In the Philadelphia comedy scene, some people perform because it's fun and others want to be famous. But there is only one comedian that specifically talks about his attempts at fame on stage. That would be 2008's Philly's Phunniest winner and Birmingham, Alabama native Kent Haines. Tonight his run of his monthly talk show "Why Am I Not Famous?!?", in which he would strive to become famous in a different way each month, comes to an end at The Actor's Center (257 North 3rd) at 8PM. We caught up with Kent over e-mail recently to talk about the show.
1. Why are you ending "Why Am I Not Famous?!?"
Well, I set out to become famous, and that has not happened. So I'm taking my ball and going home. You guys can just play tag if you want to hang out with each other so bad. The actual answer is that I am going to grad school starting in July and I won't have time to write the show anymore.
2. What is the main thing that you learned from doing this show over the past year?
I've found that often the best way to write something is to force an inescapable deadline on yourself. I started the show because I wanted to write a form of comedy other than stand-up, and I feel pretty happy with some of the things I've done as a result. If I didn't start from the beginning saying "Ok, it's a monthly show," I would have bailed on these ideas over and over. Every month I think about canceling the show, and then every month I have a super fun time. But now I am canceling the show. If there's a lesson in there, I'm missing it.
3. Do you think you've become any more famous because of the show?
Judging from the audience I pull each month, there is nothing that has helped my fame less. But with any luck it will become legendary over the years, like that first Velvet Underground show.
4. Last Sunday you brought the show in New York City. How did that go?
New York was really great! I had Max Silvestri and Lance Rubin on the show, both of whom are excellent comedians. A lot of old friends from high school and college came out to see it, which led to a weird iteration of the standard reunion. Less "let's hang out" and more "let's watch me!!!"
5. Do you have any favorite moments from the show? Favorite guests?
The best part of the show has been booking my friends, so basically all of my guests have been great (except Johnny Goodtimes, who I rebuke and shun forevermore). Some of my favorite moments were singing along with political candidate Eugene Grant (Kevin Scott), watching the Extraordinaires turn the whole crowd into diehard fans in two songs' time, and arguing with Aaron Hertzog. But those all sound boring if you didn't see them, so I'll add shoving a dildo through one of Doogie Horner's books.
6. Where does Kent Haines' career go from here? What will you do now to become famous?
I think I'm going to go the Sasha Grey route for the next couple years. "Oh my god, he bangs people and reads books! What an enigma!"