Kyle Ayers [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! We have an absolutely wonderful interview for you all today that I have been wanting to have go up on the site for quite some time. It’s Kyle Ayers, Everyone! We have had a lot of comedians on this site over the years, and I would be willing to say that all of them are very, very, nice. But, there is something about the (at least digital) aura that Kyle puts out into the world that feels just so damn pleasant. Hailing from the midwest, Ayers puts out a a vibe that feels very Missouri-like, but only in the good ways. He is what a mother from Columbia, MO would probably refer to as a “nice boy”. And this is not to say that his comedy is “clean”. Far from it actually. He’s just a brilliant comedian with a great sense of whimsy and self-awareness that blends into a perfect comedy act that just about everyone can enjoy.

Kyle also happens to be the creator of two very different, yet insanely hilarious projects that I feel as though the entire world should know about it. One would be “Boast Rattle”, which is a competitive compliment contest, which should have been a very obvious idea in theory, but in reality, the idea of being funny whilst being the opposite of being offensive is actually a very foreign idea if you really think about it. But Sir Ayers made it happen, and it is fucking incredible. I have not had the great fortune of seeing the show live, but I sure hope to one day!

The other amazing project he has out in the digital ether is his incredible podcast, Never Seen It. It’s “another movie podcast” where he has comedians write short scripts about classic films that they have never seen. This is the main gist of the show, but please trust me when I say that it is SO much more than just that. He also creates a multitude of games (often with long winded titles, which is hilarious in itself) to play with his guests that are so damn much fun. And as a person who has, quite frankly, stolen these ideas and played them in a office environment, I guarantee they are worth a listen. Regular readers around here know that I am a huge fan of Doug Loves Movies, and have called it the premium “movie podcast”. But, Never Seen It is an entirely different movie podcast experience entirely, and I enjoy it on the same level. And, much like DLM, Kyle has an abundance of guests who have been featured on these here digital pages. Folks like Amy Miller, Joe DeRosa, Steph Tolev, Shane Torres, Tommy McNamara, Tom Thakkar, DC Pierson, Billy Wayne Davis, Kurt Braunohler, Martha Kelly…..okay, now it feels like I am just bragging on our part, and I should probably not do that. Anyway, cool people have done his podcast. They are all wonderful!

So Folks, please forgive this long-winded introduction, and let’s get into some answers from the star of the site today. Please enjoy some wonderful words from the absolutely hilarious comedian, Kyle Ayers!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of comedy? Was it something that you have aspired to do since your youth? Or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

You know, I kind of eased into it, I suppose. It never really seemed like something that could be a feasible career. I remember seeing Dave Attell and Lewis Black on tour, sometime in middle school or freshman year of high school, and thinking “Oh wow, this is actually a job?”

But I never really thought it’d be something I’d do. I always felt funny, but more as a defense mechanism to avoid bullying, or get out of trouble, or something like that.

I reluctantly auditioned for an improv troupe in college, and that sort of started my on-stage comedy performing. I’d done some theater and the like in high school, but it still all never felt like a thing that could be a job.

Improv lead to open mics and stand up (and a lot of bombing), but it was really the only thing I ever felt like I wanted to keep doing. No “traditional” career ever caught my attention long enough to care.

This is meandering and I guess the gist is that I kind of just kept doing it until it was the only thing I was doing.

What was your very first paid gig in the world of comedy? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work today?

I honestly can’t remember my first paid comedy gig, but WAY too early on I was booked by a friend to perform at their college (while I was still in college). I had to do an hour when I had probably five minutes of decent jokes. A lot of bad crowdwork, a lot of waxing poetic on premises that I’d never even tried on stage before. It didn’t go great. Honestly, I wish I could say that the lesson I learned was “Don’t perform outside of what you’re capable of.” but I think the lesson I actually took away was “Get paid when you can, even if you bomb. It’s hard to get paid.”

Can you tell our readers a bit about Boast Rattle? What made you want to come up with this concept? And how has your experience been putting it out in the world?

Boast Rattle is a comedic compliment contest that I started running years and years ago in Brooklyn. Comedians competitively complimenting one another. The concept started as a bit during a different show I ran, just a fun idea I thought could break up a bigger show. Then something happened: everybody loved Boast Rattle more than the rest of the show. So I formed it into a full show, and it took off. It’s now been to tons of festivals, Just for Laughs Montreal, Bonnaroo, Moontower, SF Sketchfest, and more. It’s its own show on Sirius XM now, too.

