Mark Klein brings political and observational humor to Wiley’s
While Mark Klein’s early career careened around the edges of the blue circuit playing in seedy clubs and even strip joints, over time, his act evolved and matured. His performance reflects who he has become rather than a persona he cultivated over the years on stage. While being touted as a conservative comedian is rare, finding someone that is true to themselves on and off the stage is even more extraordinary.
Klein’s career has taken him from the comedy club circuits to cruise lines and even into corporate boardrooms. His blend of political and observational humor has managed to win over audiences, fans and naysayers alike. He recently spoke with DCP in advance of his May 20-22 appearance at Wiley’s Comedy Niteclub.
DCP: Okay, so you are billed as the most conservative comedian…
Klein: Well, not the most conservative comedian, but I am the only Jewish, Republican, conservative comedian from Louisville, Kentucky in the world. There is only one and I am it. My political viewpoint on stage is definitely conservative and has a definite point and edge to it.
DCP: A lot of people are afraid to use the platform that they have.
Klein: I can understand that. The minute you take a political viewpoint, you’re alienating half the people that are listening to you. My idea of a perfect show is when I see someone in the audience that doesn’t agree with me, and they’re laughing. To me, that’s just the greatest show you can have.
DCP: Within the last decade or so, everyone has become so encamped, entrenched and polarized. People don’t feel they can laugh at truths about themselves.
Klein: Right, and that is exactly what comedy is not about. Comedy, to me, is about getting people to look at the world and themselves and laugh at it as well as laugh with it. The whole goal of comedy is to find the points that we have in common and how we laugh at the same things together and then you get to use that to examine who you are and what you believe and examine the world around you. It’s a joyous way to make a living because you get to be the vehicle for the audience to be able to do that, so it’s just a great way to make a living.
DCP: Do you think that having yourself billed as the most conservative comedian limits your audience? Would someone who sees themselves as a liberal enjoy your show just as much?
Klein: Of course. There’s a good part of the show that has nothing to do with being liberal or conservative. A tremendous part of the show is just my worldview described in a funny way, so it doesn’t matter who you vote for or what you believe or where you are from, you are going to find these things funny. Even when you disagree with the viewpoint, there are jokes that are funny. A well-written political joke for me is one that makes people on both sides of the aisle laugh, and even people that disagree with it will find the humor in it and be able to laugh at it. In that sense, I try not to use my humor to polarize but to unify.
DCP: Yeah, and a lot of people don’t do that. People take the opposite tack and ostracize a group.
Klein: There’s nothing insulting or bashing; there’s no ugliness to the show that I do.
DCP: Why do you think there are so few conservative comedians?
Klein: Entertainment, by its very nature, seems to have more of a liberal following, in both the performers and those that patronize live entertainment. So, most comedians are afraid of being ostracized from the comedic community for not being politically correct and, let’s face it, as an entertainer, you depend on the approval of your audience. As a professional entertainer, to get work, you depend on the approval of your peers and the people that book your work and so a lot of these guys are afraid of not having that approval. Well, I’m not afraid of that. I know who I am and what I believe and I know I can make it funny. You have to be true to yourself, and my act is very true to who I am and what I believe, and if it costs me work, so be it. To not be able to be that person on stage, that would absolutely suck the joy out of what I do for me. It’s important for me to stay true to myself politically onstage.
Mark Klein will appear May 20-22 at Wiley’s Comedy Niteclub, 101 Pine St. Performances are Thursday at 8 p.m. ($5 admission), Friday at 9 p.m. ($10 admission) and Saturday at 8 and 10:30 p.m. ($12 admission). Tickets are priced at $5-$12. Opening for Klein will be the full time Rush Limbaugh look-alike and part time comedian, John Kirby. All shows will be sponsored by John McCullough American Vodka and drink specials of this brand will be available. For reservations, call (937) 224-5653. For more information, visit WileysComedyClub.com