From the Archives: Unmasked with Robert Kelly

“To be where I’m at right now. To be on this stage. To be honest, I never….when they asked me to do this, I was like, no. I don’t deserve to do it. To be on stage with you doing this is pretty epic, for me. Because of who you’ve had on before and what you’ve done. It’s… I don’t know if I’m worthy, you know what I mean? So to be here right now and to do this, it’s hard to accept.”

“It never happens. So all this great shit’s happening, doing this show with you, having the special come out, owning the special.  Having that– owning my material– which is fucking epic.  The show coming out on FX, Louie, all this stuff is so overwhelming to me that I get scared that it will go away if I fucking acknowledge it. If I acknowledge it, and I just don’t keep my head down, and I don’t keep trying to be better; if I don’t stay humble, it’s going to go away again. That petrifies me that I’ll just be at some club in a mall, half full after all this, and I’ll just be going fuck, I almost had it.  I’m scared man, I’m scared to be at a comedy club with a tie and a vest on.”

As part of our new podcast sharing select archival episodes of ’s epic interview series Unmasked, this week we are going back to 2015 to share an unbelievable hour:  Unmasked with .

The Unmasked series which began in 2008 with a brilliant hour with Patrice O’Neal, has taped nearly 200 episodes since, documenting the careers of the most interesting comedy writers, directors, filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, satirists, political comedians, comedic musicians and of course, stand up comedians in the business. It is a veritable archive of the greatest comedy of our time. Past Unmasked guests have included , Bob Newhart, , Dan Aykroyd, Simon Pegg, , Jim Jefferies, Gilbert Gottfried, Bobcat Goldthwait, Louis C.K., David Brenner, , and over 150 more comedy greats.

Kelly is one of our favorite stand-up performers on the planet, and in this hour, he gets very deep into his thought process and the way he thinks about comedy. Kelly had just recorded his hour special, Robert Kelly: Live at the Village Underground and it was about to air on Comedy Central, and he talked at length about self-producing the hour, and why he made the choices he made, including working with Bobcat Goldthwait and Jim Serpico. Kelly talks about losing the opportunity to record his special two years prior, because he didn’t want to follow other people’s rules and ideas about what the special should look like and sound like, and why he is sure he made the right call. Any comedian deciding how and when to record their next special, should listen because Kelly has tons of great advice.

2015 was also the year Robert shot season one of ‘s FX series, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll and talked about taping the series, and his unforgettable guest role on ’s Louie.  This was a turning point for Kelly whose television career has been taking off ever since, and his comedy has reached new heights.

During the hour, he talks about bombing, developing as a comic, his addiction history, comparing himself to his great comedy friends, being affected by social media, and which setbacks turned out to be amazing for his career, his greatest fears and why it’s hard to let success in. But maybe the greatest story was his decision to leave Los Angeles, and head to New York City, and how that turned out to be life changing.

It’s a riveting hour, it’s a hilarious hour, and Kelly is incredibly open about his choices and how he feels about his own comedy. Fans and comedians will love this hour. Share it with anyone who loves comedy.

Recorded on January 6, 2015 in New York City, at the Stand Comedy Club, this is Unmasked, from the Archives, with Robert Kelly and .

Don’t use iTunes? Download the episode here.

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