TV

An Extremely Boozy, Sweary Four-Course Lunch With ‘The Katering Show’

We talk sexism, plans for a movie, high school fingering and that time McLennan flashed her tits at the Logies.

COURSE ONE

local olives, fel fel

carrot, yoghurt, caraway seed

kataifi oysters, sour onion hummus, pomegranate

chemen cured swordfish, kewpie mayo, preserved lemon and shallot

red lentil and cracked wheat kibbeh, poppy seeds, pomegranate gel

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McC: Four courses of stuff I can’t eat. Fantastic.

McL: I think you can have an oyster.

McC: Well that would be dependant on me wanting to eat an oyster. I like seafood, but I don’t like oysters. It tastes like an animal. It tastes like eating…

McL: A vagina?

McC: A little bit. I’m gonna level with you, there’s nothing else I can eat here. If you guys want, you’re gonna have to fight me for that fish — those very meagre, frankly Dickensian strips of fish… It feels a little like I’m in a post-apocalyptic wasteland right now and this is the only thing I have. It’s three little strips of meat.

McL: I would like to try it… but I’ll let you have it.

McC: Wow, you’re so kind. At this one juncture there are five other dishes that you can have.

McL: *Counts dishes* Yes, five dishes. Plus bread.

McC: Whatever, I’m nailing the wine. My kid doesn’t get breastfed so much anymore, so I can go for it.

McL: Mine, on the other hand, does but you know, we’re out and about. Let’s all have a drink.

McC: Why do they put oysters on salt? Is it so they don’t roll over like the turds that they are? What’s in them? What’s the shit around it?

You might like it! It doesn’t taste like vagina.

McC: Well, you know, vagina has its moments.

McL: Why don’t you have your little swordfish strip?

McC: I will. I do like kewpie. Wait, did they say kewpie mayonnaise like it was a boon? Like it was great? Fuck off, mate. That costs $5 at an Asian supermarket.

*Scrapes off chilli which she is also allergic to*

Doesn’t that look lovely? It looks like cat food. It looks like a treat you’d give a labrador.

McL: You love fish. You’ll either eat a very nice piece here or you’ll eat a piece of sushi you found at a carwash.

McC: That’s true. I’ve been having a lot of Menulog because I don’t go out obviously. I started ordering from this place and it was amazing. Great sushi! Then I was going to the airport to pick my partner up and I realised it’s attached to a carwash.

McL: Not just attached. It is a sushi train/car wash.

McC: It’s 80 percent carwash and 20 percent sushi place. So many chemicals mixed in with so much raw fish.

McL: Let’s be honest, there’s no doubt there’s an ice lab underneath it.

McC: There’s no doubt that it’s at least a trio of businesses.

It’s just like in Breaking Bad. They had the car wash to launder the money, but then they had too much money to deal with in the car wash. 

McL: Yes! “What don’t people want when they’re at a car wash? Sushi. Let’s set it up.” Then they got involved with Menulog and it all went to shit. They’re not open much actually, not at lunch at all.

McC: That’s because they’ve got meth to deal.

Waitress: Are you guys going okay?

McC: They’re fine. They have food to eat.

How’s the swordfish going?

McL: Did you have some?

Nope. I’m fine.

McC: Have some. Meg. Meg. Have some. Fucking have some. It tastes like a band-aid of salt fish.

McL: It tastes like bacon. Is it not bacon?

McC: It’s fish. It’s fish, you silly git… It is some bullshit plating, let’s be honest.

McL: It’s pretty!

McC: It looks like when you go into the changeroom, then you do a swab on a petri dish for science and put it under a microscope for a week. It looks like that. It’s pretty in a mathematical way.

McL: I think that says a lot about your high school experience compared to mine. The only thing that happened in changerooms at my school was–

McC: Fingering.

McL: Fingering, yes. Also girls having babies and drinking vodka out of Mt Franklin bottles. I did that before PE. I had two centimetres of vodka and I’d say “I’m so drunk playing indoor cricket!”

McC: When was that?

McL: 1995.

McC: I’m impressed you were still doing PE then. I figured out my lie by 1993 and I never did it again.

What was the lie?

McC: Sore back. No one contested me.

We all constantly “forgot our gym clothes”.

McC: Genius.

McL: Our teachers made us do it even if we forgot. We’d also all wear tights under our tracksuit pants because lots of girls didn’t want to nude up in the changeroom, then a PE teacher told us we’d all get thrush. There’s not enough air for our vaginas.

…Was it a male teacher?

McL: No! Female. That would have been worrying. You don’t want him having too much information about thrush.

