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Using Improv to Get Unstuck and Silence Your Inner Critic with Katie Goodman

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Erin: Welcome to Hotter Than Ever, where we uncover the unconscious rules we've been following. We break those rules and we find a new path to being freer, happier, sexier, more flexible, and more self expressed. I'm your host, Erin Keating. Today's conversation is with comedian and improvisation guru, Katie Goodman.


You may have seen improv comedy on TV in that show, Whose Line Is It Anyway, where they get a suggestion and then they make up a whole scene from there. Well, that whole world, the rules of improvisation, of comedic make em ups, can really be applicable to helping us live a freer and more adaptable [00:01:00] life.


Katie is an expert on this subject and we talk about gagging your inner critic and replacing that voice with an inner coach, leaning into your authenticity and how that can help you find your niche, blending the personal with the professional, which is obviously something I'm working on and why it's so important to find ways to get lost in order to wake yourself up to life.


It's really good stuff. Here it is. Katie Goodman is an award winning comedian, author, and international speaker. She literally wrote the book on using improv comedy to improve your life. It's called Improvisation for the Spirit. Live a more creative, spontaneous, and courageous life using the tools of improv comedy.


Who does not want to live a more creative? Spontaneous and courageous life. I'm here for it. Her comedy songs have had 3 million views online and her show broad comedy plays off Broadway and tours nationally. Welcome Katie.


Katie: I'm so glad to be talking to you.


Erin: It's so great to have you here. I am a lifelong comedy person and a big fan of improv.

I've done some improv, so I'm really looking forward to this conversation because I think you've taken improv and found a really great practical application for it that is super accessible. But I want to rewind a little bit and hear your story and sort of what brought you to where you are today. Where are you today?


Katie: I'm in Brooklyn. So my husband and I had a theater company for 14 years out West. And then we moved to New York to tour more seriously the show called Broad Comedy. And we've always written together and performed together and directed each other and made short films and videos and lots and lots and lots of projects.


Erin: Yeah. I just want to stop there for one second, because that's like a dream to have a partner who's also your creative partner. Yes. How does that work?


Katie: Most days. Yeah.


Erin: How does that work? You guys must really like each other and [00:03:00] respect each other.

Katie: We do. We met in a show, so I think like we never knew anything different. Our role models were my great aunt and uncle in their nineties who had been living and working together for 50 years. And we kind of grew up in our twenties, really close to them and saw how they did it, which is respect and fun and laughing. And then you get annoyed in space, right? My aunt always used to say, uh, Charlotte would say divorce. I've never considered divorce. Homicide, but not divorce. That's our favorite line.


Erin: That's amazing. Wouldn't go as far as divorce.


Katie: Right. Exactly. We also run a theater camp together. So we do this whole other thing that is like a little bit more giving back, whereas sometimes the arts can be narcissistic. No.

What? Right. Us focused. So that's always a nice thing. Every summer we go out to Montana and we have a couple of months where we're just mentoring and just. Helping kids feel [00:04:00] more confident and creating community and stuff like that. So I think that's always been a really nice break for us.


Erin: Yeah, for sure. But I mean, it's amazing that you've made a life and a career and a business out of this thing that's so tenuous for so many people. And it seems to me like part of your journey has been finding this message that you can share. around improv and how it can empower you in your communication and being able to share that with all kinds of audiences. Can you talk a little bit about that?


Katie: Yeah, I'm actually, I'm going to be working with a group of nuclear physicists in a couple of weeks. That's, I'm very excited about it. And they're going to make nuclear physicists. They're the ones who are, yeah, they're apparently really burned out and scared all the time.


It's trying to help them feel reanalyzed. So I've done everything from that. To teachers, to Morgan Stanley, I mean, like a group of women CEOs to creatives. I mean, it's really flexible, which is what's nice about the [00:05:00] content is cause the tools of improv comedy can just be used in absolutely everything, any job, any relationship, any challenge.


Erin: Well, let's get into that because so define for me what improv comedy is because I'm a comedy nerd and this is the water I swim in, but I think for a lot of listeners, they're like, what are you talking about?


