by Ryan Meehan
KC Arora is from Queens, but one look at him has complete strangers asking, “But where are you really from?” KC shares his hilarious insights on being first generation while navigating the ins and outs of relationships with women and the internet. KC has been a semi finalist in NBC’s Standup for Diversity and NY’s Funniest. He just recently finished in the Elite 8 for March Madness (Caroline’s Comedy Competition) and he has also performed at several exclusive comedy festivals including Bridgetown, Sketchfest, and Laughing Skull Atlanta. He is a regular on the FOX television show “Laughs” and was recently featured on SeeSo. In the meantime, he is making his way across the nation. Which nation? America, you racist. We are very pleased to have KC Arora as our guest today in 10 questions.
RM: First off, did you always go by the abbreviation of your first and middle initials or was there a time when you were being introduced as Kunal? How much did the fact that KC is a very recognizable and common abbreviation influence your decision to go ahead and make that your official stage name?
KCA: There was a time when people called me Kunal; I remember when my best friend’s mom used to pronounce my name “Coon-Owl”. It wasn’t the driving force behind it, but I wasn’t bothered that people found it somewhat easier to pronounce two letters.
RM: When you first started out doing stand-up, what was the biggest misconception you had about the comedy community in general? How did you go about adjusting your individual approach to the art form so that you wouldn’t continue to let that misappropriation do damage to your career in comedy?
KCA: Nice guys don’t finish last. I realized you have to be better with yourself. It’s how you get to be better with others.
RM: Your bio seems to suggest that people who have seen you live or meet you on the street seem to gravitate towards your ethnicity almost instantaneously…At the moment, how much material do you have that is directly related to your heritage; and when the audience first sees you pick up the microphone would you say that a majority of them expect to see you address your background?
KCA: I’m not a white guy doing standup, I’m aware of that and audiences see it too. They are curious. Whenever you meet someone not white in America, you’re inherently curious as to where they are from. However, my material isn’t a reflection of being Indian as much as its a reflection of being different than the group. Anyone can relate to that. Also, my Indian accent is terrible. Your racist uncle probably does one better…
RM: On April 19th you headlined a show at Caroline’s on Broadway as a part of their “Breakout Artist” comedy series…How did you feel that show went for you; and what is so special about that venue which makes it such a draw for those who are huge fans of comedy? As a performer, what is so captivating about stepping on stage in front of that diamond backdrop that alerts you to the importance of really delivering a memorable set?
KCA: The show was a fucking blast. It’s Caroline’s on Broadway. In some regard, it is it’s own credit. They put on great shows and you want to be one of those people who do a great job there.
RM: How do go about quantifying different aspects of your performances? (For example, how long does it take you to “retire a joke” or how long you can riff on the same subject on stage…) Are those things subject to some set of rules that you assign yourself, or do you more often than not commit to the side which is more dependent on the feel of each individual bit and live scenario?
KCA: Admit to yourself if something sucks. You’ll know in your heart if it does. Then move forward accordingly. That is the only rule.
RM: How frequently do you end up changing the sequence of bits in your set? Have you ever experienced a situation where you had a joke which wasn’t getting the response you were looking for, but then when you relocated it within the context of the rest of your material it began to hit much harder? Conversely, have you ever done the same thing and as a result the bit which you moved ended up falling completely flat?
KCA: It’s foolish if you don’t take order and pairing into consideration in anything creative. Order is important. When a new record comes out, a musician releases a hit single you can dance to or snap your fingers. Something upbeat. The serious track comes later. Pairing is also vital. No one orders steak and coffee because they don’t go well. Steak and mashed potatoes though…
RM: What do you we need to know about the Nice Podcast that you host with Neil Constantine? What types of things do you guys do on that show to create differentiation in a very crowded market; and why do you think the two of you work together so well on and off the air?
KCA: You’re hearing it here first: I quit the Nice Podcast. The Nice Podcast didn’t differentiate itself enough from the crowded market and I know a lot of other podcasts do the same. The only thing we had going for each other is that we are both really good on the fly. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. I consider Neil to be like family, but I’m done doing a podcast which doesn’t yield any serious returns. In general, I’m done podcasting for now.
RM: Other than Neil, who are three comedians in the New York City area you seem to connect with the most? What are some of the strengths each one of them has which command attention on stage in addition to causing you to be attracted to their personality when you aren’t working with them?
KCA: Lance Weiss. He’s a funny dude who is completely aware of where he is taking his audience. I’ve quoted more jokes of his than anyone else. Lance is alt comedy at its finest not done in enough clubs.
RM: What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of getting to do some of these comedy festivals? How much time do you spend away from the shows networking with other comics; and usually how consistent are the judges’ opinions with the quality of the material presented as well as whom the comedians think did the best job?
KCA: All the best comics are in NY/LA, so if you’re going to compete, go there. Doing a competition in Ohio would be like a grown man fist-fighting children at a playground. Sure, you won…but really though? Festivals are great because you get to go elsewhere, show people the finished product and go home loving the work you’ve been doing. You also get to meet and hang with like-minded folks during the day but do shows at night.
RM: At which aspect of stand-up do you feel like you have progressed with the greatest deal of ease? Why do you think that component of your act has improved more rapidly than the other elements of your comedy?
KCA: Hell if I know… Next question.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2016 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
KCA: I THOUGHT THIS SHIT WAS 10 QUESTIONS? It’s 10 answered questions now, because I skipped that last one. The remainder of 2016 is a mystery. But I suggest you keep checking my website because I will be releasing a lot of content in the coming months.
Official Website: http://kcarora.com/
KC on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kunalcarora
KC on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kcgotideas
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