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Feelin’ Fine: 5 Questions with Jen Kirkman

Jen Kirkman is really funny. This is clear from listening to the transcript of our phone conversation, in which our writer laughed pretty much throughout, and afterwards, when even more humourous asides came clear that we missed.

As well, her comedy special, Jen Kirkman: I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine) is pretty hilarious as well, with a few moments that inspire the sort of laugh-coughing that is a wonderful find. Kirkman spoke to us over the phone from Los Angeles, and while Montreal (at Just for Laughs) and Vancouver are announced spots, the comedienne is hoping to also add Toronto.

Scene Creek: This is your first Netflix comedy special?

Jen Kirkman: Yes sir.

Scene Creek: What kind of audience are you expecting?

Jen Kirkman: I don’t have any idea. I never thought about it. Like in general, my audience is so different, like middle-aged women, and young dudes who feel alienated. I just have so many different kinds of fans. So I assume the first people to get on board with this will be the people that already know me and like me. What I’m (italics) hoping is that you know how Netflix has that thing, “if you like this, you’ll like that”? So I don’t know who they’re going to pair me up with, but I trust it, and I hope for the best.

Scene Creek: Did you have your set mapped out?

Jen Kirkman: The special is just like a videotape, (laughing to self), a videotape, like I’m in the forties. My special is what I’ve been doing in my set for the last few years so there was never going to be any improvising on stage. Also, I think that the crowd is aware that you’re taping a special, so they’re a little different as well. I don’t like audience cutaways. You can see the back of their heads, and you know they’re humans and stuff.

SC: You’re going on tour immediately afterwards?

JK: I’m calling it my Netflix tour, but I’m not doing what is in the special because I’ve already toured with that stuff. It’s like new stuff that’s happening. (Pause) it’s horrifying, because some of it is not funny yet, but it will be. Eventually.

I’m calling it the I’m Going to Die Alone Tour to raise awareness for my special but what people will be seeing will not be stuff from the special, maybe one or two bits, absolutely. I’m excited to be in front of audiences who have never seen me life.

SC: And all around that theme?

JK: No, that’s what sucks about it, it’s really schizophrenic and confusing. In general, I would want to name the tour after the material I’m doing, but this tour is named after the special, and I’m not doing the material on the tour. It’s sort of this conundrum that comedians are in that once you do the special, you can’t do the material in front of an audience again, because they’re like, “Yeah, we already saw this”. It’s not like I’m Lynyrd Skynyrd and they’re like “we want to hear Free Bird”, they’re like “we don’t want to hear that bit again about your Nana”.

SC: Aside from The Notebook, it’s really hard to predict if one is going to die alone.

JK: That’s what I’m saying. Sometimes, nobody’s around when you drop dead. I imagine that if someone was next to me while I was dying, holding me close, that it might be very comforting, and I might be very jealous of them, that they get to stay and I don’t, so who knows what will feel good in those last moments. I’m just hoping it involves morphine. (Pause). Like legally, because I’m a hundred and I have cancer, not like I’m going to start taking morphine on my own.

Jen Kirkman: I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine) is now streaming on Netflix Canada.