Heather McDonald isn’t entirely unhappy that her long-term gig on the late-night comedy series “Chelsea Lately” ended.
“I miss being on TV regularly, I miss being recognized,” admits the comic, who wrote and appeared on the talk show until 2014. “But I don’t miss having to answer to people,” says McDonald, who brings her R-rated (but not overly dirty) standup act to Cobb’s this weekend on her annual visit to The City.
The Southern Californian is using what she found most fun about “Chelsea,” including interviews, on her podcast “Juicy Scoop,” and is doing well. Calling her listeners “the most loyal fans” and appreciating the honesty and intimacy of the format, she says, “It’s the most successful I’ve ever been.”
While McDonald didn’t immediately find success doing comedy professionally — she studied business at the University of Southern California and followed in her parents’ footsteps as a real estate agent (she’s experienced handing out flyers!) — she’s always been funny and enjoyed comedy by Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr and Ray Romano.
The youngest of five children, she was doing characters for the family as a little kid: “I came out with heels, a wig, a hat and fur and was the uninvited guest to dinner.”
(Today she does hilarious impressions of Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore and Celine Dion, whom she resembles.)
After she took a six-week Learning Annex class on standup, which ended with a performance, she says, “I knew more than enough people who wanted to see it; my parents were thrilled.” And finding herself getting jealous of people with pagers going on auditions, she decided to really go for a show biz career.
Although she missed the opportunity to audition for “Saturday Night Live” at one point because she was committed to an MTV pilot (“Would I have been like Kristen Wiig?” she asks), she points out she probably would have broken up with her California boyfriend (now husband, to whom she’s happily married) for a New York job.
Much of her act is based on her family, including her two sons, who, once sensitive, now at ages 11 and 14 think it’s cool their mom makes a living being funny.
“That’s the deal,” she says. “While farmers make their kids wake up at 5 a.m. to pick corn, they know this is what pays for vacation.”
Adding, “I’m very happy to be Heather McDonald,” she makes it clear she’s certainly not the conservative, anti-Black Lives Matter commentator named Heather MacDonald: “But I get her hate mail five times a week.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Cobb’s Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Sept. 22, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23
Tickets: $25 to $50