We had the good fortune of connecting with Susan-Kate Heaney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Susan-Kate, what are you inspired by?
You should ask what I’m not inspired by, because we may be here all day! Hah. I feel like I’m inspired by so many things. I feel like I live in a little state of wonder all the time, like in the past day I’ve been inspired by the tide pools at Leo Carillo Beach (anemones!), the book “Such a Fun Age”, diet ginger beer and making cocktails, Glennon Doyle, Ted Lasso and this one brown bird who sits on my window sill who I have named Gil. I am inspired by humans and really miss sitting in coffee shops sometimes writing but always people watching. I made my podcast “The Quirks” because I loved hearing stories about people’s little idiosyncrasies, what makes us all unique. The other day, I was about to make dinner and feeling bored, so I flung a wig on and filmed my toddler Clover and I making the infamous Tik Tok Feta pasta for ten minutes, then edited it together into a quirky comedy short called “Under the Influence(r)”. I love giving myself little challenges, like thirty days of creating something new each day, or ten days in a row of writing old fashioned letters. I’m inspired by everyone who is fighting for what they believe in, or creating, or loving or really just getting out of bed every day. This has been a very hard year. This is me, reflecting to you, you are an absolute rockstar.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m an actor, writer and filmmaker. I love making people laugh and feel. I’ve been proud and lucky to act in some amazing tv shows (Masters of Sex, The Mindy Project, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and in films I love and theater as well. I love each one for a different reason. Don’t make me choose! I’ve always been into creating my own work. I turned most school assignments into performances, once even making a rap song about blood types (rhyming hemocytoblasts is harder than you think). This has led to making many short films and webseries, writing films and movies and comedy articles for LadySpike magazine, performing in sketch all around town (Second City, UCB, Comedy Central Stage) and writing and performing multiple one-woman shows. My most recent solo show is called Facebook with Mom and is about teaching my mom social media. It came from the pain of constantly explaining walls, pokes and check-ins and finding the humor in it for myself and the audience. Throughout the show I play various social media characters but especially my mom and communicate with the audience on Facebook. The show culminates in an angry tap dance to “Another One Bites the Dust” in full mom regalia. Thankfully she is a very good sport. Of course there are challenges, but I really try to see the big picture. I’m one of those weird people that deals pretty well with rejection, and not taking it personally. I took one of those tests about grit once and scored ridiculously high, because I am an unrelenting optimist. When there are down times, I turn to creating, to making something that inspires or brings a bit of joy to myself and others. I have a one-woman show about my love of and collection of over forty mops (they are people to me, for real) and the best is when people see this and it makes them want to embrace their weirdness, or dive back into a childhood habit they may have forgotten. My favorite letter I got after one of the shows said “You are weird. And it made me remember I used to be weird and want to be that way and start writing poems again.” I live for these moments.
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.
Oooooh my, YES. Well I’m going to do the post-quarantine version of this question because I’m going to give you all the crowded, messy, wild places I’m going to drag all my friends to once we can. Here’s where we’re eating: breakfast burritos at Cofax, Hama or Sugarfish for sushi, dumplings at Din Tai Fung, tacos at Homestate and Taiwanese food at Joy on York. I am starving already from answering this question. We are drinking AND eating (but especially drinking) at Musso and Frank’s, a classic restaurant that’s over a hundred years old, with my favorite dirty martini I’ve ever had. (We can also have a flaming margarita at El Compadre but not the same night because the martinis at Musso’s are lethal.) My fave places to go are the New Beverly, the Hollywood Bowl, the beaches, the day and weekend trips (Ojai! Palm Springs! Joshua Tree!) Not to mention seeing plays, and comedy shows (shout at to the Comedy Central Stage) and the Magic Castle and… wow. There is so so much to do and see here and I will sit in any amount of traffic to do so safely again.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout is to my family, for driving childhood me to rehearsals and shows and sitting through dozens of dance recitals and “Gypsy’ performances (I did Gypsy a LOT growing up) and to my husband Marc and daughter Clover and fur son Dublin for supporting and inspiring and loving me and understanding why, when I’m working on a new project, things wind up in very weird places (pens in the fridge or oranges in a sock drawer). Also, Bruce Gelfand’s zoom creative writing classes (A Writer’s Hour) have been an amazing and joyous sanctuary during these quarantine times, as well as Heidi Rose Robbins instagram moon notes (a note a day about where the moon is) and doing zoom plays with InHouse Theater Company (happily a member) and winning the n/naka takeout raffle. You still have to pay for the food but it guarantees you a to-go bento box of unique goodness and it has given me much pleasure during this lockdown year.
Portraits Marc Kelly, Headshots Joanna DeGeneres