Katie: All right. I was just making shit up. Are we allowed to swear? Oh, you have to. It's a requirement. So yeah, improv is little theater scenes and sketches and games that have a criteria, a constraint. Usually sometimes they're just, you know, just a scene with no rules and no setting, but often they have some kind of constraint and you're just making everything up. And the trick is you have to work together.


That's why I teach this stuff because besides the. Trying to learn to be confident and trust that everything you need is already inside your head. I think what's fun about improv and what's really exciting is that everybody is working in relationship somewhere. Even if [00:06:00] you're a novelist at home, you still have an editor, you still have family, friends, hopefully.


So you have to figure out how do we manage the unexpected. How do we handle anything that's thrown our way? And those are the tools that improv really teaches us very quickly. Plus you're in like a, it's a little bit stressful if you're performing. So you have this sort of pressure to stay present.


Otherwise you won't know what's happening. You know, your scene partner goes off in some different direction and you weren't. really there or listening, you were just planning in your head and then you're kind of screwed because you're standing there like, Oh crap, I don't know what they just said. So that it forces you in a nice way to learn how to be present.

So as a failed, but trying Buddhist, it's something that's really helped me just in regular life too.


Erin: God, there's so many applications that I'm just imagining now. I mean, all of life is handling the unexpected. All of life is listening to other people and not just planning what you're gonna say next.[00:07:00] There's so much aspirational approaches to communication that I intuitively think improv can bring forth. How did you realize that improv could be a tool for self help and growth?


Katie: Well, very specifically, the first workshop I ever did came after we were teaching. middle schoolers improv as just part of our theater company, Saturday classes kind of thing.

And I ended up one time with a class of all girls and it was like eight. six and seventh grade girls. And all of a sudden I noticed in there that, and this is just without the guys there, these girls were way less self conscious and they were doing things like one was a doctor and the others on her back, like legs up giving birth.


And like, nobody was embarrassed. I remember the scene so specifically, and it was hilarious. And the nurse, you know, keep my husband out there. Like, they're really funny. And, but it was a scene that never would have happened. Right. So I started realizing like what happens when [00:08:00] you. Do this kind of work and then all women's atmosphere because I had been in an all male comedy troupe for I guess, which is a familiar feeling, right?


Erin: Like I was the first woman in the sketch group that I joined after college that was started by people who had had a sketch Group in at another college and they're like, hey, you're a girl and you're good and you're funny like join our group and I'm like, okay, but it's all dudes.

Katie: Yeah. Yeah. And I'm pretty used to that. The comedy world, you're the only woman on any given night. And my group, my troop is still all men, um, which I adore them to pieces. But so I started an all women's self help retreat kind of based on that. Class. Because I was like, women really have a lot, obviously, they want to say and sometimes aren't comfortable saying it.


So we went to this Chico Hot Springs, this swanky fun place, and had a full weekend of just improv games and self help. And I had been obsessed with self help since I was like, [00:09:00] 20. So it was a really good mix. I'd been a yoga teacher. I'd been involved in Buddhist communities and Kripalu Center and things like that.


So I, it was a good meshing. And then over the years, I started just speaking about it to not all women groups, but to just anybody. And I was like, Oh my God, this stuff is so applicable. Like you were saying to just anyone, any job, any problem and any relationship. And yeah, just evolved from there. And I, every single time I go out to do a speech or a workshop, they're different.


I have my skeleton outline. I have a little PowerPoint, but like no two are ever the same. Cause I try to also practice what I preach, which is something's happening in the audience. You know, somebody is having an experience of like, it's hard or it's fun or it's silly. And. I kind of try to adjust to what they seem to want to learn or where it's going.


Erin: I love that. I love that. I love that you're trying to practice what you preach in real time.


Katie: Yeah. Harder in a marriage. [00:10:00] Yeah, but you get much more time. You get many more.


Erin: So I know you have a sort of eight tools of improv comedy that we can apply in our lives every day. And I'd love to just Talk through those because I think we can get very rigid in our lives and we can think that we know how things are going to go or that we fall into predictable patterns or we stop being present in the moment because we're just kind of on the treadmill. We're on the hamster wheel and we're in the routine and it's safe. It's safe. It's safe. Predictable is safe.


