Kristen Carney is a very funny stand-up comic and writer whose blog on social etiquette touches on people’s bad behavior. She’s also one of wordiest people I know. And that’s why I like her. Hopefully you will too. She recently stopped by to talk about stand-up, her blog and her now corrected lazy eye.
Q — Real quick, how did you get involved in stand-up comedy?
A – I was born with a lazy eye and although I got the eye fixed when I was pretty young, the emotional damage had been done and I had no choice but to pursue comedy. So, you see, my eye has never pointed me in the right direction.
Q — Describe your act for those not hip to Kristen Carney.
A – I’m fascinated with the mundane. But, I’m also a little bit of an asshole. So, combine the two and “Wham!” My comedy.
Q — Back in the day, there were only a few female comedians. It wasn’t until the 80’s that comics like Roseanne, Ellen and Whoopi came onto the scene. Now there are a lot of female comedians. Why do you think more women have entered the comedy scene? Opportunity? Talent? Acceptance?
A – Perhaps there has just been an influx of bad parenting? If that’s not it, I’d have to say, it’s that expectations on what women should do and what they should be has consistently been receding. I think there is a lot more acceptance and opportunity today but talent has always been there, it just hasn’t always been used.
Q — Do you think women have a disadvantage over men in stand-up?
A – If you want to be a woman doing comedy somewhere like Kalamazoo or Des Moines (or just being a woman there in general) you’d be at a disadvantage. But, in larger markets like Los Angeles and New York City, women are accepted. Sometimes, tourists catching a show in LA or NY may take a few extra minutes to understand a female comic (and, just understand in general) but that doesn’t affect a woman comic, it can’t. For the most part, I think a lot of us women go about doing comedy not as women but as comedians.
Q — Years ago there were only a few outlets for comedy — late night TV shows. Now there’s YouTube, Facebook, cable channels, etc. Do you think stand-up comedy is over saturated?
A – I don’t necessarily think stand-up is as over saturated as comedy itself is. There are sketches, comedic webisodes, sardonic newscasts, blooper videos, videos making fun of blooper videos… I could go on… I will admit that I’m glad so many people have the desire to express their sense of humor and I’m happy they have a platform to share it. However, I wouldn’t recommend watching all of it. It’s important to find online spots you trust to weed through all the clutter to deliver you the best comedy there is out there.
Q — You also write a blog on Social Etiquette at www.sweatthesmallstuffwithkristen.com. How did this idea come about and what qualifies you to be an expert in social etiquette?
A – My blog was originally called, “I’m Kristen Carney and I’m Pissed” but that didn’t really go over well at family reunions so I came up with a classier name that also happens to be a better representation of the content. I started the blog because I really enjoy pouring over the mundane minutiae of everyday life. But, most friends I have don’t love pontificating as much as I do, so I wanted a place to start a conversation about all the ways people’s behavior is ridiculous. Anyone with common sense, courtesy and some insight into society could earn themselves a Master’s Degree in Social Etiquette. However, I’ve earned the Doctorate because I’ve been passionate about it since I can remember.
Q — A lot of my friends are comedians who have worked the club scene for years. Do touring and working clubs ever get exhausting? What do you do to relieve the wear and tear of the stand-up process?
A – Stand-up is emotionally exhausting so to let it all go, I sit with my cat and watch “48 Hours” re-runs. For some reason, other people’s tragedies relax me. I also like to escape to the movies because I find fictional tragedies relax me, as well.
Q — If you weren’t doing stand-up, what would you be doing for a living?
A – I’d probably be in an office somewhere, watching stand-up comedy from my desk while weeping with a doughnut in one hand and a mechanical pencil in the other yelling at the computer, “I’ve thought of that joke before her!” Wait, not too different from what I’m doing now.
Visit Kristen at: www.sweatthesmallstuffwithkristen.com. Follow her on Twitter at: Twitter.com/KristenCarney.