It’s presumably not just us who’ve been bombarded with nudges to watch The Katering Show, a series of online comedy videos by Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney. Because just when we were thinking that we were being lobbied to review it, actual real life friends of ours with a below average interest in online comedy started telling us about it. And when we looked at the viewing figures, which are extremely impressive, and watched the show, which is pretty good, we realised that this went beyond something that had a good digital marketing campaign and industry word-of-mouth behind it, and had actually become a deserved phenomenon. And who expected that would happen after years of dismal Australian online comedies?
The Katering Show seems to have hit the mark for a number of reasons – it’s got a good script, high production values and spot-on performances – and because it’s about a topic that lots of people are familiar with: cooking shows. Not that cooking show parodies have always been that amazing. Most of them are fairly one note, they’re sending-up a well-known and relatively easy to impersonate celebrity chef, they’ve made the chef snooty (Audrey’s Kitchen), or there’s a pair of chefs who hate each other (Posh Nosh). And while you can find some of these elements in The Katering Show…there’s a lot more to it than that.
This isn’t so much a pisstake of cooking shows but a pisstake on the “cooking as a lifestyle” phenomenon, often taking inspiration from how Kate McCartney’s real-life food intolerances or Kate McLennan’s actual interest in cooking. This sees that pair get real, big and from-the-heart laughs from how dishes for people with food intolerance are kinda crap, or at how impossible it is to give up common ingredients like sugar or to eat ethically, or at how the Thermomix is a kind of pointless rip-off, or at how having the right food doesn’t make for a great Christmas. We hate to use the word “relatable”, but The Katering Show really is relatable for a lot of people – and that’s a large part of why it’s funny – most of us have tried to give up an ingredient or bought in to the idea that our Christmas can be just as perfect as Nigella’s, and we’ve failed.
Add to the mix (sorry) the gloriously passive/aggressive relationship between the two Kates, that way they do that synchronised turn to camera (a rival to Shaun Micallef’s post-Shorten ZINGER gun hand gesture?) and the plethora of background gags, and you’ve got one hell of a nuanced and quality comedy series. And given its success we can all look forward to it coming to TV, right? Um, nope…
From The Age:
They are already planning a second web series, but have mixed feelings about whether they would want to turn it into a television show.
“There’s something really special about having this little concise seven-minute episode, and also the freedom we have to say whatever we want, we’re not beholden to anyone,” McLennan says.
“That’s been really liberating,” McCartney agrees.
Do they mean to tell us that working for TV can limit a comedian’s freedom? Well, yes, and that’s something we kinda knew, but that doesn’t mean that doing a comedy online without interference from TV execs will make it better. When it comes to The Katering Show you realise it’s good because it just works, it’s nailed it, and nothing can stop it spreading across the internet like one of their recipes gone seriously wrong. And given that we’ve been writing about online comedy for a long time, and haven’t laughed as much as we’d have liked, we’ll raise a glass of Delicious Christmas Custard Liquid Sauce to that!