by Ryan Meehan
KT Tatara’s logic-based comedy provides unique insight into timeless topics such as gender roles and race. He lives in Los Angeles where he can be seen nightly at the top comedy clubs. In 2006, KT was featured as one of the top “New Faces of Comedy” at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, Canada and has been invited back to the festival several times. As a comedian, KT has made television appearances on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham,” Showtime’s “Live Nude Comedy,” and the nationally syndicated show, “Comics Unleashed.” As an actor, KT has co-starred on CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother” and ABC Family’s “Greek.” We are pleased to have him as our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: How did you first get into doing comedy; and what was the first joke you wrote that you can remember having a lot of confidence in? What was it about the performance portion of comedy that really sucked you in and made you want to do it again?
KTT: When I was 19 years old and in college, I stumbled upon a book about stand-up comedy while online. I read it and a year later decided to take a comedy workshop. I began writing down things I thought were funny all the time but didn’t get serious about getting on stage all the time until I was 22.
The first bit I actually had some confidence in was in that first set at workshop graduation show. It was something I used to say a lot at the time as joke pick up line. I basically said “Ladies, I know I look really young but if we go to Red Lobster on Tuesdays I eat for free!” or something like that. I think it made one person chuckle. Or maybe they just choked, I dunno. Even though I didn’t really do well at all that first set, I had fun and got the comedy bug and couldn’t wait to do it again. I’m not really sure what it was about the show. Maybe it’s because I just got a little taste of what it was like to get a laugh but I didn’t really kill so I wanted to try again and see if I could do better. Although, my second set, I did worse, haha.
RM: Where did you come up with the idea for “Oops, That’s Racist!” and what is it about using topics like race to test people’s boundaries is so enticing to you? Is it more about seeing people squirm when discussing uncomfortable topics, or is it something else that draws you into that part of comedy?
KTT: I was talking with a friend at a party and he was talking about a video he just watched where some black guys were going crazy over a magic trick. I said something like “Yeah, it’s the same reaction like they just saw a dunk, you can’t even tell the difference. In fact, that would be a funny game show” and, eventually I made “Oops, That’s Racist!”
I don’t really think about it in terms of testing people’s boundaries, seeing them squirm or discussing uncomfortable topics. I just do what makes me laugh and I think is funny, I’m not setting out to be shocking or anything. Personally, I don’t really have any boundaries or certain topics that make me uncomfortable so I will just make something like that and not think too much of it.
RM: What is it about your stand-up act that seems to resonate so well with college audiences? What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you in your expeditions across the campuses of this great country?
KTT: I’m not sure if it’s so much that my act resonates that well with colleges, I think it’s just because I look close to their age. As far as the craziest thing at a college campus, I probably can’t say for another 25 years, just to be safe. ; )
RM: Is the cast of “How I Met Your Mother” just as laid back and comfortable with each other behind the scenes as they are in the characters they play on screen? In a world that has seen so many sitcoms come and go, why do think that show has managed to stay on the air so long?
KTT: Yeah, everyone was really nice on set. Even though I had a small part, the cast took the time to introduce themselves before filming…and then they promptly went back to playing on their phones. I think the show has done really well because there is a really good vibe on set. The writers, producers and the director, Pamela Fryman, all are pros at doing their job but they were also super cool and friendly on set and I think that helps keep the fun energy up.
RM: You had a great Twitter post the other day where you said “I love how hypersensitive people act like comedians telling jokes are the ones causing all the problems in the world” because I couldn’t agree with that more. Why is it that as a society we tend to think that someone poking fun at a particular negative aspect of life is actually worse than the aspect itself? For example, if somebody makes a joke about something such as welfare or abortion – why is that the joke is made out to be worse than the fact that we have a bunch of people in this country who collect money for not working and occasionally kill their unborn children? Do you think this could be indicative of a much larger philosophical issue when it comes to our problem solving skills; as well as our desperate need to be able to immediately assign blame to things such as the entertainment we consume?
KTT: Haha. Wow. Well, first off, don’t ever do that bit on stage, Ryan. It needs work. I’m actually offended, so good job!…. Nah, I’m just kidding. I think many people just have buzz words that set them off no matter what the context is. Although musicians and other entertainers do sometimes come under fire for their lyrics, I think comedians get blasted easier because you’re just a person talking when you’re doing stand-up. I think if you say the same “edgy” things over a nice beat or while doing a dance move, half the offended people won’t even notice what you said! As far as the problem solving skills and the assigning blame thing goes, I’m not sure. That probably plays into it to some degree but I feel like Malcom Gladwell or the Freakanomics guys could give a better answer on that than I could.
RM: Speaking of Twitter, you seem to be a comedian who very much uses Twitter as a “Jokepad” of sorts…Do you ever worry that you may be using too much new material that you are currently developing on the social networking sites, or do you only Tweet things that you know might not work within the flow of your stand-up act?
KTT: I’m not really a fan of Twitter to be honest. I recently made the decision to not use Twitter and Facebook that much anymore and just concentrate on YouTube. When I was really active on Twitter, I would just tweet thoughts that I had and that’s really it. If it became a stand up bit – cool. If not, that was cool too. I don’t have enough followers to worry about burning material. I used it more as just a stream of conscious thing, so, some things were jokes and some were serious. I wasn’t really trying to test jokes or anything. That strategy didn’t really fit with the way most people read Twitter and the way the most active people on Twitter, use Twitter. So now, I will just randomly tweet things that I really want to say and get out there, or are more of a short joke that I probably won’t use in my stand-up act.
RM: Laughter and a good time set aside, what is the one thing you’d like people to take from your live show?
KTT: The vagina is too close to the butthole. (Hopefully that will change in our next evolutionary step.)
RM: What’s up next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
KTT: More YouTube videos are coming, I might start doing a podcast again and I can’t wait for Oct 21st 2015!
Official Website: https://www.kttatara.com
KT on YouTube: https://youtube.com/user/kttatara
KT on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kttatarafans
KT on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kttatara
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