Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Well today is a special day. My friend MYQ Kaplan is taping his first special for Comedy Central. His name is MYQ now because he is smart, and realized 6 or 7 years ago when he was starting in comedy that Mike Kaplan was a common name, but there's something about the power of the Q, maybe a concept he stole from the people who name radio stations.

A zillion people with talent come along, but I always knew MYQ would "make it", whatever that means, because he is what would be known in poker circles as a "grinder", a worker bee churning out small gains everywhere he plays. In comedy, we refer to this affectionately as being a "stage whore", which is no way intended to be a derogatory term.

MYQ would hit the stage as many times a night as he could, right from the beginning. He'd do five minutes at one joint, then hop on a train or drive across Boston, Saugus, Dorchester, New Hampshire to get another five minutes.

Don't get me wrong, this s.o.b. is funny as hell, and is a true comedian in the best sense of the word. MYQ is a craftsman, and I hate to use a hackneyed comparison, but his workmanlike approach to comedy reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld. Not his style, his professionalism. If you've ever seen the fantastic documentary, "Comedian", you'd know what I meant by that.

The end product is a crisp, clean, perfectly timed joke, but often the recipe for the end product involved rap sessions with other comics, and relentless perfecting of a joke, trimming, scaling down, economizing until you have the best joke you can possibly have. Of course without the natural talent of being funny, this is all mute, but combined with humor, this ethic produces fantastic comedy routines, and Kaplan is the perfect example of this.

He can tell a short story, riddled with punch lines. He can shoot one liners all day. And his sets are bam bam bam, he keeps coming at you the entire time, joke joke joke joke joke, and the true gift of the master is how natural and relaxed it all looks, like this guy has all day, is in no rush and is running the show.

Beyond the talent and the work ethic, MYQ is one of the genuinely nicest people I've met in comedy. He is smart, humble and simply a guy you just want to root for. I will be rooting for him today at the Gerald Lynch Theater on the corner of 10th and West 59th in New York City.

The only part of this trip I am not excited about is having to marinate in NYC with all those obnoxious, gloating Yankee fans.

The plan is to drive to Westport, Ct. and take the train from there, a strategy I have used when traveling to the big city a few times. I am bringing my laptop so I can write on the train ride in which takes 69 minutes, according to the Metro North schedule. I like the train, it is very relaxing, especially in comparison to navigating through Manhattan in a car- no thanks.


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