Crackpot Comedy Tour interview in Austin paper

Austin welcomes a crackpot by Eric Seufert | 29 Nov 2006

The Crackpot Comedy Tour, a traveling showcase of Los Angeles-based comedians Tig Notaro, Martha Kelly and Kjell Bjorgen, has performed exclusively in living rooms and backyards since launching on November 9th. That Other Paper sat down with Tig and Martha after their November 15th show at an East Side house party to talk about their experiences on the road.

That Other Paper: You guys had an amazing show tonight. It was really good. This question is for Martha.

Tig Notaro: I’ll answer.

TOP: Either of you can answer, really. Which venue was more forgiving .. The Late Late Show or this guy’s backyard?

Martha Kelly: More forgiving, like, if you messed up is nicer? Is that what you mean?

TOP: Or which provided more snacks.

Martha: The Late Late Show gave me three bottles of vodka, but I couldn’t drink them because I’m sober. This party, I got hugged by several cute little delinquents, and that’s much better than vodka that I can’t drink.

TOP: They’re both kind of off-limits, though, right?

Martha: Not.. says who? I’m just kidding. I’m very desperate for attention.

TOP: Which has been your favorite city to perform at?

Martha: What has been our favorite city to perform in? For me, Austin, definitely. Although I loved the other people we met in Colorado .. but definitely, Austin. What about Tigger?

Tig: I thought Detroit went well. Detroit was good. It was amazing.

TOP: You guys haven’t been to Detroit.

Martha: Where else have we gone?

Tig: Ok, honestly? Detroit.

TOP: What about it? Name one specific thing about Detroit that made it enjoyable.

Tig: We didn’t go.

TOP: Yeah, I knew it. I knew that.

Tig: That was the best part.

Martha: The best part was that we didn’t have to go there.

Tig: But I have to say that each has been amazing. Like the first night, we were in Denver like in this huge open loft that was just packed. We had a film projector and showed short films, and we had a local comedian, Ben Kronberg, that was just awesome. So we did our short films and we did our set and they had DJs and a lot of snacks and it was just amazing. We were there until like five in the morning. And when I say we, I mean everyone but Martha.

Martha: I left right after the show.

Tig: And then the next show was in a little mountain town west of Boulder. They flyered their little mountain town. It was in the little living room of a straw-bale home on the side of 10 acres on a mountain.

Martha: We almost drove off the side of the mountain on the way to the show.

Tig: So, uh, you know, all of them have been amazing is my point. And then getting here with all of the college kids and the fact that they have a stage built. I thought they were going to be way more heckle-y.

Martha: They were just heckle-y enough.

Tig: And heckle-y is a new term. We just started it.

Martha: Next question.

Tig: What else brings you here?

TOP: So what is the perfect crowd, then? For this tour, for you guys right now on the Crackpot Tour, what is the perfect crowd?

Martha: To me, this was the perfect crowd.

TOP: Really? So you like the one guy in the back that’s heckling because everyone gets a shot to make fun of him?

Martha: A good Texas crowd is my favorite crowd in the whole world. I’m a little loopy about Texas and Austin in particular.

Tig: Yeah.

Martha: They’re very enthusiastic and very nice, but at the same time they’re a little rowdy. That makes it more fun because you don’t know what’s going to happen. You might get your ass kicked, and that’s always fun.

Tig: Well, we almost got our asses kicked last night. We stayed at this guy’s house who literally went crazy while we were staying there and almost murdered us, so it’s not really as fun as it sounds.

Martha: I didn’t stay there. That’s probably why I think it’s fun.

Tig: Yeah.

Martha: I wouldn’t have been up for that.

TOP: But the crowd, though .. you like the heckler, like the one heckler?

Tig: I like talking to the crowd. That’s one of my favorite things, talking to the crowd.

Martha: I’d love to get out and continue talking to the crowd.

TOP: What has the tour allowed you to experience outside of the comedy show? What have you guys done apart from doing standup?

Tig: Well, apparently they went to a petting zoo. I had to go to a conference, but while I was gone I guess they all went to a petting zoo? A drive-through petting zoo?

Martha: We went to a wild animal park and there were no roofs on the tigers cages. This was in Oklahoma. And a lemur was loose, and I saw it and told the park people. They didn’t even know. I took a lot of credit for that.

Tig: Were they like, ..What is a lemur?..

Martha: Yeah, they were like, ..I didn’t even know we had lemurs… They just all came running in a big herd. I felt like we were being stampeded by the actual staff of the park rather than the animals .. that were poorly caged, to be honest with you. They could have broken free at any moment.

Tig: Well, the lemur did. Or was he trying to get into the zoo? He was trying to get caged.

Martha: He came from somewhere else. He heard about it and came over. I ran back to the van and left Ruby and Kjell to just kind of fend for themselves.

Tig: You were trying to combine words there. To Feld.

Martha: Ruby and Kjell?

Tig: Ruby and Kjell to feld. To fend for themselves. I saw what you were doing. You wanted to really wrap up this interview quickly so you thought you’d start combining words.

TOP: Don’t shortchange me.

Martha: I don’t want to shortchange you. I’m just not a very cooperative person.

TOP: What’s your number one venue .. what would you dream of playing?

Tig: The number one venue, what would I dream of playing..

Tig begins to swat at my head

TOP: Is this an improv?

Tig: No, there’s a bug flying at your head. I mean, I guess, if I’m trying to hit the bug above your head in an improvisational way.

TOP: Did you learn that at Second City?

Tig: So the ideal venue. I would like to be a theater comedian. That sounds like fun. I would love to be a theater comedian. I would love to walk out into a theater. And be a comedian.

Martha: I think a theater is an ideal venue. If you got to the point in your career where you could fill a small theater with people who came just to see you, that would be the best thing in the whole world.

Tig: Except if you filled a large theater with people who were there just to see you.

Martha: Even better.

Tig: Yeah, see? You have to dream beyond your means.

Martha: It’s hard when you’re always telling me how to dream.

Tig: Well, go to sleep.

Martha: It gets rough. It gets really rough. There has been tension on this tour.

Tig: About dreams.

Martha: We’ve had some real, real tension. Not Real World, MTV tension, but real tension.

Tig: Yeah. Not like, ..Let’s fake it,.. but like me and Martha in the darkness of no one else looking, and we’re having it out.

Martha: Yeah. Hurt feelings? There’s a little of that going on. But it seems fine now.

Tig: It’s not.