Wednesday, June 17, 2009

SIX QUESTIONS WITH: Jeff Kreisler

Whether it's steroids, cooking the financial books, or test scores, cheating is prevalent in today's America. In Get Rich Cheating, New York comedian Jeff Kreisler tackles this theme in satirical detail that will empower you to be all that you can be by doing what you shouldn't.

Kreisler will be performing comedy and reading from his book at Milkboy Coffee in Ardmore tonight.


How do you define "cheating" in your book?
Cheating is defined by poor-people dictionaries as "Deception by trickery, fraud, and dishonesty." Not in Get Rich Cheating, a safe place, without judgments or preconceived notions of "right" and "wrong." Cheating is broadly defined by the Cheaters English Dictionary (C.E.D.) as "Awesome personal gain by means that are illegal, immoral, and fun."

In our current economy, what's the best way for a regular person without high-profile connections to cheat/scam?
Assuming steroids are out... stalk a celebrity, accuse him or her of doing something outrageous, get on TMZ, create your own publicity, write a book or get a TV show or charge appearance fees because now you're "famous." Or, if you don't like pop culture, start a company, get investors, file fake financial figures, get a bonus, declare bankruptcy, get a bailout, get fired, get a $40 million severance. It's so easy! Everyone's doing it.

How did your background as a comedian help you in writing this book (if at all)?
It prevented me from crying. Seriously, as I researched the book, I found that cheating was so pervasive - from parents lying out their children's health to get them more time to take the SATs to the President - that I had to laugh... and channel it into what the kids call "satire."

Do comedians cheat?
Sure. Stealing jokes. That's a pretty simple cheat. Not gonna get too rich off that, but start there, then steal an act, then a script, then the skies the limit.

Do you explore the themes of this book in your stand-up?
I've always explored hypocrisy and the abuse of power in my act, and that's a big part of cheating. Now that I've written the book, I'm trying to incorporate cheating more into my act. I'm actually putting together a whole show "Get Rich Cheating" for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August (man, that's soon).

Who is getting away with the most in the U.S. right now?
Investment banks. They just move money around, skimming off the top. Then, when they mess up, they get bailed out. Then they fudge their financials so it looks like they're doing well enough to give back the bailout money, mostly because they don't want to be told how much they can pay themselves. Banking used to be boring, now it's the best way to Get Rich Cheating.

Of course, there's also oil companies, and credit cards, and the pharmaceuticals... I've got about 336 pages chock full of who's getting away with the most...