MONTREAL — Every year, self-proclaimed underdog comedian Andy Kindler delivers the State of the Industry Address at the Just For Laughs festival. If you’re unfamiliar with this comedy ritual, let me explain it; it’s pretty simple. Kindler spends an hour telling a few hundred comedians and industry folks how much of a miserable failure he is in the business. In between explaining why everyone hates him, he makes fun of the comedy industry.
To be clear, this is a performance for the industry and so a lot of his quips and jabs would not be fully appreciated by casual comedy goers. Although when he makes a comment like, “Maybe my comedy needs to be more muscular” referring to Dane Cook, I think it’s safe to say we knows he’s making fun of Cook, something he usually does every year.
So in his 14th year, Kindler did very little to change things up, because, really that’s not the point. Also, in order to appreciate his address fully, you have to suspend your disbelief— a lot. Kindler is nowhere near an unsuccessful comedian. He’s been on Letterman 17 times, appeared on 23 episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond, has had his own Comedy Central Presents, was on the Root of all Evil with Lewis Black and is a nationally touring headliner. I guess the idea is that after doing stand-up for so long he should be a superstar like Howie Mandel, who Kindler explains made $12 million last year, which got him on the “Forbes list of Horrible Celebrities.”
But Kindler is a marginal, very well respected act. His comedy style doesn’t necessarily appeal to the masses. And it never will. But most comics would kill to have his career.
That said, I wanted to share with you, a list of things Kindler told the crowd last week during his speech in Montreal that he would change if only Barack Obama would name him Secretary of Funny. Let us know what you think in the comments section.