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Shout Outs to Kevin Lockard

June 8, 2011

This week’s Shout Out is all about

Kevin Lockard

Kevin’s an American comic who I’ve been in contact with, and I picked is brain with a few questions about stand-up comedy.  Here is a clip of his stand-up:

Kevin Lockard – American & Short from Kevin Lockard on Vimeo.

And now, 12 questions with Kevin Lockard.

What made you decide to start performing stand-up comedy?

My love of stand-up comedy started when I was a kid growing up in Northern Virginia. A friend of mine had gotten his hands on Brian Regan’s classic CD “Brian Regan Live,” and I just could not believe that somebody could be that funny. After that, I started watching as much stand-up as I could. I used to love watching the “Comedy Central Presents” specials in high school, and was a regular patron of the Washington DC Improv. I did a lot of improv comedy growing up, but stand-up always seemed like an impossible task. It was a Bill Cosby show my senior year of college which really pushed me over the edge into trying it. I was so impressed that a man his age could do two hours so effortlessly, and have someone 50 years younger than him laughing the entire time. After that, I decided that it was something I really wanted to try. I started by taking a course at the DC Improv the summer after graduating college. The next fall, I was going to move to Dublin, Ireland to pursue a master’s degree. I have continued performing regularly in Dublin, and have found it to be an absolutely fantastic city for someone to start doing comedy in.

Can you name a couple of comics you look up to and why you admire them?

My absolute favourite comedian is Brian Regan. I admire him for being able to keep his act as funny as he does while working so squeaky clean. I also really admire him for making it to the level he has without the aid of a TV show or movie career. Acting is not something that interests me, so to see somebody make it without using that to build an audience is very inspiring. I also really like Patrice O’Neal. He just makes it look so easy.

One word answer: What do you consider the hardest part of performing stand-up comedy?

Writing

One word answer: What do you consider the best part of performing stand-up comedy?

Killing

What is the worst/funniest experience you have had while performing at a comedy show?

One of the biggest bombs I’ve ever had was in the small Irish town of Navan. It was a Halloween show, and the audience was all dressed up, which turned out to be the worst part – it was just a sea of bumblebees and pirates and vampires looking up at me angrily. It’s pretty embarrassing to be judged so harshly by a roomful of people dressed so ridiculously, it was pretty surreal.

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Of course, the obvious piece of advice that anybody will give is that you need to get on stage as much as possible. To this you need to hone in on a solid 5-7 minutes of stuff so that you can show bookers you are a solid open spot. So many new acts will keep performing the same jokes over and over when they aren’t getting any laughs, and it’s hard to keep getting stage time if that is what you’re doing. Record yourself, either audio or video, and critique your sets. If something isn’t working, either drop it or rework it, but a joke isn’t going to magically go from no laugh to huge laugh just through confidence of having performed it a bunch of times. Only spend time polishing jokes you think are worth it. If something isn’t working, make sure you’re setting it up so that the audience sees it the same way you do. Chris Rock had an excellent quote in the recent “Talking Funny” HBO special about that –“If I set this premise up right, this joke will ALWAYS work.”

That was significantly more than one piece of advice, but I’m a rebel and I don’t follow the rules.

Name three movies, TV shows, or books that you go to when you want to have a good hard laugh.

I grew up on “The Simpsons”, so definitely the first 10 years or so of that. I’ve seen “The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Movie” so many times I can pretty much recite it from memory. Louis CK’s new series “Louie” is also absolutely fantastic.

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

My current day job is pretty weird – I’m a professional video game programmer. And to answer your next question, yes I do get laid a lot.

What kind of humour bores you?

I’m not very interested in politics, so I find a lot of political comedy fairly boring. I grew up just outside of Washington DC, where you just get hammered with politics constantly, so I’m just over it and I don’t really care anymore. I’ll probably become more interested as I grow older.

What 5 comics, dead or alive, would you book for your vision of a perfect stand-up show?

Brian Regan, Greg Giraldo, Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, Daniel Tosh

What is your favourite comedy album?

Definitely “Brian Regan Live.” It was the first one I ever heard, and it still makes me laugh every single time. His newest album “All By Myself” is also fantastic. I’m also really enjoying the debut albums of a lot of the currently emerging generation of comedians – Anthony Jeselnik – “Shakespeare,” Hannibal Buress – “My Name Is Hannibal,” Chris Fairbanks – “Fairbanks!,” Matt Braunger – “Soak Up the Night,” and Amy Schumer – “Cutting” all come to mind.

Do you have any topics that you consider off-limits in your act?

As long as I can make it funny, nothing is off limits. When I started I was pretty clean, but I’m starting to drift more towards my sense of humor when I’m off stage, which can be a bit more blue. It can be difficult though, when most of my material is pretty clean, and then I whip an AIDS joke out of nowhere. It can be jarring for an audience, so I have to make sure they’re on my side before I go trying anything too wacky.

____________________________________________

Thanks a lot, Kevin for your time and insight.

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