Audio interview: Andy Kindler goes after Louis C.K., state of comedy and more (Exclusive)

By | July 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm | 42 comments | feature slider, Interviews | Tags: , , , , ,

As he does every year, comic’s comic Andy Kindler delivered the State of the Industry Address at the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal. For the uninitiated, the speech is delivered in a ballroom in front of hundreds of comedians and industry types. Kindler’s charge is to passionately explain to the crowd what exactly is wrong with the world of comedy. As part of that, Kindler doesn’t shy away from naming names: Jay Leno, Dane Cook and Chelsea Handler are popular targets. But this year, the veteran comedian spent more than a few minutes heavily criticizing Louis C.K., who is, arguably the most beloved comedian of our day. It was a ballsy move, to say the least.

As the speech was proceeding on July 27, I tweeted a few of his one liners, which included, “He’s not the greatest comic in the world” and “You’ll never hear the phrase ‘self-effacing’ in reference to Louis C.K.” and “There are more laughs in two minutes of Portlandia than there are in a half hour of Louie” and “Just because something is different doesn’t mean it’s the best show on television.”

The day after the speech, I sat down with Kindler to chat about the address, the general state of comedy, Kindler’s upcoming projects and much more. Listen to the completely unedited interview below.

photo by SUSAN MALJAN

About the Author

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.

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  • raykowski13

    Does anyone remember the “Player haters ball” sketch from chapelles show? Well top hater award goes to Andy Kindler. Mad that C.K. throws ot his act each year? Well maybe thats why hes a sucsess and moving forward and thats why your an unheard of nobody (to anyone outside of “comedy inside”). Learn from the pros Andy, like C.K. and Burr and follow their business model and you too may be a name the general public recognizes but keep being a hateful arragont “you just dont get good comedy” asshole and you be riht where you are in 10 years and thats NOWHERE, where you goin? NOWHERE!

  • raykowski

    Hes a fucking comedian I didnt know a degree in political science was required to be a “good” comedian . Well acording to kindler you cant touch anything political unless you have college degree in politics.thats the beauty in my opinion of comics is they are “the common man” who you can relate to. And when did dick jokes go out of style? Farts and dicks will always be funny and will always be part of comedy no matter how smart or dumb the industry gets. Side note you laugh at all your shit your saying so how can you get mad at C.K. for doing it. I actually like it when comedians laugh a little. I hate the straight face mono-tone guy if thats what kindler is saying is better

  • raykowski

    Kindler is one of those faces ive seen around but never really knew who he was but now I know exactly who he is….hes a bitter ass, not as succsesful in life as he wanted, piece of shit who in my opinion this speech didnt take “balls” like they say it is cowerdly in my opinion to bash someone doing better than you in this business. Hes the worst kind of arragont, hes the kind that has nothing, no wieght in his ownshoulders to back up his arragonce. Your mad that loui is a powerhouse of material making hour long specials once a year whenive never heard one single hour from kindler that made me anyhing more than a sligt slight chuckle

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  • Jake L

    He references at the end how you should never make rules for comedy but most of the interview was him saying what comedians should and shouldn’t do. He was ripping on Louie some about how he only does comedy for people who already love him but Im assuming here that Kindler performs in alternative comedy rooms which are full of people really into his type of comedy and fall right into his nitch. He was saying how much he goes after people doing hacky jokes but I thought pretty much every joke he did in his interview seemed pretty hacky. Why can’t the stage be a magic eraser, We live in a country where the first rule we made is that people should be able to say whatever they want, its a agreement between the comedian and the people that come to the show. He just kind of has this holier than thou attitude about a lot of things and hes also hypocritical at times. That reaction he has to certain things seem jealous(note when he is talking about the correspondents dinner and how louie knows nothing about politics why should he get the opportunity, thats coming from a place of Andy saying how hes the one with all this great genius political satire) The most important thing though is that Andy Kindler has the right to have these opinions just like everyone should be allowed to have whatever opinion they want. WHY DO PEOPLE ALWAYS THINK THAT WHEN THEY DONT LIKE SOMETHING THAT IT SHOULDN’T EXIST, IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT TURN IT OFF OR LEAVE THE ROOM.