Katie: Exactly. Like we're not really programmed as cave people. You do want to go out and find new berries or whatever, but there's also something really good about staying near your cave. Well, the first one I already kind of mentioned, which is stay present.


That's the very first thing you're in a. scene and somebody says something you need to be [00:11:00] present enough to hear their ideas and also willing to let go of your ideas. But just mostly staying present is the art of listening and being there and not just in your head. The second one relates to the first one, which is the yes and principle, which a lot of people have heard of.


Yes. And it is like. The example I always give is someone says, Hey, look at that pink elephant. And you say, what pink elephant? So what happens in that situation is it's called negation and you, it just, the whole scene dies. It doesn't go anywhere. It cancels out what the person was offering you really, but if you say in the scene. Right. Exactly. So somebody says, Hey, look at that pink elephant. And you say, Oh yes. And it's standing on your mother in law or whatever. And then you can picture that right, right away. Like there's an image, you know where to go. And the trick was, I think a lot of people just, yes, each other without the, and so yes, thing looks like. Uh, yep. Pink elephant. [00:12:00]


Erin: Right. So you haven't contributed anything. You've given agreement. You've established a world together.


Katie: Right. Right. But you're pushing all the responsibility back on the other person to come up with the next creative thing or to solve the problem if it's outside of an improv game.


So that's why you want both yes and, and obviously you're not saying literally yes and, but that's a way that we practice it with newcomers. The third one is be flexible. So for example, Hey, look at that pink elephant. Yes. And it's standing on your mother in law. If you were offering the pink elephant and you were like, let's go for a ride on it.


And the person didn't say anything to do with that. You have to be flexible enough to let go of what your preconceived idea was. And it's okay to keep having ideas like a lot of people say in improv don't think like we even say to the kids don't think go we shout that all the time like don't think go, but you're not not thinking you're thinking of a lot of possibilities, but you're just not getting attached to them.


So you have to be flexible enough to let go of [00:13:00] where you thought it was going right now this is like oh my god what a coven metaphor. So, I mean, if I never hear the word pivot again, as long as I live. Um, and the fourth one is give up the goal and those are really related. Sometimes you have to give up the goal completely.


Like my goal to go into my office every day or, or to go on tour with a freaking theater show. But sometimes it's giving up the way to get to the goal. So you keep the goal, but the way you got there is just a completely different thing, which is what so many of us had to do.


Erin: I mean, there's already in the stay present, "yes and", be flexible, give up the goal-- like even in these four lessons, this is like mantras to live by, like ways to think about your love relationships, your professional life. I think it's the opposite of how we are taught to chase a goal, to be tactical all the time, to charge [00:14:00] forth towards what it is that we want, but

I think that ideology that's a sort of American success doctrine is not a collaborative one. And the world that we actually live in as human beings is entirely collaborative. And so one,


Katie: Absolutely. Yeah, I couldn't agree more than one thing that I hear all the time, especially in the workplace, there's kind of two extremes. There can be the person who. Never wants to give an idea, but they have their ideas. And then there's somebody who takes over all the time, often because they feel responsible, not necessarily because they're an asshole, but often because they feel like responsible. And so then you've got people who are afraid to come up with what I call like a half baked idea.


And in our culture. I hear this constantly that women feel like they have to have a fully formed idea before they say it out loud. And men are very comfortable and they've been taught that it's totally okay to come up with a half baked idea. Now, in this situation, the men, I think, have it right.


Generally, we keep [00:15:00] hearing. In corporate culture, they just feel more confident about everything. But so this is something that we both want and you don't have to do a whole excuse. Like this might not be a good idea, but I, you know, I was just thinking, but it's more like, Hey, I have a half baked idea. I want to share so we can all brainstorm on it.

Like that's a confident move. And people generally respect that.

Erin: I think that's a great way to frame it. And sometimes I say, well, I'm getting like a spark of something. Can I share that and see if we can build on that? Yeah. That's something popped into my head. I'm going to share it and see maybe valuable may not be valuable, but the willingness to look imperfect, the willingness to look not a hundred percent buttoned up. But I also think it shows you to be possibly a leader or a thinker and someone who's real present to solving a problem.


