“It’s going well,” says comedian Jackie Kashian of her career. “Everyone seems to be pointed in a Jackie Kashian direction, which I am pleased about.”
Earlier this year, the Milwaukee native released a DVD and CD titled This Will Make an Excellent Horcrux, to rave reviews. “It’s a joke for the 17 billion people who have read Harry Potter,” she says. The record label, however, was confused.
“They said, ‘We don’t get.’ I told them, ‘You don’t have to; don’t worry about it. The people who get it will get it, and the ones that don’t won’t.’ ”
“There aren’t that many Harry Potter references on the album,” she continues. “There might be one or two, and maybe a Mad-Eye Moody joke. And there’s a Lord of the Rings joke. Those are the dork references you should be looking for.”
While well-versed in such matters, Kashian mostly saves that kind of subject matter for her podcast, The Dork Forest. It’s a “safe space,” as she often describes it, for people famous and not famous to discuss the things they — for lack of a better phrase — geek-out over.
“I’ve been doing it for such a long time, and I do it because it’s fun,” she says. “I enjoy talking to people about what they’re into.”
Onstage, she’s more likely to make jokes about her family. Occasionally it’s her siblings that provide the material, but more often than not it’s her father. For example, she describes the time her father met her for coffee and he showed up wearing a sleeveless denim shirt and homemade Daisy Dukes.
“On my dad!” she exclaims.
“Where have you been in this outfit? And he says, ‘fishing.’ For men? It looked like he had just come from a gay rave.”
“When I talked to him after the new DVD came out he asked for a copy. It has a lot of personal stuff on it, more than my first two albums,” she says. “I thought he might want to talk about that stuff, but all he wanted to talk about were the two bits about him.”
Her husband has also become a source of material. Having hardly ever dated, she met him through an online dating service.
“Online dating is great,” she says. “Because you both go in knowing the other person is looking for someone who is willing to kiss you. ‘Is this something you’d be willing to make out with?’ And you see each other and sometimes it’s, ‘Nope!’ Or maybe you go on three or four dates and by the end you’re like, ‘Yeah, probably.’ ”
For Kashian, the biggest challenge was trying to unlearn everything she knew about relationships from hanging out with male comics. “Stand-up is all I did,” she says. “And occasionally I would meet a fella, nature would take its course, and I’d feel pretty.”
However, her comedian colleagues were of little or no help.
“There are basically three jokes male comics tell about their wives. One: Once you get married, women stop having sex. Two: they spend all your money. Three: they’re all bitches, man.”
So for the past five years, Kashian has stuck to a carefully crafted plan to make sure none of those are true of her. “I’m making sure everyone is happy in the sack, I don’t hemorrhage his money and if I have a negative emotion, I stuff it,” she says. “Because that will never backfire.”
As for her comedic approach to the subject, she’s always tried to take a different path than other female comedians. “If you listen to all the comedy about marriage, none of it seems to be about how to be good at it,” she says.
While the guys talk about how awful their wives and girlfriends are, women seem to limit their set-ups to certain subjects using the same premises.
“There’s the one about how the sexiest thing a man can do is his chores, that’s been covered,” she says.
“And then there’s the whole thing about how they like to go through their husband’s or boyfriend’s cell phone or web history. This is great information on how not to be a crazy person. I don’t have time to go through my own emails; I’m certainly not going to go through my husband’s email. There’s no stand-up comedy about how to trust your significant other, but there’s comedy gold there if I can figure it out.”
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