"There's something about a girl named Kate," Caitlin Barlow told me. And if there's something about one, just wait until you see six of them.
Individually, the Katydids are Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O'Brien and Katie Thomas. Together they're one of the hottest comedy groups in the country.
They've performed live in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Their videos have been featured on HuffPost, MTV, Perez Hilton, Smosh, Cosmopolitan, Italy's Vanity Fair, College Humor, and The Chicago Sun Times. They're working with Lorne Michaels' (Executive Producer of SNL) Above Average Productions and their web series "Teachers" is looking for a home on television.
Here's one of their YouTube hits, "How to Live Like Beyonce":
But besides a name derived from Katherine, what does it take to be a Katydid? Focus, drive, talent, and, above of all, friendship.
I reached out to Caitlin Barlow and Kate Lambert to peek behind the scenes at Katydids HQ.
What's your origin story? How did the Katydids come together?
Caitlin Barlow: I had a vision. I knew all of these really funny women named Kate or Katie, and this phrase kept coming into my head, "There's something about a girl named Kate."
There was a show at iO called Radical Concept. You could pitch a show that was a "radical concept." I e-mailed all of the girls who are now the Katydids and asked if they wanted to do it. We were rejected, but we decided to go on and apply for shows other places.
After a year of pick up shows, we teamed with the group Computer and started a run at Studio Be. From there we had a few months of midnights at iO on Saturday nights.
You've all been in a bunch of other talented groups as well. What makes the Katydids special?
Kate Lambert: After our first show, a lot of us walked away thinking it might be a one time, "well, that was fun," experience. But when we came together for our first run at Studio BE, something clicked. We had so much fun together both on and offstage, that we had to keep that going.
Caitlin Barlow: We're friends first. We hang out a lot outside of collaborating. We also feel very strongly about driving the group forward and have dedicated a lot of time to our projects.
We're also a very diverse group in terms of performance style.
What made you decide to branch into video?
Kate Lambert: I really wanted us to do videos because I thought it would be a great way to show the community what our group was about. A lot of times you hear a group's name, but you might not know all the faces. I thought that making videos would be a great way to get to know the group, generate interest, and get people to come to our shows.
We did video shorts before we ever did a sketch show onstage. I think doing shorts is a great way to expand upon ideas that we might not have been able to explore as fully on stage.
Caitlin Barlow: Eventually, we found that we got more exposure through the videos than through our live shows. As for time/energy....you just make time. You make it a priority and give up some Saturdays and some evenings and you don't quit until it's excellent.
What's next for the Katydids?
Kate Lambert: I don't know what's next for us-- and that's what makes it so exciting. Right now, we have been lucky enough to have a lot of opportunities and we are trying to take advantage of all of them.
Caitlin Barlow: We recently partnered with Above Average Productions. They are going to be funding and cross-promoting our videos, so look forward to new comedic shorts!
Also, we're working with an agent to see how else we can move forward with "Teachers".
Check out the latest episode of Teachers:
With your interest piqued, you can catch the Katykids for yourself at the Chicago Improv Festival on April 5.
Help us keep the lights on by subscribing to Chicago Like a Local. For your efforts, we'll deliver awesome stories (like this one) to your inbox. Do we have a deal?