Myq Kaplan a comedian named Myq Kaplan (pronounced “Mike Kaplan”). The Comedians magazine calls him “a comedy machine, in the best possible way. The way that some machines vend soda or prevent other machines from killing future revolutionaries – that’s how Myq Kaplan does comedy: relentlessly, methodically, unblinkingly.” Myq just made his debut on “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien,” and his half-hour “Comedy Central Presents” special debuts on April 30, 2010 (part of a year in which Punchline Magazine says to watch out for Myq). He has also appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham,” at the New Faces show of the 2009 Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, was voted 2008’s Best Local Comedian in the Boston Phoenix, and won the 2009 NY’s Funniest Standup Competition. A Jewy-ish vegan atheist who spells the name “Mike” weird, Myq enjoys words, social justice, Netflix, and comic books. Also non-comic books, ping-pong, and being great with women. And grammar and run-on sentence fragments. And of course, being hilarious to his demographic, which is anyone who might know the word “demographic.”What/who inspired you to do what you do?
My parents inspired/forced me to play the violin at age 4. My disdain for the violin inspired me to take up the guitar in high school. My love of writing songs inspired me to find places to perform them, which brought me to the Comedy Studio in Cambridge, MA. Performing songs in that comedy club inspired me to write jokes, so I wouldn't always need to carry the guitar around. So, I came to comedy because of a combination of disdain for music, love of music, and laziness.
How long has your career lasted?
I've been pursuing standup seriously for between six and seven years now, and intend to keep making it last longer and longer.(Though asking "how long has it LASTED" makes it seem so final, like it's going to end at any moment. Do you know something I don't know? Sorry to turn the questions around on the interviewer. The hunter has become the hunted!)
Where have you traveled with your talents?
Everywhere I have traveled, I have traveled with my talents. Except before I had them. Unless you think talent is entirely genetic and not environmentally nurtured at all. (I'll skip my travels from the womb to college and start with where my comedy career as taken me.) I've performed at festivals, clubs, competitions, colleges in cities like Seattle, DC, Boston, Houston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, LA, and states (where the name of the particular cities wouldn't have as much punch to them) like Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maryland, and few, few more.
What's your next destination? If you could choose your next destination.
I can choose my next destination.I'm going to Atlanta, Savannah, and Athens, GA next week, performing a few different places with and without Todd Barry.
Where is your favorite spot to perform and why?
The Comedy Studio in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA is my favorite. I started out there, I hosted shows there for over a year with my comedic partner Micah Sherman, and whenever I return to the Boston area, I love performing there. The audiences are always enthusiastic, smart, and love comedy. Rick Jenkins, the owner, has done a fantastic job of cultivating a venue where the talent and the audiences always have a wonderful time. Also, I just moved down to NYC recently, and I'm still maneuvering through the gigantic quantities of places there are to perform down here, so I'm sure I'll have more and more favorites here as time goes on. So far, some places I really enjoy performing include Comix, Caroline's, UCB, the PIT, and loads of other places where I've performed in the past, and more where I'll perform in the future.
Who is your favorite obscure artist/comic/performer to work with?
Obscurity can be relative, I imagine, so I hope I'm answering this question appropriately...For example, Patton Oswalt might be an obscure name to the mainstream public, but in the comedy world, he's deservedly a giant (metaphorically). So, as far as obscurity more objectively defined by a context of comedy savvy, I'd say my favorite obscure artist/comic/performer to work with or just watch is Zach Sherwin, who goes by the comedy rap name MC Mr. Napkins. He is hilarious, brilliant, and prolific, always coming up with new unique hip-hop comedy fare, and in addition to being a super talented performing artist, he is a super human being as well. (Not super-human like he has powers, unless coming up with awesome rhymes is a superpower, but just a human being who is super.)
It's hard to pick a favorite. I've worked with so many people who I respect, whose comedy I love.Louis CK, Patton Oswalt, Mike Birbiglia, Emo Philips, Andy Kindler, Marc Maron, these are all people I hugely enjoy and have been thrilled to have the pleasure of working with.
What's it like being 'on the road'?
I take it by the quotations around "on the road" that you don't specifically mean what is it like to be driving a car towards other cities where I am scheduled to do comedy (though that's a large portion of what being on the road consists of--listening to lots of music and podcasts, using lots of daytime cellphone minutes, being happy that cruise control was invented)... It's great, having my job consist of just driving places and talking. I like visiting new places, I like going back to places I've been, I like meeting comedians and fans from all over, I like getting to stay in some nice hotels, I like getting to check out of some other hotels, I like Netflix. I've been fortunate that I don't have to be traveling all the time, so it's easier to be positive given that I'm only traveling maybe a week or two a month, if that, and often it's not too far. Starting comedy in the Boston area was great, because there are road gigs within a couple hours in every direction, in all the surrounding states, and New York is similar. So, if I had to be away from home more than half the time, maybe I'd feel differently, but so far, so good, it's been fun going somewhere, doing what I love doing, and then being back at home.
Does being a comic heighten or hinder your chances of having a meaningful relationship?
I'd say it's different for everyone.For some people (comics or not), being THEMSELVES hinders their chances of having a meaningful relationship. Certainly the amount of time spent out at night working at comedy can be a hindrance to a relationship, but if everyone in the relationship understands and prioritizes appropriately, there's no reason why comedy and romance can't coexist. (Unless you're ugly.)
Ever had a heckler and if so, how did you handle it?
Are you asking me to heckle you? That's stupid. You're stupid, stupid.(How was that? Was that a good heckle? I apologize if you weren't asking me to heckle you.) Of course I've had hecklers. At the best clubs, heckling isn't tolerated at all, and often management will deal with it, by asking people to be quiet or leave if they're out of hand. That makes sense. You can't go the symphony and judge the first violinist based on how well he does or doesn't dispatch a jerk in the crowd.
That said, I'll usually just try to understand what the heckler is saying (physically if they're drunk which is often, and also what message they're trying to get across). Usually it's dumb and people don't want them to be talking if they're enjoying the show, so you can just tell them to stop because people hate them and they're ugly. In a hilarious way. That's how I handle it.
Ever been on TV? Radio? Describe one or both.
I'll describe both. A television is a small box with a picture window on it, and you can hit buttons to make different pictures dance across the window. A radio is smaller, usually more rectangular, but basically the same as a television, minus the picture, so it's just dancing sounds. And yes, I have myself been the dancing pictures and sounds once or twice. I was on "Live at Gotham" on Comedy Central, and I've been on a number of radio shows and internet pod casts, including Comical Radio, Keith and the Girl, In the Tank with Jon Fisch, and some, some more! (Sorry I didn't describe what the internet was. But you didn't ask.)
Are you consistent with your material or do you like to change it constantly, what are the ingredients?
I'm a vegan so I don't use any ingredients with meat in them. But you're probably asking metaphorically, so I'll address the beginning part of the question now. I'm always writing new jokes and trying them out at open mics and getting the best ones in shape to use in my act for more significant performances.I certainly wouldn't want to just tell the same jokes over and over forever, because part of what's rewarding about doing comedy is coming up with new ideas and sharing them, the process of creating and perfecting and then getting sick of and then starting over.
Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
Being a psychic. (And it all started here!)