Comedian Andy Kindler Calls Arizona SB 1062 "the Bill That Allows You to Knock Old Ladies Down in the Street for Religious Reasons"
Andy Kindler speaks his mind, often at length and with great detail. "I'm famous for my long-winded responses," the comedian, known for his recurring roles on Bob's Burgers, Wizards of Waverly Place, Everybody Loves Raymond, says laughing.
Susan Maljan Andy Kindler performs at Stand Up Scottsdale Thursday, March 13, through Saturday, March 15.
Kindler is a stand-up vet. A joke-teller for nearly three decades, he often takes on the role of comedy's Jiminy Cricket. His annual state of the industry addresses have found him addressing Louis C.K. (whose show, Louie, isn't one of his favorites) and Adam Carrola ("He's like Hitler if Hitler wasn't funny"). Kindler took some time to answer a few questions for Jackalope Ranch via hands-free while driving in Los Angeles in advance of his dates this week at Stand-Up Scottsdale.
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Andy, tell me a little bit about your past experiences in Phoenix.
I have kind of a long history [of working Phoenix] in the sense that I used to play [there] a lot. I started doing comedy in 1984, and started going on the road in '87. So I used to go to the Improv in Tempe; I filmed the Young Comedians Show [for HBO] there in '92. So I love Tempe a lot. I say this in every interview -- "You're probably too young to remember" -- but do you have any knowledge of what the "comedy boom" was?
In the '80s and '90s, yeah. The reason I got involved in whatever you want to call it, the "alternative movement," was because the crowds got so bad in comedy clubs. I never was a big fan of the crowds at the Tempe Improv, although the night I did the special was fun, so I'm interested to see what it's going to be like now, what the crowds will be like. I really have no knowledge of it.
So that's what you identified with in the "alt comedy" scene -- alternative places to do your act, not necessarily stylistic factors?
Not to sound like I'm bragging -- which always prefaces bragging -- but you know I was actually part of the starting of the alternative movement. Not just me, there were many other people. Janeane Garofalo, Kathy Griffin, Dana Gould, Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, people who came out of the alternative movement, and there was a movement in New York, too. But it was because the clubs were so awful. If we hadn't formed the movement, the guys I'm talking about, we'd've had no other place to play. All the clubs were like Larry the Cable Guy. Back then there was no online. They used to always say, "Come to the comedy club," but you never knew who was playing there. That'd be like saying "Come to the movie theater, we don't know what's playing but you like movies, right?" Now people can go online and have some idea what they're seeing, and it's made comedy club audiences that much better.
You tweeted about Arizona's recent SB 1062.
I'm a political junkie. I almost watch too much politics.
How political do you like to get with your set?
I talk about politics, but you would never think of me as a full-on political comedian. I've been talking about how I never thought I'd be living in a country where not only would there be the first black president, but all my cool progressive friends would be making fun of me for loving the first black president. It's so weird to me. When you're 70 years old, and people say, "What was it like to be around for the first black president?" Are you gonna go [adopts signature "old man voice"], "Oh, I wasn't that into him? I didn't like his policies"? But I probably will do a riff on that thing I tweeted, that [Jan Brewer] has vetoed the bill that allows you to knock down old ladies in the street for religious reasons.