He’s only 30, but stand-up comedian Kyle Cease already has a Comedy Central album and half-hour special under his belt. Now, the LA-based comic will be seen this week on the same network in his first hour-long special Weirder, Blacker, Dimpler.
No doubt, you’ve seen stand-up comedian Kyle Cease as the slow clapper in Not Another Teen Movie, or as Bogie from 10 Things I Hate About You, or maybe from his Comedy Central Presents half-hour special (which was the network’s most played special of 2006) when he coined the now cult-classic catch phrase, “Like a vagina!”
Now more than ever, Cease is a busy guy. His one-hour special airs this week on Comedy Central, he’s filming 100 short films with his brother Kevin and just finished a summer of one-on-one coaching for emerging comics.
Kyle recently took some time out to field a phone call from Punchline Magazine and answer a few questions.
Hey, Kyle. Is this a good time?
Yes, this actually works out perfect because I was just rapping on the other line. Literally, I was just gangsta rapping with this girl I really like. No, seriously though this girl is awesome. She can really throw down some rhymes.
I assumed you were kidding, but when you said she can really rhyme I felt bad for doubting you. Anyway, how are the short films going?
It’s going really great. We have nine or 10 shot so far and we’re just trying to work out which website to give them to. What’s really great is that doing this on our own we have the most freedom. We’re free to put in our cutting edge new material and not have to worry about what some guys in suits say is supposed to be funny or was funny and has worked like in the 80s.
So Weirder, Blacker, Dimpler, is finally coming out (Oct. 13 at 11pm on Comedy Central). What was it like preparing for your first one-hour special?
You know, I’ve gone with friends when they were going to do a big show like Leno or something, and we’ll be in the green room and they’ll actually just be staring at the ground, pacing and be like, ‘Don’t talk to me!’ I try to just be in the moment and live for now. So I could have been like, ‘Oh my God, there’s cameras out there. What if I screw it up?’ But no, I look at it is as, ‘There’s cameras out there, you know, I’m gonna party.’
That’s funny you say that because I remember from where I was sitting during the taping I could see you and your friends backstage high-fiving and jumping around and getting stoked for the show.
That’s awesome that you could see that. That’s exactly what I mean by trying to just enjoy every moment that I’m in. When I’m going to get on stage, I’m not thinking about how well the set is going to do or what if it doesn’t go right. I’m thinking, hey, I’m going high five that guy before I get on stage, or I’m going to go over and talk to that person.
I just felt really ready to get out there and rock it. My manager would see that I have no set list and think I’m not ready but my mind was more ready because I could get out there and be loose and be able to riff with the audience and be able to come up with jokes on the spot.
Most people who really follow stand-up are familiar with what a call-back is– a joke that refers back to another joke performed earlier in the show, often presented in a different context. During the taping, you attempted and pulled off something I’ve never seen done before — the Call Forward. How did you come up with that?
I had actually done that before one night just sort of in the moment at the Improv. It was an off the cuff thing and I was just being in the moment and loose and just thought about it on the spot. I remember other comics who were there that night had told that they really liked that too. I like to try to make my material multi layered and I think I actually doubled the laughs on that joke just by setting up the segue with that call forward.
Dane Cook has said recently he’s going to put out a rock album.
Really, he said that?
Yeah, it was in a recent article I read online. Since you play the piano, is there any chance you will be putting out like a Cease does Gershwin album?
I actually would like to start using music more on stage. Everyone always seems to really like it.
Is music really important to you as a creative outlet?
Absolutely. My first goal as a little kid was to have a career in music– like a music teacher or something. But comedy was really kicking ass so that’s the direction I went in. But yes, music is one of many things that can really focus your mind.
I read on your MySpace blog that you’ve recently lost friends to drug abuse and addiction. How do you think that affected your drive and outlook on comedy?
Wow, it’s really weird that you would say, ‘My outlook on comedy.’ I’ve lost a lot of friends because of this and it’s absolutely terrible. I just try to ask myself, ‘What can I do with this? How can I make this a positive?’
If you do that every time, you start immediately looking for answers. Eventually, it makes it a given that it will become a positive. I first went to write that blog and I thought, ‘Oh, well people are going to think this is corny,’ and I’m supposed to be this hard-ass comic. But since I wrote that, I’ve been overwhelmed with the responses.
Just today, three people wrote to me in private telling me that after reading my blog they have decided to quit, throw out their stash, and go into rehab. I’ve asked them to go public with that because just think of how many people would be inspired by their stories. Just think of how much a bad thing like the death of my friend can be used to change people.
I asked your fans on MySpace to send me questions that they would want to ask you if they had the opportunity. So my last four questions are from them. The very first response I got was from [comedian and Kyle’s roommate] Bob Bledsoe:
You know that carton of eggs in the fridge? Are those yours or mine? Because I don’t remember buying them but maybe I did. I just want to eat them before they go bad if they’re mine.
Bob, we’ve gone through this. You didn’t buy those eggs. You haven’t paid for any of our food. In fact, you owe me money. I’m on the road and I don’t have time for this shit. Also, I’m giving you 30 days notice.
What is the craziest thing a fan has ever done?
The craziest thing? Wow. I don’t know how dirty you want to make this, but one time a fan asked me to sign her vagina. She just gave me a marker, pulled her pants down and just kind of sat there doing the splits. I told her I couldn’t sign it. It was the first time I thought I should wear a condom before signing autographs.
The last question is from a fan who doesn’t understand the Jack O’ Lantern joke you told during your half hour special. She said that the joke is funny, but that she still doesn’t get it and her question is, ‘So was it a pumpkin or was it a report?’
I really like that joke but I’m always afraid to use it because it gets such a mixed response from the audience. But everyone I talk to seems to really like that one. I guess the joke is that it’s a report but to answer her question:
The joke you are asking about is like a fun time you can take back to your friends. Like Disneyland, except, you can’t take Disneyland to your friends. But wouldn’t it be weird if you could? I guess what I’m saying is that the joke is Disneyland and that you should go there and try to move it.
You can watch Kyle Cease’s one hour special, Weirder. Blacker. Dimpler, Saturday, Oct. 13 at 11pm on Comedy Central. For more on Kyle, check out www.kylecease.com.
Lead photo by Michael Schwartz; second photo by Kevin Cease.