Cat Cohen Hopes Her Comedy Show Is Your Sexual Awakening

Cat Cohen

Cat Cohen, photographed by Dev Bowman.

Cat Cohen is holding my hand. She wants you to know that sometimes it is important to go places you aren’t invited. Also, you deserve a bath, even if you don’t clean your tub, and December in New York is for lovers. Cohen—chanteuse, comedian, podcaster, poet, and actress—is having a year for the books, embarking on her first nationwide tour with her new show “Come For Me.” She also co-hosts the podcast Seek Treatment with Pat Regan, in which they discuss boy and body problems with an addictive combination of sarcasm, lobotomy comedy, and earnest yearning. Cohen’s 2022 Netflix special, The Twist…? She’s Gorgeous, was a glitter-drenched, postmodern burlesque, a neurotic, navel-gazing thrill ride through her twenties that bravely asked the questions that haunt many of us on dark nights of the soul: Should I move upstate? Why are my mutuals running marathons? What if I was thinner??????

With “Come For Me,” Cohen pirouettes into her thirties and stares directly into the void. Deploying song, dance, digressive asides, and mini-monologue delivered in a sexy baby voice, she confronts aging, egg freezing, world-historic levels of horniness, and body dysmorphia with manic panache. After a sold-out run at Joe’s Pub this summer, Cohen is taking the show on the road through May. Last month, we met up for martinis and talked boyfriends, book deals, true meltdowns, Taylor Swift, Slenderman, and whether women really can have it all.


EMMELINE CLEIN: Hi, Cat. It’s amazing to see you.

CAT COHEN: Oh my god, I’m dead in a ditch with excitement to meet you because I’m obsessed with your new book. It’s going to actually change lives and everyone’s going to be addicted to it.

CLEIN: You’re way too kind. So you’ve actually left the traditional triple threat model dead in a ditch by being a podcaster, a poet, comedian, and singer. What I really want to know is, can women have it all?


CLEIN: Okay, cool.

COHEN: Actually, yes, whilst in pain.

CLEIN: Totally. I feel like that really brings us to your new show. How did you come up with the musical aspect? Have you always known you wanted to be a vaudeville woman?

COHEN: I wanted to be what every girl wants to be, which is an actress. I grew up doing musical theater. I loved to sing. And then when I moved to New York, I started doing comedy but I really missed singing. So I thought, “What if I could incorporate music into my act?” I started doing that with my first show at the Duplex in 2017. And then, that became the Netflix special. And now I’m embarking on my big US tour.

CLEIN: What does it feel like to be sort of a brunette Taylor Swift?

COHEN: Thank you for asking. You know, we have been known to wear the same Capezio Shimmer Tights on stage.

CLEIN: That’s amazing.

COHEN: I went to Eras in Denver. Did you get to go?

CLEIN: I went in L.A.

COHEN: Oh, wow. Fabulous. She just looked so fucking good. I was like, “I’ve got to take notes.”

CLEIN: I am now going to turn to my extremely professional notes app of things I wanted to talk to you about. So you’re famously in love, which we hear about in the show. Does having a boyfriend solve all your problems?

COHEN: Not at all. Not even close. Let me tell you this. I think getting a boyfriend solves your problems for up to six months.

CLEIN: That’s not nothing.

COHEN: It’s the most amazing distraction in the world because all you can think about is fucking.

CLEIN: What did you like better, publishing a book or getting a boyfriend?

COHEN: I have to say, the act of publishing my book was really anticlimactic because it was the pandemic. It wasn’t like I got a book deal. I had been writing poems for years and then I found this amazing editor, shout-out to Deb Garrison, who helped me turn them into a book. And then when it came out, it was all Zoom events. So it didn’t really feel particularly exciting. It felt much more exciting to be fucking in a closet. I’m going to say that getting a boyfriend was better than publishing a book but not as exciting as having a Netflix special. No disrespect to my boyfriend. 

CLEIN: And that’s what we call a holy trinity.

COHEN: Getting a boyfriend will fuck up your brain for six months to a year and then you’ll come back down to earth and all your original problems will resurface. But you’ll be able to burden someone else with those problems.

CLEIN: Totally. Speaking of men, and actually speaking less of them for once––

COHEN: This is about to be a Bechdel moment.

CLEIN: When I went to your show back in June with my sister and one of my best friends from college, I started to wonder, “Is my historically straight sister aggressively hitting on my best friend who she’s known for years in a way that is ultimately almost disruptive to the theatrical experience?” And the answer was yes. So my question is, are people constantly having sexual awakenings, specifically bisexual, at your show? 

COHEN: I would hope so. I’m always trying to gauge if audiences are fucking or not, because I feel like, post-pandemic, people are just so scared of everything and no one’s getting out and being messy and wild. Are you dating someone right now?

CLEIN: I am not.

COHEN: Okay. Well, December in New York is an amazing time to fall in love.

