Marina del Rey’s Cathy and Destiney Rezaei, who work at Zanzibar, welcome America into their living rooms as stars of “The People’s Couch”
By Shanee Edwards
Last year Britain’s Channel 4 began airing “Gogglebox,” a weekly show that features British couples, families and friends watching and commenting on various television shows. The reality TV concept quickly spread throughout the globe, and now America has its own version, “The People’s Couch,” which features a cast including two sisters from Marina del Rey.
Cathy and Destiney Rezaei not only work together at the Zanzibar nightclub in Santa Monica, they relish watching television together. The chatty, sassy Persian siblings answered a casting call for “The People’s Couch” several months back and were thrilled to be chosen as one of eight teams to be filmed watching TV for the Bravo network.
But there’s more to the show than just funny, insightful or shocking comments made by the cast of commentators; it’s a window into other people’s homes and how they consume television, making for entertainment that feels like a shared experience. One family of four, the Egbers, all crawl into one bed to watch TV. The Reznik family squeeze onto their brown sofa, making sure there’s room for the family dog. And while Cathy and Destiny prefer to munch on popcorn and fruit, other commentators eat cookies, drink wine or even play on the iPad.
“The reason why people are so into “The People’s Couch” is because they’re actually seeing people think and say the same things that the viewers are doing at home. We’re saying it for them. We’re the voice for these people, and the great thing is this show is real. There’s nothing scripted, it isn’t fake, it’s 100% new,” Destiney said.
Cathy, a single mother of one, agreed.
“There’s all these fights and drama and killing and mystery and all this great stuff. It creates this scenario where the truth comes out. We’re going with our emotions at the moment. We’re just being ourselves,” she said.
The sisters say taking the time to watch their favorite shows is really their only chance to sit down together and relax.
“We really give our 100% truth to what we are seeing,” said Destiney, who claims she’s addicted to such shows as “The Millionaire Matchmaker,” all the “Real Housewives,” “Scandal” and “Revenge.”
If the show’s premise reminds you of Mike Judge’s “Beavis and Butt-head” cartoon that ran on MTV in the 1990s, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. But Cathy and Destiny point out that there are key differences between the cartoon and “The People’s Couch.”
“We have more dialogue, we’re real and we’re not scripted. We also watch more shows than [Beavis and Butt-head] did,” Cathy said.
Audiences seem to be responding positively to the show, which Bravo calls a “comedic documentary,” particularly on Twitter.
“We are getting an overwhelming response from people wanting a season two of ‘The People’s Couch.’ People are constantly asking for an hour-long show, not just 30 minutes. So that, in itself, is an amazing blessing,” Destiney said.
Staff and customers at Zanzibar, a live music and deejay venue where Destiney works as manager and Cathy works as a bartender, have been very supportive of the sisters’ TV roles, they said.
Ironically, part of Destiney’s job is to make sure celebrities and famous musicians feel comfortable in the venue.
“I make sure the staff isn’t star struck. The reason why these celebrities come to Zanzibar is because they know it’s going to be low key and they won’t be overwhelmed with paparazzi. I’m not going to sell their story or anything like that,” said Destiney.
Bruno Mars is one of the artists who garnered music industry attention while performing at the club, and late last year R&B artist Faith Evans showed up and gave a show to be remembered.
“She went on stage and performed and blew the house down,” Destiney said. “To me, the fact that these performers keep coming back, it means that we’re doing something right.”
“The People’s Couch” airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. on Bravo.