Parodying breakfast TV, then ending up on it
Comedians Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney might have created an entire show sending up breakfast television, but that doesn’t mean they feel comfortable with the real thing.
“We’ve been a on breakfast TV a few times – we went on for The Katering Show as well – and they just refuse to let me be the colour that I am,” McCartney tells Double J’s Myf Warhurst.
“I always get airbrushed to look like a Kardashian attic sister.”
McLennan adds: “You always say to the make-up artist, 'I don’t want to be another colour, I’ve got pale skin, I want to remain the colour that I am'. [They say] ‘Oh, absolutely, I wouldn’t dare’. And then you just turn around and look in the mirror.”
McCartney describes it as looking like she’s been put in an oven.
We just got to a point where we couldn’t do it again because we had no more ideas about food.Kate McLennan
The pair are adept at riffing off one another. They’ve been doing it since an early web series, 2014's Bleak, which they co-wrote and McCartney directed.
“We sort of went, people really like us being on camera together, there is something in that dynamic. So that’s where it all started, with us being a thing as McLennan and McCartney.”
Since then, they’ve written and starred in two spoof series for the ABC, The Katering Show and Get Krack!n, the latter a satire of the idiosyncrasies of breakfast television.
For research, which they described as a taxing experience, they spent a lot of time going down internet rabbit holes, of all varieties.
“You’re reading stuff on the Guardian website, and Al Jazeera, then flicking over to Goop,” McLennan says. “You were just drowning in content.”
It was easy to just keep scrolling and scrolling, McCartney says. “And then 12 hours have gone by and you haven’t eaten.”
The pair describe the series as an aesthetic – the clichés of morning TV – that had been stretched so far it became weaponised. They also wanted to play with what it means to be a woman on TV.
That’s why it was strange to go on Channel Seven's Sunrise to promote their work, McLennan says.
“’You think that we’re your people, and we’re kind of acting like we’re your people, and neither of us are each other’s people, but this is just breakfast TV’.”
The first series of Get Krack!n was a success, so what happens now with The Katering Show?
“We haven’t ruled out doing it again,” McLennan says of the series, which introduced their comedic style to a broad audience.
“We just got to a point where we couldn’t do it again because we had no more ideas about food.”
They both had kids at that point, she says, “and you go from being someone who is always out and would easily spend hours on the weekend cooking and having dinner parties and being a total food wanker, to then having kids and being like, ‘I’m just getting Uber Eats and eating toast’.”