Andy Kindler will tell you flat out that he's a troublemaker. "I can open up any can of worms and get people upset," the comedian says by phone as we discuss his upcoming return to Austin. If it weren't enough that his "Hack's Handbook: A Starter Kit," written for National Lampoon in 1991, called out his fellow comics on every lazy gag and tired premise they lean on, his "State of the Industry" speech, delivered annually at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, savages the most popular and successful of his peers. That said, Kindler's grasp of what's truly funny – and ability to dissect it, even as he's performing his own act – has also earned him the title of "comedian's comedian." If you missed either of his visits for the Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival (where he spent much of his act at Stateside hilariously kvetching about the crowd lined up next door to see Aziz Ansari), you owe it to yourself to catch him during his four-night stand at Cap City Comedy Club. Here are some snippets of our wide-ranging conversation, which covered his love of Austin, Texas politics, and, naturally, comedy.
"I don't see a lot of difference between something like South by Southwest and Comicon now. They've both been taken over by the movie studios, and everything somehow gets connected to superhero movies. So it's just good to be a festival where no one is dressed up as Iron Man 7 or Wonder Woman 2."
On San Antonio:
"I was in San Antonio, playing a club there, and I tweeted something like 'All 18 Obama supporters will be at the club tonight,' and someone got [upset] – people love to go after me on Twitter – and they're like, 'We're a very progressive city. We have a mayor who's ... progressive, so.' I have never been accused of being that informed. What, are you gonna hold me to facts now? I can't do a 'Texas is rednecky' joke?"
On the "State of the Industry":
"This year, what I think I'm gonna do in the speech is a 'Farewell to Leno,' 'cause I think he might be retiring for real. My favorite current Leno joke, which will be in the speech, is: 'I'd like to do my impression of Jay Leno, if he was a comedian. Jay Leno ... if he ... was a comedian.' And then I tell the audience, 'The joke is now over. I know many of you did not realize it's over. The joke is finished. We are in the afterglow of the joke.' I started doing the speech in 1995, which is unbelievable. After a couple of years, the head of the festival said, 'Maybe, uhhhhhh, maybe cut back on the Leno, on the anti-Leno,' and I never have."
On his own career:
"As I get older and have more experience in life, the type of things that you dream about – we'd all like to be wealthy beyond our wildest dreams on some level. We know all the stories of how people got all this money and success, and it did not make them happy, so we know it doesn't make you happy. But letting go of the results of what you're doing is so important. Like this happens in supermarkets all the time: People are like, 'Whatever happened to you?' I'm still doing what I've always wanted to do, and how big it gets or how much money I make for it or how popular I am in the public's eye is really not that important, even though it's hard to let that go. I just feel like, if I can keep doing what I'm doing and also have a legacy – that's why I'm making a CD this summer. I just want there to be more of a record of what I've done. I'm not dying, in case you're worried. I'm fine."
Andy Kindler performs June 26-29, Wednesday-Thursday, 8pm; Friday-Saturday, 8 & 10:30pm, at Cap City Comedy Club, 8120 Research. For more information, call 512/467-2333 or visit www.capcitycomedy.com.
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