Myq Kaplan

photo by Mindy Tucker

Photo by Mindy Tucker

Myq Kaplan is one of the brightest young comedians out there. The 2010 Last Comic Standing Finalist has an unmistakable style, and is one of my personal favorites. I was lucky enough to sit down with Myq during the Moontower Comedy and Oddity fest. Kaplan is doing it all. He’s set to release a new comedy album June 11th, and you can catch him live on Conan TONIGHT!

I first saw you perform on Comedy Central’s LIVE AT GOTHAM. How did you get your start in comedy?

I went to college up in Boston, then started grad school in 2000. I was a singer songwriter for a while (and still am). 2002, I was in grad school around age 24 when I started pursuing comedy in Boston at a place called THE COMEDY STUDIO, and then found out about all these other places up there. And that is the answer to that question.

I did that LIVE AT GOTHAM around 2008, taped it in March, aired in June, and basically moved to New York right after that.

Were you a funny kid?

I don’t think most people would’ve said I was a funny kid. I was pretty quiet. When you’re small, like 5, 6, 7, 8, most kids don’t have a good sense of humor. You laugh at farts then when you become a grown up you’re like, “Oh I can do that again, good.” There’s some period in the middle when you’re like, “No fart jokes!” Maybe not for everyone. Some people might love fart jokes forever, but for me, there was a period where I thought I was too good for them. I know now I was wrong.

I went to this summer camp where I sort of blossomed socially during high school so I feel like I definitely started to do things I thought were funny, and some people might also think were funny, but other people might be like, “That’s annoying.”

So over the course of my life as a comedian, I’m becoming a funnier person as I become a better comedian. Some people have the goal of having the person on stage match the person you are off stage. I’m doing the other thing. My person off stage has become the person I am on stage all the time! That is sort of a joke, but I am kind of like meeting in the middle. imagesI’ve heard that Lewis Black said something like, “If your personality is like a bunch of slices of pie (of different characteristics and traits) then your stand up persona is like 1 or 2 of those and amped up.” But then over time, the more you focus on those characteristics the more you become that character. You know, like in the way that Andrew Dice Clay will seem more like his character than he probably was in the past.

You should see how well I ask questions in my everyday life.

I want to. So no, not a super funny kid.

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They Are Opposites

Opposites, a two man improv troupe, performs each and every Wednesday night at The New Movement theater in downtown Austin, Texas. If you attended the show, you didn’t witness any punchlines, they didn’t go for any cheap jokes. There was no steady, comfortable rhythm of laughter to settle in to.

And that’s what made it great.

Patrick Knisely and Mark Carpenter aren’t afraid to venture into those dark corners, those uncomfortable weird silences, and dedicate themselves fully to their character and scene. The performance had that suck-you-in kind of realism that a lot of comedy fails to achieve. And when a laugh out loud moment does happen on stage, it’s that much funnier, as it is in real life. Think about it, if people went around farting constantly, it wouldn’t be funny. What makes a fart funny and not just plain disgusting is timing, and the more unexpected the better. And it’s best when a fart breaks up a dramatic moment. It’s a quick reminder that we’re just a bunch of filthy animals. Opposites seems more concerned with exploring relationships than trying to be funny, providing their audience a much more fulfilling comedic experience.

And Knisely and Carpenter aren’t limited by being a two man troupe. Towards the end of the show, Mark and Patrick called back two of their characters created from previous scenes, and did a masterful job of juggling four characters at once, each speaking for two characters, switching seamlessly back and forth on stage. I spoke to Carpenter and Knisely before the show:

Describe Opposites in a sentence.

PK: Two guys who can’t connect in real life because of their differences do an improvised show and connect through performance.

MC: Opposites is the most dramatically comical world that two guys can conjure up in a thirty minute show without alienating their audience too much.

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