  • Greekfreak

    Incredibly unfunny and uninteresting interview with a guy who’s clearly jealous of more successful comedians but can’t simply admit it. I’m sure he knows what he wants to say but can’t seem to find out how to say it lucidly.

    For the record, I think that Louis is a better actor than he is a comic, and I think he’d be better served working as a writer/actor than a comedian.

  • Steve Lafreniere

    I only became aware of Louis CK when I saw an episode of his latest series a few months ago. It was the blind date episode, and it blew my head off. I didn’t like it because it was shocking, which it certainly was. I liked it because it pulled me into a real situation, one that I’ve been in, and then didn’t tell me ANY of the things I would have expected, while making me laugh at those unexpected, horrifying yet also identifiable other things. The more episodes I watched the more I laughed. And I’m someone who doesn’t even like stand-up, sitcoms, or most of what passes for humor TV. So if LCK blows his own horn a bit, good for him, Mr. Kindler. False modesty is as boring as the second season of Portlandia.

  • http://danielheard.squarespace.com danielheard

    Andy, “Here’s why you can’t make any rules about comedy”? After spending 25 minutes saying what comedians should and shouldn’t do. I enjoy your craft, but are you self aware?

  • Doug

    Anyone can sit around and criticize what other people do. It takes a true artist, such as Louis C.K., to shrug off the criticism and move forward with your creative life. Louis writes, directs, produces and stars in a critically acclaimed show, along with the fact that he throws out his stand up act every year and starts completely fresh. I think it was the great Del Close that said “Follow your fear”. Louis definitely follows his fear.

  • Jeffrey Jones

    Andy Kindler complains about Louis CK being pretentious and mean-spirited while being pretentious and mean-spirited himself. This could have been constructed as some sort of meta bit, but it obviously stems from true bitterness and jealousy. A sad attention grab. And, to top it all off, not a single funny moment in the interview.

  • Tien

    To be honest Andy, I think you hate the hype and fandom around Louis CK rather than Louis CK himself. All the things you criticised about Louis CK talking about his old show or doing material every year is because people are asking him about it. People buy magazines just to read his opinions. And his act has changed a lot from his old act, it’s called progression. No artist should stop trying to do something new.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mac-Jt/1441227226 Mac Jt

    Comon this guy is being disingenuous , CK’s comedy is pretty fresh in that the premise is pretty common but the delivery and the execution is new. This guy is just plain jealous. Everyone repeats material so what! He’s getting traction for this show and you’re a nobody and will hopefully remain so.
    BTW you swallow words , really you need to slow down when you talk , its irritating.

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  • Jorden

    Um, so Kindler criticizes CK for laughing at his own words…and then laughs at his own words…WAY harder than I have ever seen Louis laugh at one of his own jokes. And Andy was laughing at small little quips that he made up, not huge jokes with setups and punchlines. I would respect his opinion, despite my love for Louis CK, but the points he makes regarding CK just make no sense. Saying popular things are dumb is something I do all the time, and I don’t always have good reasons. Usually it’s just me saying “Glee is dumb because dumb”, but hey, I don’t get up on stages and yell my mislead opinions at people -.-

    • Andy Kindler

      Last attempt to explain what seems obvious. See above comment. This interview is not the speech. I have never said people shouldn’t laugh, although many crowds I perform in front of don’t. I’m referring to laughing while you’re telling the joke. Not laughing off stage. Okay. God bless us everyone. 

  • Footwearquality

    “Listen to the completely unedited interview below.”  Or, here’s a thought: how about you edit and/or annotate it so I don’t have to search through a 30 minute interview to hear the 5 minutes where he talks about his Louis CK comments, which based on the comments here seems to be the only thing people are interested in listening to.
    PSA: They start discussing Louis CK at just after 5 minutes, sort of, but he doesn’t really start getting specific about his criticisms until 11 minutes in.

    • Dylan

      sorry i didn’t spoonfeed you. seems the nearly 2,700 people who shared the interview weren’t bothered by it.

      • Andy Kindler

        Just hopping in to emphasize that this interview was not the actual speech. From my unhealthy relationship with google alerts I have found many criticisms  (including complaints about the sound quality!) that don’t seem to comprehend the difference. 

  • Guest

    Dylan, why are you stuttering so much? You weren’t that nervous when Patrice O’Neal was going in on you.

