Jen Kirkman Brings Comedy to Congress

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ROBYN VON SWANK
  • ROBYN VON SWANK

It’s pretty hot right now. So, any chance for a laugh, one that isn’t caused by manic dehydration, is to be cherished. Luckily for us, comedian and all around funny lady Jen Kirkman is coming to Congress this Friday.

Kirkman utilizes self-analyzation and observations on society to create stand up that is easily relatable and humble. Her brand of comedy has her put herself completely on the line, giving her ego up to the audience and landing successfully. It works, because many of us are way too consumed with stubborn pride to say what’s on our minds. It feels good to laugh at ourselves with the safety of an entertainer as an outlet.

Kirkman says establishing confidence and respect with an audience plays a big part in making someone laugh.

“They are kind of in your hands, and if you treat them like they’re idiots and you’re rude they won’t laugh at you,” she says. “They want to know that you’ve got this, that they are in the palm of your hands and you are confident. I think there has to be a lot of humility in trying to make people laugh. You can’t think you are doing some big, powerful thing, otherwise people will feel like you’re condescending.”

This rapport with the crowd and her pride free confessions of personal, laughable experiences translates effortlessly to her latest achievement, a comedy special on Netflix called, “I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine).”

The 78 minute special is comprised of everything she has been doing on the road for the last few years.

“I didn’t have to do anything differently,” she says. “One day I showed up and just like any other show there was a camera. I wore a lot more makeup then I would normally wear on stage.”

Netflix was an attractive outlet to Kirkman because it offered her freedoms most cable television couldn’t touch.

“I was lucky that I knew Netflix was interested," she says. " I always knew that I wanted to do a special that was not going to be on the kind of cable that has commercials, that doesn’t let you be in control of the editing. That’s why I wanted to work with them. I feel like comedy, when you’re doing it in a night club or comedy club, you can swear, there’s no commercial break and it’s about having a great time. It’s sort of a place where grownups talk about things you don’t talk about in high society. When comedy specials are on television they are all cleaned up and nice and I don’t really understand why that’s funny.”

In the special, Kirkman laments the dumbing down of society, dealing with people’s weddings, being single and being happily baby free among many more, autobiographical topics.

“What I’m finding from the Netflix special is people are really resonating with the idea of being single, whatever that means. I think the theme is sort of not being afraid to do what you want and not being afraid of other people disapproving. It’s been cool because I wasn’t trying to lead a movement of people. I’m really glad they all picked up on what I was trying to say.”

Kirkman is drawn to the unpredictable nature of a live show and the unforeseen miracles that can occur in real time. A recent performance in a North Carolina comedy club confirmed her knack for rolling with these surprise punches.

“It was Friday late night,” she says. “ Friday late shows are some of the most difficult crowds to perform for because they have been working all day so they are really tired, maybe a little grumpy, but they have maybe been drinking since 6 and now its 10 30 and you’re asking them to pay attention. The lights went out and then the microphone went. I just kept trying to put a candle up to my face so that they could see me and I kept accidentally blowing out the candle. I didn’t mean for it be funny, it just ended up being funny. I love when things like that happen because that’s the joy of performing live.”

The comedian is currently touring the United States to perform some material from her special and a bunch of new jokes. She will perform in Tucson Friday, June 19 at Club Congress, 311 East Congress St, at 7 p.m. Tickets to the 21+ show are available at Ticketfly for $15 to $18.

After her year-long tour concludes this summer, she will be doing a tour for her upcoming, second book, “I Know What I'm Doing and Other Lies I Tell Myself.”

If you want to laugh at Jen, and laugh a bit at yourself, don’t miss her performance on Friday. If for some reason you get hit by a bus, you can watch her special on Netflix, check out her weekly podcast, “I Seem Fun: The Diary of Jen Kirkman” or read her New York Times Best Seller, “I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine).”

For more information or to purchase tickets visit jenkirkman.com. 

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