Moving into her mother’s basement was the best thing ever for Heather McMahan.Comedian who can be described as millennial hearing David Sedaris – She hosts Absolutely not In her podcast, she works out emotional twists on topics like friend breakups and celery juice therapy for trauma — recently she embarked on her second standup tour in years ( She will have about 50 performances in major theaters by June.) She’s also working on a pilot for NBC and putting the finishing touches on her hour-long special, which she produced herself. And if you ask her, all this happened precisely because she left town.
McMahan lived in LA and New York, but returned to her native Atlanta with her husband during the pandemic to maintain the temporary company she had when she lost her father to cancer (or so she thinks). But a change in zip code changed her perspective. “My humor has become friendlier,” she says. One of the reasons McMahan, 35, resonates with audiences of mostly young women is her willingness to strip off her pretense and share excessively in the name of a giggle. “For me, comedy is catharsis,” she adds. “I take things that feel awkward or messy and try to make sense of them.”
She’s zooming into this interview from the house she shares with her husband (her fans are known as Italian Stallions; it’s a long story) and her mother. The infamous Robin McMahan won’t technically be in the interview, but in both Heather’s talks about the business, she looms large (“I’ve booked a Christmas movie on Netflix. love hard, last year, the director read with me at my audition, because I thought my mom was so insane”), off-camera, when she sneaked in and brought Heather a sandwich. (“I appreciate it, but I told her I had an important interview,” she laughs.) She’ll be even bigger if McMahan’s pilot gets arrested – the sitcom is based on her own life and explores what her family was like in the wake of a larger-than-life matriarch. She’s writing and producing, and wants to star. She said, “I’ll probably have to do craft services, transportation, maybe even costumes.
On stage, she found strength in personal publicity. Last year’s show, amusingly titled Farewell on her tour (source her material for her special), featured a slightly longer attempt at egg freezing that failed. “As a group of women, why haven’t we talked about the dreaded core of being 34 and taking vaginal suppositories and testosterone injections all day?” she asks. “Talking about it was even more vulnerable than talking about my father dying of cancer. But in the last three months, I’ve auditioned for three pregnant roles. It’s good.” do you think it is?”
Despite her success, she worked the front desk at SoulCycle and waitressed at Hell’s Kitchen while “competing with all the hipsters in Brooklyn.” [Upright Citizens Brigade]” Stay fresh. She spent months, if not years, on another pilot for Peacock and finally passed. The stand-up special she’s currently editing is self-produced precisely to avoid the pain of waiting for the network to say yes first. I auditioned (yes, her mom can help). “In a way, I thought I had succeeded when I was able to pay off her card payment without the asshole clenching my Nordstrom credit, but I’m still hyped.” she says. “If one day I’m just a paparazzi sitting alone eating a sandwich, that’s going to be the big moment.”
This story first appeared in the January 11th issue of The Hollywood Reporter.Click here to subscribe.