L.A. WEEKLY: You've been a professional standup for more than 15 years. Is it still fun to get onstage?
JACKIE KASHIAN: A great stand-up set can fix a bad day. Weirdly, only a good set can fix a bad set. As in, a good day can't fix a bad set. It's weird because ONLY a good set can fix a bad set. But a good set can fix a bad day. Um, so yes, I'm still having fun.
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What's the best part about being on the road so much?
I love getting to do the long shows. I get to work on the new stuff and do my favorite old stuff. The audience wants to hear a couple of the classics as well as the new bits and the new stories about my family. I'm also really enjoying that more people come to the shows to see me, specifically. So they're waiting for the new dad story but are totally willing to watch me rant my way through some new bit about . . . whatever. Reading, sexual assault. You know. . . the same stuff everyone is talking about. Heh.
Did you get any inspiration from the late Phyllis Diller?
She was just an inspiration. My favorite thing about her -- and Joan Rivers, Bill Cosby, Rickles, Dick Gregory -- and all comics who just keep doing stand-up long after they either could quit or we expect them to retire, is that they do not. You can still do comedy into your 80s. There's a guy, who I have only met only once, named Jay Wendall Walker. He was on The Ed Sullivan Show. He still does shows. He lives in the Northwest and freaking drives to one-nighters. Because he can. He needs to on a visceral level. Phyllis Diller was that kind of comic. And that always makes me happy. Phyllis Diller was a comic and that's the best inspiration.
Has another comic ever stolen a joke from you?
Hmm, I don't know. I do so much family and personal stuff that it would be hard to steal a whole premise, joke from me. Easier to steal a line or something. But I don't know of any. If you know of any, don't tell me. I'll just keep writing.
You seem really nice and very forthcoming about your life and family. What don't we know about you?
I can't think of anything no one knows about me. I mine the hell out of my life. Like . . . the primary caregiver of my childhood -- stepmom of 35 years, since I was a kid -- passed away July 25. I tried to do material about it Aug. 7. Guess what that was? Too soon. But think about comics. We have no sense of "too soon." I came home from the funeral and I had a show on Aug. 2. I walk up to a bunch of comics. One of them I know pretty well and he asks me what's up. I tell him that my mother died and one of the other comics pipes up, "Was she at that Batman movie in Aurora?" Which, if you remember, had happened less than two weeks earlier. It was so wrong on so many levels. It was too soon on every single level. I couldn't stop laughing. Why? Because all I could think is that Nancy -- my stepmother -- would have found it terribly, terribly funny.
Can you give us a little taste of what you'll be sharing at UnCabaret?
Well, I think I'm going to talk about that. I have a couple things about the whole funeral that inspired me to write a 1,200-word screed that I have -- and will -- spare the world from hearing or reading. But É a couple good jokes came from it. Dark, dark jokes. Which seems to be my process in dealing with anger and grief. Cue the theme to Ice Castles.
Jackie Kashian performs at Beth Lapides' UnCabaret with Brian Finkelstein at First & Hope streets, 710 W. First St., dwntwn.; Sun., Sept. 9, 8 p.m.; $20; uncabaret.com.