UPDATE: Friday's Bobcat Goldthwait/Dana Gould show has been canceled after the comedians were involved in a car accident in Atlanta Thursday. Read more here.
Athens comedy nerds, rejoice: Two high-profile stand-up shows hit the 40 Watt this weekend. First, on Friday, is “The Show With Two Heads,” featuring Bobcat Goldthwait and Dana Gould. The comedians and longtime friends are known for their offbeat and habitually line-pushing material, as well as their behind-the-scenes careers. Goldthwait is the acclaimed director of movies like World’s Greatest Dad and God Bless America, while Gould has written for and produced episodes of “The Simpsons,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Stan Against Evil.” This show will be filmed as part of an upcoming documentary directed by Goldthwait.
Saturday will see comedian Jen Kirkman hit the stage with her hilarious take on living in a world that is often as funny as it is unkind. Kirkman is known for her acclaimed Netflix specials I’m Gonna Die and Just Keep Livin?, her best selling-books and her writing work on “Chelsea Lately” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Developing a stage duo with Goldthwait: “This show kind of started out with Bob and I talking about how we’re such good friends but never get to hang out with each other. So, we decided the best way to hang out was to go on tour together, and it evolved from there. We quickly discovered people really liked it when we were on stage together, so we tried doing a night where neither of us ever left the stage. It worked out great, so now, we stay up there the whole time and just kind of freestyle off each other’s bits. Because of that style, it’s never the same show twice. It’s always growing and expanding.”
Filming this tour for a doc: “Bob is a really talented director, and we didn’t want to just make it look like every other Netflix special. This project is kind of a hybrid comedy special/road documentary, with us traveling from gig to gig interspersed with clips from the stage show. Like the shows themselves, we don’t exactly know what it’s gonna be yet.”
Why it was important to film in Athens: “Athens was the one place we really wanted to hit for the documentary. The Athens music scene was something Bob and I bonded over when we were younger, and we still love it. We both know Mike Mills—I actually put R.E.M. into the first episode of ‘The Simpsons’ that I wrote as a way to try and meet them. It worked, by the way. So, we wanted to play the venues we knew from back then and go where we think our audience is, and that’s Athens.”
What to expect: “I always tell people that my show is funny—it’s not political, there is no Trump shit, no election stuff. I’m really nostalgic right now, so I’m joking about the 1990s a lot, smoking cigarettes, and I’m trying to bridge generation gaps, because I’m so tired of reading articles about how millennials are doing things wrong. I’m Generation X, and we got shit on, just like millennials and Gen Z get now. So, I’m hoping people see me as Aunt Jen who is here to guide them through ignoring that noise. I’m doing material no one has seen on TV, so it’s new to them, it’s fun, and I really do this because I love people, and I want them to feel OK for an hour.”
The ethics of performing in Georgia post-“fetal heartbeat” law: “What’s going on in Georgia absolutely sucks right now, and there’s been debate on Twitter—and by debate, I mean idiots telling me I shouldn’t play Georgia. But I’m not a giant corporation getting a tax break. I’m a comedian making a few bucks, and doing so at a super alternative, independent venue that brings the right things to Athens.”
Embracing a doomed society: “I have always had an impending sense of doom since I was a kid. I grew up in the 1980s, during the Cold War. I was told we would be nuked any second. I learned about climate change when I was 12, and immediately became a vegetarian. I lived through Bush and Reagan, and women’s rights were always an issue. I grew up during some hardcore sexism where I had to take typing lessons in high school, and teachers told me that I should pay attention because I’ll be a secretary some day, and they told the boys they could cut class. I started doing comedy, probably on some level, because 90% of my life was reality and doom and gloom and worrying, and not feeling equal. So, it’s a survival instinct that I maintain humor in dark situations—it comes naturally to me now.”
Comedian Jen Kirkman has appeared on "The Tonight Show," "The Late Show" and "Chelsea Lately," and has two Netflix specials to her name. Local band Kompromat will also perform. See story on p. 12.