Familiar Face Heads to Philly for Two Shows


Andy Kindler has a familiar face.

On IMDb, the comedian has nearly 50 acting credits, including appearances on I’m Dying Up Here, Everybody Loves Raymond and Portlandia. He voices Mort on Bob’s Burgers, has been on the The Late Show with David Letterman more than 30 times and has given the State of the Industry Address multiple times at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal.

Andy Kindler will perform at the Good Good Comedy Theater on Aug. 2. | Susan Maljan

On Aug. 2, Kindler will add to his long resume when he comes to Philadelphia for shows at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at the Good Good Comedy Theater.

Kindler said he hopes this show goes well, unlike his previous shows here. Once, he performed a stand-up routine following someone who bashed local sports teams, and the audience was still angry when it was his turn. Another time, in the ’80s, he did a show at a comedy club on South Street that went poorly, too, and he recalls one guy saying, “Don’t go in there if you don’t want to hear jokes about the Holocaust!”

“I’ve had weird shows in Philadelphia over the years,” said Kindler, a native of Queens, N.Y., who has worked in comedy for more than 30 years. “Everyone’s telling me I’m really going to like this club, so I’m looking forward to it, but Philadelphia scares me a little sometimes.”

Aaron Nevins, co-owner of the Good Good Comedy Theater, said he and the other co-owner, Kate Banford, had heard that Kindler was going to be on the East Coast and reached out about him performing at their theater.

“He’s kind of a legend of what some would call ‘alternative comedy,’” Nevins said. “He does a lot of comedy about comedy, which is sort of what he’s known for. … He’s got a great career, and he’s one of the most respected comedians.”

Unlike other stand-up comedians, Kindler’s shows often involve him telling a series of unrelated jokes. He said he doesn’t know how to connect material and attributed this to ADHD and the fact that his mind doesn’t work linearly.

“The best segue I ever came up with was, ‘Speaking of jokes,’ ‘On the subject of humor,’” he quipped. “I like being all over the map. The downside is there is no theme. I can meander, but it works for me.”

His Jewish identity also makes up a big part of his comedy. When he started in the business, he thought his identity would just be something that would occasionally crop up in his work, but he couldn’t stop. Judaism and comedy are just too intertwined, he said.

“I’m obsessed with being Jewish,” Kindler said. “I’m obsessed with it. I consider myself culturally Jewish, and I consider myself generally spiritual. I don’t go to temple, but I feel most comfortable around Jews because they’re my people.”

One joke he does is about touring the country as “Andy Semitic” to celebrate his Jewish roots but accidentally drawing the wrong crowds.

He also does an impression of his mother that sounds like a stereotypical Jewish woman from Queens, but said his mother doesn’t actually sound like that.

He jokes about pitching a show called “Aging Jews,” which makes fun of how young everything in show business is. The cast would be comprised of Jews, ages 55-75, who sit around and complain. Every episode would end with a cliffhanger.

“Will Bertha get cataract surgery? Will Saul have his gallbladder removed?” Kindler said.

He also often makes Hitler comparisons. He said he has compared everyone to Hitler, including himself (“Much like Hitler, I am not a morning person. … You couldn’t even talk to him about the Jews until he had a second cup of coffee.”), comedian Dane Cook (“I was the first comedian to compare Dane Cook to Hitler. … There’s a guy yelling. You don’t get it, but all your friends like him.”) and President Donald Trump (“Trump’s going to round us up and put us all in Trump-centration camps.”).

Kindler heard talk about Hitler quite often growing up. At temple, he watched Holocaust documentaries, which scarred him. Today, he said he has a Hitler Google Alert set up.

His stand-up covers politics in general. He said he doesn’t really care if anyone in his audience likes Trump; he approaches his comedy with the mindset that Trump is bad.

“When you have someone like Trump, you increase your comedy,” Kindler said. “Political comedy has never been more popular. … Now, everyone knows the references. Everyone knows who these personalities are.”

For this upcoming show, he’ll have some new jokes as well.

“I’m always trying to work on new material,” Kindler said. “I haven’t been to this club before, so I wouldn’t be repeating stuff anyway, but I try to keep it current.” 

szighelboim@jewishexponent.com; 215-832-0729


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