Culture Dose: Andy Kindler

A self-deprecating comedian brings the laughs to a Kirkland comedy club.

After a recent phone interview with Andy Kindler, my cheeks hurt. Having conducted dozens of interviews, I know these things can easily go either way. Thankfully, this chat was an especially pleasant (and funny) one.

Andy and I exchanged back-and-forth banter, and he kindly asked me nearly as many questions about my life as I asked about his. For someone with a reputation for being a “troublemaker” among comedy circles, Andy seems like a pretty nice guy.

You might recognize him from frequent stand-up spots on late-night shows like David Letterman, his recurring role as “Andy” on Everybody Loves Raymond or his gig as judge of the seventh season of Last Comic Standing. Originally from Queens, Andy moved to LA after a mentor from Binghamton University encouraged him to head west. Having played classic violin as a kid and later becoming a“singer-songwriter-guitarist guy” in college, he didn’t stumble upon stand-up until he moved to California post-college. These days he keeps busy playing voice actor on Fox’s animated Bob’s Burgers, planning upcoming shows in exotic locales like Melbourne, Australia, and, lucky for us, filling American comedy clubs with his unique brand of humor. He comes to Kirkland’s Laughs Comedy Spot Friday, March 9th and Saturday the 10th.

In his spare time, Andy comes up with catch phrases for future imaginary tours. They range from “Andy Kindler: Not Too Bad!” and the “Losing Momentum Tour” to this summer’s “The Schedule is Wide Open.” Andy explains his affinity for self-deprecating humor. “The more I make fun of myself, it softens the blow when I go after everyone else.”

Each summer at Montreal’s “Just For Laughs Festival,” Andy delivers the “State of the Industry” address to a packed room of Hollywood types, where he goes after the world of entertainment, including fellow comedians. He and Dane Cook recently sparred over Twitter; after Andy joked that Dane has his own font called “Sans Comic,” Dane tweeted back that Andy was going to “burn in Helvetica.” (Andy was impressed with the quick and witty response.)

Though Andy admits that the unpredictability of the entertainment industry  almost never ends, he feels lucky and blessed to have made a living doing what he loves since 1987. (He never enjoyed the office environment, instead preferring more social jobs like waiting tables.) Right now, he says, “Comedy is going through a good period.”

When asked how he gets material, Andy claims to be “pretty good at not coming up with jokes.” Instead he’s inspired while watching TV or when he or sees a billboard that gets him incensed (like the over-promotion of the sitcom Whitney, for example). Although he might tailor a bit of his material to fit the city in which he’s performing, Andy prefers not to force jokes that don’t pertain to 99.9% of the crowd. So what can spectators this weekend expect? Perhaps aside from a few quips about coffee and his idea to patent “sun DVDs,” likely not too many digs at the Pacific NW. He jokes, “Once you get your Costco bit in, where are you going to go?”

Although Andy hopes you’ll find him funny, don’t expect him to bully audience members into any sort of forced, trumped-up reaction. He says he’s from the “anti-bravado school of comedy,” and he actually does better when there’s less testosterone in audience. So no whooping or hollering necessary. “I want polite laughs and maybe people banging spoons against their cups…like they do at Jewish community events.”

Andy Kindler at Laughs Comedy Spot | March 9th – 10th | 12099 124th Ave. NE, Kirkland