With experience acting, singing and in comedy, Ana Gasteyer is an entertainment triple threat. Her stacked resume boasts a six-season tenure on Saturday Night Live, roles in TV hits Suburgatory and Lady Dynamite, as well as a fetch-ing portrayal of Cady Heron’s mom in Mean Girls. But Gasteyer is coming to Boston to flex her musical chops—crooning Christmas tunes during a jazz- and booze-inspired performance. We chatted with the singer ahead of her show at City Winery on Dec. 21.
What can the audience expect? We’re serving a festive platter of holiday fare. We’re actually in rehearsal right now to record a holiday album for 2019, so I’m really excited because a lot of this is new holiday material we’re just working with and I’m really looking forward to doing a lot of it live. It’s a holiday show, for sure—so if you hate the holidays, maybe don’t come. My act riffs on the idea of ridiculous tradition and ridiculous jazz in a fun way, I hope. The holidays kind of lend themselves automatically to what I do. I like being festive and getting dressed up—bring in a big hairdo and a big martini on stage, and that’s the idea. So tell the audience to wear their plaid pants and bring a flask.
Do you prefer performing on stage or screen? I could never pick. I actually prefer variety; it’s incredibly important to me. With things like my music act and going to places like City Winery, it’s almost like a labor of love. I know I’m never going to make the kind of money or get the kind of acclaim that something as big as a national media spotlight on a television show is going to enjoy, but it is so meaningful to what I do and—especially in the digital era—I love the intimacy of a jazz room or a music room and I really enjoy any venue where people drink. Because my show is fun and fun-loving and intended to sort of feel like a cocktail party. So, I don’t think I can live without either one to be honest with you.
You appeared in Lady Dynamite, which grapples with issues that women in show business face. Do you have advice for women who want to break into the industry? It’s always been about generating your own material and not waiting around for someone to do it for you. … For young women, they have so many avenues available and, in some ways, you have all this pressure to have a million viewers and immediately become a showrunner. I think there’s something to be said for following your process. Generate your stuff, find your voice and—this is going to really sound old-lady but—enjoy it. It’s fun, what we do.
How often do people bring up your role in Mean Girls? Everyday! I mean, a lot!
Ana Gasteyer takes the mic at City Winery on Dec. 21.