McC: Look, I had a male teacher who taught us about pap smears and you know how the pap smear thing looks like a duck? He walked out of the room after the pap smear talk and he said “quack quack, girls”. Because he was a pieeeeece of shiiiiit.

McL: I’m sorry, you got taught about pap smears in school?

Yeah, woah. I didn’t either. 

McC: I went to a Catholic girls school.

McL: Did you go to a state school, Meg?

Yup.

McL: Me too. Maybe it was just a given that we were going to have sex whereas Catholic girls could be scared off. Like “once you get sexually active, you have to do this”.

McC: What do pap smears do again?

McL: They test for cervical cancer.

McC: Maybe, given that you were poor, they didn’t expect you to live as long. Don’t waste your resources.

McL: Have you had the cervical cancer vaccine?

I did, in high school.

McC: We weren’t eligible because we’re old. We’re so old. She *points to me* she’s young. You can tell by the lack of eye bags. Let’s suck her youth out of her ear.

*Both Kates leer over table before a couple interrupts for “momentary fan service” about the Thermomix episode from last season*

McL: We paid them.

Does that happen much? Are you both famous now?

McL: We’re not famous. It’s just that a lot of people have watched the show.

It’s a big part of the second season though — that feeling of expectation and stress.

McL: We both can get quite overwhelmed by things. When it initially happened, it was very stressful. It felt like we were chasing our tails.

What did you expect from the series at first?

McL: We thought maybe 10,000. If I was having a really egotistical moment I thought 20,000 views would have been really great.

McC: I had so much confidence in our product I thought no views. Please no views. I didn’t want anyone we know watching it. It’s too embarrassing.

McL: Once we knew people were interested it was tough too. Do we do a half-hour series? We got an offer to do a cookbook which we’d still love to do. If you watch the two seasons back to back, there’s such ease in the first and a real anxiety in the second. We were grinning through it, which was funny. We filtered it into the script but it’s real.

McC: Is this answering Meg’s question at all?

McL: You asked me about my anxiety and how’s it going?

McC: You pretty much said, “This is my prescription of what I’m on–”

McL: And also I’m going on a long-haul flight soon Meg, can you give me a prescription for some more Valium please?

But yeah, I think we tackled all that in the first episode. We talk about taking a “sassy swipe” at stuff. That’s what people expect from us now. We’re quite bored by that idea also — as I said, we haven’t left the house. It’s quite hard to satirise stuff because of that.

That being said, you still do take on a lot of facets of that culture. There’s paleo and the other diets, Maggie Beer

McL: I think we come up with the idea, then look at the two of us and see how we can relate to that personally. We wanted to do Maggie Beer for a while but wanted to figure out what is it about her and those cookbooks that really drew us to her?

Do you actually like her or was she just a good target for satire?

McL: I love Maggie.

McC: I don’t give a tiny mouse’s shit about food culture and that’s legitimate, but I do enjoy her show. It’s just Maggie having a nice time.

McL: And Simon’s so nice too!

McC: Yeah, is he a heroin addict?

McL: He’s just from Adelaide.

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Legal disclaimer: this man is not a drug addict.

McL: I was listening to an interview the other day with a performance artist called Penny Arcade and she was saying how we’ve all missed our youth. She’s saying “you shouldn’t be going out for degustation meals with matched wines in your early thirties. You shouldn’t be getting mortgages. You should be out living your lives, you should be having fun. These are the pursuits of old, retired people”. I thought “fuck, she’s right”. This is what we wanted to explore. In order for normal people to get so absorbed in that lifestyle, you have to have a lot of money and time. We don’t have either of those things. That’s what the Maggie Beer episode is about.

McC: That idea of sitting on a sunny verandah with friends and family is so foreign to me. It’s like, what do you mean? On Sundays I work. On Mondays I work. Every day I work.

McL: My milk just let down.

McC: Oh, what are you going to do about that.

McL: I’m just gonna ride it out.

McC: Ride it out.

McL: I’m gonna let my boob explode all over Shane Delia’s roof.

McC: Let it fill up to your chin. Then you can rest on it when you get sleepy from the wine.

McL: The readers of Junkee don’t want to hear about us being mothers.

McC: We’re not mothers, guys. We’re just fun and flirty. We’re 14-year-old boys. We like computer games and wanking.

McL: We’ve got a made-up girlfriend with big boobs.

McC: Massive tits. We draw them in our maths book.

Season two also has some reaction to that — people’s expectations of you as not only women but mothers.

McL: People keep asking us about being mums. The second episode is a ‘yummy mummy’ episode which we felt like we had to do. People kept saying “Ahhhh, you’re mums now”. The only time I talk about being a mum was like 10 seconds in the Christmas episode. People talk about the pressures women face to have children like it’s a broad topic The Katering Show deals with. It was one joke. It’s interesting to see all the attention paid to that.

