Comedian Andy Kindler will become the new host of the Comedy Dynamics stand-up series "Coming to the Stage," available on Hulu, beginning with Season 4 later this year. The show is about giving the spotlight to newcomers on the scene; and while Kindler is not the focus, he is still excited to be the emcee.
“That would be terrible if it was just a paycheck wouldn’t it,” Kindler joked during an interview with International Business Times. “I love hosting because when I started doing stand-up, which was very long ago in the mid-80s, in New York they had guys at [comedy club] Catch a Rising Star and the Improv with guys like Richard Belzer who would host the show, and it was kind of his show. When I came out to [Los Angeles], they didn’t do that much. It was much more about being the emcee that would just move the show along.”
Kindler, whose numerous television and film appearances include the recurring roles of neighbor Mort on the Fox animated comedy "Bob's Burgers" and sportswriter Andy on the beloved CBS sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond," hopes to bring a bit of personality to “Coming to the Stage.” The showcase series highlights some of the best up-and-coming comedians in the country. The six-episode seasons are filmed in front of a live audience. Comedian Tom Green hosted Season 3, which premieres May 12, while comedian Dan Levy anchored Seasons 1 and 2. Kindler's first episodes begin filming in April.
"Andy Kindler is a living legend. We are extremely blessed to have him host the next generation of stand-up comedians," said Brian Volk-Weiss, president of Comedy Dynamics said in a press release.
Kindler is no stranger to hosting. He also emcees an alternative comedy show at the Montreal Just For Laughs festival every summer and previously served as a judge on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”
“I do enjoy being — whatever you want to call it — the captain, the admiral of comedy and commenting in between sets,” said Kindler. “My thing is kind of deconstructing comedy. That kind of works well when hosting a show. You can play with the crowd and play along with the moment. It is in my wheelhouse.”
Kindler’s shtick was on full display in 2015, during his annual “State of the Industry” speech at Just For Laughs, when he roasted Jerry Seinfeld for comments the “Seinfeld” star made about political correctness on college campuses. Seinfeld had been quoted as saying that comics he knows have to avoid colleges because the crowds are too politically correct. Kindler argued that Seinfeld was just whining about a failed joke, one that referenced a “gay French king.”
“It’s not that funny,” Kindler critiqued in his speech. “They’re not hating it cause you’ve offended them. It’s not that funny. What if Lenny Bruce was like, ‘Oh, I wanted to talk about how religions have become a corporation, but that lady looks upset, I can’t.’ Lenny Bruce died because they harassed him to death. You’ve suffered nothing Jerry, nothing.”
Listen to Kindler's 2015 "State of the Industry" address below:
Kindler concedes that the stand-up game has changed, just not for the worse, noting that, among other things, only recently could comedians survive being openly gay.
“I think most of it is positive differences,” Kindler explained. “I used to make fun in my speech that when there are all black [comics] in a show and it goes badly, the TV execs go, ‘Well, we tried a show with all black people and it didn’t work out.’ Meanwhile, every show with white people that fails, they do not decide it was because it was all white people. All of those things are less.” Still, Kindler admitted things are far from perfect and comedy remains alarmingly segregated.
Technology has also changed the game. An explosion of new cable networks and streaming, as well as YouTube and other internet platforms have expanded the opportunities for comedians to get noticed — Kindler says a niche show like FX’s “Baskets” would never have been able to exist in a network TV-only era.
“[When I started] you couldn’t look at someone’s act before you could go to a club,” said Kindler. “I always thought that was crazy. If somebody asks you to go to the movies and you ask what’s playing, they don’t say, 'Come on, you like movies, don’t you?’ [Now] people can build their own following."
Streaming, Hulu in particular, is opening doors for Kindler, too. In addition to playing the role of the veteran and the mentor to a class of young comics, the show is also added exposure for him.
“I’m at the perfect age of show business. I’m in my 50’s. They need a guy who got hot and cooled off and got lukewarm and cooled off again,” jokes Kindler. “That’s what they want”
Watch Andy Kindler performing stand-up comedy in the clip below: