Arts Desk

Comedians Jared Logan and Kara Klenk on HBO Sex and Pooping at Friends’ Houses

Kara_KlenkThe growth of D.C.'s comedy scene doesn't just come from the comedians that it exports, but the comedians it draws to locations besides the Washington Improv Theater. The names Kara Klenk and Jared Logan may not ring a bell, unless you're a total comedy geek, but their credits are impressive: Logan has recorded a 30-minute Comedy Central special and appeared on VH1's now-defunct Best Week Ever; Klenk was a writer on MTV's Girl Code and runs a show at the Upright Citizen's Brigade East Village location.

Both will bring whipsmart observational humor to LYGO DC's Wake & Bacon brunch show at Shaw's Tavern tomorrow and have three shows with Cool Cow Comedy (tonight at 8 p.m. and tomorrow at 7 and 9 p.m. ) over the weekend. I spoke with Logan and Klenk about their experiences the road, touring as partners, and what is (and what is most definitely not) considered the South.

WCP: You just recorded a CD a few weeks ago in Nashville. Are you somebody that will burn that material and start brand new, or will we get to hear some of the material from the CD while you’re in town?

Logan: I definitely will be doing some of it when I come to town. I have new stuff that didn’t get on the record, but I don’t have 45 minutes of it. I also put some new stuff on the record. So some of the stuff on the record is probably two to three years old and some of it is only six weeks old.

Jared_Logan Is there anything you’d like to share about your recent tour of the South that culminated in Nashville?

Logan: Well, I’ve been writing a bunch of jokes about it. They’ll be in the shows I’m going to do. That’s part of the reason that I wanted to go down there. I tell a lot of jokes about the South and West Virginia in my act, so I thought, well, I should tell them in front of Southern people. But we had a lot of fun shows and I was really happy with the reaction. I was like, “Uh, people might not like some of these jokes,” and people loved them down there.

Klenk: I love being on the road, seeing new places, meeting cool people, comparing and contrasting the bedspread patterns at various Econolodges. What I like best is performing my act in different towns and seeing how audiences react to my material, and the thing I like least is hotel rooms that smell like dying. I guess the craziest thing that happened on tour, besides getting engaged, was I had a couple hurricanes in New Orleans and ended up on a drunk shoe shopping spree. I bought three pairs, two of which I would never wear. I returned one pair the next morning to the same guy that sold them to me. Couldn't look him in the eye.

Congratulations on your engagement! Tell us about the proposal.

Klenk: We were in New Orleans, a city I absolutely love, and he planned out a very romantic proposal with champagne and a jazz band he hired to play under our balcony. It was really lovely. There was no ring. I didn't want one; I'm just not a diamonds girl, and I hate the idea of DeBeers getting their mitts on our hard earned comedy money.

I’m surprised that you didn’t also rope D.C. into the tour of the South.

Logan: Do you consider Washington, D.C., the South?

Not until running into people from further north. 

Logan: Here’s what happens. Everybody has a psychological geography. When people in the Deep South like Atlanta or Mississippi hear that I’m from West Virginia, they don’t say West Virginia is the South. That’s not the South to them. To someone in Los Angeles or someone in Boston, that is the South to them. People all want to argue about it and it’s completely semantic and meaningless. I tried to learn as I was going to avoid setting off someone’s “Hey, that’s not the South!” alarm. People are so weird when you get them into large groups. Audiences, when you mention any location, they’ll just cheer for it. It’s like, “Yeah, so I was driving through Delaware...” “WOOOO!” “Are you from Delaware?” “No.” “Do you enjoy it?” “No.” “Okay, so you just enjoy when locations are mentioned?” I think that the South starts at the Mason-Dixon Line. That’s always been the traditional line of divergence, right? There’s a panhandle of West Virginia that’s right above it but most of West Virginia is below it. And now that you mention it, D.C.’s below it, too.

We’re the South by that definition, and the Northeast Corridor by Amtrak’s definition.

Logan: One time I heard West Virginia was considered part of the Mid-Atlantic Corridor, which sounds like a very depressing thing to be a part of. How banal is that description? The Mid-Atlantic Corridor. It sounds like a scientific specimen. It doesn’t sound like a place where people live.

Kara, what's your favorite free-time TV/movie genre?

Klenk: I feel like 90 percent of what I watch is comedy, but other than that, I love Game of Thrones, Mad Men—and the Real Housewives franchise has gotten me through a couple tough winters.

Jared, you like to put your thoughts on various horror movies on your blog. How long have you been into horror movies?

Logan: Oh, a long time. And I don’t even know what I was doing there exactly. I started out by just watching a movie and going, “You know, I’m just going to do a review of it.” The blog is a catch-all for anything that I want to write down. It started to develop to where I was reviewing horror movies that weren’t horror movies.

