“I was doing it for two years in New York with my co-host and good friend Liisa Murray,” says Meghan Ross of her variety show That Time of the Month. “And then when I moved to Austin I wanted to bring it down here with me, so it’s been about two years in Austin as well. And it’s grown since then, and changed in format. And, yeah, it’s found a nice home here in Austin.
“At the core of it, it’s an all-woman late night show, because there’s not – obviously – a lot of women in late night,” Ross says. The idea is that audience members are actually in the studio of a late-night TV show, albeit one that’s struggling to survive.
“When it started, we joked that these hypothetical TV network executives gave us this show slot… to take a chance on two women,” Ross says. “Like every show was a pilot to us and they were unhappy.”
That hook remains, but it’s no longer the focus; in the past couple of years, That Time of the Month has (much like a lot of real-world late night shows) become more politically minded. “It’s expanded,” Ross says. “Shortly after the 2016 election – just coincidentally – I decided to make the show more about the issues that I thought were important to me. So we added the Strong Female Leader segment, so it’s an activist, an entrepreneur, a subject matter expert, anyone kicking butt in their field. So it continues to be a comedy, variety late show [with] musical acts and comedic acts from woman performers, but now it’s got this new element of having these everyday folks who might not be booked on a real late night show, but I think are doing more important work than just plugging their movie, as I think most late night guests are.”
Ross was as surprised as anybody to see the show become political. “It’s funny, because I was never a political comedian,” she says. “And then after 2016, my friends and I – my friends in comedy – were like ‘oh no, we’re turning into political comedians!’ We’d fought so hard to not have to be branded as that. But these are issues affecting us, and it’s hard not to talk about stuff. For me, it’s sort of therapeutic, because I’m angry and freaked out and comedy is my medium. So I sort of take advantage of that.”
Like any other late night show, That Time of the Month features a different lineup of talent in every episode. The next show, on June 8, will feature the sketch troupe Glam Fam and standup Jasmine Ellis. The Strong Female Leader segment will feature Amanda Williams and Erika Galindo of the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity.