Comedian Jen Kirkman Talks About Her Netflix Special And How Being A Woman On Stage Is Inherently Political

Having released her second Netflix comedy special in January, titled ‘Just Keep Livin’?’, comedian Jen Kirkman is certainly in good company. Along with the likes of Chelsea Handler, Iliza Schlesinger, Ali Wong, Chelsea Peretti, Nikki Glaser, Maria Bamford, Kathleen Madigan, Leslie Jones and Mo’Nique (to name just a short selection), it’s clear the streaming platform has great taste in comedy.

Jen certainly has the receipts to back up her stand-up comedy prowess, not just with her appearances on Comedy Central and Funny or Die, but thanks to her comedy writing chops on the ‘Chelsea Lately Show’, and her New York Times Bestselling book ‘I Can Barely Take Care Of Myself’. Her stand-up album ‘Hail To The Freaks’ hit #13 on the Billboard charts. Seriously, is there nothing that this badass can’t conquer?

Her weekly podcast ‘I Seem Fun: The Diary of Jen Kirkman’ is regularly ranked in the top 100 comedy podcasts on iTunes. We’re not even sure if Jen has spare time or a social life at this point with all the work she is doing! Somehow, she managed to set aside a few moments for us to chat about ‘Just Keep Livin’?’, writing comedy in this insane political period, and how she deals with her Trump-supporting family members.

But first, take a look at a teaser of her latest Netflix special:

Congrats on the release of ‘Just Keep Livin’?’ Is getting your own Netflix special the ultimate achievement for comedians these days?

I think it’s a huge honor because it opens me up to a worldwide audience and I’ve seen the difference in attendance worldwide. I can’t speak for anyone else what the ultimate achievement is but for me it would be finding a bag of money on the ground and not having to work again.

What are your favorite topics to include in your stand-up sets?

ME of course. I am pretending to be kidding but if I’m honest with myself – I talk about myself a lot in my comedy but I try to talk about things that I’m POSITIVE that other people have thought about but may think they’re the only one to think it – like wondering during your period, “What if this is me actually just bleeding to death from an internal organ injury?” Okay maybe men don’t think that but…

Have there been any jokes that backfired or got the wrong reaction you intended?

Not really. Nothing really backfires – I just might not get laughs on certain jokes and I sit there going, “Really? But I think this is so funny….” but I can’t think of any example.  But I will tell you that once I got a tweet from a girl who disowned me as her favorite comedian after I bit I used to do about how I wasn’t molested and maybe that’s why I’m not successful and it tied in with Oprah.

I realized that I really don’t need to do this bit and I dropped it. A year later the girl still wrote a blog calling me racist and sexist (she was white) and wouldn’t accept my apology – so yeah, things backfire. We’re dealing with humans talking to humans – that always backfires, doesn’t it?

Given we are living in such crazy political times, and you have included political commentary in previous sets, do you plan to get more political from now on?

As I have grown fond of saying – with this administration we are kicked back to the time when a woman simply talking on stage IS political. I saw in the Left movement this year how much more comfortable men were being lead by a man (Bernie) and all the excuses they gave for why they were and insisting it wasn’t a “gender” thing. They would vote for a woman just not THIS woman. Getting men to watch my special where I talk about my anatomy and my experience with street harassment is my type of comedy politics. I’ll keep doing it.

You were on Conan recently, discussing ‘Just Keep Livin’?’ and you mentioned that you participated in the Women’s March. Where did you march and why did you march?

I marched in Portland Oregon because some friends organized a small group and I find it more convenient to drive to Portland than to get to Downtown Los Angeles – even though I live in Los Angeles. I marched because I wanted to be among the counted that do not stand by this president, his administration, his values, nor any politician, Republican or Democrat who caves to his wishes.

You also mentioned some of your family were Trump supporters. This seems to be the case for many people right now. How do you deal with this?

I got off Facebook and I just don’t talk to most people in my family. I don’t want to say exactly who supports and doesn’t but I just don’t discuss it with them or anything else for that matter.

Although we are seeing so many badass female comedians dominating in a number of places (TV, online, on stage, etc), is it still tough to break into a male-dominated arena?

I think this question is what is the hardest part – it’s yet again another opportunity for guys to say that I’m complaining or to retread the same old stories. There is sexism in the world so of course it bleeds into every single area of life. I don’t answer this particular question anymore.

What can we next expect to see from you?

I’m not sure! I’m going on tour in fall of 2017 and the future has yet to be written. Just keep living I guess.


You can watch ‘Just Keep Livin’ on Netflix, or catch Jen Kirkman on tour throughout 2017 by checking out the dates she will be performing in your nearest city.

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