Katie: And also I really encourage people to in these conferences and things to set a culture that allows for that. Right. Cause it's a [00:16:00] culture thing and it could be in your own home where your parents or siblings make funny or whatever, you know, when you're a little. If you don't have a fully formed idea or something. So it's almost like, I think it's good even for parents to sometimes say like, Oh, I don't know about that.


I have to think about that. Here's sort of my thought about it. That's okay to not have all the answers all the time. As parents, I think we're trained that we're supposed to have all the answers all the time, but it's the same thing as at work. You want to set a culture where it's okay to collaborate and throw out different ideas and be interested in hearing other people's ideas.


Erin: Yeah. Yeah. And not always be thinking, how can I be the smartest person in the room? How can I be the one who comes up with the answer? The world needs every contributor. It's just some people are louder and pushier than others.


Katie: Yeah. But I think if those loud, pushy people also say, Hey, how about we all throw out a crappy idea today? It needs to also come from the leaders.


Erin: Yeah, I think [00:17:00] about running brainstorming sessions and how you can often start with a room of dead air where you're just like, okay, we're here to come up with titles for this show, for example, and then you got nothing until somebody put something real dumb up on the board. And then you're like, well, I like this part of that. And then let's build on that.


Katie: It's just why there's like 1000 games. that you can find online to try to, like, throw these ideas in a hat or grab the first word you see in the newspaper and try to make a sentence out of it. And this comes back to constraint, which is not one of my...Rules specifically, um, but it is one of my favorite things. Constraint breeds creativity. So if you are constrained by a budget, even like for a family vacation or something, if you're constrained by age, even, you know, I don't want to be doing this forever, or I haven't learned enough yet cause I'm too young.


Like you're constrained by where you live, what you have access to. to those all feel really [00:18:00] hard and challenging to people at times. But what I try to teach is that constraint breeds creativity. So for, to take it out of life and just go back to improv for a second, for example, if I gave you five words and I said, tell me a story based on those five words is something I do all the time.


And I also give people like all these crazy hats, like a sailor hat or a bridal wig or whatever, and they have to tell it like that character. And having the constraint, they love it. They love the hat. They love the words. Because otherwise, if I were to go, Erin, just tell me a story. You'd be like, Oh, I don't know what story to tell you.


Erin: I have so many.


Katie: Exactly. It's so many stories.


Erin: Right. Right. And in reality, there isn't anything that isn't constrained, right? Like everybody has limitations either from a resource perspective, from a time perspective, from a willingness perspective. And yeah. It's easy to say, just get over it or push yourself out of your comfort zone. But sometimes you have to sort of dig around inside your comfort zone and say, am I actually making the [00:19:00] most of what's here?

Katie: Yeah. And also just while you're saying that, it made me think that all of this is a practice, right? I'm practicing all these every week somehow. There's a couple more. You want me to tell you that?


Erin: Yes, please.


Katie: Well, number five is the one we've already talked about. Spontaneity. Be spontaneous. Think on your feet. Number six is gag your inner critic. So that's one of my favorite ones. And I do an entire talks about this. Um, so the inner critic is something that we all naturally have, but it's basically like a benevolent dictator that you, when you were little, you learned to either go along to get along.


And it's sort of like the, you don't want to be saying something that's gonna get you kicked off the Island. So the way I teach this is try to figure out what it says to you. So usually it's not something rational and calm. Usually it's an unarguable, short sentence. And it's something like you're [00:20:00] dumb. You're never good enough. Nobody likes you. You're not funny. Nobody wants to hear that. It's not something you can argue with facts and statistics. So that's your inner critic. It's really not useful. It kept you safe. That's one point so you wouldn't humiliate yourself or get hurt. And what you want is an inner coach.


And the difference is that like, for me, my inner critic image I always had was like this buttoned up librarian who was going like all the time. And then my inner coach was like, did you see the birdcage? Yeah. So it's like Hank Azaria in the birdcage, who is this Guatemalan house boy. And it's such a funny character, but he's very flamboyant, very positive.


