David Rodriguez [Interview]

Photo by Parrish Lewis


Hello Folks! And welcome back to another exciting week here at Trainwreck’d Society. Today we have some wonderful words from another brilliant writer and filmmaker that I know you are all going to love. It’s David Rodriguez, Everyone!

In recent years, David has been working on some of the best television that is available today. As we have noticed over the last decade or so, TV is where it is at these days. Some of the best minds are telling some of the best stories in these modern times. Case in point: TNT’s Animal Kingdom, which is absolutely fantastic. And wouldn’t you know it, our incredible interview subject today happens to be one of the people bringing this truly original program to life. Also in the world of TV, David has directed a plethora of episodes for other amazing series such as Power, Chicago P.D., Queen of the South, and so many more, some of which will be discussed below.

But, beyond the world of television, Rodriguez is also an accomplished filmmaker, which is the actual main reason I was so excited to have him grace our digital pages. In 2013, he wrote and directed the modern mafia classic film, Once Upon A Time in Queens. I absolutely adore this film, and truly believe it should be ranked among the best of its kind. David called in heavy hitters of the genre, such as Michael Rapaport, Paul Sorvino, Chazz Palminteri, Steven Bauer, and more to tell this gripping tale of the mafia in the more modern world. Again, I love this film, and was so excited to talk to David about it, and so much more.

So, Folks, please enjoy this absolutely stellar interview with the modern legend himself, the great David Rodriguez!

When did you first discover your passion for the world of filmmaking? What made you decide that this was the world in which you wanted to earn a living?

Not to sound cliché but I had a passion for filmmaking from a very young age. My oldest sister Janet spent many summers is taking me to blockbuster movies like Jaws, Star Wars, and Rocky to name a few. Unfortunately, I did not know or have a way into show business. I also didn’t know what a director did. As a young kid I watched TV quite a bit and only knew what I saw on the small screen. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that there were many creative people behind the scenes and I feel like that heightened my desire to want to discover and ultimately pursue becoming a filmmaker.

What was your very first gig in the world of film or television? And did this experience help in any way to shape the artist you have become today?

My very first gig in the entertainment industry was being an extra in a Busta Rhymes music video. Not sure how much that influenced me or shaped my desire to become a filmmaker but, I can tell you that I was thoroughly embarrassed because we went to elementary school together and I couldn’t even look at them. Years later I directed my first feature, Push, which I wrote and produced and that is probably the experience that made me realize this was a worthwhile journey.

David Rodriguez & Michael Rapaport on the set of “Once Upon A Time In Queens”. Photo by Kelsey Bennett.

 

Your 2013 film Once Upon a Time in Queens is absolutely brilliant. It’s such a wonderful and compelling story with some amazing performances. So what inspired you to bring this story to the screen? What was it that compelled you to bring this story to life?

Once Upon a Time in Queens was an absolute passion project. Growing up in New York I experienced what it was like to see and come across major mob figures. They were revered, they were heroes, they were villains, they were people that many of my friends looked up to. I often thought about the danger of living a life like that. Years later when I began to write the screenplay I thought of the idea and what it must be like to spend 20 years in prison, get released, and come back to a much more progressive environment and society. The main characters daughter played by Renee Props was a role that I thought could really catapult the film into a space that was topical and new. Working with Paul Sorvino was a wonderful experience as well. He was so invested in this character. Unfortunately, the producers mismanaged the release of this film and it didn’t get the attention and acclaim we all thought it deserved. 

The hit TNT series Animal Kingdom that you have worked extensively on as a producer and director has really been gaining some traction over the last 2 1/2 seasons, and I understand it has already been picked up for a 4th! So what drew you to this project? What made you want to work on this brilliant project?

The Animal Kingdom subject matter is interesting to say the least. The characters are flawed, the stories are compelling, the matriarch figure is despicable but interesting. Animal Kingdom feels so real on so many levels but what really attracted me to becoming the producing-director on Animal Kingdom was the opportunity to work with John Wells. He’s such a generous and smart person to work for and at the very least, I find myself picking up lessons and nuggets every day we’re in contact.

