Caitlin McNally is So Sorry. Like, too sorry. So because of that. We guilted her into answering these Hot Seat Questions.
When did you first start Doing COmedy?
I've been doing improv and sketch comedy for about 4 years, but I started working on this show in particular in 2016.
How did you come up with your show title?
The title is based on my personal struggle with over-apologizing. I've apologized for offering ideas in team meetings at work, feeling pain through the Novocain at the dentist's office, and (multiple times) for not wanting to have sex. I feel that it's something most women can relate to, so I wanted to explore characters who were unapologetic for who they are, with just a sprinkling of personal experience and remorse.
What was the first sketch idea you can remember having?
That's a hard one. I honestly can't remember, but my friends and I used to spend all weekend making videos in high school. We did a lot of plotless parodies and one original short about being a time traveling "crime stopper"...I don't think I was really the brains behind the ideas themselves, but I've always been game to ham it up in front of a camera.
What's your creative process like? How do you generate ideas and keep it fresh?
I really enjoy just turning on a song that pumps me up or something unusual (Herb Alpert fits both categories for me) and creating a character from that first. I started out performing in improv before sketch, so I do enjoy working organically to just "find" some character or game. Wigs are also a source of inspiration for me...even if they get cut in the show itself. Mostly though, I get most of my inspiration from real life or just doing bits with my improv-pals.
Who are your influences? Who are some of your favorite sketch comedy acts performing today? Who has blown your mind?
I grew up watching SNL, so of course I've always loved a lot of the performers on that show. To be honest though, I think I identify most with Will Forte (see: Herb Alpert comment above). Recently though, I've been blown away by anything Keith Horvath touches. He just moved here from Chicago and he's already made his mark in this town. Getting to play in both House of 1000 Sketches and This is (Not) the Gayest Sketch Show You've Ever Seen (once as an understudy- still counts) have been some serious comedy highlights for me and he's just a pleasure to work with in every way.
Do you have any fun "worst show" or "worst audience member" stories?
I put up a sketch once that depended entirely on music cues. We rehearsed it once but at showtime, the tracks wouldn't play. Luckily, I was performing with improviser David Howe (Good Fight) so we made it into it's own fun scene and the tech pulled lights on an appropriate button. It actually ended up being a fun scene, and people were surprised to hear it wasn't written that way. But as a writer, it was the worst. I kind of buried that sketch even though I loved the concept- I'm just too scared to try it again.
Do you have any fun "best show" stories?
The first sketch show my parents ever came to was my first show with Taken Seriously (Robert Segovia, Katie Stone, Nathan Ehrmann). They had seen me do improv, but I was excited to have them there for one of my first major sketch shows. Incidentally, I was dressed as a huge penis in the first sketch. I forgot about this until I saw my parents at the theater. I had to go the whole show wondering if my sweet parents were spending the whole hour feeling horrified. When I came out of the green room, my dad literally had tears in his eyes and told me he didn't realize how funny I was- he had just gotten hearing aids and has a knack for slightly backhanded compliments.
Are there any ideas that you've had that you can't seem to make work or convince other people is actually funny.
Since college, I've had the idea for sketch where a woman is turned into the Gorton's Fisherman over night. She can't say anything but the fish sticks catchphrase and it tears her relationships apart. I've pitched it and people are usually somewhat into the idea but it always makes me laugh-cry and any actual fruition of it would definitely not be as funny as it is in my mind.
What should people interested in comedy know about performing sketch that you didn't know when you started?
CUT CUT CUT- get a director you trust who will give you hard, honest notes without making you want to give up. If you think your show is "good enough" to stage, you need to edit all of it and get a new set of eyes in there. Matt Needles is my director for I'm So Sorry and the show was clearly elevated to a whole new level once he came on board. Hiring a director is the best thing you can do for your sketch show, solo or not.
We need to increase the visibility of this article. Any suggestions for a click-bait headline?
This woman Lived with Raccoons for 5 Years, You Won't BELIEVE How She Lost 10Pounds.
What else – comedy wise – are you looking forward to this year? What do you have cooking?
I'm headed to New York in June with my improv troupe Empty Promises for the Del Close Marathons! It'll be my first time in New York as an adult and I'm really excited to explore the city with the "Sweet Boys of Austin Improv" (That's my nickname for the guys in EP and they HATE IT).