Laurie Kilmartin [Interview]

Today we are featuring one of the most consistently hilarious people to have ever graced the world of comedy with their presence. Laurie Kilmartin has been a name that has always been on my radar as a legendary figure in the world of stand up and comedy. Of course, it has only been my recent obsession of the last few years that led me back to her work. I re-discovered Laurie’s work the way I tend to with 90% of the comedians I now love and adore….podcasts. Yes, I happened to see Laurie’s name pop up a little over a year ago on Pete Holme’s podcast, You Made It Weird. She had such an amazing story to tell about her life as a comic on the road, writing for television, and all that goes along with being an absolutely hilarious person. This of course led me down the wonderful rabbit hole of Laurie’s absolutely brilliant career that spans over 30 years.In all of these years, Laurie has not slowed down a bit! She has continuously been able to talk about situations that might make some feel uncomfortable, but she is dealing with tragic events that occur in her own life, in her own way. And thus, creating some of the most brilliant works of comedic art of recent years.One such example can be found in her new book, Dead People Suck that was released this last February, and can be purchased now! Check out her website, for more details.Now enjoy some amazing words from an absolute living legend, Laurie Kilmartin!

Standard opening question here, but it always intrigues me each and every time: When did you first realize you were a hilarious person, and you wanted to get paid to be hilarious by talking at people from a stage?

I don’t think I’m hilarious, but I do manage to get laughs. When I started standup, I just wanted to get good at it. I was socially awkward and I thought if I could get laughs onstage, all my other problems would be cured.

I thought about getting paid after seeing guys who weren’t that funny, but were making money. I thought, I’m just as bad as that guy is, why can’t I make $100 this week?

I have tuned into your podcast you do with Jackie Kashian, the aptly titled The Jacke and Laurie Show, and it is really, really funny! For those who may not be tuning in (and soon will), how did this partnership come together? What made you both decide to do this show?
Jackie and I started doing standup in 1987 (she in Wisconsin, me in San Francisco), but we didn’t meet until a few years ago. In the 80s and 90s, bookers NEVER put women on the same show. We’d see each other’s headshots on the wall, but we were always booked 6 months apart.

We decided to do our podcast because we noticed that female comics our age weren’t being asked to do podcasts, were basically being asked to leave show business. So we said, “fuck that. We’re here and you’ll like it.”

I hate to have to get into this, but I know you have been at the forefront in talking about the matter. It has been great to see people held accountable for their actions, and changes being put in place in the world of comedy specifically, as far as sexual harassment and assault are concerned. But, I am curious to know how much has really managed to change in the last few months? Do you as a veteran in the comedy world see changes that will remain permanent? Or do you believe the industry will soon regress to its old habits in due time?
Look at lineups. Lots of clubs continue to book white male headliners almost exclusively. Sometimes a female comic can get the MC or feature position, but headlining is where the money is. Also, audiences can handle having a woman in the lead position. Some of these club bookers are such lazy cowards. They’re 30 years behind the culture.
What are you thoughts on the addition of things like social media and podcasts becoming a crucial element to the world of comedy. What are some Pro’s and Con’s to the addition of things like these?
I guess the “con” of Twitter is it’s hard to get off it. But it’s mostly positive. You get to grow an audience without leaving your house. Same with podcasts. Ours doesn’t make ad money but we’ve both had people come to our live shows because they like our podcast.
Another question I always like to ask when we are fortunate enough to have a comic on the site concerns locations. I am always curious to know what may be some cities across the country (or globe) that people may not think about as being great comedy towns? Basically, what are your favorite towns that may not be major areas?

I remember having really fun shows in Boise. The club I worked there closed, but I was shocked. It was a really cool town. Also, I had one of the best sets of my life in England, in a town I thought was called Astor, but I can’t find it on a map. When you have a low-ceilinged club, it almost doesn’t matter what town it’s in. It will attract the right people.

You have a book that was recently released that details a very personal experience that sounds fascinating, entitled Dead People Suck. Can you tell our readers what they should expect when every single one of them gets to check it out?


Dead People Suck is a true story, seen through the eyes of a comedian. My dad died from lung cancer, and we went through hospice before that. It was searing and real and I wrote a lot of jokes about it. It’s not dark humor to me, but people have said it’s dark. To me, it’s normal.

What else does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?


The future holds for me what it holds for all of us: death. I would like to plug gardening to your readers. Plant something in the Earth before you return to it.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My son. He’s 11 and he’s my favorite person. He makes me laugh every day.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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