I have also been hearing great things about the Showtime Original series The Chi. I’m also curious to know what drew you to this particular project as well? And what can fans expect to see in the coming season?

I can’t tell you what fans should expect for season two of The Chi as I’m no longer involved with the project but season one was certainly a thrilling and exciting experience. Growing up in the South Bronx and witnessing all that I did made The Chi very familiar to me. I guess you can say that I brought my personal experiences with me and that became the reason why I directed and produced the first season the way that I did. I poured my heart and soul into that project and I’m happy that my hard work contributed to it getting a second season.

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

Going back for another season of Animal Kingdom is what the future holds but during hiatus, I’ll be directing the season six premiere of Power and a new show from Mike Kelly, What/If, for Netflix.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I’m in Chicago directing an episode of Chicago PD so the last thing that made me smile was looking forward to the chicken parm at The Palm which is where I’m headed to right after I’m done here.

Sunday Matinee: Nothing To Do [Film]

 

“Nothing To Do is the story of 50 something Kenny, an aimless DJ at an oldies station in Philadelphia. He’s called to a hospital in Washington D.C., where he’s informed that his father Irv, due to many complications, is at the end of his life. Something Irv has kept from his children. It’s suggested that Kenny and his father discuss hospice. Kenny’s younger sister, a more accomplished person, tries to intervene. She wants to send her father back to the hospital to “get better.” – October Coast PR

 

Letting go of someone can obviously be a very tough thing to do. It can be even more tough when you tend to be wandering the earth aimlessly yourself, unsure of what it is you are supposed to be doing with your own life. The lives of others tend to serve as a distraction to the internal chaos that swells within you. And when the person you are forced to let go of happens to be your own father, the inner conflict can be even more treacherous. How do you let go? How are you supposed to feel when it seems like the act of letting go is far easier than you would have hoped or imagined? The idea of knowing what is right is also the idea of losing all hope can be treacherous idea to deal with, but can also be seen as very necessary. These thoughts and more are what I took away from my delightful viewing of Nothing To Do. There are no heroes to this story, just people. And sometimes, just being alive can be a struggle that takes as much courage as anything. Nothing To Do is a wonderful film about love, loss, and ability, and the lack there of, to say goodbye to those who matter the most to us. Nobody wants to watch their loved ones perish, but sometimes acceptance is the only answer.

 

 

 

Paul Fahrenkopf gives an inspiring performance as the everyman Kenny who is suddenly handed the task of caring for his ailing father in his final days. The manner in which Fahrenkopf handles such a relatable character is absolutely brilliant. At no point did I truly despise the character of Kenny, and at no point did I truly feel that bad for him. And there was nothing to hate about his manner in dealing with such a horrendous situation. I could simply relate to the character, which is in my opinion, a far greater feet as an actor. You don’t have to simply love or despise an on screen presence. In actuality, I believe that writer and director Mike Kravinsky created some sort of magic when he was able to make Kenny’s sister (wonderfully portrayed by Connie Bowman) seem like more of the “bad guy” for desperately trying to save her father, who was obviously beyond being saved. There is a brilliant juxtaposition of what is good and what is right that happens throughout Nothing To Do, and it is definitely a major factor when it comes to the charm of the film.

 

Ultimately, this story that is based on real life events, is about the power of family. The bonds of family never die, as the old saying goes. And even when we leave our physical selves behind, the concept of family will never truly die. It’s a delightful concept, and one that Nothing To Do exemplifies very, very well.

Nothing to Do is now available on Amazon in the US and UK, and coming to iTunes worldwide in February.

 

Saturday Special: Cecil [Film]

 

“It’s 1996 and fourth grader Cecil Stevens (Sark Asadourian) finds himself switching to a new school after his parents (Jason London, Jenna von Oy) decide to separate. Cecil becomes fast friends with Abby (Christa Beth Campbell), a rambunctious school newspaper reporter, but gets off to a rough start when she notices that, due to his horrible lisp, he can’t pronounce his own name. So he decides to change his name to that of his hero, Michael Jordan. His whole school learns a lesson about acceptance after he and his friends start a business with the corrupt principal that sells celebrity names to kids.”

