For comedian Catherine Cohen ’13, no topic is off-limits in her stand-up routines — or on her podcast, Seek Treatment, in which Cohen and co-host Pat Regan talk candidly about dating, love, sex, and more. “It’s just two narcissists talking about really mundane s--- as if it’s important,” she says. The freewheeling, funny, and profane conversations aren’t planned ahead of time, and they’re rarely edited afterward. Needless to say, it’s probably not the podcast you’d choose for family car rides.
“It’s very personal and raw and over-the-top and dramatic and playful and stupid and fun. I like to feel like someone’s telling me their secrets when they’re on stage, so that’s what I like to do when I get up there — and make people feel less alone and maybe they’ll relate to some of the embarrassing chaos of my life in some way. I feel really excited and empowered when I’m able to talk about my sex life and what I want when it comes to love, work, friendship, and all those complex things that make life so interesting. I just want to hear people talking honestly on stage. That’s usually the funniest, most raw, exciting stuff that appeals to me.” Watch Cohen’s recent appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers
Three more podcasts to check out this month
1. Playwright ROGER Q MASON ’08 discusses coming out as genderqueer on The Subtext, a podcast from American Theatre magazine.
2. Nobel laureate FRANCES ARNOLD ’79 explains her work in directed evolution on the Financial Times’ Tech Tonic.
3. GEORGE PARROS ’03, the NHL’s head of player safety, talks about the challenges of his job on Sportsnet Canada’s 31 Thoughts.
Starting a podcast
“Pat’s just the funniest person I ever met in my entire life. We were just sitting around one day and I’m like, ‘Dang, we are so funny together,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, we should obviously have a podcast, we’re both geniuses and hilarious.’ So we literally just emailed my friends who run this production company called Forever Dog and we were like, ‘Pat and I have a podcast, we don’t know what it’s about or anything.’ They responded right away, saying, ‘We’ve never greenlit any project faster.’”
“I just can’t keep anything to myself — if I have a feeling, I have to express it. Sometimes the best way to work through something is by discussing it on stage and seeing what sticks. A few weeks ago, someone broke up with me and I didn’t feel like going to my show — I was upset, I didn’t want to do it. But then I got onstage and just started talking about it and it ended up being a pretty joyful and healing experience and I think it was pretty powerful. Being able to discuss it and make it funny is what makes me feel better about it. If I kept it all to myself, I’d go crazy. So maybe that’s why I get up on stage and talk about myself, because I want to unload some of that feeling somewhere in a way that helps other people instead of making things harder for myself. It helps me feel like I’m part of a community or something bigger than myself if I hear that people are dealing with feelings that I’ve felt before.”
Stand-up versus podcast
“The stage stuff is more of a persona. I’m kind of always approaching everything with an angle of extreme confidence because that’s what’s exciting to me and funny. On the podcast, it’s a bit more toned down, it’s a bit more real. On the podcast, I’m expressing fears and anxieties, whereas on stage, I’ll shroud those fears in confidence in order to make them seem funny. Because on stage, I’m always going for laugh, laugh, laugh, and on the podcast, I’m not going for laughs, I’m going just to have a conversation with Pat and see what comes of it. I just think that with Pat, I feel so safe and comfortable that, naturally, we make each other laugh, we give each other that energy. It’s more effortless.”
“I want [listeners] to laugh, and I want them to feel like they can be unabashedly themselves and they can ask for what they want and they can express what they want in life. But at the end of the day, I just want it to be funny and for them to feel like they’re hanging out with their friends — like we’re their friends and they’re just overhearing some good gossip.”
Interview conducted and condensed by Anna Mazarakis ’16