Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan aren’t exactly what you would call overnight successes, but you could forgive most Australians for thinking just that.
The pair burst into the public consciousness in a huge way with their 2015 hit web-series The Katering Show, which attracted millions of views in its first season, and was picked up by the ABC for a second season on iview.
But although the satirical cooking series was a massive hit, the Kates had both been working as actors and writers on TV for most of their professional lives, and have a huge deal of experience across various aspects of the industry.
Given their significant runs on the board across TV, as well as a proven record of connecting with broad audiences, the ABC commissioned a full-length series from the pair, Get Krack!n.
It extends the world satirised by the Kates in The Katering Show from cooking to broader a satire on morning and lifestyle TV.
“We couldn’t filter what we wanted to say via food trends any more,” McCartney told Daily Review. “We have so much to say about the world, and we just weren’t leaving the house to experience food culture at that point. I mean, What did I eat last night? I had a tub of yogurt and some frozen meatballs.”
“I just eat whatever shit I can find in my fridge, in a wrap,” McLennan chimes in. “If I can eat it with one hand, that’s great.”
According to the pair, McCartney’s food standards have always been only a little above subterranean, but McLennan has recently joined her around the same level as both Kates have found their time taken up by a combination of work and caring for their young children.
The Kates were looking for a way to expand the world of the fictionalised versions of themselves developed in The Katering Show — McLennan, an irritatingly optimistic and ambitious host and McCartney, her deeply cynical, no-shit co-host — when an executive producer suggested a satirical morning show.
“We were just so tired that we hadn’t reached that idea on our own,” McLennan says. “But it’s proven to be a real font of inspiration. There’s a lot of lifestyle stuff on morning TV, and pop culture, female-focused material. But there’s also some really random performance stuff happening. They’ll have guest musicians or quick-change artists, and bigger production numbers that we thought would be really fun to play with.”
McLennan watched plenty of breakfast and morning TV to draw ideas for the series, and says she eventually had to stop because it was just too rich with material. She says she could have written endlessly about each new day of TV.
McCartney on the other hand, says she has a much lower tolerance of breakfast TV.
“I still don’t have a great sense of what’s happening,” she says. “It’s like my brain keeps not allowing me to remember who’s on what show. It’s just blocked everything out like a firewall.”
Unlike The Katering Show, Get Krack!n features plenty of special guests across its eight half-hour episodes. There are well-known figures from both the comedy and broader Australian entertainment industry, and the first episode features Sam Neill.
“He reached out to us during the first season of Katering Show,” McCartney says. “He sort of fan-girled with us, then we fan-girled with him. And at the Logies we were sitting there feeling very uncomfortable — because we didn’t belong there, self-evidently — and suddenly Sam Neill’s face was there, between our shoulders. He’d tracked down our table number, and we just hung out.”
McCartney says the pair had written a wish-list of guest stars, and surprisingly almost all said yes.
“I thought: ‘really?’ Because I never want to do anything, and was just surprised they’d come out on their day off to do the show.”
The onscreen dynamic between the pair in Get Krack!n is lifted straight from The Katering Show, as the two friends and co-hosts struggle to find a middle ground.
So how accurate is that dynamic to the real-life Kates’ friendship?
“It’s real-life, photocopied and blown up to 250%,” McCartney says.
The pair say they get along a lot better than their onscreen selves, and that they choose to amplify any tensions that may exist between them.
One running personal joke that’s made its way into the second episode is McCartney’s real-life success with acting roles, despite not having a great interest in being onscreen. McLennan, on the other hand, is a trained actor and very passionate about her craft. In the series, she’s bitterly jealous about McCartney’s success.
But there are some big differences between the fictionalised an real-life versions of the Kates.
“You are actually a bit more enthusiastic about things,” McLennan tells McCartney.
“Well, you’d hope so, because I’m borderline comatose [in the series],” McCartney responds. “And I do actually like hair and makeup as well in real life.”
“You’ve got that,” McLennan says. “You’re really multifaceted in your interests.”
“McLennan is less of a nightmare in real life.”
“Am I? Oh, thank you. That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said about me.”
“The couples therapy we’re having is really working.”