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Jen Kober on Political Standup, Improvising Jokes

"I always wanted to be a comedian and be on television," says Jen Kober. "When I was six years old, I was ready for that." Mission accomplished. Not only has she done standup several times on national TV, she has appeared on several sitcoms, including The Mindy Project and Anger Management.

Looking back, she says she wasn't the funniest of her friend group.

"My friend Jeff was actually the real funny one," she recalls, "but he'd only be that funny with me, so I ended up a lot of times taking things he said an just expanding on it. To this day when we get together we laugh about where stories started and where they ended up."

Her friend did not pursue a career in comedy, though. "He's an architect," says Kober. "He has children, a wife, kids, a real life, and uses his brains for better things than I."

It was after-school activities where she discovered she could perform. "It was a debate team, but I did more of the individual events where I would do humorous interpretation, or dramatic interpretation. I also did things like original oratory, where I got to write my own speeches." But since it was a debate team, she had to do traditional debate as well. "I would go do those things, and make them as funny as I could. I would always lose, but everyone loved how well I spoke. I was lucky enough to have a coach that pushed me in the right direction at the right time."

She also discovered her competitive side. "I won in everything I entered individually and I was like, 'What? I'm good at this.' I was totally hooked, and it was about winning for the rest of my days. I caught on to that right away and I just channeled all that energy. I could have been a real hellion when I was a kid, because I had a lot of extraneous energy, but it got harnessed very quickly into this activity."

With the success of humorous current events panel shows like Real Time with Bill Maher and Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld, Kober seems like she'd fit right in.

"I think that's something I could get into," she concurs. "It's not something I think I'm naturally drawn to. Politics interests me, but it really only ends up making me angry. I don't usually address them at all, and truthfully I only know what I read in the last five weeks."

While that's better than most people, it leaves Kober with some apprehension. "I don't know any actual history of the issues. I'd probably just talk loud and be funny, but people would be like, 'Oh, she really doesn't know what she's talking about.'"

Her ability to think on her feet is evident in her set, though. "It's a completely different show every night," she says. "Certain things I try to get in and I have a couple of stories that show who I am, but I also improvise a lot."

IF YOU GO:

Jen Kober

18+; 21+ later shows.

$13-$20

7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 9:45 p.m. Friday; 9:30 p.m. Saturday; 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For tickets, call 952-858-8558 or visit houseofcomedy.net.