When Heather McDonald was in her mid-twenties and still a virgin, little did she know that her ability to make friends laugh would catapult her into a career in comedy.
“I was an assistant buyer at a department store and my favorite part of the job was making my co-workers laugh. One day I saw a Learning Annex workshop on ‘How to Become a Comedian in a Day’ and I signed up for the class. Weeks later, I was doing my Asian singing karaoke skit and I haven’t looked back since,” says McDonald, who brings her standup act to San Francisco this week.
McDonald, who wrote and appeared with Chelsea Handler on TV’s “Chelsea Lately” and “After Lately,” says she loves touring and performing live: “I get rejuvenated by the audience — and get paid!”
Much of her routine centers on her home life in Southern California with her husband (of more than 10 years) and three kids (who compete to see who can make her cry first). She says, “I keep it real. What’s great about having a messed up family is that I can talk about them onstage.”
Even though, she says, being a mom and wife is pretty rare for a comedian, she is not one to fall into a routine with her performances. She says, “Due to my co-dependent Catholic upbringing, I tailor each show for the audience.”
McDonald, who graduated from the University of Southern California, honed her comic skills in classes with the Los Angeles-based comedy troupe The Groundlings, whose graduates include Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Lisa Kudrow and Phil Hartman.
She also has found time to write best-selling books: “You'll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again” – about living in L.A. in the 1990s, not having sex while pursuing a show business career, and taking the opportunity to share that she once was a 27-year-old virgin – and “My Inappropriate Life: Some Material Not Suitable for Small Children,” about balancing celebrity and family life.
Her other TV credits include “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Reno 911,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” “Frasier” and “Drake & Josh.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Cobb's Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave., S.F.
When: 8 and 10:15 p.m. May 15, 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. May 16
Contact: (415) 928-4320, www.cobbscomedyclub.com