The State of Andy Kindler

May 25, 2018


Valerie Lopez


Lara Smith


2018 Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Series

We are com­ing to the con­clu­sion of our 2018 Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val cov­er­age, so we thought we should close with a Moon­tow­er favorite: the beloved Andy Kindler. I have seen Andy Kindler each year that I’ve been to Moon­tow­er and it’s always a thrill-ride, so I was delight­ed to be a fly on the wall for his inter­view with Valerie Lopez. I was unsure whether the inter­view would be an engag­ing con­ver­sa­tion or more thrill-ride (either way, I was game), but Kindler was quick to tell us he doesn’t like it when peo­ple are always on.” What I believe you will hear and learn is that he is both, mak­ing for one thrilling conversation.

Kindler recalls his first comedic mem­o­ry around the age of five, rid­ing in a car with his fam­i­ly, when he mis­pro­nounced a bill­board and it got a huge laugh. There it was, that warm feel­ing that so many come­di­ans describe of the first time they learned the pow­er of cre­at­ing joy in others…at age five. He recalls watch­ing Jack­ie Glea­son, Ed Sul­li­van, Mary Tyler Moore, and Dick Van Dyke as a kid. He was not a fan of The Three Stooges, not nec­es­sar­i­ly because of the slap­stick, but more due to the mean-spir­it­ed vio­lence they used to elic­it laugh­ter. Remem­ber this, because I think this says a lot, even to this day, about Andy Kindler’s comedic sensibilities.

While Kindler has con­fi­dence as a per­former, hav­ing had man­ners and polite­ness drilled into him as a child, he still feels the desire for peo­ple to like him. Though he has long been self aware, you might be sur­prised to learn that he only recent­ly began ther­a­py for the first time in his life. It seems to have made him more aware of find­ing this bal­ance between the desire to be liked and the desire to per­form very hon­est, stream of con­scious­ness com­e­dy. Kindler says, I want the audi­ence to love me, but I don’t want to be a clown for them. I want them to love me for what I’m doing on my own terms.” In the process of defin­ing those terms, Kindler some­times ques­tions the tac­tics of oth­er comedians.

I want the audi­ence to love me, but I don’t want to be a clown for them. I want them to love me for what I’m doing on my own terms.” Andy Kindler
In the past year, Kindler has been in a rather high-pro­file Twit­ter bat­tle with Ricky Ger­vais. Remem­ber that comedic sen­si­bil­i­ty I men­tioned before? Andy Kindler doesn’t con­sid­er mean-spir­it­ed com­e­dy fun­ny, but rather a crutch for some­one who is not real­ly a com­ic. Ger­vais’ most recent com­e­dy spe­cial spends a large part of the time mak­ing jokes at the expense of the trans­gen­der com­mu­ni­ty, to which he has seen quite a back­lash. Kindler feels Ger­vais is just try­ing to find the last group that you can mock, as opposed to just writ­ing some mate­r­i­al.” Now ask­ing, Who is Andy Kindler to say what is fun­ny?” is like ask­ing Who is Anna Win­tour to say what is fash­ion?” The indus­try has spo­ken, because Kindler has been doing The State of the Indus­try at Montréal’s Just For Laughs fes­ti­val for over twen­ty years.

Start­ing out per­form­ing in the­ater as a child all the way through col­lege, and lat­er becom­ing a musi­cian, the ground­work was laid for Kindler to be a pro­fes­sion­al per­former. Kindler’s com­e­dy is so well writ­ten, yet so stream of con­scious­ness, that it is very dif­fi­cult to tell what is off-the-cuff and what is writ­ten mate­r­i­al. He floats between both so seam­less­ly, using tricks of the trade to hide notes on stage. He admits that, for act­ing, where things are heav­i­ly script­ed, he has strug­gled through his ADHD, to get lines down. With a huge IMDB list of cred­its, includ­ing the Show­time series I’m Dying Up Here and his recur­ring role as Mort on Bob’s Burg­ers, he has clear­ly found tricks to over­come that difficulty.

Our inter­view with Andy Kindler was such a fan­tas­tic expe­ri­ence, rang­ing from dis­cus­sions of the state of com­e­dy, math, ther­a­py, all the way into phi­los­o­phy. It should be no sur­prise that he also has his own pod­cast apt­ly named, Thought Spi­ral and if you hap­pen to be in LA, go see his Par­tic­u­lar Show. Now it’s time for you to go lis­ten to Valerie’s inter­view and see why we at Com­e­dy Wham trea­sure Andy Kindler’s appear­ances each year at Moontower.

Andy Kindler