It’s a sunny May morning in New York—the first full day of rehearsal for Catherine Cohen’s latest show, Come For Me—and she is firing on all cylinders: trilling through newly amended song lyrics, cracking jokes with her three-piece band, playing host to an observer. “Do you want a cold egg bite?” she says brightly, offering the remnants of her coffee run. “Breakfast of champs!” A few minutes later, the musicians kick off with an uptempo number, teeing up a chorus steeped in cheerful morbidity. “I could get hit by the bus, woo! So I’m going to tell you whatever the fuck,” Cohen sings, buoyant in black flare-leg stretch pants, matching cardigan, and scrunchie.
A few days later, the comedian is set to resume her place in lights across the street at Joe’s Pub, the downtown cabaret venue where she filmed her 2022 Netflix special, The Twist?…She’s Gorgeous. “The last show was very much my twenties: ‘I’m fucking around, what am I doing, who am I?’” Cohen says of that rhinestone-studded affair, which touched on swimsuit angst, marathoners (“What are you running from?”), and online life. “Social media is perfect because you can watch people you barely know sort of unravel in real time, which I absolutely—foot pop—j’adore,” she said in the special, slipping in one of her audible stage directions. This new hour, up through June 30, teeters into the next age bracket, with talk of AOL–era cyber sex and her happy relationship and egg freezing, a procedure that Cohen underwent last year. “[This show] is more like, ‘Okay wait, why am I not perfectly happy now that I have all these things that I thought I wanted?’” she explains. “I’m in my thirties, I guess. Hold for applause.”
One song in Come For Me, called “Blame It on the Moon,” conveniently waves off any personal shortcomings and pins it all on astrology. It’s a nod to Cohen’s recent “healer journey,” as she puts it. “I saw a breathwork person, I saw a past life regression therapist, all these things,” she says. “This woman who did Akashic records told me to put my nipple in sparkling water, and that made it into a song.” Such an odyssey suggests something of a fixation on well-being. At the same time, Cohen deadpans, “I’m not well. I want you to let everyone know that: I’m not well.” Nevertheless, this three-day wellness diary catches the performer in good stead: “Shows are what make me healthy.” She reaches into her bag and blows on a straw, which makes a clownish kazoo sound. “You buzz on it, and it stretches out your cords,” she says, describing her catalog of daily vocal exercises. Spicy foods are on hold; booze too. What remains is an angelic voice that flutters in the manner of an irreverent Disney princess—as if pigeons arrived to braid ribbons into her hair. “It’s funny you say that because this morning, I woke up, swear to God: Huge pigeon in my apartment,” Cohen says. (More on that below.) “I was like, this is a good omen for the show,” she smiles. Who needs the stars when you have New York City luck.
Tuesday, May 30
7 a.m.: Wake, unnaturally, to the sound of my alarm. I much prefer to sleep till a cool 10-11 a.m. These are the reasonable hours for a woman of luxury and leisure. Anytime I check my sleep app on my Apple watch, it’s like: “You get more deep sleep than the average person and your heart rate is constantly falling.” Kind of chic to be essentially half-dead, no? If I had my druthers I’d opt for no commitments before 12 p.m.—I can hear it now: “Miss Cohen doesn’t take appointments before noon,” my assistant will chirp down the hall. In this scenario I own a gorgeous brownstone in the Village from which my assistant works Tuesday–Thursday. She deserves a long weekend! But in my current reality, I wake earlier than usual in my one-bedroom rental because I’m fostering the most angelic puppy from Hearts and Bones Rescue. I’ve named her Miss Cookie™ and she is a strong independent woman who needs to piss/shit after a long night’s sleep. After I walk Miss Cookie around the block, I promptly return to bed and sleep for another hour or so.
9 a.m.: Wake #2 followed by classic missionary sex with my lover. My sex drive is a bit sluggish at the moment because all I can think about is my foster puppy and my upcoming month of shows and that email from March that I still haven’t responded to…apologies for the delayed response, Angela!!! I understand I will have things in my inbox until I die but we beat on, boats against the current, desperately trying to reach inbox zero. That being said, my boyfriend has been out of town and I’ve missed him dearly so we bang one out. Feels good! Would recommend.
9:30 a.m.: Shower. I MUCH prefer a bath—I usually take two to three a day, but I’m in a rush to get to rehearsal. I just sort of quickly rub a classic Cetaphil bar soap all over me and hope for the best. Face too. Is that bad? I’m selectively high maintenance when it comes to vanity. I spend money on clothes and blowouts but try not to bother with expensive skin care because I do think it is…a scam (sent with invisible ink). I use the steam from the shower to get some vocal exercises going. I’m addicted to vocal health and would be nothing without Dr. Sulica at Weill Cornell and his amazing team. Shout-out! I hop out of the shower and continue to do my vocal exercises (straw buzzing, lip trills, etc.) in my Parachute robe and eat this new thing I’m into where I buy pre-made egg salad from Citarella and dip crackers into it. While I’m at it, I chug some cold brew and pop a few Wellness Formula pills—in my house we call this the hypochondriac’s delight. (I live alone and only I call it that.)