After catching Myq Kaplan's act in downtown New York this spring, I immediately became a fan of the comedian. Not only was Kaplan's material especially funny, it made you think. So it came as no surprise to me to discover months later that Kaplan had made it onto Last Comic Standing on NBC, a national competition that awards one comedian a $250,000 prize. As I rooted for Kaplan during the competition, I found myself wanting to know more about him, his style, and his craft. I reached out to Kaplan via email on the eve of his final Comic appearance, where he would place 5th in the competition. Here is our brief Q&A:
Why did you try out for "Last Comic Standing" at the beginning?
MK: Because I wanted to win Last Comic Standing.
You have a unique style of humor that leaves audience members feeling "smarter" for getting your jokes. How do you make your style work so effectively?
MK: That is nice of you to say. I don't know. I am sorry I am not smart enough to have the answer.
What was the atmosphere like behind the scenes? Was it competitive? Were the other comedians friendly?
MK: The atmosphere was mostly nitrogen, I believe, but with enough oxygen to breathe. Everyone was nice, because we all had plenty of breathable air.
I noticed the judges primarily gave compliments, and not criticism. How did their feedback help you throughout the competition?
MK: The judges' feedback was almost as helpful as the oxygen.
Greg Giraldo frequently pointed out that you generate good crowd energy. Is that difficult to pull off, or does that come naturally to you?
MK: I am appreciative for how great the crowds have been, but they are their own people who make their own choices, controlled by me and my puppet-mastery of comedy energy. "Honestly, I just do what I do, and am happy to have people respond as they have. What do you think about our interviewer/interviewee energy?"
You have an active Twitter feed. How do you decide what to post there and what to keep as material for future sets?
MK: If a joke is longer than 140 characters and cannot be abbreviated, then I will probably not put it on Twitter. If a joke involves spelling and might be confusing when spoken, I probably will.
What's next in store for you?
MK: Next up? More doing comedy, crying, traveling. You know, the usual.