Dr. Jonathan Katz intro’ed his friend Andy Kindler’s annual State of the Industry Speech. Kindler’s been taking on the industry’s sacred cows for nearly 20 years at the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival and it’s always a major event.
If you there’s someone who has seemed a little too exalted, a little too beloved, come August, Kindler will tell you what’s wrong with them. He doesn’t just stick to the comedy super heros, anyone can be a target, and this year Kindler took down a lot of people. Adam Sandler, Jimmy Fallon, feminism, Antman, Ballers, James Corden, Jonah Hill, Kevin Hart, Pete Holmes all got mentions mingled with plenty of shtick, references to his recent New York Times article and some self deprecating humor about his disappointment in not having a bigger audience. But it was Jerry Seinfeld who had Kindler’s focus.
We talked to Kindler just after he finished this years State of the Industry Address. Here’s what we we learned.
Kindler thinks he did a great job this year. “I’m very hard on myself normally and I know that it went well this year. I don’t want to tell people that its a hard job, like a real job, like flying a jet plane. or operating a thing. But this one, it’s hard to do because its written and you can’t fit it all in, so I kind of am editing on the fly. Part of its reading and part of its not so I really felt good about how I navigated all of that.”
- Kindler takes notes all year round to prepare for his annual address when he’s not busy procrastinating. “This is an issue I have. I have addictions. Currently my addiction is twitter and arguing with people. If it wasn’t twitter it would be tv. I do work on it all year in a way but then I procrastinate and them I’m on my own back all the time. But i do, from the day after the previous years festival– and actually doing this festival taught me when you write an idea down to actually date the idea. So anything after a certain date I use for the following year.
The Seinfeld thing was pretty much good luck. “It got that way because– and I just lucked out on it– I knew it would be the meat of it. I didn’t know how long I would do on it. Like last year I did Anthony Cumia, and I kind of felt at some point– you know I ended with all those tweets he wrote and them I’m like, well why is the crowd not laughing? Well they’re, it’s not funny. So that was like a little bit of a downer, but I kind of quickly forget every year cause you can only do the best you can. This year I felt like it all flowed so well, so the Seinfeld stuff was just perfect. And it also brought up the whole other issue of free speech.”
Here are some of the highlights, lowlights or nolights of this year’s speech.
Andy Kindler Calls for James Corden to step down. “You have to be like Jimmy Fallon. Song and dance man. You have to be able to do a potato sack race with Cameron Diaz. You have to be able to make it go viral. I can’t even get my viruses to go viral! So James Corden, it’s terrible what’s happened. He can’t host. He doesn’t even know why he’s hosting! Nobody knows who you are, you don’t know who you are James Corden. Step down now.” Time stamp: 18:30.
Kindler makes fun of Adam Sandler, setting up the way he thinks someone might pitch a movie idea to Sandler. “I think Adam Sandler doesn’t even wait till the whole idea is pitched…okay it’s a video game for the… Yes!” Adam Sandler movies have more twists and turns than a straight hallway.” Time stamp 31:00.
Pete Holmes new elevator show where he did a talk show in the hotel elevator really annoyed Andy. “How about next year do the staircase show? It took me nine hours to get to my room. It’s a funny premise, why can’t it be in a stairway that’s not accessible to anyone else in the hotel. Why don’t you do it in the 9-1-1 area. I don’t know what that would have been but oowwww I was on it.” 36:00
Addressing Jerry Seinfeld’s big P.C. controversy, Kindler took the audience moment through moment of what actually happened– nothing. “Nothing happened. This is the biggest pile of bullshit. It’s a made up story. If you want to have discussion about political correctness fine, but don’t make up a phony story about it and get Bill Maher going.” Kindler said the whole thing was stupid and all started because two people told Jerry they don’t like performing at colleges. Since Jerry doesn’t play colleges, that should have ended the entire conversation. But it didn’t. “By the way, he doesn’t play colleges because they won’t accommodate his private plane; they won’t helicopter him in. Remember he’s a multi-billionaire so we have to be concerned about his take.” Kindler mocked Seinfeld using the best-worst Seinfeld impression anyone’s ever heard which at times has some Paul McCartney undertones to it. Kindler, by the way says he’s a huge Seinfeld man– at least he’s a fan of the show. He kind of thinks Seinfeld the guy is an arrogant prick.
At this point, Kindler’s just warming up and addresses Seinfeld’s “gay french king bit” that hasn’t been getting laughs lately. “It’s not that funny. They’re not hating it cause you’ve offended them. It’s not that funny.” Kindler suggested Seinfeld try taking a risk. “What if Lenny Bruce was like, ‘oh I wanted to talk about how religions have become a corporation but that lady looks upset, I can’t.’ Lenny Bruce died because they harassed him to death. You’ve suffered nothing Jerry, nothing. If it wasn’t for the Seinfeld show, believe me he would not be in the stand up hall of fame. And I only say that cause I’m angry cause I do enjoy his stand up as well. But the point is he hasn’t taken a risk in his life, There’s no risk. You’re not the risk guy.” He advises Jerry to just let the gay french king bit go. It’s not a good bit.
Where is the tragedy? he asked. All these people whining, who is suffering for their art? There’s plenty more Seinfeld, jump to 37:00 to hear it all.
You can listen to the entire hour long State of Comedy address right here.