Myq Kaplan [Interview]

Photo by Levy Moroshan

 

Hello Folks! Today we have yet another absolutely wonderful interview to share with you all! It’s Myq Kaplan, Everyone! Having Myq on the site is not only a real treat, it is actually reminiscent of something that occurred no more than two weeks ago. As regular reader(s) of the site might remember, we had a wonderful comedian on the site name Mike Carrozza. He was a cat that I just seemed to hear extensively during the promotion of his album via podcasts that was released last year, as it was basically the only way to let any damn body know about it. Well, today we have that again with the brilliant Myq Kaplan.

Yes, I started to hear Myq on just about every podcast that I keep in my quickly rotation. And his album that was released in May, A.K.A., would have landed at the top of the list had I decided to do a list of my favorite comedy albums of 2020. He is an absolutely hilarious human being, and much like the aforementioned other Mike, he seems to be one of the nicest guys in comedy. It’s still a rare condition in the world of stand up comedy, but Myq has proven that it can be a solid quality to have, and also to still be so damn funny.

We are overjoyed that Myq was willing to take some time out of his schedule to answer a few questions for us here today. So without further babbling, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Myq Kaplan!

 

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

I was an aspiring singer-songwriter as a teenager. I was very good at aspiring. An inspiring aspirer. Some of my songs were serious and some were funny. (It’s possible that some of the serious ones might be now funnier to me than the funny ones.) I started performing at music venues in the Boston area where I was going to college, wherever I could, and just started contacting all kinds of clubs, bars, and subway stations to see if I could play there.

I found the Comedy Studio and asked the owner, Rick Jenkins, if I could perform at his comedy club. He gave me five minutes, which meant I could play approximately one and a half songs. 

I did two real short ones, and talked a little bit in between. People laughed. I loved it. So I went home and started thinking of things to say that might make people laugh in the future, you know, for in between songs. Later I would come to call that “writing jokes,” and the time between songs would become known as “my standup comedy.” 

Sometimes when people ask me “when did you know you wanted to do comedy,” I tell them “it was right after I started doing comedy.” So, the answer to your question, I suppose, is that doing comedy inspired me to do comedy. But what inspired me to do the first comedy? Music, remember? It’s turtles all the way down, until you get to music.

 

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

Good question! I honestly don’t remember a lot about it. I will tell you about my SECOND paid gig, which was a short set at a fundraiser maybe a year or two into really pursuing comedy. I love performing at fundraisers because even if it goes poorly, people can’t demand their money back. “This comedian was so bad, I actually don’t want to help cure this disease anymore!”

This show was booked by Rick Jenkins, the owner of the Comedy Studio. After his shows, Rick would always thank me for performing, even at times when I felt like he was much more doing ME a favor by allowing me to perform. So, I would say that a theme that has run through my comedy career since the beginning is “gratitude to Rick Jenkins.”

 

I always like to ask comedians who (used?) to travel across the globe making people laugh this one question: What are some of the more obscure cities and/or venues that you have enjoyed performing in? What are some places that most people may not realize are wonderful places for live comedy?

It’s hard to answer exactly, because I don’t know what most people realize or don’t. Most people know about NYC, I bet. Maybe they know about other cities also. How about Minneapolis? I don’t know if that’s obscure either, but I’ve recorded two of my albums at Acme in Minneapolis, and I love that comedy club and the whole area very much. Here’s at least an obscure fact about it: I’ve heard that the Twin Cities area has more theaters per capita than NYC. You hear that, New Yorkers? Get some more theaters if you want to be number one! OR… relocate from New York to Minneapolis in enough volume, to up the population there so that the ratio shifts in your favor. That would be a weird thing to do, but if it’s important for you to win this strange competition of the arts, go for it!

One of my favorite places I’ve performed a few times is Motorco, a rock venue in Durham, NC. A comedian (and now friend) named Deb Aronin booked me to perform there for the first time I think around 2015, and I’ve been back a few times since. Deb does such a good job curating the experience for the audience, visiting comics, and the local comedy scene. Every time I’ve been there, the place has been packed with people who really want to be there for the specific show that’s happening, which is nice. I’m a big fan of people wanting to be experiencing what they’re experiencing.

Also around that time, I did a couple small tours through the Southeast with my best bud Zach Sherwin. We loved performing at little theaters and bars and rock venues in Athens, Asheville, Nashville, Louisville, among others. (I feel like I’m doing a radio ad for my past self: “but wait, there’s more!”)

Ooh, how about Greenville, SC? That’s probably a city that not everyone knows has a lot of fun comedy happening. Or at least, it certainly did the times that I was there. Shoutout to Nick Shaheen, another nice comedian friend who brought me to Greenville and many other places for the first time. Some so obscure even I’ve forgotten them, maybe.

 

And beyond being a necessity these days for comedians to have a podcast, I am always curious to know about the origins of truly original shows such as yours, Broccoli & Ice Cream. You’ve even had some friends & past guests of TWS like Sarah Tollemache, Tom Thakkar, Kevin Avery, Shane Mauss, & more on the show! So, what made you want to bring this delightful show out into the world? And what made you decide on the format?

Thanks for asking this question so kindly. You are nice.

The short answer is that I love talking with people. Comedians. Artists. Friends. I like learning about how people are creative, and what brings them joy. So I started asking them.

The long answer is the same, but with this sentence added for no reason.

 

Photo by Mindy Tucker / Artwork by Ramin Nazer

 

If you were greenlit & received an unlimited budget to create the biopic (series, film, etc.) of any figure from the days of comedy past, who would you choose?

I’d love to see the life story of Dick Gregory widely shared. He was vegan for 50 years, which I understand for him began as part of his non-violent practice as a civil rights activist in the ’60’s.

That’s one thing that I knew, and now looking at his Wikipedia, I see there’s so much more that I didn’t know. He once fasted for six weeks to protest the US government’s violation of Native American treaties. He helped investigate the murder of MLK. He marched as a feminist with Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan. He was BANNED FROM AUSTRALIA, because they thought he would “stir up demonstrations against the Vietnam war.”

This is an incredible life. And I only knew about the vegan part of it, which was just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. Oh, also he was a comedian. And he cared so much. About so many causes. So many people. So many animals. All of the, it seems. Here’s a final quote from him for now: “Because I’m a civil rights activist, I am also an animal rights activist. Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel and vicious taking of life. We shouldn’t be a part of it.” Someone make this movie please. Or if someone already did and I don’t know about it, great! And can you let me know?

 

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

Right now, the future seems theoretical in many ways. I hardly know what the PRESENT holds for me. To make a prediction about the future seems fantastical, like I’m telling people to come check out my new comedy tour through Narnia.

What will happen? Hopefully, a vaccination, and then a return to touring. I was planning to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2020, and I’ll hopefully get back there the next time it is safe, healthy, possible, and happening.

In the meantime, I’m doing a lot of online shows and releasing several podcasts a week, both Broccoli and Ice Cream and a new one I started during the pandemic called The Faucet. You can follow me on social media (@myqkaplan everywhere) and find out what’s happening as I find out what’s happening. And you can listen to everything that I’ve done already. There’s a lot of it. My most recent standup album (of about 5) is called A.K.A. and it’s the best one I’ve made. I’m proud of it and happy with it and would love for anyone who wants to listen. I hope you enjoy it.

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

This question. Thanks for asking it. And all of them.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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