KETHER DONOHUE

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writer / Anna Furman

photographer /David Lekach

styling / Devon Nuszer

makeup / Lysette Castellanos

hair /  Ashleigh Childers

You may recognize her as the bossy song leader Alice in Pitch  Perfect, or from the hilarious dance videos she Instagrams. But Kether  Donohue is blossoming in a new direction—as the sassy, outrageous character Lindsay in FX’s critically-acclaimed You’re the Worst.

I chatted with Kether in the midst of wrapping Season 2, and we spoke about growing up in New York, Meryl Streep, and the joy of free fro-yo.

Can you tell me a bit about your upbringing?

I was born in New York and am very New York. For the first three years I lived in LA, I didn’t change my 917 area code or driver’s license. I literally waited until a cop pulled me over to change my license. I grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in a lower middle class family. My mom’s a school teacher and my dad used to be in the car business, but now he’s retired. He’s a Vietnam vet from Cuba.

When did you start acting?

I enrolled in an acting class at Weist-Barron Kids Love Acting  Program when I was nine. An agent visited the class and took a meeting with me and my mom and signed me! My first audition was for the movie Madeline and I didn’t get it. At one point my parents couldn’t afford to keep me in the class and the teacher—her name was Sharon
Richardson—let me stay in for free. I called her when I booked my first pilot but she didn’t work at the school any more.

What led you to acting?

I just always gravitated toward it. I loved performing as a kid. When I was really, really little I wanted to be a weather lady or a camerawoman. I would sit in my room alone and turn on the TV and talk to myself, like, “Today it’s partly cloudy with a chance of rain.” I loved telling the weather. I don’t know why. I was a very strange child. I acted for different reasons at different periods of my life. When I was very little I liked being a little show off. And then in high school I loved being the class clown. It was fun to be the comedic relief. In my early twenties I started appreciating the magical aspects of acting and realized it could be a healing tool. It became a spiritual cleansing process.

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Who would be your dream actor or actress to work with?

I know this is such a typical answer, but who wouldn’t want to work with Meryl Streep? I really don’t understand how she exists and is real. I really just want to see her in action. She once said that “process is clunky” and “sometimes when you’re rehearsing it looks like bad acting.” That’s  become my mantra: that the creative process is clunky. I also really want to work with Charlie Kaufman. I just find his movies quirky and offbeat and very much in the wheelhouse of things I like. Also, I’d love to do a sex scene with Michael Fassbender. That would be phenomenal.

How did you come to play Lindsay on FX’s You’re the Worst?

I booked an Audi car commercial with Claire Danes that premiered at the Emmy’s in 2013 and the director of the commercial, Jordan Roberts, referred me to the You’re the Worst casting office. When I auditioned in LA there were literally hundreds of girls. I was just a girl on a limb that [Roberts] had asked to read. When I went in it just clicked—it fit, it worked. It was one of those great auditions that you walk out feeling good. Three hours later they called and said they wanted to test me for the role. When I got to the test it was a chemistry read with Aya [Cash]. We did a lot of takes and it was a lot of fun. It just felt like we were on set. I’ve tested for pilots where network executives in business suits sit in the room and they don’t laugh and it’s awful and scary. This was a very low-key, casual, fun, environment.

You just wrapped filming Season 2. What was your favorite scene to film?

What you’re going to watch in Season 2 is pretty crazy. Lindsay dances a lot and I like to dance in real life. Also, eating a lot of fro-yo. I get so excited when we shoot in the fro-yo joint because I get to eat fro-yo all day. The other day, in between takes, the props guy Cody took the fro-yo away from me and I was like, “Cody, what’s happening?” He’s like, “Kether, I’m concerned for you, you’re gonna get sick,” and I was like, “Well, it’s not your place, Cody.”

So you don’t have a stunt double on deck to eat your fro-yo?

Oh my God, never! I would make sure to have it in a contract that I get to eat my own food.

What do you do when you have a day off?

I run to the Korean spa as fast as I can! I love the Korean spa more than anything. I just love going with a really close girl friend, sitting in the steam room, catching up, getting a massage, going to brunch, sharing a bottle of wine, and having a nice dinner. I also love driving. Sometimes I just get in my convertible and go.

What’s next for you?

I have a film coming out called One Shot that Topher Grace  produced and stars in. It’s a musical comedy starring Taye Diggs, a really great actress named Alona Tal, and Lauren Lapkus. And now I’m just auditioning like a mad woman to get another job!

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