Kate Hendricks, BA’05: Kate the Waspby Missy Pankake May. 12, 2016, 4:20 PM
Kate Hendricks’ career in comedy started off slowly. In fact, she only realized she wanted to pursue comedy during an interview for a job at an ad agency. So she did what a lot of self-respecting comedians do: She moved to New York City and performed anywhere that would have her.
“I got my teeth kicked in doing standup at first, but I definitely needed that,” says Hendricks. Those experiences led her to create a Web series, Kate the Wasp, which has been featured on The Huffington Post, totalsororitymove.com and elsewhere. In the series her satirical character finds herself in fish-out-of-water scenarios: joining a subway dance team, visiting a skate park, shopping at Goodwill.
“I wanted to play up an air of cluelessness and genuine curiosity with Kate the Wasp,” says Hendricks, who describes her character as “an entitled, sheltered, but well-intentioned and highly curious white woman.
“Typically, when you see a preppy woman, it’s a negative stereotype: ‘Oh, this person’s snobby.’ They can be funny, but they’re funny because they are so snobby,” Hendricks says. “I really want to make that archetype endearing in a sense. That’s what I’ve been hoping to do with the series.”
Hendricks is also working on a book in character called You CAN Even: Kate the Wasp’s Guide to Recovering from Entitlement.
While she didn’t pursue comedy during her years at Vanderbilt, she credits her fellow alumni with supporting her. “The power of social media has been incredible,” Hendricks says. “I attribute any success I’ve had so far almost entirely to how amazing people have been in sharing the web-series and my social media.
“I’m fresh from my 10-year Reunion and feeling boosted by a lot of Vandy love right now. I felt very welcomed by people I hadn’t seen or talked to in years, but who had been following me and enjoying the comedy. It meant a lot.”
But it wasn’t just her fellow classmates who were excited to see her on campus this past fall. On Alumni Lawn and at the local Starbucks, current students excitedly snapped pictures with one of their favorite comedians. Or, as one student tweeted, “Everyone, @katethewasp is at my school right now because she went to Vanderbilt. What a time to be alive.”