Ask Me Another

Catherine Cohen: Queen Of Cabernet Cabaret


Catherine Cohen appears on Ask Me Another at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York.
Mike Katzif, NPR

Catherine Cohen appears on Ask Me Another at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York.

Catherine Cohen is still a relative newcomer in New York, but the comedian, actor, and singer has already made a name for herself in the world of cabaret comedy. In 2019, GQ magazine featured her as one of "The 7 Funny People Reshaping Comedy Right Now." Cohen welcomed her recent praise in a conversation with NPR's Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York: "I'm one of the only people on earth that doesn't suffer from imposter syndrome."

As a high schooler growing up in Houston, Texas, Cohen used to watch YouTube videos of performances as the New York City club, Joe's Pub. After college, Cohen moved to New York with plans to become a serious actress. She eventually turned to comedy, instead, taking classes at the Upright Citizen's Brigade. Years later, those Joe's Pub aspirations came full circle: She hosts her own monthly show there called The Twist?...She's Gorgeous.

She also hosts a weekly show with collaborator and accompanying pianist, Henry Koperski at Club Cumming — the East Village bar opened by actor Alan Cumming — called Cabernet Cabaret. "I always forget that it's called that," Cohen laughed. "It's so stupid." It was at Club Cumming that she found a platform for her blend of comedy and song. "I feel like there was a lot of deadpan, kind of like 'guys in hoodie' comedy, and I was like, 'What if we made this fashion?'" Cohen said, describing her show. "I was like, 'Being deadpan is so yawn... how about we just be so over the top and obnoxious?' And it's taken off." Describing the heightened persona she adopts on stage, Cohen said, "It's like me if I didn't have to deal with social niceties."

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Her stage success and knack for inhabiting specific characters led to appearances in TV series such as Difficult People, Millennial Velma, Search Party, Broad City, and High Maintenance. And you can hear her in TV commercials, doing voiceover work for products including Olay, Schick, and the cereal Special K.

Cohen also co-hosts the podcast Seek Treatment, with friend Pat Regan. When Eisenberg asked her what the podcast adds to our understanding about the world of "sex, dating, and sex," Cohen replied: "Literally nothing," adding that, according to Regan, making the podcast detailing their dating life in real time is "ultimately harmful to ourselves, our families, our friends and anyone involved... it is a purely selfish, masochistict act."

One of the odd jobs Catherine Cohen held early in her career was as an employee in a Casper mattress showroom. For her Ask Me Another challenge, Cohen faced-off against fellow comedian Josh Gondelman in a trivia game about mattress history.

Heard on Josh Gondelman And Catherine Cohen: Brooklyn Famous.

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