An Interview With Comedian Karl Hess

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Karl Hess is a stand-up comedian who is performing at this year’s Bridgetown Comedy Festival; here is a link to his website The World Procrastination Headquarters:



Q:  What makes you funny?

A: the necessity of having to deal with the trauma that comes from oscillating wildly between blinding self-confidence and crippling self-doubt 417 times a day.

Q:  What appeals to you about the Bridgetown Comedy Festival?

A: Bridgetown is comedian-centric, well-organized, well-booked, in a great city with great people. plus, that Andy Wood is reeeeal easy on the eyes. also, free booze!

Q:  What is the most laughable thing about Portland?

A: the fact that they think they need to “Keep Portland Weird.” i’m not sure what, exactly, the threat to Portland’s weirdness is, but it doesn’t seem like the weirdness is losing any ground. like, i don’t think that at some point dudes in pleated dockers and polo shirts are just gonna show up like “all of this has gotta go.” the weirdness is safe.

Q:  What is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you on stage?

A: i think not being embarrassed easily kind of comes with the masochistic nature of doing stand-up, at least for me. i rarely get embarrassed on stage. off-stage, though, i get embarrassed somewhat easily, especially for others performing. once this comic onstage just started really making fun of this young guy in the crowd for having a cane, and i think the comic was the only person in the room who didn’t realize the guy was blind. i may have pulled a muscle cringing.

Q:  I have about fifty two hours of free time each week in which I could be developing my mind. I spend approximately fifty of that time procrastinating. What makes procrastination so appealing?

A: procrastination is kind of the ultimate defense mechanism. it shields you from necessity, and provides you with an all-encompassing retroactive explanation. it’s very tempting because we know we can get probably get away with it, and if things end up not working out well, we can use it as an excuse: “well, if i had started on time, i would have done great.” it saves you from ever having to live up to your full potential, and is right there to take the fall when you don’t, which can be destructive. i’m a huge procrastinator, and i don’t think it has anything to do with laziness, more with a reticence to face yourself. that being said, i’m also extremely lazy.

Q:  Who are some of your comedic influences?

A: as a child i loved George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, and Bill Cosby, but i think the shows Seinfeld and The Simpsons were really the foundations for my comedic sensibility. later, in college, i got into guys like bill hicks, Richard Pryor, Louis CK , Patton Oswalt and such, but now that i’m a comic my influences are just my friends, as i’m privileged enough to hang out with some of the funniest people in the world. but i still contend that nothing will ever approach how funny it is when someone falls down the stairs.

Q:   What sort of day jobs have you had and how do they influence your comedy?

A: i used to be a bartender, which is a good job for a comic because you get to banter with strangers and learn to hate humanity as a whole, firsthand.

Q: . How important is bitterness to a comedian?

A: i wouldn’t say it’s important. i guess it depends on the person, some people seem to be fueled by it. i’d say it’s more of a byproduct of an industry that can seem capricious and arbitrary a lot of the time. but, in reality, i think the really funny, talented people end up rising to the top. bitterness seems like a waste of energy. unless we’re talking about that one dude, i fucking hate that guy.


Q:  What do you like about Hollywood?


A: i live in Echo Park, i try not to go to Hollywood unless i have to. it smells pretty bad. but, if you’re looking for over-priced juice and startling poverty on display, it really can’t be beat.

Q:  What don’t you like about it?

A: i think it can really put blinders on people and make them lose perspective. i’d answer this question further but i have to go drive 50 minutes to audition for a gum commercial that could make or break my life. ciao!

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)



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