Myq Kaplan hangs out in Minneapolis
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What do you say about the guy who never seems to run out of things to say? As a relatively new face on the comedy circuit at 32, Myq Kaplan is one of comedy's sharpest up-and-comers. His 2010 album Vegan Mind Melt (Live at Comix) is a blistering 40 minutes of smart wordplay and absurd witticisms that bounces between being squeaky clean to borderline controversial. But what keeps such a complex mind so sharp?
Kaplan was happy enough to take the time to answer these question among many others with City Pages.
So, you're trying to launch a podcast?
Yes, and I'm almost succeeding. I've been recording some, and right now I'm waiting for the last few pieces to come. Like, right now a theme song is being created. If you do something on Kickstarter and don't do the thing you say you're going to do, then they won't give you any money.
Every episode is essentially going to be me and two guests, often comedian friends, sometimes not comedian friends, some people I actually don't know as well -- pretty much anyone I think I can have an interesting conversation with.
I would go on other people's podcasts and love it. Like, I'd be in a bad mood then I'd go and do some else's podcast. You know, you're hanging out with people and having a conversation and you walk out and you're like, 'I had a really good time hanging out with them.'
So I was like, 'I'll start a podcast.' I went through a thousand names that were already taken or not very good. I checked if anybody had taken Hang Out With Me. It didn't look like anybody had, and that's exactly what I want to do. So, that's the theme.
You're about to release a musical comedy album with Micah Sherman. I understand you originally were a musician before you pursued standup?
I was. I had some funny songs and played them in comedy clubs and then I would talk in between. That's sort of how I got interested and learned what comedy was. I knew standup existed, but I had never really seen it until I was kind of doing it. I transitioned pretty accidentally -- or organically -- into not using the guitar anymore.
What do you like about musical comedy that you can't get from regular standup?
Writing something with him is different from writing something on my own. It's a collaborative effort, and then obviously its music. So it's a slightly different skill set.
Did you always have a knack for word play growing up?
I think it must've been in there somewhere because I remember being in seventh grade in math class. I remember making some sort of design on a graph paper and some people were gathered around like, "Oh look at this, that looks kind of cool!" Then some kid said, "But there's no point!" And so I was like, "You're right, I should go sharpen this." And it was true, I had to go sharpen my pencil because there was no point.
When I started doing comedy, [word play] was one of the things that came to me most naturally. Those kinds of things aren't exclusively what I trade in, but it certainly became a staple or something I've been associated with for sure.
Do you think your background in linguistics has informed your comedy at all?
I've always said it specifically influenced me. Going into the linguistics program and becoming a comedian in the way that I have, those were both symptoms of the word disease that I have.
You seem so together and you're always on. Do you do anything to keep your mind sharp?
I enjoy puzzles here and there, but I try to walk every day. In my personal experience it helps my mental juices flow. If I'm home, I'll walk outside in prospect park in Brooklyn. I've read studies that show that walking is good to keep the mind sharp, especially in your old ages. Additionally, seeing five minutes of greenery a day is good for the human constitution. Probably for the non-human as well. So sometimes I'll listen to my set from the night before, and I'll walk and do some thinking and writing and editing. It helps me physically and mentally.
What's one piece of advice you wish someone would've given you when you were starting out?
Well the only real advice necessary is to just do it. Just work. And do it however you want. You know, some people will sit down and write for three hours a day. I don't do that. And some people never write a thing down. I don't do that either. Everyone figures out their own style and what works for them. If you want to be a comedian, write and perform. I did learn that was how you do it pretty early on and I just stuck with it. There's not a ton of advice necessary.
If you were trapped in one movie for the rest of your life and you could choose it what would you be?
That's hard because most movies have conflict in them -- that's why they're a movie. The world of the Matrix if I got the good part. Hmm. Or how about Big Fish? The tree in that looked really realistic.
IF YOU GO:
Acme Comedy Co.
708 N. First St., Minneapolis
8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
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