Andy Kindler is the quintessential comedian’s comedian, not least because every year he delivers the State of Comedy address at the massive Montreal Just For Laughs festival. His jokes are cerebral and meta-critical, but with the spicy sting of old school Fryar’s Club vaudeville one-liners. He is playing at the Arlington Drafthouse this weekend.
Ben Kronberg was our favorite kiddie-toucher spectacles sporting abstract guitar comic at the Bentzen Ball this fall, who will be returning soon for a special performance we’ll announce on Monday. He is a Aries.
We expected if we put them on the phone together sparks would fly. But we didn’t expect full frontal nudity.
All Words: Ben Kronberg
When I called Andy for this interview, he answered, but then told me to hold on because he needed to put on a shirt. I never asked him why he was shirtless, or why he needed to talk to me with his shirt on. You see, I was in the privacy of my own home, my buddies 1 bedroom apt. in Brooklyn where I am currently residing, and completely naked. I never told him.
Ben Kronberg: Have you ever heard of me?
Andy Kindler: I have heard of your name, but i don’t know why. What am I missing?
BK: I’ve been in LA the past 2 years doing comedy, we’ve never been formally introduced, but…
AK: I don’t think i’ve ever seen you perform before. I think i would have remembered.
BK: I think I would have remembered you being at the show.
AK: (Laughs) But your name sounds familiar to me.
BK: That’s really nice of you to say, um, I’m honored.
BK: I’ve seen you “Live” a couple of times around the scene, but i’ve mostly experienced you on the internet in the privacy of my own home. You seem to be known for “skewering” people. Do prefer “skewering” or “roasting”?
AK: (Laughs) I like roasting. There’s this line David Letterman will says thats a classic – if he tells a joke thats a little harsh he’ll say, “I thought this was a Roast.” I think when you’re roasting the advantage is that its not quite as harsh as skewering (Laughs). I guess I would say I like to “skewer” in a “roast”-like fashion.
BK: I like to distinguish the two– “skewering” is a healthier way to make fun of people, and “roasting” is a less healthy old-fashioned way.
AK: Uh (not getting Ben’s food joke) right. I can go with that.
BK: Is there anybody thats off limits? Anyone who you won’t “roast”?
AK: Like anybody I wouldn’t make fun of?
AK: I think when you have an idea coming to you, you have to go with it, and not stop the idea from happening. If you get to much into the fear of the moment and stop yourself, it’s hard. If you want to be a comedian and not offend anybody, it’s going to be hard. Peoples feelings will get hurt. (Laughs) Mostly my own.
BK: (Laughs) What’s your Zodiac sign, I’m curious.
AK: I’m a Libra.
BK: Do you subscribe or buy into astrology?
AK: My favorite philosopher guy is Alan Watts, and I kind of agree with him – he says there’s probably something to the position of the stars in terms of our reality, but he doubts that people can “read” it. So thats how I kinda feel. I get that there would be some general characteristics of people born around the same time, but then I doubt the way it gets very literal. You know, like, “don’t walk under an awning today” (Laughs).
|Andy Kindler – Astrology|
BK: Talking more about comedy, cuz I think that’s what supposed to happen here – Why do you want the attention? Were you the youngest born? What’s your pathology of wanting to be on stage?
AK: You’re correct that I am the youngest. I think there was a craving of attention there, absolutely. I think everybody to one degree or another wants attention (Laughs). When I was younger I always wanted to be a musician. A singer-songwriter musician, that was my dream. That was the generation that I grew up in. I loved comedy, but I thought more about music and stuff like that. But I’ve always liked performing of any type. It wasn’t til I got into comedy that I realized that that is what I do – hopefully, in my opinion (Laughs).
BK: When did you first try stand-up?
AK: Fairly late, I was 28. I only did it cuz a friend of mine convinced me to try it. I was in a duo when I started.
BK: You’ve talked about how you would always…
AK: Bail. I would bail on the “bits”
AK: I would leave my partner hanging out to dry.
BK: Did you learn to make “bailing” the bit?
AK: In a way yeah, I think thats kinda true. Even more recently, I have more interesting experiences on stage by just allowing myself to say anything that comes to my mind. For me it really helps, but I can’t speak for people who have to hear it (Laughs).
|Andy Kindler – Workshop|
BK: But it excites you? You like to be in the moment on stage as opposed to stick to a “script”?
AK: Yeah I think so. I always feel strange even telling a joke the second time. Jokes aren’t like songs where you can do different renditions of them. And with stand-up, you can’t rely on any one technique. So if my only technique was to only say things that are on my mind on stage, that wouldn’t make me funny. It’s just part of how I approach trying to be funny. I promise the crowd that I will try to be funny.
BK: Have you ever said those exact words on stage? That you promise to be funny?
AK: (Laughs) no, but I might now. I don’t like too much bravado though. If you start to say things like, I’m gonna make you people laugh so hard that you’re never gonna be able to look at another comedian – that’s the kind of thing I can’t get into.
BK: (Laughing) Are you mainly touring right now? Whats your jive?
AK: I just covered the Super Bowl for Letterman. Then I’m going to The Arlington Draft House to perform on Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th of this month. Each show is at 9:45, so thats probably their way of saying it’s going to be alternative comedy. So this week is Fantastic.
BK: Super fantastic! You are one lucky ducky. I don’t want to keep you from your importance so I will leave you with this: I was given the honor of interviewing you, though not an interviewer by nature, I feel really lucky to have talked to you about comedy and glimpsing into your world a bit. One last thing I am curious about before we separate our souls, if you had a catch phrase or something you always say, what would it be?
AK: I guess if I had one, I think i would say “Be funny and and keep your hands inside the jokes at all times”