MARK PITTA & FRIENDS, the popular show created by comedian Mark Pitta and Throckmorton Theatre founder Lucy Mercer, is back with a new name, Tuesday Night Live, and a fresh cast of emerging comics in the same supportive atmosphere the Mill Valley club is well known for. We got a chance to chat with one of these up-and-comers, San Francisco–based comic Kate Willett. Willett opened for Margaret Cho at the Castro Theatre in October and runs a showcase with three other comics called The Mission Position that was recently voted the best weekly show in San Francisco by Courting Comedy. Check out her and other talents every Tuesday at the Throck. throckmortontheatre.org
Where are some of your favorite places to perform around the Bay Area? I love Lost Weekend Video. My weekly show there has been the highlight of my time doing comedy in the Bay Area. Lost Weekend Video is a video store with a small theater in the basement. It’s a great chance to work out new bits and see other comics work out their most raw and original material. I also love the Throckmorton Theatre on Tuesdays and the Punch Line. The San Francisco Punch Line is a great club, one of the best in the country in my opinion. It’s a great size and feels intimate even though it can hold a couple hundred people, and the audiences are smart and comedy literate.
Advice for aspiring comics? I try to get up every single night, two or three times if possible. I do about 400 shows a year. This has helped me get better way faster than I would have if I was doing comedy less often. I also run five shows. Running shows is great. It’s guaranteed stage time, and it can help you connect with the comics you respect.
What kind of message are you trying to convey onstage? I say this as a joke sometimes, but I also mean it — I’m trying to convey that women are people. Women are still objectified all the time and I’m trying to “subjectify” myself instead. I’m the protagonist in my own stories, even stories in which women are traditionally an object, which is I think why I’m drawn to talking about sexuality frequently.
Subjectify? I describe my own subjective experience of being a woman in this culture, everything from pursuing a career in an industry that is still male dominated to how it feels to date in a culture that often asks young women to be “chill” instead of the passionate, caring, intelligent people we are. I think, as a young woman, it’s easy to feel like you need to be beautiful and low maintenance in order to be lovable and acceptable to your society and the people you want to be intimate with, rather than feeling that it’s fine to just be a human being with the full range of human experiences. It’s not too much to not want to be called “dude” by a guy you love.