We had the good fortune of connecting with Kate Gaffney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kate, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Without a doubt I wish that people knew that the audience has literally ALL of the power – I mean that – ALL of it. We are absolutely employed by those that choose to view our content, in whatever form that takes. Yes, casting directors, studio execs, directors, etc. have the most power in the bubble that is Hollywood/entertainment (in a traditional sense) but the audiences are who actually decide it all. You know the old adage, “vote with your dollars?” That is absolutely true with entertainment as well. We’ve seen the effects of a viral post on any of the various platforms calling out bad behavior or perceived/actual slights and that has a performative response (if it goes viral enough) but the most effective impact an audience member can have is to not hand over their money. You find an actor’s behavior offensive or the executive in charge of the production is someone that you despise? Don’t watch their current/future projects, don’t pay for the film, don’t buy the merchandise around the project, etc. The power this carries is why Hollywood stands as the most deeply afraid of “cancel culture” because audiences really do decide it all.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Oh my, you’re really going IN with this question, aren’t you? If I can be honest what sets me apart is that I really want to support my competition and the other artists in my life. I actually do. I am not secretly setting anyone up for failure and I really do believe that rising tides lift all boats – to my core, I believe that. And, this system of belief has gotten me into trouble in LA way more than once and has set back some of my career goals. That said, I have learned how to better protect myself whilst STILL supporting the people in my world. I deeply want us all to win because there is enough and more than enough. I absolutely do not want to lose the heart that brought me to this city. I do still believe in being kind. My professional journey has been at moments pure bliss and at other moments pure devastation. I feel a real balance between the yin and yang of the ups and downs. What is the saying – don’t believe your best or your worst reviews? I try to abide by that (though I do get stoked when someone likes my work because come on! It’s too hard not to). Also, if I am being honest, I have wanted to quit more times than I would care to admit, but my desire to stick around happens to be just one step ahead of my desire to stop. When you are an artist, you really can’t just stop being an artist. I believe it is just part of who you are, torturous as it can be. I also don’t believe my own hype. That remains so important for me. When I first got to LA, I got sucked into the need for the accolades, the external trappings of success, and the desire to prove to YOU that I deserved to be in the business. My success started when I laid down the need to play that particular game. And, I am currently most proud of my podcast. It is a ton of work and I care about it a lot, but it is just the thing I am most proud of today. I find my joy from my projects is a moving target and that’s a good thing for me.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh this is so fun to discuss and before locals scream at me about driving – this is an imaginary itinerary that exists if there were no traffic and/or if we could float from place to place, so calm down. Ok. First off, if she weren’t staying with me, I’d have her stay at any of the hotels on Ocean in Santa Monica. That is the one part of the city where I can truly tap into my own sense of peace. So, we’ll start there. Then, we are going to have brunch at Jinky’s because their eggs/coffee are making my mouth water as I type this. We are then going to walk along the beach and watch the trapeze artists (hopefully Cirque is in town so the actors are out and performing as they do) and the slack artists. After that, we are going to get ready for an evening at The Edison downtown. On our way out, we are hitting up the street corn vendors and if you know, you know. The next week we are going to see the Hollywood tourist trappings because I love the excuse to “visit” my own city. After we knock out Hollywood, we are going to see a show at The Comedy Store (and pray for a special guest drop in). When we finish with a show there, we are going to Mel’s on Sunset because they are open stupidly late. If we aren’t feeling Mel’s we are going to The Rainbow Room because their pizza and french fries are up there with the best in the city. During the next day, we are getting salads from Judi’s Deli in Beverly Hills because I am telling you, to date, the best salad I have had in my life is here. We are now getting salads from there for the rest of the week because my friend is mad I didn’t take her here earlier. After that, we get Boba in West Hollywood from It’s Boba Time. Then, we wander over to Koreatown and go out to Break Room 86 to sing and dance our faces off. The next day we casually visit Sherman Oaks and wander to the vintage shops on Ventura. I am such a fun host! For her last night, we are having all you can eat Sushi at Sushi Stop on Franklin. We then head back to Santa Monica for a wander through the various streets/attractions there. My friend proceeds to knight me for being the best host of all time. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have been shaped by so many amazing humans, books, therapy sessions, caring strangers, etc. I literally could never distill this dedication into the hands of just one of any of those categories. I will say – my mom went to literally all of my theatre shows when I was growing up AND she and my pops made sure I went to LA to pursue my dreams when it was time for me to go, even though they were sad I was leaving. So, in addition to the amazing humans I have met along the way and have in my world today, my mama and pops are gonna get this shout out.