My Interview with Pledge Music
Katie Goodman knows no limits. Her hilarious musical comedy pulls no punches as she’ll address any situation or topic she desires. She’s also willing to perform any time and any place — or at least there was that one nursing home tour back in the day. We recently asked the talented comedian about her new album, ‘Halfway Closer to Dead,’ and how many drafts it takes to arrive at the final product.
How’d you first get your start in comedy?
As a baby I was dropped on my head several times, so that probably has something to do with it? I was actually just a straight-up actress for the first 10 years of my career and slowly moved into comedic acting ’cause it was so fun and challenging… plus since the world can be depressing at times, I just honestly couldn’t spend months in a character that was filled with existential angst. So comedy was like a salve. Or like beer. Or possibly crack. Without the bad skin.
Do you remember your first gig? Where were you and how did that go?
We called it The Nursing Home Tour, Summer of 1986. Some friends and I did oldies and Beatles covers in, yes, nursing homes. I want to tell you that we were really mature and loved it and felt moved and generous, but honestly there was just a lot of comedic material that came out of that because literally no one was listening and there was a lot of shouting like, “What is this?!?!” and “Nurse! There’s something in my shoe!” So. Yeah.
You’ve developed a reputation for going places where others might not go. Is there any subject out of your reach, or do you feel like every topic is fair game?
Absolutely nothing is off limits — and we’ve all seen new trends of difficult material in comedy lately: race issues, even rape jokes, etc — and I think it’s great because once you write comedy about something and put it out there, it takes the power away from upsetting things. If it’s done well, of course. It means we are talking about it freely and that has power.
I have a couple things that I haven’t been able to write funny songs about yet that are too upsetting to me but that doesn’t mean I won’t. In fact, I think it will be healthy when I finally can. Like right now I’m working on a song about the recent death of our two hamsters. No wait… [Sighs.] Sorry. I can’t talk about it right now.
Some fans can get a Terrible First Drafts Booklet. How many drafts does it generally take for you to arrive at the finished product? Is it a grueling process or does it come quickly?
It’s all over the map. I have literally written a couple things in one straight shot, no rewrites. That is insanely rare and always weird (“Wait there must be something wrong that I can make better??”) and then there are some songs that just plague me and Soren (my husband and writing partner) endlessly. “How the hell are we going to end this song?!?! This last line isn’t funny in the least.” But most are somewhere in between.
We keep every draft in case there is something back a few drafts that turns out to be better than a direction we went in. Most of our songs have an average of six or seven drafts. The way we work is that we spend months writing notes down on napkins in restaurants or text talking notes into our phones in public bathrooms — why do we always think of things when we’re peeing? — and then in August when we sit down to write our once-a-year new show, we go get a drink and talk through like 30 ideas. Then we pick the top five or six to get started on and we divvy them up.
It always goes first to the one who is most excited to take a crack at it or has a really good idea of what they want to say. Then once a first draft is out, we swap. If Soren starts on a song, he might sing a melody. He has a great ear with absolutely no training, it’s amazing. He’ll say, “You know something like Buddy Holly meets Vampire Weekend plus a dash of Prince.” And then I go, “I have no fucking idea what you mean, man.” And then he’ll send me links to a beat or something and I’m like, “Oh. Got it.” And off we go.
What made you decide to partner directly with your fans on this release?
I produced my last record on my own and it was fun, but I only sold them at shows and needed help to get the word out and to get new fans. I have ADORED working with Pledge. Everyone is so helpful and knowledgeable and they have great creative ideas for the social media and marketing and exclusives. It’s been a blast. It’s really hard to find a good comedy label, and I actually love that music fans, rather than only comedy fans, are checking out my project, ’cause I think they appreciate it since I’m a musician.
Musical comics are few and far between. I really identify with the music world. It’s got a whole other element of heightened emotion and energy that regular comedy doesn’t focus on, so I know my people are here in the PledgeMusic community. It’s a good fit. I’m so glad we found each other.
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