ColdTowne Theater alumn Katie Sicking left town (and our hearts) a few years back for the greener concrete pastures of New York City. Since she’s appearied in projects all over the city (at the UCB, at the PIT Theatre). In fact, she references so many sketch projects in this interview, we thought she was lying at first. She’s not. She actually does that much. It makes us feel lazy.
Her most recent project, Patriarchy II: Fist of Extremism, is also her first solo outing as a writer. One part smart political satire and two parts petty idiots, the show explores the issue of women’s rights in America.
Welcome back! Tell me about the show. Where did the inspiration come from?
Katie Sicking: Last fall, I was so angry after reading story after story about lawmakers cutting access to low cost women’s healthcare clinics like Planned Parenthood. I felt like we were (and are still) backsliding on equal rights. But I’m not a politician, I’m just a dumb comedian who eats peanut butter M&Ms for breakfast, so I reacted by writing a sketch about it for my sketch team Pencils Down. When we did it on stage, we got this HUGE response – it felt like people really resonated with it in a way that wasn’t bumming anyone out either.
I decided to spin it off into a whole show and maybe fan the political flames a bit. I have written a lot of sketches about women’s rights in the past, so there was a lot to work with already. In fact, the very last sketch in this show came out of an older sketch I wrote back when I was in Austin in 2012 for The Hustle Show! 10 points to anyone who might be able to guess it to be awarded immediately after the show (points redeemable for future shows or 1 jar of ants).
What’s your creative process like? How do you generate ideas and keep it fresh?
Katie: This was the first sketch show that I wrote entirely on my own. It’s hard to create comedy without people to bounce jokes off of though, so I would routinely pester my comedy friends with jokes and be like “hey is this funny?” or “does this make sense?” and if it didn’t get a reaction out of anyone I’d cut the joke in question. It’s also hard to keep yourself to a set schedule when you’re the only one you have to report to. I think that’s also why I have always written with a partner in the past. It’s like having a workout buddy to keep you on track. So when it was just me I decided to get a director early in the process, someone who would require deadlines to be met. Luckily, I managed to get Katie Simon who is a comedy powerhouse, and she really helped me to stay on track.
Who are your influences?
Katie: God I feel like every female comedian lists Tina Fey as an influence, but WHOCARES. I used to study scripts from 30 Rock and try to emulate the intense joke structures that Fey and Robert Carlock created. Every single page had like 6-7 hard, great jokes while still managing to push an interesting plot forward – that’s so hard to do! By contrast, most sitcoms struggle to get three good jokes out per page.
Do you have any fun “worst show” or “worst audience member” stories?
Katie: Not from this show but just last week my sketch team Rig had to do a sketch show in rollerskates and after all the hours in rehearsals the largest laugh came not from a joke, but when one of our members completely fell over trying to sit in a chair (not in the script). I guess it’s hard to beat genuine slapstick!
What should people interested in comedy know that you didn’t know when you started?
Katie: Be patient with yourself! Try sketches that are really weird or risky because you don’t learn anything from safe sketches. Also: WRITESKETCHESWITHFEWER PROPS!
What else – comedy wise – are you looking forward to this year? What do you have cooking?
Katie: When we get back to NYC this show as a run on the PIT mainstage! Also my sketch comedy trio Geil is going to be releasing more videos soon, and we’re going to be at Quickie Fest Jun 3rd. Also I co-host a sketch podcast called Sketch City where we talk to NYC comedians about the NYC sketch scene that debuts mid-june.
We need to increase the visibility of this article. Any suggestions for a click-bait headline?
Katie: “Area Woman Almost Cured Of Rabies” or “ColdTowne alumni raising hell in new political satirical sketch show
You can catch Patriarchy II: Fist of Extremism on Wednesday May 25th at 10pm at ColdTowne Theater along with Magic By Death.