Ka­ter­ing to the masses

Cult comedians Kate Mclen­nan and Kate Mccart­ney on fame (and fa­mous fans), how they choose tar­gets to satire and their hap­pily co-de­pen­dent way of work­ing.

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents - Photography REN PIDGEON Styling IRENE TSOLAKAS In­ter­view ADRI­ENNE TAM

Kate Mccart­ney has been wait­ing im­pa­tiently for an or­der of cricket flour – which is, as the term sug­gests, pow­der made from ground-up crick­ets – to land on her doorstep. The self- con­fessed food in­tol­er­ant isn’t munch­ing on crick­ets for di­etary rea­sons, but for a cause; she’ll hap­pily tell any­one within earshot that the world has just 12 years to avert a cli­mate-change catas­tro­phe – a pre­dic­tion that is sup­ported by the United Na­tions.

“I’ve been wait­ing a month,” Mccart­ney, 38, moans half-jok­ingly to Stel­lar. “It hasn’t ar­rived. If the planet goes to sh*t, it’s be­cause these f*ck­ing peo­ple won’t send me the cricket flour. I’m very up­set about it.”

“I’m just go­ing to grind you up some crick­ets,” says fel­low ac­tor, writer and all­round part­ner in crime Kate Mclen­nan, also 38, in an ea­ger tone. Mclen­nan is, in fact, known as the “in­tol­er­a­ble foodie” of the two, but in this in­stance the ta­bles have been turned – she isn’t sold on the con­coc­tion at all. “They have them at Pet­barn. They give them to rats or some­thing. I mean, who eats crick­ets?”

The ban­ter be­tween Mccart­ney and Mclen­nan, known col­lec­tively as The Kates, flows just as eas­ily off cam­era as it does on. The pair is most widely recog­nised for their on­line com­edy se­ries The Ka­ter­ing Show, a two-sea­son cult hit that par­o­died cook­ing shows and food fads such as the Ther­momix and quit­ting sugar. The pair – who starred in, wrote, pro­duced and di­rected the se­ries – pep­pered it with their trade­mark cringe, off-the-wall hu­mour. (“Fun fact:

beet­roots are pota­toes filled with blood.”) And with over 10 mil­lion views on Youtube alone, The Ka­ter­ing Show col­lected fans around the world – singer Katy Perry once con­tacted The Kates want­ing to ap­pear on the se­ries, and then ghosted them when they ea­gerly agreed.

Cur­rently in the midst of “edit­ing hell” for the sec­ond sea­son of their ABC show Get Krack!n, which lam­poons morn­ing TV, the duo don’t need to worry about ghost­ing guests any­more. High-pro­file names such as Kat Stewart, Mi­randa Tapsell, Sam Neill, Han­nah Gadsby and Nazeem Hus­sain ap­peared in the last sea­son, and there’s a spate of new faces set for next year’s re­turn run.

For The Kates, mov­ing from food to morn­ing TV was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion. “We were look­ing for a pro­ject that would al­low us to in­cor­po­rate other peo­ple into the mix, so it wasn’t just the two of us,” Mclen­nan ex­plains. “We got to the end of our chain with speak­ing about so­cial is­sues through the lens of food. The sub­ject mat­ter morn­ing TV was han­dling was a bit more ex­plo­sive, and the peo­ple on morn­ing TV have sud­denly be­come these huge celebri­ties. It piqued our in­ter­est, be­ing able to satirise these tropes that morn­ing TV em­ploy.”

The pair also see Get Krack!n as a way to pro­vide a plat­form not just for their own views, but oth­ers who don’t usu­ally en­joy a large au­di­ence. “We fig­ured we’d been given a space and we don’t know for how long,” Mccart­ney says. “We had a de­sire and re­spon­si­bil­ity to do some­thing good with it.”

“For us, it’s about step­ping away,” Mclen­nan adds. “Hope­fully we’ll do more work be­hind the scenes to help peo­ple along on that front and sup­port peo­ple to get their work out there.”

Even though they had mu­tual friends and worked on the same pro­ject when Mccart­ney was a back­ground artist at an an­i­ma­tion com­pany and Mclen­nan was a voice ac­tor, it wasn’t un­til the pair clicked on Twit­ter that they met in per­son. Over a bot­tle of wine and a long chat, Mccart­ney says, they re­alised their “view­points and voices worked to­gether. We were in very sim­i­lar life stages at that point. And we evolved as in­di­vid­u­als at the same pace.” They’d both tried “work­ing with other peo­ple – and it didn’t work out”. The pair both live in Mel­bourne, have three-year-old daugh­ters (Mccart­ney’s Mil­lie and Mclen­nan’s Dusty) and credit their moth­ers for “un­paid labour”.

From that ini­tial meet­ing, a pro­duc­tion com­pany was born, fol­lowed by a web se­ries called Bleak and even­tu­ally The Ka­ter­ing Show. Spend­ing so much time to­gether might not be for ev­ery­one, but it works for them. “We both have a lot of re­spect for each other. We’re very car­ing to­wards each other and quite loyal,” Mclen­nan tells Stel­lar. “It’s a very im­por­tant re­la­tion­ship, and we look af­ter it the same way we would any close re­la­tion­ship you have in your life.”

In fact, they may as well be mar­ried given the time they spend to­gether. Not that Mccart­ney is a fan of the whole she­bang. “No-one needs to get mar­ried,” she says. “[Ac­tu­ally] let me clar­ify that. I have no is­sue with do­mes­tic part­ner­ship – I just don’t want a f*ck­ing wed­ding. If some­one made me have a wed­ding with Mclen­nan, I would end ev­ery­thing.”

Jug­gling kids, part­ners and a suc­cess­ful TV show has pro­duced at least one un­avoid­able side ef­fect. “We have no friends,” Mclen­nan says. Mccart­ney con­curs: “I did a cal­cu­la­tion about the last time I went out for brunch. And it was four years ago.”

Af­ter the up­com­ing sea­son of Get Krack!n launches, the duo have an eight­part dram­edy and a few smaller projects in the works, in­clud­ing one where Mccart­ney is “grab­bing a cam­era and rant­ing down the lens about cli­mate break­down. I feel like cli­mate break­down de­serves a joke path.” They will also jump on a plane to LA to pitch a few ideas.

Be­yond that, they’re sim­ply look­ing for­ward to reac­quaint­ing them­selves with their fam­i­lies. “And try­ing to get my dog to not piss on the couch,” Mclen­nan says of her new puppy. “Try­ing not to see each other for maybe two days,” Mccart­ney adds with a laugh. “And then the mus­cle mem­ory will kick in.”

Get Krack!n Sea­son 2 pre­mieres 9pm, Wed­nes­day Fe­bru­ary 6, on the ABC.

“We have no friends. I haven’t been out to brunch in years”

WEARS (right) dress, KATE MCCART­NEY (02) KATE (at 9327 left) MCLEN­NAN San­dro 3377 WEARS Zara Kenzo top, pants, zara.com/au; myer.com.au; her own ring (op­po­site) KATE MCLEN­NAN WEARS Lonely knit, lone­ly­la­bel.com; Kate Sylvester skirt, kate­sylvester. com; Zara san­dals, as be­fore KATE MCCART­NEY WEARS Camilla and Marc dress, camil­laand­marc.com; Zara san­dals, as be­fore

(from top) Kate Mclen­nan and Kate Mccart­ney in The Ka­ter­ing Show in 2016; with Celia Pac­quola in an episode of Get Krack!n last year.

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