Jen Kirkman [Interview]

 

Holy hell, Folks, do we have an absolutely wonderful interview for you all to kick off this first week of February. Now, we have spoken with some of the finest comedians in the business over the years, even a few of my favorites in just 2019 alone. But, today we are so honored to have one of the most legendary and recognizable by name alone figures in the world of comedy we have ever probably ever had on the site today. It’s Jen Kirkman, Everyone!

Whether you have enjoyed Jen’s hilarious Netflix specials, or read her incredible New York Times best-selling books, you know that the name Kirkman is synonymous with hilarity. Jen has been entertaining the undeserving masses for over 20 years. And from appearances on Conan, The Late Show, Drunk History, and more, to her latest gig writing for the critically acclaimed Amazon Original Series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Jen continues to impress audiences across the globe with a wit and comedic style that is unlike anyone else we know.

Jen has been around the globe, and has worked in just about every aspect that is possible in a world centered around being absolutely hilarious. Yet, we are always fortunate to get more and more with each passing year. And I will be god damned if we were oh so fortunate to take some time from Kirkman’s hectic schedule to share some answers with us about the current state of comedy, the history of comedy, and what it means to be a hilarious individual in these modern times.

We are so excited to share these words with you all. Be sure to check out links at the end for your opportunity to see Jen live and in person. So without further babbling on my end, please enjoy these incredible words from the hilarious Jen Kirkman!

 

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When did you first discover that you were a hilarious human being and that you could make a living by making people laugh? Was it an early ambition, or did you just happen o find yourself in this world one day?

I started to do comedy because I felt weird being an audience member at comedy shows. I just knew I wanted to be up there. I didn’t think I was funny though.  I just wanted to be up there.  It made no sense. And I never thought about the money – good thing because I didn’t make any money doing comedy for the first fifteen years.

You have been doing stand up for quite a while, having really put in the work and earned every bit of success you have had. And in that time you have moved through various different stages of technological advances. The internet was new and somewhat daunting when you were coming up, but eventually became commonplace. With that, I am curious to know what your thoughts are on the technical advancements that have occurred in regards to stand up comedy. Is it mostly positive to have so many opportunities, or is the business becoming oversaturated?

Is this question your way of saying, “You’re old.  What were typewriters like?” And I want you to know that I wrote my first comedy bits on a word processor and I used to think that anyone who sent email was insane. “Why wouldn’t you just call someone?” Everything is oversaturated now and yet I’m getting more work than when things were undersaturated.  It’s working somehow.  The crazy saturation is working.  I have my audience and other people have their audience and most of America hasn’t heard of everyone else’s favorite comedian.

I always like to find out from traveling comedians this random question: What are some hidden gems of cities and/or clubs that the average person may not assume are actually amazing? Where are some spots outside of LA or NYC that have great audiences and an overall wonderful atmosphere, that you have enjoyed performing in?

Most of America is great for doing comedy.  My favorite cities that aren’t where the Coastal Elite Devil worshipping heathens live – Iowa City, Omaha, Nebraska, Bloomington, Indiana, Oklahoma City, Champaign, IL. I loved my gigs in those cities and return to them often.  I also have a specific type of people who come to see me.  So, in my mind, just based on my audience, America is made up entirely of men who wear nail polish, divorced women in their 30’s, hippie couples in their 40’s, lesbians, and anti-social millennials.

 

I understand that you have a monthly show at the Improv Lab in Hollywood entitled Story Lab. I am curious to know what inspired you to kick off this show? And what can audiences expect to enjoy about it?

I don’t know if anything I do comes from true “inspiration”. It’s just a show where I work out new material because I don’t write my act in a traditional way. I talk off of the top of my head, record it and see how it felt.  If I think there’s something there – I work on it further.  Audiences can expect that they won’t know what to expect because not even I know what to expect.  And that to me, is what live comedy is all about.  I mean, they can expect to be safe.  I’m not going to shoot flames into the crowd or anything.  Yet.  When I run out of ideas, I might.  But I assume they would have to put a sign in the lobby warning people.

Beyond the world of stand up, you are also an accomplished, New York Times Bestselling author. I am always curious to know about a writer’s process. Specifically, I am curious to know how you come to realize that you have completed a first draft? Like, how do you know when you have completed the meat of your narrative, and have something ready to turn in, probably get to chopped up all to hell, but still remain the meat of the work?

Writing is the worst.  The best part of writing a book is pitching it and finding out they’re going to buy it and then when it’s done.  The writing part is an exercise in being stuck in your own head and not being able to get the thoughts on to the page.  I know when I’m done with a first draft when the story makes sense, I’ve gone over it many, many times, read it aloud to myself, added some jokes where it’s not funny and added some heart where it needs the human touch and then thought, “Okay.  I’ve reached my full potential to make this better without the help of an editor who can point out where I can expand this or lose parts or explain it more.” And at that point it’s a relief to get it off of my desk.  I still say “off of my desk” as though I was working on a typewriter.

 

 

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

Readers! Come see me on tour in 2019! jenkirkman.com/tour

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Someone got rid of their Christmas tree but putting it in the middle of the road in my neighborhood and it stayed up for days.

 

Check out some tour dates to see Jen live below, and be sure to check out jenkirman.com for updates and additions and info on buying some sweet, sweet tickets. Or go up 3 sentences and hit that link as well. Either way, fucking do it. See Jen live!

February 8th – 9th, 2019: Arlington, Virginia @ Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse

February 14th, 2019: Seattle, Washington @ Neptune Theatre

February 21st, 2019: Los Angeles, California @ Hollywood Improv Lab

March 8th – 9th, 2019: Dallas, Texas @ Hyena’s Comedy Club

March 28th – 30th, 2019: Portland, Oregon @ Helium Comedy Club

April 24th, 2019: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania @ The Rex Theater

April 25th, 2019: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania @ Union Transfer

May 10th – 11th, 2019: Salt Lake City, Utah @ Wiseguy’s Comedy Club

September 11th, 2019: Brooklyn, New York @ TBA

September 13th, 2019: Boston, Massachusetts @ TBA

September 15th, 2019: San Diego, California @ KABOO Festival

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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