Andy Kindler: lover of condensed milk

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photo / Susan Maljan, all rights reserved An unverified sighting of Andy Kindler 

As terrific as Andy Kindler’s been on Letterman, Comedy Central, and Everybody Loves Raymond, the best place to see him remains the stage. Stand-up is where Kindler really shines. Are you strong enough to resist his crushing wit? Probably not. You’re weak. Don’t think so? Then test your mettle when Andy comes to the Cap City Comedy Club on Saturday, August 4.

That Other Paper When I saw you last, an audience member got rowdy and started causing a scene. You stayed out of it. How come?

Andy Kindler I figured that if I leant my support to the woman who was helping, I felt that I might make it worse because I’d get the other guy going. I didn’t want to up the ante.

TOP Have you ever had a performance go bad and escalate into a brawl?

AK No, but I’ve had people stand up and say weird things. It’s a business where you are seeing people in dodgy states sometimes with the alcohol.

TOP Have crowds gotten better?

AK There’s a split between the alternative movement and regular mainstream clubs. There are people who love comedy, but never go to a club to see it. I used to have that joke about how my agent would book me at a club and I’d say, “Comedy at a comedy club? That sounds a little dicey.” Because a lot of clubs, especially in the mid ’90s, would have promotions where they’d call you up, “Congratulations. You’ve won our answer-the-phone-contest. Thirty free passes for you and twenty more for people who know even less than you about comedy!” It’s the only “art form” people go to without knowing what they’re going to see. It’s a crapshoot. I’ve actually performed at a crapshoot.

TOP That’s the second gambling term you’ve used. Are you a frequent gambler?

AK My wife and I love gambling. We’re gambling mavens. Menches. Gambling machines. Our favorite is poker. Texas Hold ’Em. No limit. Except that we don’t have any money, so if we go all in it’s like $20 at the most. It’s a very small all-in. We’re not afraid to take it to the limit, as long as we don’t lose more than $30. We also love craps. My wife taught me how to play. It’s fantastic. If there was a way to combine comedy and craps, believe me, Comedy Central would have figured it out.

TOP Where do you do your gambling?

AK We normally go to Vegas. We also go to Commerce and Hollywood Park, which both have lovely card rooms. We’ve also played a couple of home games, but nothing big yet.

TOP Where do you like to go in Vegas?

AK I’ve been treated to the Wynn once. It was beautiful. We try to go to places where we can get a decent deal, but there’s certain level below which we won’t sink. We’re not going to the Circus Circus, we’re not going to anything overly themed. You won’t see us at the Excalibur. The Luxor makes me nervous. I don’t think you should ever cheapen the pyramids. We enjoy the Monty Carlo. Big fans of the Mirage. Love the Mirage. Think any of this will get me a free room somewhere?

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photo / Susan Maljan, all rights reserved Possibly a photo of Andy Kindler 

TOP It might, but only a room in Austin. And I don’t know what the gambling scene is like.

AK Are there casinos there? Casinos are everywhere now.

TOP All this talk of pyramids makes me wonder: What do you think of the predictions concerning the year 2012 and the Maya calendar?

AK Is this like a new Y2K?

TOP Kind of.

AK I still haven’t recovered from all the effects of Y2K. I have a digital watch that says 1949 on it. My egg timer has not worked correctly since then. I do anticipate big problems. This is the first I’ve heard of the Maya calendar. Whenever I hear anything like what you’re talking about, I immediately stock up on canned goods.

TOP Which canned goods?

AK Mostly soups. And condensed milk.

TOP What do you do with the condensed milk?

AK I like it in my coffee. If I ever die, this is what I hope is in the obituary.

TOP “Andy Kindler: lover of condensed milk?”

AK Yeah. “He certainly was not a Coffee-Mate guy,” say close associates, as quoted in the Austin What’s Going on Tomorrow paper. What paper is this for?

TOP That Other Paper.

AK Is this like an Abbot and Costello routine? To me, you can’t get better than City Beat. City Paper, that’s my second choice. My third paper name is the Tribune. Fourth, Telegraph. Fifth is the Bugle. Sixth is the Sentinel. Seventh, the Ledger. Eighth is the Rap Sheet. Ninth is the Intelligencer. Tenth is the Post. Eleventh is the Post-Intelligencer. And Twelfth is You’ve Got Mail.

TOP Have you put a lot of thought into your obituary?

AK Are you kidding me? I’ve already picked out the photos. I’ve also picked out the day and the method.

TOP What’s it going to be?

AK It’s going to be watching Robin Williams’ movies. I’m going to tie myself to a chair and put Man of the Year on an endless loop. And a Night at the Museum for the kids. I’ll just keep saying, as I’m watching it, “It’s for the kids, right? The kids enjoy it. It’s not for me – it’s for the kids, right? Right?”

TOP What was your reaction when Y2K was announced?

AK It made me want to hunker down. I got very agitated and anxious and got duct tape. I duct-taped my computer shut because that’s what I’d heard you should do. Then I decided I’d do everything in longhand. I threw out all of my computers, and that’s why I’m so slow to complete projects. They’re all longhand, and I have to photostat them. Or I might mimeograph them. Look it up. Are you looking it up now?

TOP I could be.

AK Look it up later. You’re too young. Ed Sullivan? Anything?

TOP Nothing. Did you hear about bees disappearing?

AK I did.

TOP What was your reaction?

AK A lot of bees in general are just having second thoughts about the whole hive thing and are, frankly, tired of working for the man. How much honey can you produce before it gets old? I think they’re in a bee malaise. Albert Einstein supposedly said that if the bees leave that there will only be four years of life on the planet. It’s related to his Bees Knees theory. It was part of a lecture series that he did in Princeton called “The Birds and The Bees.”

TOP Have you ever had an interest in giving a lecture of some sort?

AK A lot of times, when I’m at a comedy club, halfway through my act the crowd will react as though I’m giving a lecture.

TOP What do people learn from your act?

AK Everything is horrible, most people have sided me, things should be better for me than they are, and you’ll learn how much I dislike many things that the audience holds dear. A lot of people come to the club wearing “I love Robin Williams” shirts. “I’m in the Dane Cook Club” or “I went to a George Lopez concert and I got this shirt” shirts. And when I start talking about these people, I’m able to affect their worldview. Change how they look at things. So when they leave the show, they realize they don’t like what they liked when they came in, and they’re also not too crazy about me.