Who: Stand-up comic Laurie Kilmartin, a staff writer on “Conan,” will perform at 8 p.m. Friday at Seven Restaurant & Nightclub, 1033 NW Bond St., in downtown Bend. She’ll share the bill with fellow comedian Jackie Kashian. After their respective performances, the two will do a live taping of their podcast, “The Jackie and Laurie Show,” which turns 4 in December. “If you’re in town, and you’re sick of your family, come on by,” Kilmartin said. “That’s our pitch.” Tickets are $20 in advance at bendticket.com, $25 at the door. Contact: bendcomedy.com.
Q: How did you and Jackie meet?
A: I think we met a few times here and there. We both started comedy around the same time, but they never used to let women work together. So we would just see pictures of each other, like headshots at comedy clubs, and I’d be like, “Hey, who’s that lady?” When we were … in Los Angeles, then we’d see each other at spots in L.A. That’s how we connected, and realized we had a very similar timeline.
Q: How soon after meeting did you start the podcast?
A: I think a couple of years. … It was more of just looking at other podcasts and who their guests were. It was always male comics, and they hardly ever had women on, and when they did, they were really young or hot. We’re like, “Hey, we’re actually good comics. Sorry we’re past our prime sexually to you, but we might be good guests too.” We decided, shoot, we’ll have our own podcast.
Q: How big is your following?
A: I think we have about 6,000 downloads per (episode). It seems like it’s mostly comics, or newer comics, or people that want to do comedy — or it’s women our age in a male-dominated profession.
Q: Do you ever come up with jokes on the job (at “Conan”) and think, “I’m going to keep this one for my act”?
A: No, because usually for him, you might write topical stuff, and I never want to do topical stuff. My own act is so different from what I write for “Conan” there’s never any crossover.
Q: What’s a typical day of work like?
A: I get in at around 9:30. We work on jokes and stuff till like 2 or 2:30, and then we meet with Conan and figure out if we’re headed in the right direction. The show’s taped around 4:30, so we have about an hour after that to recalibrate if we need to or come up with more stuff.
Q: Is it pretty high-pressure sometimes?
A: No (laughs). Every once in a while, it’s a terrible day, like it’ll be a terrible news cycle, you know, there’ll be a shooting or something, like there’s no news stories anyone wants to hear about or talk about. Then you’re just looking … for something generic and quick, just to get out of the current news cycle. That’s the only time that it’s really hard.
Q: Sorry, I know you lost your father a few years ago, and you had a couple of projects that came out of your grief. Can you tell me about that?
A: Yeah, when my dad was dying, he was in hospice, he had lung cancer. We did home hospice, and I didn’t want to leave him, so I just started tweeting jokes that I probably would have said at a show that night — you know, I’m just writing cancer and hospice jokes. People started following or paying attention because it was happening in real time, and then after he passed away, I just felt like I really wanted to do a whole stand-up special that was just jokes about that stuff, just to prove it could be done. So that’s how the special (“45 Jokes About my Dead Dad”) came out. … I thought, “Oh, I have more funny stuff to say about cancer and death and hospice,” and wanted to do it in a form … that doesn’t have to survive being told while somebody’s ordering a drink — all the obstacles a joke has to overcome at a nightclub. It’s a different format. You’re talking to just one person, the reader. I had already written a book called “Sh*tty Mom,” which had a pretty easy template to replicate, and I just kind of pitched it as “Sh*tty Mom” about grief, and the publisher was like, “Yeah, that sounds good, so let’s do it.”
Q: What kind of feedback did you get?
A: Mostly good. People seem to like it. It came out on the day of a mass shooting, so nobody wanted to publicize it or tweet about it or anything. … It came out on the day of Parkland, which was horrific, and so understandably no one wanted to do any publicity. In that way, it’s always tough to sell any book about death. When you say it’s comedy, then you lose half the potential audience. But the people that want that, it’s right up their alley.
Q: What’s it like doing the podcast in front of a live audience?
A: It’s fun. As a comic, I don’t feel conversation is entertaining, but people seem to like it. I feel an obligation to get a laugh every 20 to 30 seconds or so. … But I think people find it interesting, and that’s probably my own thing from being a stand-up. “There’s been too much silence!” But they’re a lot of fun, and it’s fun to meet people that listen and talk to them after the show.