People seem to connect with the positivity of the show, and the creativity required to write effective compliment-jokes. When a lot of things seem overwhelmingly negative or angry or third adjective here, Boast Rattle seemed to cut through all of that and resonate with people. It makes me truly happy, and the show is really funny.

I’m a huge roast fan, too. I think roasting amongst friends is a high form of love. Some things I love about Boast Rattle are 1) Talking with comedians about how interesting and tough writing Boast jokes is, and watching comedians deliver those jokes. 2) Watching comedians receive compliments. It’s incredible to watch comedians receive positivity. The reactions range from elation to “i cannot be told kind things.”

Being happy is tough for me. Amongst a myriad of mental illness, I have depression. I think there is something to be said for, even when it’s tough, trying to be positive and happy, and help others feel the same. I hope the show achieves that.

 

 

I am a huge fan of your podcast Never Seen It. Our dear friend and past guest Amy Miller did  about The Shining, and I still laugh to myself when I think about a “complimentary stabbing knife”, lol. I am curious to know about what have been some of your favorite moments of the show?

Oh god, picking out a few favorite moments will be very tough. The podcast is produced by Starburns Audio, and early on in our pod-life (the show had been a live show for years and years before a podcast) Dan Harmon told me that he loved the concept of the show, and he even brought it up on his podcast, and then eventually guested on Never Seen It. It got the show out there to such a wonderful audience, and hearing compliments from someone I admire like Dan was very surreal. His “Dan Harmon Has Never Seen Lawrence of Arabia” script is still an all-timer for me, too.

Hearing from guests that they had a fun time writing their scripts always makes me happy. I laugh about Henry Zebrowski’s scripts all of the time. The same with Miel Bredouw’s Shawshank Redemption script.

The outpouring of fan love for my dad has to be my favorite part, though. Working with him (and my mom, who does the behind the scenes) to get segments of “Guess What Movie Kyle’s Dad is Describing Having Only Watch the Trailer and Never Having Heard of the Movie” makes me smile on a daily basis. That and fans submitting scripts, game suggestions, Before & Afters, and more, just really makes the entire show feel so wonderfully collaborative.

Langston Kerman’s Scarface, Dave Ross and Hampton Yount’s Human Centipede, and Alison Leiby’s The Sopranos scripts are all better than anything I will ever write in any capacity, the rest of my life.

I noticed that you are on the road quite a bit making the world laugh. I always like to ask touring comedians this one question: What are some cities that many people may not realize are great places for comedy? What are some “fly over cities” off the coasts that have great audiences?

I love that comedy has helped me travel to places I never would have been able to, otherwise. It’s helped me see the world! It’s not exactly traveling, for me, but my hometown of Kansas City has seen an incredible growth in the comedy scene in recent years, thanks to a supportive scene, and tons of comics, including the very funny Aaron Naylor, who seems to be a point person for lots of comedians traveling through. The same with Andrew Youngblood (and a slew of others) in Houston. Melissa Hahn of Modelface Comedy in Asheville puts on shows that are as good as anywhere in the country.

There are so many great comedy shows that don’t require you to go to a traditional comedy club and buy two drinks or whatever. Denver has a million great shows. Atlanta is another.

And less-on-the-radar, you’ve got Omaha, Des Moines, there are so many places. Comedians and producers are putting in so much work to build scenes all over the country and bring in hilarious, interesting acts. Anyways I went on too long with this one but check out local comedy wherever you are!

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

I’m always keeping on with Never Seen It podcast. You can listen to it wherever you get podcasts. I’m just wrapping up a month long tour with a couple of bands where we put on a big interactive wrestling-themed music+comedy show. It’s been wild but I’m excited to get back into more regular stand up, again.

I recorded an album in December and it will be out this spring, with Blonde Medicine records. Please just follow me online to keep an eye out for it! I am very proud of it. I recorded it outside, which is insane for comedy, and I think it conveys who I am really well, in the record. I’ll be posting about it on instagram / twitter a ton once I settle on the exact date to release it, please follow me there!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My friend Dana just got a very funny puppy and posted a bunch of pictures of him on Instagram, which I proceeded to show to people as though Dana’s dog was my son.

 

 

 

 

Kyle Ayers also has a wonderful YouTube series entitled “Stuff I Notice the Second Time Through Watching A Movie I Didn’t Know the First Time”. Check out his incredible latest clip centering around a dear old friend of ours, John Carroll Lynch. Enjoy!

 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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