Like Fine Wine
Heather McDonald brings a Juicy Scoop of Pop Culture and Fun to City Winery

By Lee Valentine Smith

Heather McDonald can riff on any current pop culture event with ease and a funny impersonation. The actress/comedian/author is best known for her appearances and writing contributions for the E! series Chelsea Lately. Her twice-weekly Juicy Scoop podcast is one of the most popular of its genre and now she's taking the show on the road, with stops at every City Winery in the country. INsite spoke with the engaging performer by phone.

You're coming back to City Winery for two very different shows, your stand-up performance and a live edition of your Juicy Scoop podcast.

Yes, I'm actually on a tour of every City Winery. It's a great venue for my crowd; they like better foods, better wine and the Wineries are a little bigger than the comedy clubs - with a much better menu. For the first show in Atlanta, I'll be doing stand-up and [fellow Chelsea Lately writer] Chris Franjola will open for me. Then on Sunday, we'll do the live version of Juicy Scoop.

It'll be a multi-media edition of the show.

Right, we'll do hot topics and celebrity news and there'll be screens on either side of the stage. Chris is my co-host and we'll do a lot of improv about the topics, some impressions and then there's a q and a. I'm working on some special guests for it but I'll keep them a secret for now. But we do a little interview and just have a night of fun.

For this tour, is there a special Heather McDonald wine?

There is! It's a really good red blend with a Heather label. I've tasted it and it's great. We don't sell any other merch but the wine and you can get a signed bottle with the meet and greet package.

Did you choose the blend?

Well I really like chardonnay a lot, but I felt that a red blend is more universal. Who doesn't like a good glass of red wine with a steak or pasta?

Your shows seem to be more of a social gathering than a regular evening of standĀ up.

I'm at a good place now because people are coming to see me, rather than just someone who won some tickets to a comedy club. Over the last couple of years, I've had a Facebook group called Juicy Scoop Obsessed, it's a closed group for people to talk about the podcast, juicy gossip, and sometimes even personal stories. Some of the Scoopers began to organize meetings. So as a former sorority girl, I went with it and we made a crest and now all these different cities have their own Juicy Scoop sororities where they'll meet for brunch. A lot of friendships have been formed from it. In Chicago, someone even made a pledge paddle. But the great thing is that anyone is welcome, and it doesn't matter what your gender, sexuality or age is. As long as you like Juicy Scoop, you'll have a good time and make some new friends.

The podcast takes your appearances on Chelsea Lately and expands on the idea.

And the great thing is, I have complete and total control of the content. I really like the format and it's perfect for any comic. It's a good way to hone material for the stage. I like the pop culture element, too. So mine is a little different than a regular comic's show. It appeals to so many people, and a lot of them have never even gone to a stand-up show.

Does it force you to write more material?

It does. I do two shows a week, every Tuesday and Thursday, then I'll see what people say about it, their reactions to things we did on there. If someone says, 'Oh I died when Heather said this or that,' I'll make a note of it. If I tell a long story on the podcast and people really like it, then I can tighten it, work on it and it might become a really strong bit in my stand-up set. Sometimes I'll get people who remember the original story from the podcast and they don't mind that it's in a tighter, more jokey way.

Your comedy is definitely relatable to a wide range of people.

It's great because I know we're still in an age where certain straight men might go, 'Oh I don't like chick comics,' or whatever. But their wives might be listening to the podcast in the morning and their husbands hear it, then they'll bring them along to the show and they love it. That's a huge compliment to me. I know I've got the girls and some gay guys that will love me forever, but when I can win over a straight guy, it's like yeah. You don't even have to preference it anymore by saying she's a female comic. You never hear that a male comic is male, you just say they're a comic. It shouldn't matter. Diversity in all levels of entertainment is important and it's getting better. If it's funny and relatable to everyone, then labels don't matter.

Heather McDonald performs June 9 and 10 at City Winery. For more information, please visit citywinery.com/atlanta.

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