We love women’s lifestyle YouTube channels here at NMR — hi, Kin Community! — but we also can’t resist making fun of things. So when I found a cooking show that began like this: “Hi, I’m Kate McLennan! I spend my days cooking for the people that I love!” “Hi, I’m Kate McCartney. I spend my days not being an asshole” — well, I basically wanted to marry it.
The Katering Show, “the journey of a food intolerant and an intolerable foodie,” is a hilarious web series from Australian comedians McLennan and McCartney. After McCartney finds out that she is intolerant to gluten, lactose and basically everything else but vodka, cooking-obsessed McLennan makes it her mission to teach McCartney how to cook meals that kind of maybe have some flavor without making her crap her pants.
The first season has taken off internationally, racking up more than 3.8 million views, and for good reason — it’s absolutely packed with jokes and one-liners, from the script to the editing to the on-screen graphics (“Fun Fact: The Mexican city of Chihuahua is ruled by tiny rabid dogs”), and it manages to perfectly skewer foodie culture, food intolerances, 30-something white ladies and YouTube tropes all in one go. “We’ve been getting some great feedback from our YouTube fans!” McLennan says. “Sportnik59 writes, ‘Hey girls! I wanna f*ck you in the face!’ Aw, that’s nice.”
NMR was offered the chance to interview McLennan about the show, so once I figured out how to not try to call her at 3am Melbourne time, I had a great chat with her. Watch the first season — seriously do it, I’ve even embedded it right here for you — and then read up on how the two Kates met and what’s next for the show.
How did you and McCartney meet, and what inspired the show?
We started working together about five years ago. We were in our early thirties and we’d both been dumped and we’d both been fired. We started flirting on Twitter, and then one night we got together and drank lots of white wine and talked about our problems and really hit it off.
For “The Katering Show,” we were working on another show called “Bleak,” and we’ve been developing that with a network over here and it’s been a very long drawn out process. We were so sick of waiting for this to get the green light, we decided to film something else for YouTube.
McCartney had just been diagnosed with all these crazy food intolerances, and I am quite obsessed with food. It drove me crazy that she couldn’t eat anything, and she really couldn’t care less about food. That was this really big point of difference for us.
Is it inspired by any particular food shows or personalities?
I kind of watched cooking shows as an alternative to Valium and prescription medication! They would calm me down and make me feel in control of my world. I love those British cooking shows — I started watching Jamie Oliver when I was a teenager. And McCartney, even though she doesn’t like cooking, she loves “Top Chef.” Anything to do with cupcakes and baking, she’s quite on board with that as well. As she says in the show, that’s just rules, and she can follow rules.
NMR works with a lot of women’s lifestyle YouTube channels that involve cooking and baking, which is one of the reasons this was so funny for me. What is it about culinary TV or YouTube that makes it so perfect for comedy?
Because there is such a style to it — the way that it’s shot, the delivery to camera. And then what I’ve noticed creeping in lately is you get a lot of homespun wisdom, so it’s not just about food, it’s food as a spiritual experience. I love Paula Deen — I was watching stuff of hers a couple of years ago and I was like “This woman’s mental!” They take themselves so seriously. And anytime something has a series of tropes throughout it … like we love doing cutaways and closeups of the tap being turned on, all of those stupid things.
Then the way that food is such a massive part of people’s lives. In Australia and in particular Melbourne where we’re from, food culture is massive, and people treat it almost like it’s an art form — going out and having a “cultural experience” when they go to restaurants. So if anyone’s taking something that seriously, it’s definitely ripe for the taking.