Kermet Apio is okay with participation trophies

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Kermet Apio talks a lot about his personal life and his family, but he’s more likely to espouse his opinions on the latter via social media. For example, over the summer Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker James Harrison posted on Facebook that we would not let his sons accept so-called participation trophies for playing an organized sport. Apio was among those who pushed back.

“When I was a kid you had three channels. They all showed soap operas in the afternoon, so you went out and played sports,” he says. “Now you get kids competing with video games, 500 channels, and Netflix. So there are a lot more ways for kids to waste time, and you want them to enjoy sports. And the other part of my argument is that when my generation says how much better we were because we didn’t have participation trophies, I just look who we are electing to office. We’re a mess. I don’t think our generation should be the standard by which we measure our kids.”

Of course, when a kid does go out and play, and he or she winds up getting injured or even shot, people scream “where were the parents?” “Exactly. We live in a different age,” he concurs. “I posted a video on Facebook of my son throwing a bunch of touchdown passes, and those were just the touchdown passes not all the completions he threw. And to say that somehow he’s not competitive and soft — and he got participation trophies his whole life — that to me that was the biggest argument against that.”

Still, Apio respects Harrison’s opinion. “At least he’s a parent. Most of the time people going on about participation trophies are not parents,” he says. “Generally, parents agree with me on this. Harrison is a parent who made the decision as a dad, so that I can respect. It’s funny when people who don’t have kids know what’s best for kids. That cracks me up.”

“That whole idea is predicated on the idea that we came out good, and I don’t agree with that,” he laughs. And kids know the difference between a participation trophy and a championship trophy, of course. “Kids aren’t as dumb as we make them out to be.”

Issues like this can make social media sad, and Apio was recently compelled to take a break from it. Not by choice, but he enjoyed the separation. “I’ve been doing some shows internationally,” he says. “It’s been fun to get some distance, and there’s been some major things that I was gone for.” While overseas, he was either paying for internet speed or had slow connections to deal with. “So I didn’t spend a lot of time on Facebook, and I was relieved to not see it all.”

“I was in Israel for three of the shootings, and I was kind of glad,” he adds. “Before I went to Israel, a lot of people here were concerned. ‘Are you sure it’s going to be safe?’ And it turns out that the nine days I was in Israel I was safer there. Isn’t that crazy? I did a show in the West Bank. It was bizarre to think three of those things happened while I was in a country that’s supposedly more dangerous.”

IF YOU GO:

Kermet Apio

Acme Comedy Co.

708 N. First St., Minneapolis

8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday

$15-$18; $25-$55

For tickets and more info, call 612-338-6393 and www.acmecomedycompany.com.


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