Meghan Ross: That Time of the Month
Photos by Kate Dannenmaier
WHO ARE YOU? TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF, HEY, EVEN BRAG A LITTLE.
My name is Meghan Ross, and I’m a writer, comedian, and producer, as well as the host of the women-run late night show That Time of the Month at ColdTowne Theater. I moved here from New York a little over a year ago, where I produced the show with my co-host and co-founder (and sister-wife from another mister-wife) Liisa Murray.
I started writing comedy towards the end of college, and completed the Advanced Studies program for improv and sketch at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre when I was back in New York. I was also working in the media and entertainment industry by day (first as a media buyer for national broadcast, then in marketing at SundanceTV, and later a social producer for VICELAND), and eating $1 pizza on street corners before performing at shows in bar basements at night. It’s exactly as glamorous as it sounds.
TELL US ABOUT THE WORK YOU ARE DOING AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT.
Liisa and I started That Time of the Month as a response to the fact that there has never been a woman late night host on a broadcast network (Joan Rivers had a brief stint as guest host on NBC’s The Tonight Show before being banned from it after leaving to host The Late Show on Fox, which she was quickly fired from; and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee premiered a year after our show, but was on a cable channel).
During the first couple years, we had an ongoing joke that these high-and-mighty (and totally not made-up) male network execs decided to take the HUGE RISK of putting two women in charge of a late night show, and each episode was our attempt at a pilot. At the end of the episode, the “network execs” would give us silly notes about what we should change about ourselves and the show (as the patriarchy would).
"Our show is also meant to serve as a supportive outlet for female-identifying performers, since there’s a tendency for comedy show lineups to completely forget there are other races and gender identities out there beyond white and cis male."
We used the premise of these network execs to poke fun at the stereotypes placed on women, particularly in the media and entertainment industry. Our show is also meant to serve as a supportive outlet for female-identifying performers, since there’s a tendency for comedy show lineups to completely forget there are other races and gender identities out there beyond white and cis male.
When I re-launched the show in Austin in March 2017 (after a brief hiatus for post-election mourning), I added a Strong Female Lead(er) interview segment, featuring activists and entrepreneurs doing kickass work in the Austin community and beyond. I think it’s important to highlight the achievements of women in these different fields, and learn about how we can get involved in causes that are important to us, as well as support local women-owned businesses.
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME CHALLENGES IN PURSUING THIS WORK?
The same challenges that exist in most industries today, which is lack of inclusiveness and diversity. I’m a Middle Eastern woman and I rarely see people who look like me starring in major roles in TV and film (if we’re lucky, we’re cast as the ethnically ambiguous-looking sidekick). The first and one of the few times I’ve ever been able to see a bit of myself on the big screen was when I saw Aladdin in theaters in 1992, and I looked more like Aladdin than Jasmine based on my haircut at the time (I was 3), and besides that, it was an animated film and voiced by all white people.
WHERE AND HOW CAN WE SUPPORT YOU IN YOUR QUEST?
You can attend the Galentine’s Day Episode of That Time of the Month at ColdTowne Theater on February 9th at 11:30pm, and our 3-Year Anniversary Episode on March 17th at 11pm. You can also keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter @TTOTMshow. Also, please vote us up on Do512-- your vote matters!
WHO INSPIRES YOU, MEGHAN?
I’m inspired by a lot of amazing women in my life, but particularly my Aunt Dawn, who passed away suddenly this past May. She was like a second mother to me (so much so that I jokingly called her “Mom” for the past 10 years) and an incredibly kind and selfless person. We shared a similar sense of humor and she was also very supportive of my feeble attempt at a comedy career over the years. After she passed, I used humor to cope with the loss, and dedicated our May 2017 episode of That Time of the Month to her. Lately, my comedy’s been motivated by wanting to make her proud – be it a fart joke or my feminist beliefs.