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Low Times Mean Good Times With Andy Kindler, Part 1

April 1st, 2008 10:39am EDT
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Andy KindlerThere seems to be a relationship between the state of comedian Andy Kindler's career and the state of American culture. The worse the economy, the less informative the news, and the poorer the satire, the more opportunities Andy gets. This past month alone Andy has been on Letterman, Comedy Central's The Root of all Evil, and was even profiled by the LA Times. "To a man like me," says Andy, "Who brings joy to the non-masses, I'm going to be able to profit during down times." What's down, what's coming, and what's funny about it is the subject of this Starpulse Q and A with comedian Andy Kindler.

I’m talking with Andy Kindler.
Hey, come on, what more could you… you know what I’m saying.

Exactly.
That’s all you need.

Certainly.
All you need is love in a conversation with Andy Kindler.

Do you really think that about love?
I think The Beatles said ‘All You Need is Love'. I say it’s not enough! You also need the comedy of Andy Kindler. The comedy of Andy Kindler would also help. It couldn’t hurt.

Now, people are going to see the comedy of Andy Kindler on The Root of All Evil.
Can you believe it? Eat your heart out, Kharakh.

How many episodes are you going to be on the Root of all Evil?
I’m on two episodes, I’m on tonight’s episode where I argue, do you know the, no, it’s tomorrow’s episode where I argue against Greg Giraldo, you know how it’s spelled. Comedian Greg Giraldo who argues that Viagra is the root of all evil, while I argue that Donald Trump is the root of all evil, and then I argue in a later episode that American Idol is the root of all evil, and Patton Oswalt wears some kind of three piece racketeering suit that makes him look as if he’s the world’s most compact machine gun, I don’t know what’s he’s going for, machine gunnist, I don’t know what his look is exactly an accountant from the 30’s? He argues that High School is the root of all evil.

Greg’s got some experience in the courtroom as a former lawyer. What do you bring to the table?
I bring somebody who didn’t go to law school, so my mind is not filled up with all kinds of legalities and legalese and court information. I’m able to use pure emotion and my ability to be I’m inarticulate yet expressive.

Is there a root to all the evil?
I don’t think that there is one root of all, well, actually, right now I would say Entertainment Weekly. Because they had, and I’m not going to argue with you about this because I know how you feel about it, but the fact that they had Seth Meyers, and I like Amy Poehler, but to have them on the cover and later say that Saturday Night Live is the cutting edge of political comedy, that is the root of all evil. The embracing of things that aren’t the greatest things and the people in that profession as the greatest things when they are not is the root of all evil. I thought Saturday Night Live should have been canceled in 1982, no no I love Will Ferrell, sorry, I lied, but, anyway, it is constantly ruined year in and year out by the insufferable preference of Lorne Michaels. Saturday Night Live is not a place where political satire is being executed. Steven Colbert is executing political satire every night. Did you see the one where they did the 3 AM speech to parody?

No, what did they do?
They had this speech open and Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton saying, “I am Hillary Clinton and I approved this misleading and deceiving ad”. That is not political satire. You don’t just describe the event. That’s like saying, “I’m Hillary Clinton and I’m a mean person”. No, that’s not satire. Satire is when you exhibit the behavior of the characters that you’re satirizing and not when someone just says, "It's satire." Also, Tina Fey... did you watch the night where she gave her Pro-Hillary Clinton?

No, I’m a terrible entertainment reporter.
Terrible, unbelievable, do you watch any entertainment at all? Or are you in some kind of college basketball fantasy league?

I’m living in a vacuum.
Well, then let’s talk about vacuums. No, she gave a pro-Hillary speech right before Ohio and Texas and I believe that she actually is pro-Hillary and I believe that Barack Obama is the hope of our nation. So, Tina Fey’s speech, I believe, helped swing Ohio and Texas because even though a lot of people don’t watch Saturday Night Live, NBC also owns MSNBC, and they were talking about it on MSNBC, which people watched and then went out and voted in the polls. So Tina Fey is the root of all evil. It’s because of her that Hillary Clinton might get the nomination. I don’t even think she will, but if she does I blame it on Tina Fey.