 

I’m just going to jump right out and say it….Cecil is an absolutely wonderful film. On the surface, it is a film geared towards children. Sure. But, on a much deeper level there is so much more to enjoy about it. It is zany, whimsical, and just whole lot of fun to watch. The production design of the entire project is absolutely magical. But, it is what is below the surface of it all that is so amazing to me. Growing up is a real pain in the proverbial ass. Especially when you feel like you are a little bit different than those around you, and aren’t quite able to understand that everybody is different and weird in their own way, and in the end none of the shit that is happening to you at the time truly matters. And beneath all of the animation and wonderful sound effects, this is the true spirit of Cecil, in my opinion. It’s not entirely a new concept per say, but I can honestly say that I have never seen the subject tackled in this manner before. The toxic home life, the ever-supporting Grandma, and the idea that true friendship should not be measured by popularity amongst your peers…it’s all there. Plus a truly terrifying antagonist who seemed only seconds away from causing actual physical harm to a handful of 10 year olds. It is seriously just such a fun flick with a wonderful message, and it should be enjoyed by people of all ages.

 

When it comes to performances, the adults absolutely nailed it. Jason London & Jenna von Oy do an amazing job as the parents who just can’t get over themselves to even understand what their child is going through. And Valerie Jan Parker is an inspiration as a teacher who really, really, wants to do the right thing and connect with her pupils, but ultimately could probably be found as a bitter and beaten down teacher 23 years later who is simply counting down the hours until her first glass of wine for the night. Being a student of the 90’s, and the spouse of an educator, it’s all a puzzle that unfortunately goes together quite nicely. And of course Sark Asadourian is wonderful as the titular character. He is a delight, charming, and down right adorable. But, the actor who truly blew my mind was none other that the film’s true star, the incredible Christa Beth Campbell.

To say that Christa Beth Campbell was brilliant in Cecil would be a dire understatement. Campbell showed a charisma and almost divine ability as a performer on this film. I was truly blown away with every second she was delivering dialogue or truly dissecting a scene, and I am convinced that she is destined to be a very big deal in the years to come. To posses such raw talent at such a young age is a thing that makes a prodigy. And when it comes to the world of performance, Christa has just that. Mark my words, within the next decade we are going to be seeing more and more of her, and we should all be very excited about that fact.

To wrap it all up, Spenser Fritz has written and directed something truly wonderful when it comes to his latest project, Cecil. It’s a fun, light-hearted and zany take on the real pressures of trying to find your true self, and learning to love yourself for who you truly are. In all honesty, I knew I was going to love a film about the fourth grade set in 1996, as it was specifically aimed almost directly at me, who was indeed a fourth grader in 1996. But what I walked away with after seeing this delightful film was so much more than just a feeling of nostalgia. I felt an actual physical joy after watching this film, and I am certain that everyone who migrates towards this amazing coming of age masterpiece will feel the same.

 

Cecil is available now on DVD and VOD wherever you stream movies. Learn more at cecilthemovie.com.

 


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/310464762″>Cecil</a&gt; from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/visionfilmsvod”>Vision Films</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Cherie Johnson [Interview]

 

Happy Friday, Folks! I’m just going to go ahead and throw this out there for you all: Today is my birthday. I am 34 years old today. I bring this up not as a means to receive further acknowledgement for the “achievement” of simply turning a year older. No, I bring it up because I cannot help but think about what a wild ride this life has been, and more importantly how it correlates with the amazing person we have the distinct pleasure of showcasing with you all today. So, I will refrain from beating around the proverbial bush, and just come out and say it: Today’s interview subject was my childhood TV crush. From about the ages of 8 to 13 years old, Cherie Johnson was my favorite person to grace the television each and (hopefully) every Friday night. And if I were able to go back 20 years ago and tell 14 year old Ron that I would one day have a website where “Maxine” would be one day appear, I would have called myself a damn dirty liar. But alas, here we are!

