It’s simple. Do what you love because you love doing it. Keep doing what you love, even if you’re not making money or gaining fame. The simple desire to pursue something based on passion and enjoyment can lead you to greater places, but it will always make you feel greater no matter where you end up.
Kyle Kinane is doing what he enjoys and he’s made his enjoyment into a job. Comedy is a profession of passion because many of the individuals pursuing a career in entertainment will continue to absorb any opportunity—regardless of where it may take someone. It’s better to focus on building the quality of your efforts rather than worrying about success. The reality of success is achieving happiness—and if greater opportunities come forth, well, that’s cool too.
This is exactly how Milwaukee Comedy was created and why it continues to exist today. We’re devoted to create a community for comedians and comedy lovers to connect and share a similar passion for comedy. Our interview with Kyle was definitely a refreshing reminder of where we began; where we are; and where we’re going!
Milwaukee Comedy: You’re a comedian that rolls off the tongue of many comedy fans and aspiring young comedians. Lots of people follow your career closely, but what do you do when you’re not on stage? Enjoying an active lifestyle helps generate more to talk about on stage—what are things you’ve done to maintain your creative process?
Kyle Kinane: Oof, the creative process. I don't know what that is. I just try to say "yes" to as many things as possible. It's not a creative process as much as it's just a more interesting way to live life. And if the byproduct happens to be some new material, then that works out. But I don't try to do stuff just for material. I think that cheapens the experience. I try to have the experience for the sake of enrichment, and then worry later if it can work on stage.
(MC): I’ve read you studied creative writing in college. Who are some of your favorite writers? Do you notice any influence they may have on your style of comedy?
(KK): My favorite writer is Poe Ballantine. I don't know if he's influenced my comedy, but his nonfiction writing isn't of any epic tale–just a guy wandering through a mundane existence but communicating his feelings on in beautiful. So I guess that's the influence–any random day can be beautiful, or comedic, or emotional.
(MC): When you’re working on your new material how do you typically go about creating it? Do you write it out; walk around and go other it in your head? Talk to strangers?
(KK): I just take the idea on the stage, ramble around with it, and try to remember which parts people laugh at.
(MC): How much of your off stage time goes into pushing your comedy career to the next level? How would you explain and define the balance between creating new content and the business aspects of comedy?
(KK): Standup is my job. Everything else (voice over, writing, etc) is a bonus side job that came from comedy. But standup brought me to this dance, so that's what I'll fret over more than anything else. The only way I really try to push my "career" is to be as good as I can at standup. I don't stress the business stuff too much. I have agents and managers and various handlers who all get a cut of my income. So it's their business to worry about that stuff.
(MC): You’re currently on The Great, Plain Tour working some clubs and bars…these short road tours are growing in popularity; they resemble van tours local bands would book. Can you tell us a little bit about this current tour and the influence behind it?
(KK)—The past few years I've been doing driving tours. All the bands I admired did it this way. And I wanted to start playing venues other than just comedy clubs.
(MC): What do you think of the current state of comedy in our culture? Do you think it’s become an art form that more people try to relate with similar to music?
(KK): Bearded white dudes talking about midnight pizza will soon become the rolled up blazer sleeves talking about the in-laws. I see the dirt coming down on my casket soon. But there's still a bunch of people who are doing standup because they want to be good at standup. As long as that's going on, it won't go away.
(MC): You’re originally from Chicago—did you venture into Milwaukee for comedy when you lived in Illinois? Is there anything you are particularly excited to visit or experience when you’re back in Milwaukee?
(KK): I'd been up there once or twice for comedy, yes. I'm sure it's touristy and old hat for the locals, but I always enjoy the Safe House.
(MC): When you decided to head to a bigger comedy market how did you make that decision? Did you plan it out or just go for it with whatever means you had at the time?
(KK): I didn't decide. I just do the jokes. If enough people like the jokes that I need to move to a bigger venue, cool. But I don't seek it out. It's quality control. I just try and to the best job I can and let the market dictate the next move.
(MC): Most people would classify comedy as an unconventional career choice…can you reflect on your experiences of letting people know you were pursuing a career in comedy?
(KK): I was never pursuing it. It was the thing I was going to do, no matter what, because it kept me from sinking into suburban Midwest depression. If I got money from it—great. If I didn't, fine. This has gone farther than I could've ever imagined.
(MC): And for the last, and most typical questions—what sort of advice would you offer a new comedian looking for some advice? Also, what was a piece of advice you received that helped you early in your career?
(KK): When people ask, all I ask is "Do you love standup enough to do it for free forever?" That's it. Because that's what's going to happen. You're going to do it for free for a long time. It's not a career. It's an obsession with a puzzle that can never be completed.
This show will also have local support from comedian and producer of The Goodnight Milwaukee Show–Jake Kornely!