Catster Interviews Writer, Performer and Cat Whisperer Julie Klausner
You’ve heard of a triple threat? Julie Klausner is a multidimensional threat. Writing, performing, podcasting, interviewing -- she does it all. She started out as a comedy writer on shows such as Best Week Ever and SNL’s TV Funhouse. She has contributed to Jezebel, the Awl, The New York Times, New York Magazine, and Spin, and writes the Lady Business advice column for Salon.
Anyone who’s heard Julie’s amazing podcast How Was Your Week? will be well aware of her love for all things furry. Not only is her cat, Smiley Muffin, a regular participant and topic of conversation, she encourages her listeners to send in their dog pictures and share tales of their pets' erratic behavior, especially if it involves illicitly eating something unsuitable.
As well as stories surrounding extreme canine chowing, How Was Your Week? has featured guests such as Sally Kellerman, Joan Rivers, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, and a host of other comedians, authors, musicians, and funny people discussing whatever Julie is obsessing over. Her horror-dating nightmare memoir, I Don’t Care About Your Band, was picked up by Will Ferrell’s production company.
Catster: Would you consider yourself a cat person or a dog person? Are there characteristics associated with each, in your opinion?
Julie: I love both. Dogs are a very endearing combination of smart and stupid. Cats are stupid but they are also jerks, which is funny. I enjoy the company of all mammals in a way that can best be described as not at all sexual. I can't stress that enough.
Tell us about The Cat Whisperer.
That was a webseries I did with my friend Alex Scordelis, in which I played a slightly demented version of myself. I would tell my secrets to housecats in order to get them to behave!
On How Was Your Week?, you encourage listeners to send in pictures of their dogs. Which ones have been your favorites?
They are all my favorites! They are NOT all my favorites. I've been pretty open about my preference for big dogs over small ones, and I'm partial to basset hounds. That said, there was one small dog named Cody who had an issue with his bite so his tongue hangs out of his mouth all the time, and you just can't beat that. Look at him. LOOK AT HIM! (below)
You seem to have a love/hate relationship with reality TV. Do you watch any pet-related shows?
I saw My Cat from Hell this weekend; it was sort of ridiculous. This guy named Jackson Galaxy -- that's his name -- calls himself a real-life Cat Whisperer, and he goes to people's homes and tells them to buy more cat furniture, basically. He also dresses like a rockabilly sideshow freak. I know my cat would tear him into bloody ribbons if he ever had the nerve to darken our doorway.
What is your personal pet history?
I never had a dog, and I got my first cat after I graduated from college. I grew up with birds -- isn't that depressing?
In an ideal world, how many pets would you have and of what variety?
I'd love a pack of dogs -- like three. Two mutts and one basset, who would probably be mentally retarded compared to the other two. Purebreds are dummies compared to mixed-breed dogs; everybody knows that. Unless you get a real mutt dummy who's just too cute otherwise, and it evens out.
I couldn't imagine having any other cat besides Smiley Muffin. Sometimes it's shocking to me that there ARE other cats in the world besides her.
Could you ever love a man who didn't like pets? Or was highly allergic?
I don't think I would want to be romantic with somebody who wasn't an animal lover, though one of my favorite people in the world, David Rakoff, is not a pet person. As far as a pet allergy is concerned, I try not to take that as a character flaw!
What would be your one, over-arching piece of pet ownership advice?
Send me photos of your pets, all the time.
I understand you have a slight obsession with dogs eating unusual items. What's the most bizarre thing you've heard that's been consumed?
There was a dog named Frankenstein on this show called My Dog Ate What? I think he ate a bunch of cereal, boxes and all. Which isn't as funny as the fact that his name is Frankenstein. Also, he ended up being okay. I only like those stories when the dogs end up being fine!
My friend Michael grew up with two bassets, and they were terrors. One day the two of them decided to eat a lamp. They passed it out, apparently. He explains that they're like snakes. You give 'em a couple of days to digest, and then they're back on the trail.
What breeds do you favor?
All hounds, really, but especially bassets. Bloodhounds, coonhounds, PBGV's couldn't be cuter if they tried ... and mutts, truly. I love big dogs -- Great Danes, mastiffs, Newfoundlands....but, from my experience, mutts have the best personalities. I'm not picky, really. Any dope with kind eyes, I will fall in love with.
Do you have a favorite celebrity pet?
It's funny -- a lot of women go nuts for Ryan Gosling, but he's not so much my type. I prefer Jon Hamm. That said, Ryan Gosling has a dog named George who is absolutely the best. I love George the way most girls love Ryan Gosling. Except, as I mentioned before, I have zero desire whatsoever to have sexual or romantic relations with a dog.
What’s happening with the TV adaptation of your book?
We're still figuring that out. In the meantime, I'm working on a script for NBC and I just finished my second book, a young adult novel.
How do you feel about doing a live version of the podcast?
I'm very excited about it! I wouldn't want to do it unless I knew Ted Leo would be there onstage the whole time, which he is, backing me up and being awesome and playing music and also just generally being the best.
What's next for Julie Klausner in 2012?
I would really like to high-five Fran Lebowitz the next time I see her on the street. Last time I saw her, I was too shy.