Cherie Johnson is a legendary television and film actress, writer, producer, and as we learn within the text below, a wearer of so many different employment hats. If you didn’t quite get the reference above, she portrayed Maxine in my favorite TV sitcom of all time, Family Matters. And as I said before, she was the damn bee’s knees to a young, puberty-driven Ron throughout the 90’s. While the young boys and girls around me were fawning over Kellie William’s performance as Laura Winslow (which I will admit, was completely understandable, and I may have done the same from time to time), I will say with pride that I was more invested in Laura’s charming friend Maxine, portrayed brilliantly by Cherie Johnson.

And as we were so fortunate to learn through a series of questions that Cherie graciously answered for us, she is a woman of power who has continued to work diligently throughout her life. She came into show business at a very young age, and has continued to shine since her days of Punky Brewster. Johnson has a series of ventures pulling her this way and that, but continues to succeed at what she does best, which is what the youth of today would probably call, “being her best self.”

So, Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the even more wonderful human being, the great Cherie Johnson!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of acting? I know you started out at a very young age, and may have had some influence. But, what was it about this world that personally made you want to continue working in this profession?

I was inspired when my Uncle wrote Punky Brewster and used my name for one of the characters. It didn’t make sense to me for another little girl to play a role “I thought” was written for me. Honestly, I have always been little pushy… probably too self assured but after 7 auditions the then President of NBC Brandon Tartikoff was convinced it was written for me as well and my Uncle was able to give me the job. Which not in a cocky way but at 6 years old I knew it was mine anyway. I pretty much continued to work in the business because I looked up and it was 20 years in. I dropped out of college while working on Family Matters (they weren’t going to work around Urkles college schedule and everyone else) so my dream career as an architect was not going to happen. I did what most people do: stuck to what I know and expanded in different ways so I wouldn’t get bored to death.

Throughout the 90’s, you worked on my absolute favorite sitcom that the world of television has ever produced. Of course I am talking about your role as Maxine on the incredible series Family Matters. And full disclosure: I had a BIG crush on Maxine growing up. And I am certain I am not the only one. So, I am curious to know what your take away from your time working on this fine program? How was your experience overall?

Thank you Maxine appreciates the support. She was a fun character to play I mean who wouldn’t want to be a ditzy wild-child! Family Matters was really a family matter for me, LOL. My uncle was the producer, one of my aunts was his assistant, my mother catered and my older brother worked in the camera department. Shawn Harrison “ Waldo” is one of my best friends and Darius McCrary and I have loved each other before the show (We had the same agent) We are all a part of great TV history and for that I am thankful. Our Crew and Cast were all very talented people. Looking back on the experience it was a great show to be a part of. Punky Brewster and Family Matters are both Blessings.

Beyond the world of acting, you are also an acclaimed writer in your own right. You have a few books available, and are currently an assistant editor for Fever Magazine, which is extremely impressive! So, when did the writing come about? What made you decide to dip your proverbial toes into the literary pool?

I started writing songs and books when I was 5 years old. My mother told me the best way to go down in history is to write a book. So it has always been a goal since then before acting because living for eternity was a huge goal for “Little Cherie” hahaha. As I grew writing became a sense of relaxation and therapy. Professionally it started with my first film  I Do I Did then to authorship, next I was writing columns for various magazines and now I was promoted. Fever Magazine has been my writing home for 5 years I write the Pulse article (whispering I write about sex) how fun right. So the promotion is amazing. I am surrounded by beautiful women, we interview your favorite entertainers, I get to travel to exotic places, we have an amazing Wine and Dine article a show on our site “Foodie” it’s really a dream job that never feels like work. I play all day! I eat the best food and I am surrounded by beautiful people.

 

 

Also beyond the world of acting, producing, writing, you can throw entrepreneur onto your list of professional duties, as you have recently opened a spa in Hollywood, Florida. Kind of the same question: what made you decide to join the world of self care and relaxation? Is it something you have always been passionate about? And can you tell us a bit about your business, and what sets it apart from other spas out there?

