Wednesday, April 9, 2008

INTERVIEW: Brendan Kennedy

Brendan Kennedy is a Philadelphia stand-up comedian that, because of his "mean-spirited" sense of humor, often performs in bars. He's in the group People Were Outraged with his friends Benny Michaels and Mike Rainey that will be performing Friday the 18th at the Walking Fish Theatre (2509 Frankford Ave.) with Jason Mackhouse and host Doogie Horner.

How and why did you get into stand-up?
I’ve always been writing comedy, even in essays. And in school they don’t really appreciate it in essay format, but I’ve always enjoyed comedy and always been a big fan of it. And I’ve always written skits and when I went to film school I always made funny videos unless they told me otherwise. And then eventually I got the balls and went up and did it on stage and it went well for the first time. I had a hand in my pocket and shaking, but people were laughing. I told some awful story about getting really drunk and taking a dump in the shower accidentally. (laughs) Yeah. And it went from there.

Is that still in your set?
No. I told it twice. At first I didn’t realize that comics are scumbags and they were the only ones laughing at it, so the second time they were like “we already heard that.” And that was that, it was over.

What is People Were Outraged?
It’s a comedy group made up me and my two friends Benny Michaels and Mike Rainey. The three of us, in addition to being relatively new, say horrendous things at a lot of clubs that a lot of audiences don’t appreciate it or want to hear. So we play a lot of bars and the three of us have the most fun on those shows when we are hanging out like that because we like busting on each others’ balls and ripping each other like that. And we all have the same sense of humor and don’t get offended like some people do, so it’s a really good time. And we figured it would be a good way to come together because if I can get five people out, Benny can get five people out and Mike can get five people out, that’s 15 people plus the twelve rooms than you almost have a packed, tiny neighborhood bar and it’s a good time.

So you’re performing at places that usually don’t have comedy?

Right, usually places will hire someone to play the piano and do Bon Jovi covers and play songs that drunk people want to hear, but we go up there and tell jokes that drunk people want to hear. There’s a little bit of pandering, but once you open them up they’re willing to listen to more experimental stuff and it’s fun.

Do you get a lot of hecklers?

Yeah, in a bar you do and I understand because if I wasn’t on stage than I would probably be a person yelling out at a bar show. So I like those people and I get along great with them and I love busting them back because I think that’s what most hecklers want, they just want to have fun and be a part of it. It’s [heckling] very rude when someone is up there and trying to do something serious, but in a bar... Usually I’m on a three foot by three foot box that’s twelve inches high, so that doesn’t really command respect and I really don’t care. It’s fun to just rip on them and have fun.

Do people know ahead of time that there’s a going to be comedy?

Yeah, the bars will usually put it like “Two dollar Jager bombs – Comedy Show.” (laughs) It’s always hilarious to me when a local looks up from the sports game on TV drunk to see you getting on stage. I actually had one guy go “oh, what the fuck.” But he was great because he started heckling with some funny stuff and it’s a comedy show, he’s saying funny stuff and as long as I come back with funny stuff it’s a good time for everybody. We talked about mittens because this guy was drunk with mittens on so I said “how are you wearing mittens and talking shit to anybody?”

What can people expect from your upcoming show at the Walking Fish Theatre?
You can expect awesomeness from one Mr. Jason Mackhouse. He’s been known as the King of Bombedy, aka Jason Mac-hizzle Mac-house. Pretty much he’s amazing. And if you’ve never seen him, he’s a 32 year-old stereotypical Jewish person who lives with his mother, works for the IRS, spent eight years in the military as a trained sniper and wears t-shirts with pictures of Darth Vader on them that he tucks into his sweatpants. And is going to be the greatest fucking thing ever. It’s going to be a fun show. Doogie [Horner] is hosting, Doogie’s hilarious. And Mike, Benny and I are looking forward to it because we like to be as uncensored and mean-spirited as possible, but it’s all a joke so anything you say mean at a comedy show should be taken as a joke. But we do a lot of shows where the crowd doesn’t know what’s happening, “oh, this guy’s really mean”, no, it’s a comedy club, did you not notice what happened when you walked in? Its mean humor and either people enjoy or it or they don’t. This will have people knowing what they are going to see and it should be pretty cool.


Brendan said...

“how are you wearing mittens and talking shit to anybody?” <--- I suck.

Clayface said...

Good interview.

Chip Chantry said...

Whenever I get sad, I just picture Brendan flying a bi-plane with the leather hat, goggles, and scarf.

Sometimes, he is smoking a corn-cob pipe.

clayface said...

I think YOU'RE smoking a corn-cob pipe, Chip. And it's filled with crack.