Oh, you look fabulous. It's kind of what mine would say, or you're doing great job. And so to have like an image is really helpful. Whenever I see that sort of librarian come up, I'm like, ah, nope, thanks. You're not. actually helpful. And so the inner coach says, instead of you're not smart enough to [00:21:00] get a job promotion or something, the coach would say, look, last time you went for your 360 evaluation type thing, and we're going to ask for a raise.


You didn't do research to find out what other people were getting. You didn't put your portfolio together, blah, blah, blah, blah, a bunch of helpful things, right? This time, why don't you do that and let's see how it goes. And so it's. It's always going to be something that has tips, right?


Erin: Oh, I love that. And they're tips from your inner coach. So you know what to do. You already know what to do.


Katie: Yeah. But the stupid fucking inner critic just gets in the way all the time. So you almost can't hear that coach. It's so loud. There's part of you that's trying to keep you safe from stepping out. And you've, uh, take some work. Yeah.


Erin: I don't know about you, but aging has really helped with that inner critic for me.

You know, the older I get, the less I hear that voice and the less I'm stopped by that voice. And when I hear it, the less I believe it. Mine just says you're fat. [00:22:00] Mine says you can't do this because you're fat. Like, you can't live this life. You can't do these things. You can't be this person because you're fat.


And my response to it was like, fuck you. Number one. Number two, I'm not that fat. Number three. Yeah. My life proves otherwise. Thanks so much. That's a good one. Yeah. My life proves otherwise. The inner critics tells me that's the obstacle to everything and the inner coach or whatever this sort of aging wisdom says, um, thanks. You're just another voice and I'm just going to change the dial on this radio station.


Katie: No thing. Yeah. That's, that was what I was going to say. That last part, Erin is not relevant. That's like the statement I use, not relevant, because it's really not.


Erin: It's short and sweet and says something awful and you, you say back to it, not relevant.


Katie: Yeah. And then you don't argue it. Cause I think the [00:23:00] problem, this is just like a six year old, right? You get enough pulled into a fight that you can't win necessarily that you just like, really, I'm having to pull out proof. And like, it's a waste of effort and it isn't relevant to whether you're happy, you know.


Erin: And think about how much time in our lives we've spent doing battle with that inner critic and that, that voice that tells us, no, you can't when, when we don't want to, yes.

And the world, right, right. But right. Yeah, that's this structure, this evolutionary structure, like you said, and that's going to keep us safe, maybe in certain circumstances, but loses its utility.


Katie: Right. Right, right, right. And I was thinking too, about why having role models matters so much. Like we just see these young women in STEM. Now these women film directors, that's only been like 10 [00:24:00] years where there's more than two or 3%. I went and saw Madonna, like. Six years ago or something and she was 50 whatever and she's doing this dance stuff with her like no knee problems I just want to say Seeing her has changed how I perceive myself in my 50s Just physically and sexually too, as like, you know, we're on Hotter Than Ever here.


So I think having these examples is wildly important, but it's also what I want to say about why practice these improv tools, just bringing it back to that or practice anything that you want is that it's a, it's a slow growth. Like it's a slow, steady trudge, trudge towards. Going, oh, look, I did that. Oh, I did that. You know, I did that thing. It's not overnight. Like, it doesn't have to be overnight.


Erin: No one, I think those of us in our 40s, 50s, 60s, like, we know it's not overnight because we got to where [00:25:00] we are now by putting one foot in front of the other. By sort of having a, um, a glimmery vision in the future going, I think I want that. I think I'm going to walk towards that. And we know that it's, it's every day and every action and every step. And that despite wanting to win the lottery and get struck by lightning and have love at first sight and et cetera, et cetera, all these quick fix solutions to what we perceive as our problems, like, right. It doesn't work that way.


Katie: And you have to get really lost. Sorry. I just segued myself into my next one here. Gorgeous. Really nicely. But you have to get lost a bit too. So for example, what that looks like is anything. It could just be drive home a different way, order something else off the menu than you ever order, call somebody totally from childhood, randomly go to a.

Bookstores, you always go to the mystery section instead, go to the male bodybuilding section, whatever it is that makes you shake it up a little bit. [00:26:00] What it all leads to is the final tool. And I think all of these lead to this, which is number eight is how to be, be authentic, right? So authenticity is--it's such a buzzword, right? Right. It's kind of a good one. That's worth it. We'll let, we'll let them still use it. So it's things like in sales, you know, you want to be authentic to build trust with people, but obviously that also works in dating, but it also works in. Really just any relationship.