Maybe now people won’t feel sad if they’ve avoided Game of Thrones.

Logan: Oh my God, the Game of Thrones thing. I was arguing about this with my friend today. The thing about it is, it’s never going to end well. It’s another Lost or Battlestar [Galactica], it’s just going to keep unspooling endlessly. I just can’t take it anymore. I’ve got to have an ending. And just the pervasive rapey-ness. At first, the shoe-horned-in sex is just funny, but it was still embarrassing. The sex on HBO is always a little bit embarrassing. They never put it in organically. Even on The Sopranos, did you really need that shot of the ba-da-bing? No one was watching The Sopranos just in case they could get a shot of tits. No one watches Game of Thrones to get sexually scintillated. Couples and families watch Game of Thrones. How about you just curb the rapey-ness?

You do a lot of drawings on your website. Have you ever added a visual component to your performances? 

Logan: There’s a show, I think it’s called Picture This—they do it at festivals, where someone draws while someone else does stand-up. I’d like to do it from the drawing side. I did it from the stand-up side, and I was even kind of a dick while I was doing it. I kept trying to do jokes about things you can’t possibly draw. I was like, “So a wasp is riding a photo-realistic 1957 Harley-Davidson motorcycle and he runs into the abstract concept of sorrow.” I was just trying to screw with my illustrator because he was my buddy, Mike Bridenstine. He’s a comic in L.A. I think we did the show together at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival.

How long have you been hosting If You Build It? Are there any unique challenges to regularly hosting your own show? 

Klenk: I've been hosting and producing If You Build It for five years; it's been at the Upright Citizen's Brigade's East Village location since [the venue] opened about three years ago. Initially, it's always challenging to get a show going, publicize it, get the word out and get audiences in, and make sure everything runs smoothly. But at this point, I've been doing it so long the show almost runs itself. We always have a packed house, and I get to work with some of the best comedians in the country at one of the best comedy venues on the planet. I don't have any complaints about it!

How much time do you spend on the road?

Klenk: My schedule is always in flux, but it's also very flexible, which is conducive to heading out on tour. And thanks to the magic of the Internet, I'm able to do a lot of other work from the road. I'd like to get out on tour as much as possible, but I'm not quite ready to commit to life in a Gulf Stream.

Logan: Well, it was a little less in the past, because I had a couple obligations that kept me in New York. I was doing some warm-up for some TV shows, and I was on a TV show called Best Week Ever, but it’s now been cancelled. Now, I just told my manager that I want to be on the road all the time because I have this perfect thing where Kara comes out with me. Kara and I are actually engaged to be married. I proposed to her in New Orleans. But Kara’s also an extremely funny comedian. She’s the perfect partner to go on this tour with. So, you get to be on tour with your lifemate but you also get to be on tour as a comedian. It’s so funny, whenever I come into a town where my friends and family live and they know she’s opening, they’re so nervous for her. They say, “Please let her not suck!” I’m like, “You guys, she’s amazing,” and then they’re just blown away. And in addition to being a very funny comic, she’s an incredible producer. She produces a bunch of stuff. The other thing that makes Kara amazing as a tour partner is that she’s stayed in touch with everyone she’s ever met. She’s one of these social networker people. So, like, camp friends from 1996 still talk to her a couple times a year or more. So, everywhere we go, there are people we can hang out with who live in the city. It’s great. They can show us around. A lot of times she has people who want to put us up. They love Kara. She’s their good friend.

Klenk: I've always been one to stay in touch with people. I guess once I go to the trouble of befriending someone, I feel like I should see my investment through. Also Facebook helps.

Logan: Sometimes I’m such a curmudgeon. I’m like, “I just want to get a hotel,” and she’s like, “Well, we’re going to stay with Trini and Fat-Fat,” because they always have weird college nicknames, and I’m like, “Ugh,” and I’m embarrassed the whole time about the sound of my defecations. There’s always a catch. It’s like, “You can stay there for free, but you need to take out the dog while they’re at work and that happens at 11:14 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.” So it’s like, “Oh, we need to be here all day to walk the dog.” Or we have to clean up their garage. There’s always some weird catch. Ultimately, I really love doing it because I get to meet all these people and go into the cities with people who live in the cities. The other thing is that all of her friends are awesome people. Some people don’t like their significant other’s friends, but I love Kara’s friends. They’re cool, but the other thing about them is that they’re not comedians. I’ve moved for comedy so many times in my life. By the time I got to the third or fourth place, I only knew comedians. What was nice on this southern tour is that this is the first time that we would roll into town and Kara would meet some of my friends. I’m from down south and we haven’t gotten down there as much. So she got to meet some of my friends and get some of their camaraderie, which was very nice.

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