    • Dylan

      i don’t know, “Guest.” I guess because in real life, people stutter. I’m not a talking head; I’m a person having a conversation with another person. keep posting passive aggressive comments as “Guest.” It’s a sign of a super confident person who never stutters.

  • Lucas P

    I agree with some of the stuff he says about Louis CK being a sacred cow. But he does seem pretty incoherent here and there.

  • http://twitter.com/MurphysLaugh James Murphy

    Portlandia is terrible

  • Some Guy

    Louis C.K. is overrated.

    • Karlhungusjr

       calling popular things overrated is overrated.

      • Dan

        Not to mention it’s like typing without saying anything. You might as well just say ‘it is what it is’.

  • Davebaxter1989

    I think it’s completely valid to critique anything regardless of the popular opinion on the subject but if you want to be anything other than just contrarian then you need to explain it well. Like if someone says “well I don’t even like Mad Men” then I simply disagree and believe they didn’t bring anything to the discussion. So that Andy kind of just scratched the surface of what he believes is wrong with Louis makes me want to hear more (so I hope the full audio from the address is eventually put up) so I can truly get to the gritty of his beliefs. What he has said though is, I believe, wrong. Who says Louie is only good because it’s different? And who also says that because it doesn’t have as much laughs as Portlandia that it is therefore not as “good”? Also despite saying that the whole idea of “funniest comedian in the world” is completely wrong he states that Louis isn’t it, which leads to the idea that he believes someone is? As far as pretension goes the filming style of Louie is as valid as any other style and to say that a French New Wave style is somehow inherently more pretentious than any “standard” style is bizzare and requires clarification. I would genuinely would like to hear more on this as it is certainly an interesting discussion to be had.

    • Dylan

      as far as i know, the audio from the address is not going to be made available.

      • Davebaxter1989

        Sent from my iPad

  • christopatten

    I think it’s fair to disagree with the whole “World’s Greatest Stand-Up” it pisses me off when the press sensationalize anyone’s success by making it an absurd competition.

    On another note, we need to examine whether tweets constitute jokes.

  • Kwame

    IMO one Louis CK, Bill Burr, or Patrice O’Neal (RIP) Comedy Special a year is not enough. Every Carlin special is, special. 

  • GeeLaDouche

    Does anyone else find ironic that Kindler is the guy discussing hacky comedy when he’s the one who spends half his act criticizing his own act? In premise, that’s a pretty hacky concept, something you see a lot of open-micers do early on. 
    Just sayin’, he’s not exactly the voice of reason here. 

  • http://twitter.com/vyrm j isaac

    Chancellor Tootietootie has so much integrity that he gets enraged, oh so enraged, when comedians don’t apologize for their jokes! And wow, this was so funny — more laughs in this half hour address than in two seconds of Portlandia!

  • http://twitter.com/Bathtubdawg Trevor Turner

    Andy watch this and you’ll see where Louis got tyhe idea to throw out his material ever year,  or do you consider Carlin a hack too? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R37zkizucPU 

  • guest

    Hey Andy, bitter nuch?

    • Dan

      Hey guest, cliched much?

    • Dan

      Hey guest, cliched much?

  • Jason Wayne

    We love Don Rickles for his insults, and we love Andy Kindler for his criticism of comedy. Even though I don’t agree with a bunch of it, I’m glad he’s trying to make fun of the paterns, hackery, and cliches of the comedy year. Louis is getting blown by every comedian and comedy fan these days so he needed a good swipe. Having said that, Andy you’re wrong and Louis is amazing.

  • http://profiles.google.com/planx.constant Planx Constant

    A huge part of Louis CK’s act is what a piece of shit he is.  Maybe Andy Kindler doesn’t know what ‘self-effacing’ means?

  • Whipsmart McCoy

    Weird, I still like Louis C.K.

  • Jorge Garrido

    Go Andy!

  • K9H20

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this seems petty. I get the sense that he thinks that he is speaking truth to power, but I disagree with his assessment. First, who is Andy Kindler to draw the lines around acceptable subject matter/fodder, comedy is subjective and frequently subversive. Second, I don’t see a problem with Louie promoting himself and receiving attention after essentially a whole career of mostly commercial failures. He has earned it. This interview reveals more about Andy’s own insecurities than anything.