Growing up my mother owned a gym, so self care was taught to me early in life. During my hiatus weeks on Family Matters I worked at my family owned gym and later became a nutritionist. Being on TV is kinda like working customer service so imagine never being about to take that costumer service badge off? Relaxation is essential to your mental health. There is nothing more beneficial to your mind, body and spirit than an excellent massage. Kian is really the brain child of my partner Alycia. She mentioned in October we should open a spa, and by my birthday in November we had keys!

Kian Spa is an appointment only spa. Which means it’s never crowed and our elite clients never have to worry about it being busy or sharing their relaxation time with other clients. We also feature one of the only Bella Shape Machines in the United States. Bella Shape is revolutionizing the dermatology world one session at a time. For patients seeking the best non-invasive aesthetic and medical procedures, Bella Shape is unlike all other options in the market. Bella Shape provides a multitude of aesthetic and medical treatments from one device, it streamlines the cost of providing beauty and medical procedures non invasively. All of our products are 100% natural and we offer a variety of nutritional services.

With over 36 years of experience in the world of entertainment, and having literally grown up within the world, I am curious to know what your opinion of the current climate in the world of film and television? With the advancements in technology, such as streaming capabilities, what are your thoughts on how art is created in these fields today? Is everything become oversaturated, or are more opportunities seeming to come available for many different people?

Well let me shake my head. We are in a time when people are famous with no talent. While they are making millions, many talented people are stepping back and kinda choosing not to work for the crack head wages that are being offered. Now under some of these new SAG approved contracts. Anyone can be a producer now, they are making films paying actors $100 a day…I come from a much different time.

With so much going on in your life, from writing, acting, business owning….how do you manage your time? And more importantly, what would a little “me time” look like for you? 

Thank you for having so much faith in me you believe my time is well managed hahaha. In-between homeschooling, taking my daughter to Tae Kwon Do 4 days a week I get some working in. Usually by multitasking, phone calls with a baby on the hip. I just cast a project last month titled “Black’ and found it was easier once I hired my 4 year old as my assistant. Giving her duties really helps my days run smooth Besides she thinks she works at Kians Spa and she is the official product tester for Kian and all of our products at www.Going2natural.com

I am a mother of small children there is no me time hahahah I am happy when I get a chance to sit down and write a blog entry for www.adviceformysistas.com or eat a meal like a real one, not the left overs off a kids plate.

 

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

I will be coming back to internet radio this year with Cherie’s World. It will give me a chance to connect with friends who have supported me my whole career, while we use the platform to speak on current events, health, and everything entertainment. I have an awesome TV project in development with Antwon Tanner and Hilary Burton! You will get to see us in a different light.

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

Reading this made me smile. Thinking about my life, I couldn’t have imagined it being this good and my daughter. Her cute little face always makes me smile. It’s 4am and she just woke up to keep me company. I’ve learned to treasure every moment so I have to go now its snuggle time! Thanks for having me.

Bahia Watson [Interview]

 

Hello There, Folks! I am absolutely delighted to share this amazing interview with a wonderful young actress who is as impressive as she is talented. It’s Bahia Watson, Everyone! She is an incredible actress, who you can catch on the critically acclaimed Hulu Original series The Handmade’s Tail, and in so damn much more to come. Bahia has been doing some amazing work both on screen and on the stage, and we are so excited to have her grace our digital pages today.

Beyond acting, Bahia is also a wonderful musician, poet, and playwright who is determined to speak her mind and spread her talent across the globe. The limits in which a person of this much are seemingly endless, and we are so excited to see what the future holds for her. Which is why are so happy that we were able to get a few replies from her to share with you all today.

