Aaron Karo is a multi-talented writer and comedian whose written work can be seen in his third book “I’m Having More Fun Than You.” Fans can also see the comedian side of Karo on Comedy Central this November 19th. The special is called “The Rest Is History” and a new CD with the same name will be available the day after. Karo recently stopped by to talk about his new special.
Q – Real quick, tell me how you got into stand-up?
A - I did stand-up for the first time at this club Stand Up NY on the Upper West Side on July 10th, 2002. At the time, I was working on Wall Street but I knew it wasn’t for me because it involved the three things I hate most: waking up early, shaving, and tucking in my shirt. Comedy seemed like the most viable alternative.
Q – Describe your act for those who have yet to discover you.
A - I guess I don’t really tell “jokes” as much as I just tell stories about my love life and share observations about my ridiculous friends. I also try to stick to three main topics: drinking, dating, and fucking. Unfortunately, as I’ve gotten older I’ve had to add marriage into the mix (but I’m still single, ladies).
Q – Tell me about Ruminations. How did this come about?
A - In 1997, a few weeks into my freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania, I wrote an email to twenty friends entitled “Ruminations on College Life,” which was basically just a collection of anecdotes about living in the dorms. My friends liked it and it got forwarded around, so I kept writing. Thirteen years later, I still write it, the column is now just called Ruminations, and it’s been read by hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
Q – Aside from stand-up, you’re also a writer. Do you approach writing for print versus writing for stand-up differently?
A - I think you can afford to be a little more subtle on the page. On stage, the words have to be just right in order to evoke the physical action of laughter. The vast majority of stuff I write for Ruminations never makes it into my act.
Q – Your Comedy Central special, “The Rest Is History” premieres on November 19th. Is there a process in determining which jokes you do for the special or do you primarily use the set you use on the road?
A - The special was filmed at the end of a fifteen-city tour to promote my third book, “I’m Having More Fun Than You.” So it’s the most refined version of the set I used for that tour. Now I have to retire all that material. Shit.
Q – The corresponding album drops the next day. Was the album recorded simultaneously with the TV special or are these two different shows?
A - The album was recorded simultaneously with the TV special. However, the album (which will be downloadable as both video and audio) is completely uncensored and uncut. So it will have about twenty minutes more material that didn’t make the special because of commercials. Plus all the F-bombs I drop.
Q – With all the venues available for stand-up (Internet, cable, etc.) do you find that stand-up comedy is oversaturated? It seems that there are people who have a video camera and no real stage experience that see moderate success via YouTube and MySpace.
A - I don’t think there can ever be too much comedy, especially these days, you know, with those miners and everything. I also believe a rising tide lifts all boats. The more comedy is consumed and enjoyed, the better for all comedians. Of course I strongly suggest you watch my stuff first.
Q – Congratulations on the special. Is there anything you wanted to add?
A - In addition to writing Ruminations, I also created a web site Ruminations.com, where people can write their own observations and share them with the community. It’s a great way to get a taste for comedy writing as well as avoid getting anything done at work.
Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.