Wild Ones: Vicky Kuperman & Coach
The comedian and podcaster talks pit bulls and pet psychics.
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Wild Ones is a series about creative people and their pets.
Vicky Kuperman is a comedian, author, and podcaster. Her book How to Spy on Your Neighbor was a top 10 pick in political humor on Amazon and her podcast She’s Got Issues brings together a motley crew of experts and comedians for confabs about social and environmental issues, such as the spin on Pit Bulls in the media. Her own adopted pittie mix, Coach, tours with Kuperman and her husband Max Cohen as a mascot. Here, she talks about Coach falling asleep on the job, advice gleaned from a pet psychic, and dodging scrappy deli cats.
Coach is gorgeous. How did he come into your life?
He’s gorgeous and he uses his good looks to get treats on the daily! He was in a kill shelter in Houston, TX, and the staff sent out a Hail Mary SOS. See Spot Rescued, an incredible rescue operating out of Jersey City, NJ and now also Austin, TX, came to the literal rescue and drove him up to Jersey. From there, he spent a few months in a doggie daycare while waiting for his forever home. The SSR volunteers were baffled as to why he wasn’t being adopted. He seriously had no issues, other than chewing on sheets and pillows. Otherwise, he’s a goofball, doesn’t really need much exercise (lots of pitties are couch potatoes), and he sleeps a lot. Like, a lot. He’s so sleepy that he fell asleep at one of his own adoption events. How he wasn’t adopted right then and there is a mystery, but we’re glad he waited for us. The other great part of his story is that he exhibits absolutely no signs of abuse. What a blessing.
Did you always want to adopt a pit bull mix or just fell in love with him?
He is not only our first pittie mix, he is our first dog! We didn’t actually know what we wanted when we set out to rescue a dog, but by sheer dumb luck we fell into the pittie world and can never go back.
What advice would you give to someone who's thinking about adopting a pittie mix?
They are way more emotional than you think. They’re little babies who need a lot of attention. And when they grow up they become huge babies that need a lot of attention. They’re very in tune with you and your feelings. And they’re hilarious little furry clowns. The best piece of advice we got when adopting Coach was to make sure that the dog adjusted to our lifestyle, not the other way around. And he has totally adjusted to us — he even goes on tour with me and my husband when we perform. Also, if you’re expecting a guard dog, think again. Pit Bulls aren’t really ‘guard dogs.’ They’ll alert you, though, so they’re good for something!
Coach has inspired some of your jokes. How does your audience respond to dog references?
Most people either have a dog or had one in their childhood, so dog humor is certainly relatable. The ‘Dogs vs. Cats’ premise is becoming the new ‘Men vs. Women’. And it’s never going to get old.
Do you find you’re more observant as a comedian dog mom so you don’t miss any great material?
For sure. Since getting a dog, I have observed how many chicken bones and uneaten containers of Lo Mein are splattered on the sidewalks of NYC.
What are some of Coach’s likes and dislikes — in addition to NYC street food?
Dislikes: Long walks on the beach (he doesn’t like water, swimming, rain, or oceans). Baths. German Shepherds — maybe one owes him money? Unneutered male dogs, but I hear that’s pretty common. Fireworks. Cats — his arch nemesis is a deli cat on 48th St.
Likes: Candlelight dinners — so long as he gets food under the table. Puppies (even German Shepherd puppies). Broccoli and cauliflower. Belly rubs and lounging with his humans on the couch. All people — and by that, I mean even the ones he should maybe have warned us about.
Do you have any concerns about leaving Coach alone more often when life goes back to normal?
I’m more concerned for me than him. The first few times we left, he regressed a little and barked, as if to say you’re forgetting someone! But Coach is incredible at adjusting to new situations. You would never know he was ever in a kill shelter or had another life. Now that we’re leaving the house more, I’m the one that has separation anxiety and turns on the doggie cam so I can see him. And what does he do? He sleeps. Not a care in the world.
Good thing he can go on tour with you! How does he do on the road?
Confession time: I spoke to Coach through a pet psychic a few months ago. And he told her he wants to go on “more rides in the new thing.” We had just gotten a car (she didn’t know that) and he loves weekend trips and going on tour. Since then we take him for rides whenever we can, even doing errands, and he goes crazy when he realizes we’re going to the garage. He is great in the car — very alert at first, like a good little navigator, but once he’s sure we know where we’re going he just sleeps in the backseat.
Have you ever run into people on tour who are not cool with you having a dog along for the ride — a pittie mix no less?
We have never had issues on tour or on weekend trips with any Pit Bull discrimination. But there are still people in the neighborhood who are scared to be near him. The good news is, I’m seeing more and more Pit Bull rescues around. I think the positive Pit Bull branding and marketing of late is taking effect, and I love it!
What’s next for you and Coach?
We are preparing to perform again with our comedy couples tour Love’s a Joke as well as regular stand-up shows throughout the summer and fall. Coach will be hittin’ the road with us through Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and more. He’s our tour mascot. Even though he’s asleep most of the time. Which is not what we want our audience to be. On second thought, maybe we should rethink this.
“I do enjoy this nomadic lifestyle, but we don’t just go to Mexico to enjoy the beaches. We’re there to help dogs, make donations, make a difference — which, for me, adds a lot more meaning to traveling around in a van.”
"I have put a gold chain bracelet around her neck as a collar for some photos, but she looks so perfect in just her spotty coat that I keep her au naturel."
Samantha Gurrie is The Wildest’s Editor-in-Chief. She was previously the senior editor at NYLON magazine, co-publisher of Four&Sons, and director at Puerto Rican dog rescue The Sato Project. She lives in L.A. with her husband and rescued Pit Bull Midnight.