by Ryan Meehan
Jackie Kashian’s comedy is like listening to a really racy episode of All Things Considered. She is comic, writer, and occasional actor… she has a half hour special on Comedy Central, her latest CD, “It Is Never Going To Be Bread” was one of the top ten comedy albums of the year on Amazon, and she just had her late night comedy debut on Conan. She hosts a weekly cult fave podcast called “The Dork Forest” where she creates a safe space for people to admit that thing they dork out about more than anyone. Her website is www.jackiekashian.com and her podcast is available on iTunes or at www.dorkforest.com, and she’s our guest today in 5 Questions.
RM: When you were going to school at the University of Wisconsin you saw a drop in your grades during the period that you really began to develop a serious interest in standup. How did you pull out of that slump and get yourself back to the point where you were able to finish school and start what has become a successful career in standup?
JK: The club burned down. I did not set fire to it. I loved standup from the very first (even though my college friends, when I’d come home after hanging with the touring comics, would say… “what the hell, Jackie. Those people sound like dirtbags.” Standup was the greatest thing in the world and I was willing to hang out with dirtbags. Even became one for a minute. And have since moved on from dirtbaggery. Mostly). I wanted to drop out of college and just move to Chicago and do standup. My sister convinced me to graduate and then I moved to Minneapolis to do standup. I did whatever open mikes were available for the following three years of college, but that first eight months were invaluable in me becoming addicted to standup.
RM: I noticed that you’ve done Just for Laughs Montreal in 2003, 2011, and then you will be doing it again this year…But I also see that you haven’t been back to Melbourne since 2005…Do you plan to go back to Australia at some point?
JK: You know… I book myself on these things and I email the powers that be in Melbourne every year asking to come back. So far… the answer has been silence. I thought I did well. But we ARE living in a golden age of comedy where there are MANY amazing comics. I am merely one of them. Wait. Did I type that out loud?
RM: Your weekly podcast “The Dork Forest” gives listeners a safe haven to admit to all things dork. What are your dorkiest habits and hobbies, and in your opinion should Ace of Base be voted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of fame their first year of eligibility?
JK: I’m a dork chameleon. I want to dork out with everyone about the thing they love. But I came into the dork forest on my own Tarzan vine. That vine sails through science fiction, star trek/wars, video games and hackysack. A pretty basic swath of dorkdoms. I’ve since become addicted to boardgames, learned more than I needed to know about model trains, perfumes and knitting. I just recorded an episode with Greg Proops about ancient history. He’s an ancient history dork. It was GREAT. But the people love some other ones… Like the faves were Michelle McNamara’s True Crime episode, Karen Rontowski’s Ghost episode and Madigan and Kilmartin dorking out about the extended Kennedy family. The hardest episodes for me are the music episodes. Because I know less than anyone can believe about music. I just YouTube googled Ace of Base and listened to Don’t Turn Around … is it Rock? Is ABBA in the R&R Hall of Fame? Seems like the cool kids would say … NO. Not allowed.
RM: It says on your resume that your tried your hand at a baseball announcer for the St. Paul Saints of the minor leagues…Do you know Bill Murray personally?
JK: I did NOT get to meet him. I did see him at lunch about a month ago and had to stop myself from going up to him. Why? Because he was having lunch… I thought I’d let him. I was fired from that job because of the only thing I know less about than music? Baseball. I kept making political jokes with the camera crew. Not conducive to bringing your kids out to a water fight and some A-ball. Or whatever league that team is in.
RM: What’s your favorite part of the writing process? Are there parts of it that you have learned to appreciate more over the past decade?
JK: I write premises and work them out on stage. So… I come up with the funny idea and then I say it A LOT on stage until the joke a. has a punchline and b. is less than six minutes. I have learned how to write more collaboratively in the last ten years. I do “joke machine” with a couple friends. Anyone can do it. You trade off doing bits at each other. You get to say them out loud and your friend might punch it up if they can or give you an angle to explore. The only rule of “joke machine” is that you can’t say the premise isn’t viable. You gotta say, “there’s something there.” Only rule.
RM: What’s up next for you in the twelve months ahead? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
JK: I’m doing a CD/DVD in December. Tentatively titled “This Will Make an Excellent Horcrux” Details are to be worked out but I’m working on the set now. More Dork Forest podcasts… lots of live shows at Conventions and Theaters and plenty of standup. I might even act if given the opportunity.
Official Website: http://www.jackiekashian.com/
Jackie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jackiekashian
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