What you don't want. What none of us want is we don't want to be getting props for something that isn't authentic because then it's like, Oh, I got famous or I got liked or I got loved for something that wasn't really me. And then all of a sudden. Everyone's like, oh, you're so amazing. You're like, ah, shit, that's not really me.


Erin: Right. And then you can't claim your successes. It doesn't work.


Katie: Exactly. Yeah. So it doesn't really work anyway. This is the whole thing about what others think you should or shouldn't be in. And so all these little things like allowing yourself to be lost and we were. [00:27:00] Talking about in terms of especially coming out of relationships, that's like a really hard time.


We all know somebody who got divorced and three months later, they are married or with somebody who's exactly like the person they just left. And you're like, dude, you just did not grow, right? Give yourself a minute. See who you are now.


Erin: I'm like in a relationship literally four days after my divorce came through, we got much more intimate and emotionally connected and serious. And I was like, is this too fast?


Katie: But Erin, because you didn't just break up.


Erin: Yeah. No, we were separated for a year and a half. And also I didn't contrive any of this. I grew and this person is so opposite anyone I've ever been with in my life. Like I know it's great. I know it's growth.


Katie: Right, right, right. But I think you've described on some of the other podcasts I listen to, you've described yourself as having been some version of a lost a little bit in between. And that's good. I think we all hate being lost though. And by lost, I just mean like, Oh, who am I now? What do I want? That [00:28:00] kind of lost.

Erin: You have to sink down into that experience. Otherwise you're just going to repeat the same thing over and over again. To your point, I think sometimes the best things happen because you stumble off the main road.


Katie: But it's just a hoax to think that you're supposed to do it. Mapped out. It's funny that we even still as a culture talk about wanting to follow this path We came up with when we were in college or something. Like I feel like all anyone talks about is how that doesn't work Why are we still holding on to it?


Erin: Well, and maybe our culture or our mindsets are not set up for there's a period of goal setting and what do you want to? Be when you grow up and you only get asked that at a certain time in your life. And then you don't give your right. Exactly. Or when you're six, and then you don't give yourself the opportunity to say, wait a minute, like, what do I want to be when I grow up? After you've accomplished that whole set of goals or you became that thing you said you [00:29:00] wanted to be when you grew up.


Katie: I have this friend, um, Sophie Wade, and she wrote a great book about the future of work. And she talks all the time about how you're going to have five or six careers. And I went out to dinner with her the other night be moaning, what's next? Theater, regional theater still isn't great. And we're trying to sort of reinvent ourselves through film and stuff like that. And she said, she's British. She was like, Katie, you're only on number three. You have two more to go get going. And she was giving me a hard time. Oh, really? Okay. I have two more. It took the pressure off.


Erin: Yeah. I think that's hopeful, but there's that word again, there's that pivot, right? It's like, we, we want to think that we can figure something out once and then we don't have to figure it out again.


Katie: It is a lot of work. Yeah. Damn it.


Erin: So how do you know when you're being your authentic self? Does that feel and look [00:30:00] different?


Katie: Right? Yeah. Well, how would you answer that? Sorry, I'm turning the tables.


Erin: No, I mean, I think I did a lot of lying in the previous incarnation of my life in order to keep my marriage together. I did a lot of things I didn't want to do, I behaved in ways I didn't want to behave because I needed to keep the peace.


Because in my mind, having my kids come from a broken home, the most horrible expression of all time, was like not going to happen. And also because I was in corporate life for 20 years, you lose some level of authenticity. I was always striving to be in roles where I could be as much myself. as possible, but you still have to, you still gotta fake it in some contexts. You still gotta show up as, even if in my mind, I'm so not a corporate person, everything on my resume would tell you otherwise. Right. So, is [00:31:00] that authentic?


Katie: Well, there's ways to test things. Yeah, there's ways to think too, to test it where you're not gonna blow up your entire life. Right? Like you can do small steps of change. So an example for me, when I was in my, like I was 36, I just had a baby and my comedy troupe, broad comedy was doing a live show and I went on a girl's weekend. Leaving my kid for the first time at like six or seven months for two nights, you know, mom's gone wild. And I woke up at like six in the morning, of course, on the one day I could sleep in.


