This is the seventh post in a series in which we profile people’s passion projects and let them explain their work in their own words. Learn more and see a list of all the projects profiled here.
Danielle Soto is a Los Angeles-based comedian from Boston who loves “The Golden Girls.” A lot. And we love her. And we love her podcast, “Dr. Cheesecake,” which you can listen to here and here. Here are her own words about the podcast.
What is Dr. Cheesecake? How did it come about?
Dr. Cheesecake is a podcast that I produce and host where my guests come on with a problem in their life that I solve using an episode of “The Golden Girls.” I knew I wanted to create a podcast, and at first I thought I could do one about 80s Hair Metal, because I love that genre of music. But in all honesty, I didn’t know a lot about it. So I thought, “Ok, what’s something I know a lot about?” And the answer was clear — “The Golden Girls.” It’s been my favorite show for about a decade now.
Meanwhile, I had friends naturally bring up in conversation issues they were having at work, with relationships, with family. Just in the same way any group of friends would chat. And I found myself saying multiple times, “So, there’s an episode of “The Golden Girls” where…” And that’s how the idea for the podcast came to me.
What version(s) of Danielle does Dr. Cheesecake bring out? In other words, how does Dr. Cheesecake allow you to express yourself?
You know, it’s funny because I’ve been a stand up comedian for almost seven years and I thought everything I created would be the comedy genre. I thought Dr. Cheesecake was going to be funny. And after a few episodes I realized it wasn’t. And so I tried to push the comedy and force it. It wasn’t until one of my friend’s moms told me, “It’s a great podcast, but it’s not funny,” that I realized maybe it doesn’t have to be funny. I mean, after all, I do believe comedy comes from truth and sometimes the truth is painful. So if we just record honestly without trying to be anything (funny, deep, noble, etc.) then the humor will naturally emerge.
So to answer the question, it brought out a side of me where I give good advice. So much of my life I felt like I was the one seeking advice. I have one of those faces where everyone wants to give me advice. I’m young at heart and admittedly naive at times. Plus I’m too polite so when people start giving me unsolicited advice I’m very bad at saying, “Thanks for explaining my life to me. Not.” It really feels good to be in a position where people are interested in hearing my thoughts on their problems.
How have you fostered those versions of yourself with pop culture?
Well, my love for “The Golden Girls” got me interested in “Maude” (starring Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan), “Hot in Cleveland” (starring Betty White), “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (with Betty White). All amazing shows with strong female leads.
As a day job, I work as a Tour Guide at Universal Studios Hollywood. We have an area of the lot called Colonial Street, better known as Wisteria Lane from “Desperate Housewives.” I had never seen the show, but as a requirement I needed to learn every house on the street, who it belonged to, and which actress played that character. For example, “This yellow house on the left belonged to fashion model Gabrielle Solis played by Eva Longoria…” I thought it would be much easier to memorize the houses and characters if I watched a few episodes of the show. Well, I got hooked and finished all eight seasons in three months. The creator, Marc Cherry, was a former writer on “The Golden Girls” and there are many similar story lines between the two shows. In fact, I’m working on a blog entry or video (haven’t decided yet) describing all the similarities. So be on the lookout for that!
If Dr. Cheesecake had a theme song, what would it be?
Dr. Cheesecake DOES have a theme song! A wonderful one! It’s a cover of “The Golden Girls” theme song by K. John Stewart with a heavy metal twist. He has a series called “Will It Metal” with a ton of good tracks.