Outside Lands 2015: Eight Quick Questions with Jen Kirkman

by Dakin Hardwick on August 6, 2015

Photo by Robyn von Swank

Photo by Robyn von Swank

Jen Kirkman is one of the funniest people out there right now. She’s also incredibly hard working… Her first book, I Can Barely Take Care Of Myself is a work of epic genius, and she seems to be the MVP of Comedy Central’s @midnight. She just premiered a special on Netflix called I’m Going To Die Alone (And I Feel Fine), which you can view the trailer to here.

Or, if you prefer to view people without a screen, she’s performing a stand up set at Outside Lands on Friday, as well as participating in Friday’s Uptown Showdown and Saturday’s ASSSCAT. (Click here for her Outside Lands schedule) If you aren’t coming out to the park, you can catch her on the road, as well. Those dates can be found here.

Spinning Platters had the pleasure of chatting with her recently.

What kind of direction are you taking for the next book?

The next book “I Know What I’m Doing (and other lies I tell myself)” has been written and is out in 2016. The direction I took on it is that I roam through topics but the theme is the same throughout—it’s basically a mid-life memoir of an unconventional adult. Also it’s a children’s book and a will have lots of pictures.

You’ve often spoke about the negative feedback you got over your decision not to have children. What kind of positive responses have you gotten from people?

I’m someone who probably here’s “your my spirit animal” more from my audience after shows than is normal for a comedian. The child-free make it known when they’re at a show. Usually they thank me for making them feel normal because their families give them shit at Christmas for not having kids. I can’t imagine how annoying that must be. My family has never tried to tell me what to do with my uterus. Oddly strangers at cocktail parties have.

How do your parents feel about you bringing them into your podcast?

My parents love it. My dad doesn’t really know what a podcast is but he knows he’s being talked about or occasionally broadcast to the world. My parents don’t understand what’s funny about them but they absolutely feel they deserve their “fame”

What advice would you give to an @midnight contestant in terms of training to win?

Try to win over that audience. It’s as important to getting points as having funny answers. If you can be charming after a dud joke Chris still might give you points.

You are going to be doing Outside Lands the same day as fellow @midnight champion Ron Funches. Will he need to be hiring extra security while he is there? Do you have any sort of rivalry with him?

Ron is one of my favorite people and we love each other. And he loves how my butt looks in jeans and he’s allowed to tell me so because he’s not a creep about it. He’s deeply feminist. That all being said when I see him at Outside Lands it should be interesting since we are competing head to head on @Midnight on August 4th. So if I win I’ll just taunt him at OSL. If he wins – he’ll need security.

Netflix seems to be slowly coming the “go to” place for people to premiere comedy specials. What prompted you to decide to do go this route?

I’ve wanted a Netflix special for a while. It was in the works for over a year before it aired. It’s a no brainer. It’s worldwide and its streaming. It’s available to most people 24/7/365. No commercials. No editing out swears. It’s how comedy should be watched on TV.

Music seems to be an important part of “I Seem Fun.” You also have some pretty deep and eclectic tastes. Can you name two or three records that you consider to be great that people might not be familiar with?

Betty Davis. Anything by her. Miles’s ex-wife. She’s raw and sexy and rivals Prince’s funk.

I love Seu Jorge’s Bowie covers in Portuguese just done on an acoustic guitar which people can find on the Life Aquatic movie soundtrack.

And Hole has a great messy B sides and demo album called My Body The Hand Grenade which I love. (Editor’s Note: This is probably the best thing Hole ever put out. It’s pretty fantastic)

If you could go back in time and see one comedian that died before you got to see them perform live, who would it be?

Lenny Bruce. He was the only person I listened to on comedy albums. I used to in college when I went to sleep every night. I’m sick of comics only saying he had a place in history. He’s also fucking funny and yes has jokes. I know he’s one of those comics that you have to see “live” to really experience. He was always improvising. And he gave us all every freedom we now have.  And he was sexy as hell. You’ll never see Lenny Bruce in a long ZZ Top beard and plaid shirt.

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