The first place I lived in New York was a garden apartment in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood. It wasn’t until moving day that I realized a garden apartment was real-estate spin for “underground.” So for a contractually obligated four months, I lived like a subway rat: holing up under pipes, scavenging for scraps of free food and getting lost on the L train.
I was a walking cliche: another postgrad looking to make his name in the media world by way of a short-term internship. I had few friends, nothing to do and little money to spend. What I did have was the podcast Seek Treatment, hosted by Brooklyn comics Cat Cohen and Pat Regan. I listened to Cat and Pat outline their life in this new city where Au Bon Pain was for accidentally leaving your journal and Starbucks was for disappointing egg bites.
As they say every episode, Seek Treatment is “a podcast about boys, sex, fucking, dating and love.” All the things you’re either over-indulging in or, like me, begrudgingly giving up while in quarantine.
Cohen is an actress, voice-over performer, lover and wearer of large hats. She hosts two live shows: Cabernet Cabaret at Club Cumming in Manhattan’s East Village and The Twist…? She’s Gorgeous in any city that will pay her to visit (a brag). You might’ve seen her star minutes in High Maintenance; she pops up in the trailer for Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani’s 2020 comedy The Lovebirds.
Literally, name a person who — in 2020 — can get away with wearing a black porkpie hat.
Then there’s my dear Pat Regan, an occasional Upright Citizens Brigade performer, host of the live show Essgays (singlehandedly making him the millennial David Sedaris) and a stand-up comic. He’s also a Long Island-raised oldest child, a recovering alcoholic and addict and — most importantly — a Catholic gay who famously ran cross country in high school and never had a boyfriend until very recently. Pat is the first time I’ve ever seen myself fully represented.
Every episode, they interview a fellow performer, such as Jaboukie Young-White, John Early and Betty Gilpin. They set out as pseudo-therapists ready to analyze the neurosis of their guest, but self-doubt and concern about where they’re going to have lunch sidetrack every conversation.
It’s possible to view the podcast as self-indulgent comics talking about their New York lives. Insufferable! But it’s their unfiltered stream of consciousness that makes the two endearing. Literally they’re the only reason I get along with one of my roommates. Why? “There is something relatable about two best friends just being absurd and talking about literally nothing,” he says over text. No, he is not quarantining with me.
Spend five minutes listening, though, and you’ll realize Cat and Pat aren’t the effortless, overly confident performers they may appear to be. Pat is erratic, brimming with obscure Real Housewives references and a piercing laugh that causes me to toggle the volume on my phone. He’s often espousing the struggle of being an addict working in nightlife. Cat parses through his tangents to form a semblance of a structure while narrating her own rise as a star performer in a comedy world that has little room for women.
When privileged postgrads like me move to New York, we expect a life like Sex and the City or Girls. Broad City and High Maintenance brought us a little closer to that actual, mundane post-recession reality. But Seek Treatment is the real deal. It is the relatable content. It reveals that none of us, even the adults in the room, know what we’re doing; that we’re all a little too horny; that we’re always on the verge of spiraling. I knew Cat got it when she told us a trip upstate would solve all our problems.
A year ago, I was stuck in pseudo-quarantine navigating loneliness in New York. Now I’m in a real quarantine with a new network of friends I can’t see. At least I’ll always have Cat and Pat to keep me company.