No Sex for 27 years, But So What? Heather McDonald Built a Comedy Career.
Kate Szatmari Photography
Heather McDonald has been lied to.
By Chelsea Handler.
Good ones, too.
She wrote about them in May hardback release The Lies That Chelsea Told Me. She's coming to town (Verizon Theatre, actually) this Saturday to relive those horrific nightmares...and it's hysterical.
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Of course, there's a lot more to her than just being a pawn in Handler's little game.
So, I called her up and chatted with her about her book, You'll Never Blue Ball In This Town Again: One Woman's Painfully Funny Quest To Give It Up, her act, her virginity (who wouldn't?) and more.
I'd like to ask you about You'll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again. Well, you know what, what would you like to talk about? [I find it's best to employ a wishy-washy, co-dependent interview strategy at all times.] That sounds great. Of course, I want to talk about The Lies That Chelsea Told Me, too, and the show this Saturday. Josh [Wolf], Brad [Wollack] and I each wrote a chapter in the book. We perform 20 minutes and Chelsea does about an hour. Tickets are still available!
Well, tell me about the lies. One time Chelsea told me that Dancing With the Stars was looking for someone from the Chelsea Lately roundtable. I've always wanted to do it and we all agreed it should be me, but then at the last minute they decided it would be funnier if it were Fortune [Feimster], a larger, less-feminine girl on the show. I didn't want to sound like a total bitch, but I wanted to know if I could still audition, too.
Another time Chelsea told me that she was going play Meryl Streep's daughter in a movie about The Challenger. Meryl Streep would be a ghost that communicates with her from Heaven and Chelsea said she was going to write her own part. I thought this was a horrible idea, but she assured me it'd be great and it was going to be a dark comedy.
Then there was the time she told me she was pregnant. I got really excited and thought "Well, maybe I could have one more and we can have our babies together. We can have a daycare on the set...this will be great." And then I found out it was a lie. Mostly it's just funny how my mind takes off on these elaborate adventures that turn out to never be true.
Does it ever hurt your feelings? Like do you ever think, "ASSHOLES!"
Oh no. I mean I wouldn't put up with it from a stranger, but Chelsea is so generous. We get to work on a great show. She takes us on fabulous vacations and right now we're doing a 25-city tour in a private jet and staying in the finest hotels. She's a lot of fun and Josh and Brad are great. We really are like family. I mean they piss me off sometimes, but it lasts about a day.
The other night after the show I was starving, but didn't want to hang out so they delivered pizza and wings to the hotel and I ate and ran. I always lock the top lock in hotels and then I totally passed out. At like two in the morning my door starts to open, but they can't get in because of the top lock. I've never had a maid or anyone try to get in my room at a hotel so I was just like "Oh my God, I'm going to get raped by a stranger." I got up and went to the door and there they were -- Chelsea, Brad and Josh. They'd bribed the guy downstairs to give them my key and they were recording the whole thing. I laughed for five minutes straight but I really thought I was going to get raped. I never once thought it was them and people always say, "How do you keep falling for it?"
Like when they told me Vera Wang wanted to make a dress for me. And I just think, "Why is that so unbelievable? Why wouldn't she want to make a dress for me? I'm cute enough."
How did you get into comedy? Like you don't seem like a stereotypical comic and I don't mean that in a shitty way at all. It's just that you're this good girl but you can hang with the dirties. Well, thank you. You know, people always told me I was funny from, like, the age of 5. I could impersonate teachers and make people laugh. But it wasn't until I was in high school that I realized this is my gift from God. Growing up in L.A. you sort of get jaded by the whole business and I had an older brother and sister whose friends were trying to break into the business. I thought, "Not me. I'm not going to be a loser. I'm going to go to college and get a normal job." And I did.
Once I graduated I had a normal job and was bored out of my mind. People always told me I should do stand-up, but I didn't get it. I didn't see how strangers could find me funny. Like, if you don't know my mom or this person or that one, how is that going to be funny to you? But this girl I worked with told me to take a class at the Learning Annex so I did. The teacher wasn't particularly good, but I got one thing out of that class -- I made strangers laugh. I did an impression of an Asian at karaoke and they laughed. I finally understood how to do that. How to set up a joke and make it funny even when the audience doesn't know the person you're talking about.
After that I started taking classes and joined The Groundlings. I was 23. Nothing happened for a couple years. At 27, I got a writing job with Keenen Ivory Wayans and some sitcom roles, but no one knew who I was before Chelsea.
[At this point I remembered I was going to LA for the weekend and for some unknown reason asked her what to pack. It's freaking chilly out there, y'all.]
What was your motivation for writing Blue Balls? They're all just funny stories and I wanted to make people laugh. I knew a lot of women that wrote about their bed-hopping adventures and I just thought my stories were just as funny -- they just didn't end in penetration.
At times I cursed my virginity, and at times I was so thankful for it. I guess it was like most people that wait. Suddenly you're 21 and you haven't done it and now you want it to be special and no one special comes along.
And then it's this thing and you hate having to tell people -- like even a new girlfriend at the gym, you dread telling her. I mean, it's kind of a unique story, but kind of not. I get letters and emails and tweets from people that are like, "You told my story." I mean what do I have in common with a gay man? Nothing. Except that.
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