At least, that was my experience when I interviewed him recently in advance of a couple performances he will be doing April 27 at Minerva’s Grill and Bar in Yankton.
The Press & Dakotan ran the story I wrote following that interview last Friday. You can read it here.
However, there was a lot from the interview I couldn’t fit into the story.
Well, I shouldn’t let that stuff go to waste, right?
It turns out that Koechner was a political science major in college. He said he still pays attention to politics.
With the 24-hour news cycle, it’s all become so much garbage and noise that it’s merely gossip now, which is so disappointing. I think one of the real problems of governance is the 24-hour news cycle.
If you are familiar with Koechner’s comedy, he doesn’t do political commentary. Why not?
These days, we’re so polarized that you can’t take that chance of offending people in the room. That’s not my specialty, and I’m not a pundit. I have my opinions that I will scream to my children.
Koechner, a Missouri native, wasn’t sure if he had been through South Dakota on a road trip before or not. Still, he said he has no preconceived notions about the state and its people.
I don’t judge an audience. You can’t. That’s weak.
I’m there to entertain. If somebody felt that I would have the aptitude to fit in with the good people of South Dakota, why wouldn’t I go there? At the end of the day, we’re all Americans.
My stuff is not political. It definitely has a point of view. We all grew up in the same country and have experienced a lot of the same things, so it’s not like I’m going to a foreign country.
We also spoke about Koechner’s series of short interviews with celebrities called “Always Open.” He has really good guests, and they talk about some off-the-wall subjects. Check the series out here.
We shoot them for about 30 minutes, and they are edited down to three minutes. We just come up with off-the-wall questions like, “What did your childhood smell like?” It causes you to go, “Oh, it’s got a sense memory and an emotional memory.” We try to get something different out of a person.
Finally, we talked about some of Koechner’s comedic inspirations.
They include Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle and Bill Burr.
I think he is one of the best going right now.
I couldn’t help but ask Koechner his thoughts on one of my all-time favorite comics, Doug Stanhope. Turns out, he is quite fond of Doug, too.
Doug is a different style than I do, but he is honest. I love his honesty.
When you talk about finding your voice, anybody who wants to know what that is, check out Doug Stanhope. I haven’t been on a bill with him, but I met him years ago in Montreal. I think he’s hysterical. You hate to say he’s brave or confident, but I’ll put it this way, he’s got some fucking balls. He’s highly articulate, too. It’s a real talent to be able to speak so forcefully and with such great articulation. He has such authentic opinions.
Curious about Doug Stanhope? This recent interview with him at The Quietus gives you a good feel for what his comedy is like, i.e., not for everyone.
I hear tickets are going fast for Koechner’s shows Friday. Thankfully, I’ve got my tickets already. See you there.