You're often exposing the flaws of comedy and, in this case, satire. How do you think satire ought to be done?
I always think comedy should be done by me and people like me: Sweaty, unsure of themselves, tentative, and nervously looking side to side. That’s the kind of comedy I like. As soon as you see any exhibiting appearance of bravado that’s when you know you’re in for a rough night. So whether it’s Dane Cook in front of and- you know Dane Cook’s new concert is going to be in front of 18 million people, right?

What?!
He rented out the entire nation of China. And he’s doing a concert for the entire nation of China. I think that there’s a chance that they’re leveling Tibet right now. A lot of the reason that there are all kinds of strife in Tibet is that they’re getting ready for a Dane Cook concert. They're clearing out monks from Tibet for a huge Dane Cook concert. Is that the wrong thing to say? I don’t want to make light of the Tibet situation, Ben. If that is your name!

With all the coverage now being focused on the amount of money the Elliot Spitzer prostitute is making, who knows what’s happening in Tibet?
That’s the main thing to do: keep focusing on Elliot Spitzer, Spritzer. I used to order the Elliot Spritzer when I would be in bars and it was a delicious drink. That’s a smoke screen. Don’t let them fool you, Ben!

Some say that it was in the late 80’s when news shows started doing teasers to get people to watch, that the first step to going downhill was taken and that what we've had since than is a news media dominated by ratings.
I agree with him. And in the same way that he says that’s when things went downhill for news, I feel the same way about Entertainment Tonight and Extra and Access Hollywood. In the old days they would do in depth reporting about Mariah Carey’s trip to her dog’s groomer. Now, with all the teases, by the time they get to the story you don’t really know what happened with Mariah Carey and her dog. And that’s a shame and a tragedy. In depth entertainment reporting is gone! That ship has sailed.

You’re a reporter yourself for Letterman.
I consider myself a journalist.

If you could do an in depth investigation of an issue, what issue would it be?
I would investigate the different Ray’s Pizzas in New York. I believe that when we all talk about Ray’s in loving ways that the original is on 6th Avenue and 11th Street. That’s what I say. I would also investigate the use of words like famous and original. And also I would uncover this whole thing about ‘deluxe’. Something’s ‘deluxe’ or when they say ‘luxury apartment’ and it’s not a luxury apartment. Those are the kinds of hard hitting items that I’d investigate. The willful misuse of adjectives to mislead.

It sounds like bravado showing up in another event to ruin things.
Yes, exactly. I think you put your finger on whatever it is you put your finger on normally.

The pulse?
The pulse. Yes, you’ve put your fingers on the pulse of the nation. The problem is that the nation does not have one pulse. That’s the problem with that whole theory. I don’t know if you thought it through when you started with it. How can you put your finger on the pulse of something when there are so many people? Unless you were to tie those people up together, somehow connect their pulse.

That’s another thing I’m sick of. The misuse of terms that aren’t real. "Pulse of the Nation." "Give me a break." That’s another guy I need to investigate, that guy on Channel 7 with the mustache. What's his name?

John Stossel.
Yeah. "Give me a break." No, you give me a break John Stossel." That’s what I would say to him. I’m sorry if that one hurt, he had it coming.

What about him would you investigate?
The fact that he’s annoying. And he’s a right wing blowhard. And the fact that his mustache- I think there’s some manipulation going on there. I have some inside information from that same fake person who claimed to have seen that thing that didn’t happen to Richard Gere. They told me that John Stossel pencils in his horribly ugly mustache. I’m not saying there’s no mustache there. I’m saying he enhances it.

Have you ever had any sort of creative facial hair?
Yes, when I was in college. First I went with the beard mustache combination because I was a hippie. You wouldn’t remember these things because you’re 12 years old and you don’t know anything. That first president that you remember was George W. Bush. That was the first president you remember. That’s how young you are.

Andy Kindler

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