Interview with Stand Up Comedian Kevin Gootee
Written by Laura High
Interview with Kevin Gootee, creator of ‘Comics Watching Comics’
The Entertainment Industry is going through an enormous change because of the internet. We are now in the age of creating your own content. Anyone, seriously anyone, can film a movie/web series/sketch/or just a small Vine video and gain a tremendous following. I interviewed one comic, Kevin Gootee, who is going down that path. He just released his first episode of his series called ‘Comics Watching Comics.’ The show has a panel of veteran comics critiquing intermediate comics. Then the panelists vote on the comic who they liked the best to get a featured spot in one of New York’s top comedy clubs. Not to mention, the audience plays along by voting on twitter for their favorite panelist. The winning panelist gets to return to the show the following week
Please click here to watch the first episode: https://comicswatchingcomics.
Laura: How long have you been doing stand up?
Kevin: Six years.
L: Where do you perform?
K: All over. Bar shows, clubs, stuff in Jersey.
L: Why did you want to pursue a career in comedy?
K: I was always told I was funny. I was the class clown, but I was brought up in corporate America. I was told you need a job that will pay the rent. So, that’s what I did, but comedy stayed in my mind. What kicked me in the ass was the movie ‘Up in the Air’ with George Clooney. Clooney’s character’s job was to fire people. At one point he fires someone, and that character asks Clooney, “What am I going to tell my kids?” Then Clooney’s character asks, “How much did they pay you to give up on your dreams?” That got to me. After that I did a horrible five minute set at an open mic at the Village Lantern.
L: Why did you decide to create ‘Comics Watching Comics?’
K: I was at a mic one day, tough mic. Everyone was doing horribly. Another comic was telling what the comics were doing wrong. Then I thought, this would be a good idea for a show. More experienced comics, critiquing intermediate comics, competing for a really good spot at a club. Plus, intermediate comics have a hard time getting exposure. There’s not a lot of stage time to go around. That’s how I came up with it, and it plays with the internet generation. The audience gets to play along. They get to vote on the panelists to see who comes back for the next episode.
L: Walk me through the process of making “Comics Watching Comics.”
K: First I outlined what I wanted to do. Talked to the camera guy. He helped with the editing, and pace. Then I put out an ad on Facebook to find comics who would want to get ‘critiqued.’ I had one-hundred-and-fifty submissions. Some of the submissions were lazy; it was like a third grader wrote them. One said, “Yah man, I’m really funny. Look me up on Youtube.” I mean, come on; I’m taking this seriously. Treat it like a job interview. After we picked our comics, we booked an industry guest to be in the audience. I also funded this entire thing myself. You’re more invested if your own blood, sweat, and tears are in it. No Kickstarter. It then took five hours to shoot the comics. Then I had to schedule the panelists. They needed to be funny as hell, and deeply respected in the comedy community. As soon as the panelists came in we started rolling, and never stopped. Because of that the editing was a long process. I saw the sets about seven times. One of the obstacles was making it entertaining for the general public, and not just for comics. Every step takes forever.
L: Why did you choose those particular comics to be critiqued?
K: I wanted a nice diverse group. You don’t want everyone to kill or just suck. It’s a bell curve. Otherwise it’s boring. Nice broad range.
L: What is your next step for the series?
K: I’m on a world media tour. Right now, it’s just about getting the crowd interested. Getting the Youtube views up. You need to have a built in audience. Getting people interested. Getting people to subscribe. I’m going to be constantly uploading content for the next two months.
L: End goal?
K: I’d prefer it to be on TV. But the internet has taken over. I just want it to get out there.