CLEIN: Okay, I’ll try. Anyway, there’s a section of my notes app that I really want to get back to. I’m getting huge camp vibes from you both on the level of camp, as in The Met Gala, and also summer camp. So, what would you wear to the Met? And did you go to summer camp? I feel like you did.

COHEN: What an amazing question. First of all, they stole the theme from me because I went to StraightioLab’s Halloween Spectacular dressed as a sleepy girl, and now the theme is literally “Sleeping Beauty,” so put that in writing. And I did go to Christian summer camp.

CLEIN: Wow. What was going on over there?

COHEN: They all told me that if I had sex, it would be the worst thing I could ever do, and then I would go straight to hell. And that they told me that all my Jewish family members were also going straight to hell. It was really tragic and it made me really scared to ever engage with my body for so long. But then, I basically got so horny that I didn’t care anymore and I went to college, where I met other people and thought, “Let’s do the damn thing.”

CLEIN: Meeting other people is huge.

COHEN: But it still took my first year in college, I was like, “I’m not having sex, I’m going to be a virgin until marriage.” Then I was just blowing everyone in sight. I was like, “This doesn’t count.”

CLEIN: So I also need your opinion on certain cultural would-you-rathers…

COHEN: Amazing.

CLEIN: Gossip Girl or The O.C.?

COHEN: The O.C. First of all, I love that your entire book is about The O.C.

CLEIN: Yeah, it’s really all about Mischa herself. With a touch of Adam Brody, because that was important to me.

COHEN: Of course. I’ll never forget that I watched The O.C. on my floor on a 12-inch TV that I would plug in while I worked on my seventh grade science project. Which was, get ready for this, “Which Eye Makeup Remover Works the Best?”

CLEIN: Wait, so which one?

COHEN: I still don’t know.

CLEIN: Did you win an award?

COHEN: I didn’t win anything, but I made a trifold while watching Adam Brody do the Jeff Buckley version of “Hallelujah.”

CLEIN: That’s beautiful. The next one is, true meltdown or existential crisis?

COHEN: True meltdown.

CLEIN: Like, in public?

COHEN: Yeah. When things go wrong for me, I don’t keep anything inward.

CLEIN: Same. I want to be someone that’s mysterious but I’m writing a 5,000-word text to six people.

COHEN: Same.

CLEIN: In terms of teenage romance, do you prefer a plot where a bad boy gives up womanizing with blondes for a really fucked-up brunette, like Blair and Chuck? Or do you prefer one where the moody poet falls for the basic popular girl?

COHEN: I just like both. I really liked that one week when Jenny Slate dated Chris Evans. That week was so important for us.

CLEIN: That was the best. Okay, Lena Dunham or Greta Gerwig?

COHEN: It’s impossible to choose between my two children. But at the end of the day, Lena, Lena, Lena. But both Girls and Frances Ha changed my life. And you know what? Maybe that’s enough.

CLEIN: That is enough. Ok, this one isn’t which you like better but which one is more culturally influential: “Slenderman” or “2 Girls 1 Cup”?

COHEN: That’s such a good question. What’s more culturally influential? “2 Girls 1 Cup.” Although I got so scared of “Slenderman.”

CLEIN: It’s scary stuff. So, on the topic of scary stuff I do know from your poetry book that you have PCOS. I also have it.

COHEN: Do you really?

CLEIN: Yeah, because we hate women in our society, they sort of just give anything that’s weird about your ovaries the title of “PCOS.” I don’t have traditional PCOS, but they couldn’t figure out what was going on because I would have all these—

COHEN: Cysts on your ovaries?

CLEIN: I get them super rarely but I would have these horrible horrific painful periods and the doctors did the thing where they do the amazingly huge ultrasound with the giant dildo. And they were like, “Your follicles on your ovaries are the weirdest size ever and we don’t actually have a diagnosis for that.” So they were like, “If you want to fix it, you can go on a diet maybe?” And I was like, “Awesome.”

COHEN: I’ve always been told what I should do is just not eat white bread or any carbs.

CLEIN: It’s so fucked up. Have you ever had a really scary hypochondria experience? One time, I went to my doctor and was like, “My left arm has felt heavier than my right arm for like four days. I have early onset MS.” And he prescribed me a lavender bath. 

COHEN: Are you a bath girl?

CLEIN: Yeah. But I don’t keep my bath clean enough.

COHEN: My bath’s disgusting but I use it seven times a day.

CLEIN: That sounds amazing.

COHEN: In my new show, I talk about going to the emergency room in college to be diagnosed only with acid reflux. And while I was lying on the hospital bed, the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love was playing. And I was like, “This is such a good movie.”

CLEIN: That movie is amazing.

COHEN: And no one talks about it.

CLEIN: No one talks about it.

COHEN: I am now feeling really what they would call “tipsy” in the medical community..

CLEIN: So maybe we should end here. Unless you have any final thoughts.

COHEN: If I were a doctor, this would be my prescription for the girls in the world. Come to my show, have a martini and a burger and fries. Go to bed, wake up, be cozy on the couch and read Emmeline’s book with a hot tea or a lavender latte. That’s medicine.