It’s been nine years since Catie Lazarus debuted her beloved talk show Employee of the Month. In that time, she’s interviewed and honored such names as Greta Gerwig, Jon Hamm, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jon Stewart, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Maddow, Gloria Steinem...the list goes on.
As a host, it's Lazarus’ wit and charm that has kept them coming back over the years. And it’s her depth and candor that keeps the show interesting, never shying away from the tough questions. Whatever she’s doing must be working, as it’s the longest running talk show ever hosted by a woman.
This Thursday at 8pm, Slate Live helps Lazarus celebrate; she’ll be joined by Emily Mortimer (Mary Poppins Returns), Hannibal Buress (Broad City), composer Alex Lacamoire (Dear Evan Hansen), and the Resistance Revival Chorus. The first of two special shows will take place at Gramercy Theater, with another taking place April 7 at Abrons Arts Center.
As a woman hosting a talk show, what kind of struggles have you faced?
Too many to mention, but showbiz has notoriously rewarded those who fail upwards, even helping them land in The White House. If and when Hollywood is ready for a talk show host with chops, chutzpah, humor, no cavities, and a genuine moral compass, will you tell them where to find me?
What’s been your favorite guest or moment over the last nine years?
Fame or celebrity certainly does not determine how interesting someone is, but the more honest and forthcoming a guest is, the better. I really appreciated hearing Martha Plimpton share some poetry she wrote for pharmaceutical ads, to Daveed Diggs expressing how hard his day job at Pier 1 was, and to how Cynthia Nixon stayed sane, despite being an actor and breadwinner, since she was a kid. I still smile when I think about Wally Shawn's explanation as to why he didn't become a cab driver, and Tituss Burgess and Patti LuPone singing.
How has the show evolved since it began?
Honestly, I thoroughly enjoy engaging in-depth, nuanced conversations, while mixing in music and mischief. My talk show has a variety show feel, which I think is just what the doctor ordered, especially with the state of the world. (Please note I am not a doctor. If you are having an emergency and can emigrate to Canada, I highly recommend it. They have affordable health care and a stable genius, well, bright leader.)
There’s more of a journalistic quality to your show than most. What made you take that approach?
I dropped out of my doctorate in psychology to write comedy, but never lost my insatiable appetite to get to know others or for pizza. Since I've have had to cut back on the latter, I focus on the former. I ask questions I don't know the answer to already. I don't want to waste my time or that of my guests, and truly hope that they and the audience enjoy themselves. If I do too, well that's this secular Jewish girl's version of the holy trinity. If it somehow involves pizza, even better.
What can fans expect from your ninth anniversary show and what’s to come in the next nine years?
There will be a few surprises, music and cameo wise, but otherwise, I have a ton of questions. And speaking of which, I better go get to them.
Tickets are now available for the special ninth anniversary show of Employee of the Month online. Use discount code, "LazarusSpecial" at checkout.