So Folks, please enjoy some incredible words from the even more incredible human being, the great Bahia Watson!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of acting? Was it something that you have always been passionate about? Or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

 

I guess I stumbled into this world. I’ve always loved stories and writing. I grew up dancing, but I never wished to make a career of it. After graduating high school I took a psychology course and fell in love with the human mind and how personalities and emotions are constructed. Around that same time, there was a large casting call for extras in my hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. I wandered into that and was thrilled by whole behind-the-scenes society involved in film and television making. And then I started auditioning and taking acting classes and kind of fell in love with the challenges that acting presents. I never dreamt this would be my life. it’s been a winding journey.

 

You have been a regular on a series that is truly one of the greatest available right now entitled The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s such a dark story that, sadly, doesn’t seem so unlikely to become the real world someday. Anyway, I am curious to know how it has been to work on such a wildly successful television series?

 

It’s exciting. I read the book in high school, and it has always stuck with me as a profound and frightening envisioning of the future. The world Margaret Atwood has created is so deep and thorough, and so being able to be inside of it and a part of bringing it to life, is a thrilling honour. When I first auditioned, I was blown away by the writing, and I continue to be. It’s such a strong group of artists working on this show, I’m happy to be in such exquisite company.

 

 

Although the subject matter can be dark, do you still manage to have a good time on the set of The Handmaid’s Tale? What do you do to stay loose and a bit less terrified on the set?

 

As comedy is often borne of tragedy, we definitely find the humour in the darkness. nina kiri, who plays alma, and i are totally the clowns on set. and ann dowd is a treasure. we have fun.

 

If you were handed the opportunity to portray any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

 

Oooh, interesting question… Josephine Baker, maybe? or Lorraine Hansberry.

 

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

 

I’ve open[ed] a play at the Soulpepper Theatre company in Toronto, it’s called The Virgin Trial, where I play a young Queen Elizabeth the first. On March 28th, I will be producing and performing a one night only variety show called MASHUP which i create with my friend liza paul, at theatre passe muraille in toronto. in the fall we did a short performance for TEDxtoronto under the theme of identity, you can watch that here: https://youtu.be/uxFoJ4Z3X5Q. it’s a kind of island circus ting. and… you might just catch me on another futuristic show soon too.

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

 

Killing Eve. i’m obsessed with villanelle.

New Music Tuesday: The Hots – The Hots [EP]

 

Holy Shit, Folks! We have a wonderful pair of artist to share with you all today. The Australian bred duo The Hots are an out of this world combo that is not only entertaining, but extremely talented in a manner that is almost unprecedented in this day and age. They are a hard rock duo that perfectly dictates the power of what can come from extremely talented musicianship on the axe, and a set of vocal chords that are simply out of this world. I am seriously in love with the beauty that Foxie Kelly and Ronnie Simmons have given the world with their amazing self titled EP alone. I can’t imagine what the future may hold for this amazing duo, but if it is half as impressive as this EP, I’m certain that they are bound to be a force to reckoned with, hands down.

On a very personal note, there is definitely a nostalgia-inducing aspect to this EP that is very hard to ignore. And frankly, I don’t want to. It shouldn’t be a bad thing to reminisce about the amazing work we have loved in the past. Especially when we are fortunate enough to have a group The Hots out there ready to upgrade a classic sound for the new era. Simmons is simply magical with his guitar work, and Kelly may be one of the finest voices to front a hard rock group I have ever heard since the likes of Goldie Locks or Elsa Faith of Soul Distraction.

 

 

When we break it down folks, The Hots are a band like you most likely haven’t heard in quite a long time. We simply haven’t been blessed enough to be privy to such talent as of lately. Sure, the hard rock scene has existed for quite a long time. And if you dig deep enough, the genre that has moved between 80’s hair metal and the beloved grunge sound of the 90’s has probably been producing a plethora of amazing artists that we should all know and love. I guess we just need to be privy to the genre more often. And for that, I am so thankful that I have discovered The Hots, and have been able to share their genius with you fine folks who may not already be aware of their genius. Seriously, Folks. You’re going to love this. Enjoy!

 

Check out this incredible music video for “Before You”, and find this even more incredible EP wherever you stream/buy your best music:

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