KATE MCKINNON FACES LESBIAN DRAMA AT VAG MAG
Ever wonder what would happen if a group of feminists used their profits from selling reusable maxi pads on Etsy to buy a fashion magazine? Neither did we, but we’re glad Caitlin Tegart and Leila Cohan-Miccio did. They are the women who took that idea and turned it into the hilarious new webseries Vag Magazine. The series, which debuts Monday October 18 at vagmagazine.tv, also stars out comic/actress Kate McKinnon (The Big Gay Sketch Show) and a group of talented improv actors who just happened to collaborate on a sketch show about Smith College at the Upright Citizen Brigade Theatre.
We caught up with series creators Caitlin Tegart and Leila Cohan-Miccio who told us about the inspiration behind the series, working with McKinnon, and validating the importance of feminism by making fun of it.
AfterEllen.com: How did you end up working together?
Caitlin Tegart: We met in an improv class at Upright Citizen Brigade Theatre in 2008 and we’re both placed as writers on house sketch teams over the next year. Then I directed the stage sketch show This Is About Smith, which Leila wrote, so we got to know each other and found we shared a lot of the same views and interests, specifically being feminists but also laughing at feminist culture. Also, enjoying The Hills, but never laughing at that. That’s serious.
AE: What was the inspiration behind the series?
CT: I wanted to carry the bond that Leila, the cast and I had developed during the stage sketch show This Is About Smith over to a bigger projects. And I knew that a feminist magazine would be a great place to set a comedy because both feminism and magazines attract smart, assertive and sometimes loony people. It was a place where female characters could be aggressive and weird.
Leila Cohan-Miccio: What Caitlin said! There was also an element of frustration Caitlin and I felt with a lot of third wave feminism and feminist magazines specifically. If you didn’t know anything about gender and you picked up an issue of Bust, you’d think the biggest issues facing women today are where to buy high-quality organic yarn so you can knit a cozy for your boyfriend’s penis (this was a real One Handed Read in Bust!) and what the best vegan Thanksgiving recipes are. I like crafts and tofu turducken as much as the next girl, but come on.
AE: What kind of reaction are you getting so far?
CT: We’re getting a very positive reaction both from the media and fans on Twitter and Facebook. I think people are happy that this subculture is getting a voice and the archetypes we know and love are finally getting poked fun at — like the rich girl-bohemian Sylvie, whose dad basically sponsors Vag by buying the reusable Hello Kitty menstrual pad she designed on Etsy for $100,000. When you’re parodying something, you’re also validating its importance and we definitely think feminism is important!
LCM: The reaction so far has been totally amazing and overwhelming. The craziest thing to me is that we’ve been getting emails and tweets from around the world, not just the U.S.! Feminist skirts are, as it turns out, an international concept.
AE: Since Vag is a feminist organization, it’s safe to assume that there may be some lesbian drama afoot. Can you give us any hints about said drama?
CT: Without giving too much away, Kate McKinnon’s character Bethany’s ex, Jaybird, turns out to be the editor of their rival magazine, C–t (played by Shannon O’Neill), so there’s a personal-professional drama that unfolds in the second half of the season.
AE: Can you tell us a bit about casting Kate McKinnon? How did she get involved with the project and what has been your favorite thing about working with her?
CT:Kate McKinnon was on the UCB house sketch team, High Treason, with Leila and was a cast member of This Is About Smith, so she was one of the original cast members we knew we wanted. My favorite thing about working with Kate is that she dives into her characters and commits as hard as anyone I’ve ever worked with.
LCM: I think one of the things that really makes Vag Magazine work well is that the cast gets along so well and that chemistry comes across on screen. Kate’s definitely a huge part of that — she’s just such a kind, funny, weird person to work with
AE: In an ideal world, what would be the result of creating the Vag Mag? Such as Vag Mag: The Movie? Vag Mag: The TV Series? Vag Mag: The Video Game?
CT: All of the above! The video game would just be The Sims: Third-Wave Feminist Magazine. To start, players would be given $800 and a culture that doesn’t value print journalism.
LCM: Vag Magazine the TV series, would probably be our ultimate dream. When we wrote the first season, we knew we wanted to write something that worked both as standalone episodes and, if it were recut, as one sitcom length pilot episode. I think there’s a real niche open right now for a comedy that’s about a group of women with more on their minds than dudes or dieting.
I think the concept lends itself to a serial like a sitcom, I really believe in this show and I think it could adapt to any format because ultimately it’s character-driven and about relationships which crosses media boundaries — I hope!
Watch teaser clips from the series below:
— by Karman Kregloe