs who are sick of having friends.” They know their voice is clear and they mean no harm, so thankfully, they aren’t stopping.
They even ran the risk of pissing off one of their idols, Australian journalist Sarah Wilson. “I was genuinely quite obsessed with her over the summer,” says McLennan. “I was 33, 34, I decided I was gonna have a baby. Pretty much spent my entire adult life with a pretty bad adult life style. I decided I was really gonna clean my act up and became obsessed with Sarah Wilson,” she explains. Next, they wrote an episode about Wilson, praying she wouldn’t take offense. Ultimately, their blind faith worked. “She was such a good sport about it. And we’ve met her since the show’s been online and she’s been really great,” McLennan says.
Another bold move is recognizing who they are and who their demographic is, and completely shifting what that should look like. They open the Thermomix episode with an enthusiastic, “I’m Kate McCartney. And I’m Kate McLennan. We’re women. Welcome to The Katering Show!” However, they realize it’s beyond old-school to think only women dabble in food fads and watch Food Network on lazy Sundays. “My partner is more of a food-obsessed person than me and I think it does fill this void for a lot of men who don’t fit into that very sport-based idea of what a male should be into,” says McCartney. McLennan adds that while diet trends and “body horror” can skew “traditionally female,” “food trends in general are more of an economic thing rather than a gender thing.”
Their positive and fearless attitude has paid off. The numbers and crowd reviews speak for themselves, and when those are talking, Elizabeth Banks will take care of that, like when The Katering Show was recognized on Ellen . “That was like completely surreal and bizarre. When we first started doing the show, we thought maybe we would get 10,000 views,” says McCartney. “We’ve had more than that.” McLennan recalls the totally fitting moment of when she found out the show was featured on Ellen:
I was sitting on the toilet and someone sent a screenshot of our big, big heads on The Ellen Show making a comment about our hits being bigger than Ellen’s and Elizabeth Banks was there. Pretty funny. These things happen and you have one second to process it, like, “Oh my god, that’s amazing!” And then something will happen, like the washing machine starts breaking. It’s been a very, very strange ride.
McCartney adds that the experience has been heightened with experiences such as The Ellen Show, as well as Katy Perry, who got in contact to say she loves the show. “Anytime someone says that they like the show or responds to the show, it’s been really exciting and special,” says McCartney.
And they continue to dream big. “We’re thinking if [Katy Perry] appeared on the show, she could audition,” jokes McLennan. “Maybe I’d kick McCartney out as my co-host. It just seems like a logical choice. Someone who compliments my color palette.” And what food show host wouldn’t want to give a piece of their mind to the Gordon Ramsay? “Part of me just wants to get [him] in and have him yell at us for a bit and then we could just rip him to shreds,” says McLennan. “That would be gratifying, it’s true,” McCartney adds.
So for any potential foodies, bloggers or entrepreneurs, take a note out of the Kates’ cookbook and do things on your terms, while spending days “not being an assh*le,” of course.
Fullscreen subscribers can watch Season 2 of The Katering Show now.
Images: The Katering Show (5)