Comedian Heather McDonald talks career, motherhood and 'Juicy Scoop'

Heather McDonald discusses her balancing act, on "No Limits With Rebecca Jarvis"

ByABC News
August 22, 2017, 6:04 PM
Comedian Heather McDonald poses during her appearance at the Ice House Comedy Club, Aug. 19, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif.
Comedian Heather McDonald poses during her appearance at the Ice House Comedy Club, Aug. 19, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif.
Michael Schwartz/WireImage/Getty Images

— -- When Heather McDonald realized that she "hated" her job as an assistant buyer for a major department store, she decided to stand up — in a comedy club.

"I'd been thinking about it since I was a little girl."

"People used to tell me, even my music teacher in high school, 'I don't understand why you're going to college. You should just be a stand-up,'" McDonald told ABC News chief business, technology and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis on an episode of ABC Radio's "No Limits With Rebecca Jarvis."

McDonald is a comedian, a writer, a best-selling author and the host of the podcast "Juicy Scoop With Heather McDonald." But, as with most comedians, her success wasn't exactly immediate.

After receiving her degree in communications and business from the University of Southern California, McDonald recalled how she thought of working in casting or production instead, just for a steady paycheck.

But she said a close friend told her, "Everything in media is so hard. Just do the thing that you really want to do."

"Don't think that producing a TV show is going to be easier than being the star on it," the friend said, according to McDonald. "It's all going to be a hard path."

So McDonald embarked on her comedic career with an evening class at the Learning Annex, then by taking sketch and improv classes at the Groundlings Theater in Los Angeles.

Her leap of faith and her big break happened when she heard that fellow comedian Chelsea Handler was working on a new E! show, "Chelsea Lately."

"I said, 'If I don't get a real job now in the business, I will never be able to get one. Because I've been doing the mom thing and not been a staff writer in a really long time.'"

"So I reached out to her," McDonald said. Handler hired her as a writer, producer and guest, and McDonald stayed for the entire seven-year run of the show.

McDonald reflected on the delicate balancing act she's been doing for years, working in comedy and being a mother to three kids. She emphasized that she owes it all to a strong partnership with her spouse.

"You know, my husband was so great," she said. "He has never once told me, 'Don't go on that gig, don't go out on that girls' night.' He was just so confident. And now we're more of a team."

In fact, her family is an integral part of her career. Her husband is involved with the production of "Juicy Scoop With Heather McDonald."

"He really helps produce the podcast and helps me with everything," she told Jarvis. "And it's really grown."

She said her son was her home office companion when she was writing her first book.

"He'd come in my office, and he'd drink my peach ice tea, and he would come around my chair. And I was like, 'Oh, I always imagined being a mom. I always wanted to be a mom.'"

McDonald stuck it out because of an intuitive belief that comedy had always been her calling. Much like Joan Rivers and Roseanne before her, McDonald wants to be an example for future female comedians.

"I so much prefer that my success is based on regular people like me and not three network execs who are male and are only attracted to male comedy."

"Don't be so judgy, you know?" McDonald added. "Everyone has their own path."

Hear more of Heather McDonald's interview on this week's episode of "No Limits With Rebecca Jarvis," available on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, Spotify and the ABC News app.