And I ended up writing this monologue start to finish, which I never, ever do without changing a word to performance. That's never happened before or since. And I wrote one of my favorite monologues about a woman. She was going out on a date and. She had a baby and she kept referencing how awful it was and it was funny and she was like and you just want to take Them by the leg and swing them around around until you launch them off the porch railing But you just can't do that and there were so all these lines in there [00:32:00] that were like pretty intense And this is also 15 years ago since then the whole mommy Mommy hating mommy thing has become much funnier and hipper and acceptable, but it honestly, that was not being said. Yeah. Well much back then. And so instead of coming out and saying this in a blog, I gave it to a different actress and put it on stage and I stood in the fricking wings going, is this going to work? And I remember on opening night, there's 700 people in this audience, two thirds of which are women. Yeah.


We're out West and in this beautiful theater and I'm like sweating backstage, like someone is going to call social services on me and child protective services. And when they got to that line or a couple of the lines, like the whole audience just died from recognition. You know, it wasn't like the funniest line in the world, but they were like, Oh my God, someone said that we're all thinking that.


And I was, I've never been so relieved, like creatively in my [00:33:00] entire life or as a parent. And. It was like, okay, yep, I see you, you see me, we all were on this together. And it was one of those moments where I was like, and then I got positive feedback, interestingly, for being authentic. Which helps. So be careful also who you go to with your authenticity, right? You have to kind of treat it like something that you're the caretaker of your authenticity and share it consciously, carefully, you know?


Erin: Yeah. I mean, not to be too meta, but that is what this podcast is a result of is me feeling like I have been licensing my voice. To companies and that I had things I wanted to say that didn't work in a corporate context and that might resonate with people and I had conversations I wanted to have that just didn't, it couldn't be framed up.


Right? I think one thing that we do in order to be professional. Is keep our personal lives [00:34:00] out of our work lives, but for me, there was so much going on in my personal life that I walled off from my work life that I felt like such a fake, um, because I was going to work and showing up when this sort of accomplished buttoned up positive way when my home life was shit and I was really miserable and that contradiction really wore on me.


And I thought this isn't I don't want to live like this. I want to be more healthy, integrated and fully three dimensional. And I don't want to not talk about sex and I don't want to not talk about love. And I don't want to not talk about how things are hard in relationships and parenting and whatever.


I always want to walk a line of sharing myself in whatever context, but I just felt like. I had set up my life in such a way where there was a real wall and I needed to find a radical way to break that down [00:35:00] because it was making me feel all stopped up and not free.


Katie: I'll share something just in my work personal, my work life too, is that recently I've been doing these keynotes for 20 years and I've always kept my comedy separate because my comedy is rated And very liberal politically and not all the corporate world is comfortable with that.


And I've had a couple of times where people have Googled me and then they were like, uh, on second thought, sister. No, fair enough. And I was like, yep, no, I'm not going to argue with that. And I've actually been working with a really great career coach about this too. And she kind of got this out of me. I didn't even realize that it was feeling not in a little bit. I'm not inauthentic when I'm doing it. I'm absolutely authentic, but the walled off part that you were talking about. Yeah. And she said, well, how would you like to be doing more keynotes for women's groups, creative groups, liberal groups, women's health organizations, all those things. And I was like, Oh, that'd be great.


That's what we do our show for. And she's like, well, you get that there's conferences for those people too. And I was like, Oh damn, you're right. [00:36:00] So we've been trying to figure out how to integrate. My comedy world and my speaking world and it's just what you're saying. It's like I just felt this like, ah, oh great I don't have to worry. I don't have to be like, oh, are they gonna see Instagram? Well, I actually changed a lot of my social media stuff now it's just all progressive rated our stuff all the time. And actually it's doing better.

Erin: Well, isn't that interesting? Isn't that interesting? Yeah, it's doing better.


Katie: Oh, significantly it's like doubling.

