Kurt Braunohler, star of IFC's comedy game show Bunk, will be doing stand up and hosting a comedy variety show at the Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia) Friday Jan 18th & Saturday Jan 19th. Showtimes are at 8pm & 10 pm both nights. For more info and tickets.
You may also know Kurt from his voiceover work on Fox's Bob's Burgers, and his appearances on the shows Human Giant & Comedy Central Presents. In 2012 Variety named Kurt one of it's Top Ten Comics to Watch.
How long have you been doing comedy?
I've been doing it for about 14 years, but probably only focusing on stand up for the last 6. I started out doing improv for 7 years or so, then I met my comedy partner Kristen Schaal (Daily Show, Flight of the Concords, Dinner with Schmucks) and we started working together writing sketch. Then I started writing my own stand up.
What is the creative process like with you and Kristen?
It's mostly based on improv, we just improv with each other then kind of write down what we like from the improv. When we originally started we would write sketches very meticulously, and now when we host a show together it's much more just us improvising off of each other.
Why did you two choose to work together?
We just randomly kind of started to work together. We decided to do a show together without really ever haven spoken with one another and it turned out that it just really worked. We have the same sensibilities.
Who are your comedic influences?
In New York, it was Eugene Mirman, he was a big influence for me. When I was growing up Steve Martin and Bill Cosby.
Who do you like to watch now if they're at the same venue?
In New York I really like to watch Nick Turner, in Chicago Jon Glaser and Larry Murphy will be performing, and I love watching them together the best.
What types of venues did you work on your comedy at starting out?
Coming up in New York we did a lot of bar and theater comedy shows, and now I've just recently began to headline clubs around the country which is a much different experience.
Do you embrace the term "Alternative Comedy" in describing the types of venues and comedy you do, or do you feel it's silly to label comedy that way?
I think it's a little silly. I came up in bars and theaters where the main difference was there was a pro comedy type crowd when you were there who were informed about comedy, and want to come in and see new stuff. But now I play clubs, so people who are coming to see me don't know who I am necessarily, and I still provide an hour of entertainment for them that they leave happy with.
So I think the difference between "Alternative" and "Club" type comedy is nowadays becoming a much much smaller difference. I think it has the most effect when you're first starting out. If you start out at a club versuses a theater or a back room of a bar at a small show, I think that's where sensibilities get formed.
Are audiences different in other countries and do you get hung up on that?
A lot of American comedians find the differences difficult, I like the differences. I find that they have much more of a sketch tradition in the UK and different charcaters and stuff like that, so I think they're much more open with the type of comedy they like.
But at the end of the day, really I think it's just being able to be a good comedian. If something doesn't work one night, you figure out how to make it work the next night. It's different, but I don't think it's worse or better.