McC: I feel like we straddle a line between making sure we’re not defined by this one thing that’s happening in our lives, but also making it something like a ‘fuck you’. “Fuck you, this is part of our lives and this is something we have to deal with.” Particularly in our industry — but probably in all industries — there’s this unspoken thing that you have to pretend you don’t have kids. Not for men. Men get to actively dismiss it. It’s this total patriarchal time structure.

McL: I guess it’s an industry which is run by dudes, and those dudes haven’t had to deal with expressing milk or getting home by 5pm because their kid has to have a bath and go to bed.

McC: When you hear that there’s press around wanting to include more women in the industry, it’s great. Include more female stories! But be prepared for the day-to-day realities of that if you want more female stories. Make room for that in the discussion. So, us talking about kids is a tiny part of that. We want to normalise it.

COURSE TWO

tea-smoked duck salad with pomegranate seeds, roasted hazelnut, fermented black garlic mayonnaise

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McCartney had some gluten-free toast.

McL: Do you think there’s kale in there? I think there’s kale.

I’ve actually never had kale.

McC: Oh god, you are not missing out.

McL: We actually had a scene about kale in the new series but we cut it.

McC: TOO CONTROVERSIAL.

McL: The ABC said “Girls, girls, you’re going to offend too many people here. You’re gonna have to cut it.”

How has it been working with the ABC? Was it a big shift from working on your own?

McC: By and large, it was kind of the same. There were more voices obviously, but it was nice having feedback. They’re so big on freedom of expression and pretty much everything we do falls under satire anyway.

It must have been nice to find a home for the show in its 10-minute form. I imagine that would have been tough to monetise after Season One went viral.

McC: We didn’t want to change the show into something we didn’t feel was right. Someone wanted us to write a film about it. I don’t know how that would have worked. Someone else wanted us to do a sitcom about us living in a house together. That was a neon hell of an idea.

McL: An online food journal wanted us to go and film something in LA.

McC: We felt like we had another series worth of stuff to say.

McL: There’s no money in it though.

McC: No. No money. There’s no money. It’s great. I love being broke and 36.

McL: I love having a child and being the most in debt I’ve ever been in my life.

Did that make you consider the other options then?

McL: Definitely, but you can’t really sell out on your first thing. We’re in it for the long game — as we have been since our early twenties.

McC: It’s a long fucking game. We’re satirists so it’s hard to do that while taking money from a shampoo brand.

Is that something you were offered?

McL: Oh yeah. They tested on animals so we said no.

What was that pitch even?

McL: There are people who say “we want the Kates to be in our ad and we just want it to be so cheeky!” We wrote something and it was essentially just us saying we’re doing it because we’re so poor. We were completely having a go at their product, but they weren’t going to like that.

McC: They said, “Could you just talk about having a wine? That’s what we mean by ‘cheeky’; just having a wine.”

McL: “You can say that you don’t like it, but then say that you really love it.”

Other people totally do that though! There’s the Optus ads with Ricky Gervais and the Duplass brothers.

McC: Then there was that vodka brand that had old mate — Zach Galifianakis and Tim and Eric. I guess we just wanted to keep our audience onside.

McL: We’ll do that in four or five months.

Do you have any next steps with the show?

McL: We have a companion piece to The Katering Show. It’s still social satire, but we haven’t worked out the final details. We have two other half-hour ideas that we want to look at. Quite different narratives. We’re going to America — the show just went on Elizabeth Banks’ new comedy channel! Then we’ve got our film, mate. *Elbows McCartney in the ribs*

McC: McLennan will be playing the main character. She’ll be playing a 17-year-old who just wants to get into dance school.

McL: I come from the wrong side of the tracks. My dad works at an abattoir.

McC: She dances amongst the carcasses and the blood.

McL: We came up with this idea — and we’re serious by the way — that we want to do a dance film. McCartney’s quite the dancer. We like watching dance films. It’s like a stoner comedy for girls.

McC: Everyone else in the whole film would be amazing dancers and they’d all be legitimately 17 and me as the prima ballerina and you as the person who works in the abattoir would be 36 with shoddy knees pretending to be 17.

McL: It’s a mixture between Black Swan and Step Up — but with two idiotic women in it. My partner said “Why would they even watch this if you can’t dance?” and I said “Can Will Ferrell ice skate? Can Will Ferrell do anything? NO. Can he sing? Does he have the voice of an angel? NO. That doesn’t stop him from singing.”

I think Stepbrothers is a really good film. I watch it at least every three months. *Slumps over table clutching wine glass* Oh no, McCartney you need to have another wine because I’m catching up to you. Bring on another course.

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