Erin: I think we resist being niche, we want to keep every opportunity open. We want to keep every door open. We want to think we can fit in every setting that our voice belongs anywhere that we can adapt and be flexible to whatever, but I think the future is niche. And I think as a creative person running a creative business, you're the magic.


Is being niche. And that doesn't mean small. It [00:37:00] just means targeted and specific. So like people, exactly. And people are going to like you, or they are not going to like you. People are going to be into what you have to say, or they're not going to be into what you say.


Katie: And that I've never had a problem with. I mean, I grew up in a household with a, my mother was a op ed columnist. So she wrote opinions for a living for my entire childhood. And so she'd get hate mail and. This is before the internet even, so it would be like an actual letter. And so I get to see that and how she handled it growing up. And we've always got incredible YouTube comments.


We had one song about the abstinence only education issues. Oh yeah. That works like 15 years ago. Works really well and Yeah, exactly. And so we had a song called I'm Saving My Hymen for Jesus. And that was one of our kind of big hits back then and my favorite quote on it ever. And I've actually put this on our posters, which is Jesus would never fuck you, sluts.[00:38:00]


And so, you know, that's not somebody I'm going to win over. I know it's my favorite. We get that. We get really awful stuff too, but I've never had a problem with the people I don't agree with or care about what they think. Like that's always been a little bit easier for me. It's my peers that I'm care about and that's harder, but my peers.


I'm authentic with and they are actually helpful because they'll be like, you know, that one song I was a little over the line. Yeah. Oh, thank you. Yeah.


Erin: Yeah. I want to ask you a question that I have asked people on this podcast, all of the guests that have been on, are there any deal terms or contracts in your life that you'd like to renegotiate today?


Katie: You mean metaphorically?


Erin: Metaphorically. Yeah. They could be literal ones too, but I feel like we're in deals. And the one thing the lawyers always hated when I worked in television was like, but we've [00:39:00] decided this, we've decided this and we can't go back and reopen the deal terms. And I'm like, well, we have to, we have to, and in our lives we have to go back and reopen the deal terms because maybe the deal we've made isn't quite the deal we want to make anymore.


Katie: That's such a great question. There's kind of one. One is that I'm a political satirist, and at the moment, I am so fed up with politics. And during COVID, I really stopped reading the paper much and I'm from a newspaper family. So let's just say right there, it's already like, Oh, I don't know what's happening at the dinner conversation about something.

And I'm trying to like renegotiate. How do I. Stay informed without losing my freaking mind. So I think that's, and that's particularly tricky because of both my upbringing, but more to the point, my career. So I think there's some other things I want to say that aren't like, and now we're making fun of DeSantis and the [00:40:00] song. I, I have some other stuff that I want to talk about that's maybe more global, like bigger, more. Big, big picture.


Erin: Right. That could also still be political satire, but on a more macro level.


Katie: If I see something like the Barbie movie or I see any number of things and I have like one thing I want to say, as opposed to the whole thing, cause I did love it. Like picking out one thing that jumps out at me that maybe not everyone's going to agree with. How do you find the interesting gray zone instead of the black and white of everything?


Erin: I love it. Oh, Katie, thank you so much for coming on. And I loved this conversation. I hope people really dig into what improv is and how it can improve their improv, improv their lives. Sorry. Terrible. Improve their life. Uh and that they check out your book and your songs and look for broad comedy coming to a town near them.


Katie: Thank you. I want to just compliment you too. I [00:41:00] think you're, from what I, this conversation, I can see you're already really practicing a lot of this stuff. So it's a really nice example for everybody.


Erin: Thank you so much. That's very kind.


Thanks for listening to Hotter Than Ever. I have only one request of you. Please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts. Share your thoughts and reactions to what you've heard in these conversations and how it makes you feel when you hear these amazing women and their stories and the takeaways that they offer you and how you can apply them to your own lives.


Reviewing the show will really help other people find it. That's how Apple Podcasts works. I thank you, thank you, thank you in advance. Hotter Than Ever is produced by Erica Girard and Podkid Productions. Our interim associate producer is Melody Carey. Music is by Chris Keating with vocals by Issa Fernandez.


Come back next week, hotties. I promise we will still be on fire and still [00:42:00] be talking about all this good, important, juicy stuff.

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