Illinois action blog

Friday, April 11, 2014

Funny Girl Katie Rich to be Honored at the 2014 Generations Celebration (Profile)


Katie Rich
SNL Writer Katie Rich
This month, Planned Parenthood of Illinois will hold its fourth annual Generations Celebration. We will be honoring longtime PPIL supporters the Newton/Weinberg Family and Saturday Night Live writer Katie Rich. We are also excited to have SNL cast member, "Weekend Update" co-anchor, and former PPIL staff member Cecily Strong as our special guest.

Meet Katie Rich, our 2014 Margaret Wiley Carr Bright Horizons Honoree!

A native Illinoisan and staff writer for Saturday Night Live, Katie Rich received her BS from Northwestern University and traveled with The Second City Touring Company for five years. She was then promoted to the Second City Mainstage where she wrote and performed three reviews, including 2012's 100th review in which she performed an auction-themed scene that raised over $32,000 for Planned Parenthood of Illinois. 

Her solo work has been seen at iO West, TBS’ Just for Laughs Festival, and WBEZ’s The Paper Machete. Commercial credits include: Discover Card, Walmart, Eckridge, Sonic Drive-in, Lexus, and Radio Shack. Movie credits include: Martin Short’s Let Freedom Hum, Harold Ramis’ The Ice Harvest, and David Rosenthal’s Janie Jones. She can be seen in the upcoming feature film Bad Johnson with Nick Thune.

Q: How did you come up with the idea to do an auction scene that would raise money for PPIL?
I had been trying to write a scene that addressed the ongoing war on women’s rights and it was a difficult task. Everything I wrote sounded too preachy or was too straightforward instead of being satirical. We were asked to come up with a political sketch, and I had the idea of lampooning Super PACs through an auctioning off of an improv scene. We tried it for a few shows and found that the audience was very willing to part with their money to get their improv suggestion heard, and we raised, like $400 in the first week. I hadn’t even thought that would happen so I hadn’t thought at all about having any money go [to an organization]. But it was like, duh, all the money should go to Planned Parenthood and thus do more good than a mere joke or two could do. 

Planned Parenthood of Illinois Fourth Annual Generations Celebration
Join us on April 23 at the
Navy Pier Grand Ballroom.
Get tickets.
Q: Did you get any negative feedback from the audience when they were told the money would be going to Planned Parenthood?
For the most part, no. But we had a couple people (who hadn't even given any money) walk out. The good thing was, there was nothing they could do about it – we had been very upfront that any money they gave us we kept. 

Q: Why are reproductive rights important to you and why do you support Planned Parenthood?
I was lucky enough to have a mother and friends and teachers who supported reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood. I was given the education and access to the correct information when it comes to my body. Not all women have that luxury, and I want to change that. 

Q: What do you hope to do to engage other young women on this issue?
I want folks to know that they can come up with inventive ways to stand up for what they believe in. You can combine what you love and what you want to fight for.

Katie Rich (l), PPIL President & CEO Carole Brite (r), and
Second City cast are all smiles after Rich's
sketch raised over $32,000 for Planned Parenthood.
Q: Who are your comedic and/or activist role models?
Sarah Silverman always nails it with her PSAs and her ability to take very heavy things and make them accessible and funny. Carole Brite and Sarah Weddington are so amazing to me. If I think about those women too much my eyes well up from sheer admiration. I also love how Amy Poehler has made a career out of being positive and supportive of people.

Q: Last year’s Bright Horizon’s Award Honoree, Sandra Fluke, is running for state senate in California. Do you think this award could launch your political career?
I guess I could go the Al Franken route. But I swear too much in public to be a politician.  

Q: Now that you’re a New Yorker, is there anything you miss about living in Chicago?
I'm not a New Yorker. I'll always be a Chicagoan. But if I had to pick something I really miss not having to spend the majority of my income on an apartment the size of a closet.

Join us in honoring Katie with the Margaret Wiley Carr Bright Horizons Award at our Fourth Annual Generations Celebration on April 23! The Bright Horizons Award honors young professionals who are making a difference in the world of reproductive rights. In the meantime, you can follow her @katiemaryrich!

2014 Generations Celebration
Buy tickets or become a sponsor
Unable to attend but would like to donate?

RSVP on Facebook

When:
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
VIP Reception: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Main Event & Registration: 6:30 p.m.
Program & Dinner: 7 p.m.

Where:
Chicago’s Navy Pier Grand Ballroom
600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL
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This post was created by Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL). PPIL provides comprehensive reproductive healthcare services and education to more than 60,000 Illinoisans each year. Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA) is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of PPIL.

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