The New York comedian, podcaster, author, and recent cabaret star on her popular podcast, sorta-sisterly love, and how The Kids in the Hall got her through high school.
For her, dog is in the details.
Like a host of other humourous early adopters over the past few years, comedian Julie Klausner has found a new (and very devout) audience thanks to the exploding popularity of podcasts, and the ways in which they skirt traditional Hollywood comedy pipelines. Though her résumé boasts performing and teaching credits at legendary improv sketch theatre Upright Citizens Brigade, TV writing gigs, bylines in The New York Times and Spin, and a darkly hilarious memoir, I Don’t Care About Your Band, Klausner’s at her best in her weekly podcast, How Was Your Week. It features razor-sharp, sardonic pop-culture monologues and interviews with a gamut of guests such as David Sedaris and Amy Poehler, love expert Siggy Flicker, and writer Dave Cullen (whose book, Columbine, is about the infamous school shootings). “I would do the podcast every day for the rest of my life. There’s a reason I do it consistently for no money,” Klausner says from her home in New York City. Over the course of an episode, you’ll hear her dissect the Real Housewives (which she loves), spill on the recent end of a long-term relationship, coo at her cat, Jimmy Jazz, and spit smart feminist fire. Plus, she always leaves time to relay listener emails about one of her favourite things: dogs who eat things they shouldn’t but end up okay. “If we believed God loves us the way that dogs love us, we would have faith,” she gushes. “I have to work this out a little bit, but I feel like we could be more spiritual if we could connect God and love to dogs, love, and people.”
Toronto made her hair stand on end.
Klausner’s first and only visit to this city was electrifying—literally. “I think I was in Toronto when I was a little girl and I went to the science museum and touched that thing and my hair stood on end,” she says, describing that local rite of passage, an encounter with the Ontario Science Centre’s far-out Van de Graaf generator. On June 28, she returns to the city as part of queer comedy show Bitch Salad at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. This year’s line-up also includes host Andrew Johnston, Dini Dimakos, and Sara Hennessey, and while details of Klausner’s headlining appearance are still being finalized, she does have some immediate demands. “I expect to have sex with [The Kids in the Hall’s] Bruce McCulloch within an hour of getting off the plane.” Toronto’s favourite sketch troupe played an important role in Klausner’s high-school years, later influencing her comedic style. “When you’re a teenager, you’re defined by your tastes, and it’s not till later that it becomes, ‘This is what I want to do.’ At the time, I just knew that I wasn’t alone. KITH is really, really special to me.” Beyond that, and before Bruce time and Bitch Salad, Klausner says that, as in any city, she really expects and looks forward to being embraced into the welcoming bosom of Toronto’s gay community.
She’s like the big sister you never had—bad decisions and all.
Each week, when Klausner records her podcast’s trademark opening monologue, she tries to see herself as the smart, strong, real—and really funny—woman her listeners know and love. Of course, that’s often easier said than done. “If I can’t make myself feel better, but I can make others feel better, that’s not nothing,” says Klausner. “I’m always really touched whenever women instill in me some kind of big sister quality. I like the idea that people think of me as strong and worthy of looking up to, because sometimes I don’t think of myself that way.” And that sisterly guidance is reciprocated: Recently, Klausner found herself holding on to a new fling that was mostly unrequited, and it was her fans who held her accountable—albeit a bit indirectly. “Right before recording the monologue, I thought to myself, ‘If I’m going to record right now, I’m going to be really phony.’ [I’d be] giving the impression that I’m a strong woman, when in fact I’m completely beholden to this guy who’s not treating me the way I need to be treated, and I’m basically lying to my listeners. So I broke up with him, and then I did the monologue. I felt like I was being true to myself.” That kind of thing is what makes her pretty much the best adopted big sister we could ask for.
Julie Klausner will perform on June 28 as part of Bitch Salad’s Fifth Annual Pride Edition at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St., 416-975-8555, buddiesinbadtimes.com.