Two quick notes: My mom published a post about Pierian, the over 100-year-old women's "club for mutual self-improvement" that she's been active in my entire life. The Evanston History Center published it as a part of Women's History Month. Go mom! Also: I have a new post up at Mom.me today called "Three Old Wives Tales About Mothering That Are Total BS."
Shortly after I graduated from college my mom tore a story out of the Chicago Tribune and handed it to me, saying I might be interested in this comedy group, Schadenfreude. Some months later I ended up seeing said group and found myself drawn to the lone female in the group, Kate James, because she was funny and she just seemed like someone I'd want to be friends with. After the show I introduced myself and babbled "I just think you're awesome and I love what you're doing and funny women are awesome so keep it up."
For some reason she didn't run away from me--she was incredibly gracious, actually. Since then we've become friends--dare I say, good friends--especially thanks to Schadenfreude and Steve making several films together. One of Kate's most famous ones is this:
One of my favorite things about Kate happens to be how much she seems to get my husband Steve and his comic sensibility. She was always there to listen to him if he had anxiety over a particular project that she might be able to advise on, and she always said yes when he asked her to be involved in his projects, even this one:
But Steve wasn't the only one in our house who got to work with Kate--she kindly said yes to performing with my show Funny Ha-Ha twice despite her busy schedule and both times she brought down the house. Just like the first time I saw her perform, she remains one of those performers who makes you laugh and think and also legit makes you like her at the same time.
But that's just talking about Kate as a performer. Aside from her comic talent, she is one of the kindest, most compassionate, thoughtful, funny (I mean funny as in person-to-person, not "I'm a comedian and I'm going to suck all the air out of the room with my bits" thing), loving people I know. She is the first to tell you if somebody she knows is awesome, be it her mom or her husband or a comic partner or some friend of hers that you don't know but you just know you'd love because she got Kate's vote.
It's not really a shock that she's moving to L.A. this week. Kate and her husband, the very talented and funny and kind Steve Waltien, have done just about everything you can do at Second City and in Chicago comedy, and their work has been reaching further and further. At our semi-monthly dinners with our friends, Kate would regale us with stories with details like what it was like when her brother met Matt Damon at the Golden Globes or what Christmas wishes from her pal Patrick Stewart sound like (which is to say, everything you'd hope for, and more).
This is just the cherry on the Kate-cake of course (one time she came over and Paul thought her name was Cake, which I still enjoy)--she'd be no less delightful without her amazing stories from the entertainment world. She's is great at laughing at your jokes even when nobody else does. She takes photos of your kids, which is the highest compliment a person can give a mom. She had a wonderful wedding in Vermont that made me cry copiously. She is a fantastic storyteller. She is self-deprecating but exactly the right amount--no phony modesty or negging. She likes to eat. These are all qualities I really value in a woman.
Steve Delahoyde and I have had a lot of friends move from Chicago to New York or L.A. It's often bittersweet (not to mention surreal, when they make it big) but we often think--Good for them--and how lucky and fun was it to know them before they made it big. This one hurts, losing Kate, but you are the lucky ones, people of L.A. Enjoy her and her family and treat them well.