Right NOW! Carolyn Castiglia is Crushing It
Carolyn Castiglia is hilarious. But beyond that, she is warm, charming and fiercely passionate about her talk show Right NOW! The show will be gracing the stage of Union Hall (702 Union Street, Brooklyn – Park Slope). You can catch her show next week, June 16th at 8pm. Grab your $10 tickets here. Here’s what we learned about her, the show, and life in general.
Where did Right NOW! come from? What’s the origin and how did it find a home at Union Hall? Hosting my own talk show has been a secret dream
in my heart for a long, long time that I finally got the courage to speak aloud right after the new year in 2015. I sent an email to some friends who I also love as performers asking them if they would join me on the show, then Trish Nelson (my friend and the show’s producer) randomly sent me an email saying, “I want to produce a late-night talk show and I think you should host it.” I was like, “Well that’s funny because I want to host a late-night talk show and I think you should produce it!” It was kismet.
In February 2015, we had a meeting with MNN (where Chris Gethard’s show got its start), and interest from several venues that weren’t exactly right for the show. When we finally looked at The Slipper Room, we fell in love. We had a great run there, then spent six months training to film in the studios at BRIC in Brooklyn. We taped an episode there in February, then approached Union Hall about doing another live run of the show. We’ll be doing the live show at Union Hall once a month while we work with a production company to sell a version of the show for television.
I watched a ton of your clips from Right NOW! You’re so fast and sharp, especially with the audience. Does that just come naturally or do you have an improv background? Thank you! I have studied a bit of improv, but really my quickness comes from the hypervigilance I learned as a child. A lot of comics come from dysfunctional families, and so humor gets to be the one benefit our of trauma. I like to say I got hit in the head enough times as a kid that now rhymes and one-liners just fall out the holes.
And the Opening Rapologues…do you do those every show? I saw one from last summer and thought it was absolutely genius. Thanks! Yeah, we start every show with the Opening Rapologue. It’s our version of the opening monologue. My band leader Rebecca Vigil (who is an amazing musical improviser and terrific sidekick) gives me suggestions from the audience and then I freestyle. It’s so great to do the show with a live band. There’s a small crew of guys who rotate in and out of the band, and they’re all sick musicians.
What’s it like putting on a show like this? How do you select the other comedians who join you? Every episode of Right NOW! has unique segments based on a theme. The theme for the June 16th show is home, so we’ll be talking about how to live well in New York, which as we all know is difficult. I’ve got friends who are organizers and designers on the panel, as well as comics, and there’s a contortionist on the show! He’s incredible. I don’t want to give his big trick away, but suffice it to say, he could make a home anywhere.
When booking the show, I think about comics I know and love who have material on the theme, and who I know are really electric in the moment. I focus on booking women first, then men of color and LGBTQ dudes. Sometimes I book a straight white guy for old times’ sake.
I love how open you are with yourself to your audience. I’m always in awe of women who just own who they are, their bodies, their relationships, their opinions, etc. Where does that confidence come from? The stage was the only place I had growing up where I could be seen and loved. So I actually learned that the stage was a safe space. I guess that’s weird. But I learned to be confident on stage and view the audience as my best friends, so I share with them accordingly.
Regarding body confidence, I’m a single mother, so frankly, I have bigger fish to fry than to worry about what my body looks like. And honestly, who cares? Do we really care what women’s bodies look like? What a fucking waste of time and energy. Women are inherently beautiful. We’re just built that way. All of us. And yet women try sooooooo hard to be perfect, to be presentable, to be right, and for what? I wonder if men ever stop to think about all the effort that goes into being a woman. Not actually even doing anything like our jobs, just fucking existing in these bodies. Haha. Anyway, I try to present things on stage that everyone gets all hung up about (men included) and break them down so we can all recognize that everyone is struggling and stumbling through life, but we don’t have to be so hard on ourselves. We have to laugh at the way things are, because the alternative is feeling bad, and who wants that?