Never afraid to speak her mind, and always ready to make a stand against sexism and misogyny, comedian Jen Kirkman’s stand-up is at once incredibly timely, and deeply personal.
Though she has been making people laugh professionally for well over a decade, her riotous post-divorce 2015 special “I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine)” ushered in a new level of acclaim for Kirkman. Hot on the trail of her Netflix special “Just Keep Livin’?”, Kirkman is back on tour with new material. Ahead of this week’s shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn, amNewYork chatted with Kirkman about how she approached comedy, her new show and Joan Rivers.
Has the current political climate increased the social topics in your act?
You know, it’s so funny, but all that material [in “Just Keep Livin’?”] I had been working on even before the [2016 presidential] election primaries heated up and then the special happened to come out after [Trump] became president. Whenever I do that kind of material, it comes from a kind of personal place, like it came from a situation I had with street harassment. I’m always going into global issues through a personal lens.
So, what should people expect in your “All New Material, Girl” tour?
There’s a lot of material about another aspect of being a woman: Feeling crazy, feeling insane because you’re so unhappy with how the world is going and not knowing how to take care of yourself.
You were in New York working on a TV show for the past six months.
I was a writer on an Amazon show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” it’s going to come out in December. It’s loosely based on the concept of Joan Rivers’ career, but it’s not about Joan. It’s about a woman in 1958 who, after her husband leaves her, becomes a stand-up comic and she starts out in the village underground scene.
Is Joan Rivers someone who influenced you?
Yeah. Not so much her comedy, but her story — her persistence. . . . She embraced young people, new ideas.
IF YOU GO: Jen Kirkman performs 8 p.m. Thursday at Highline Ballroom, 431 W 16th., highlineballroom.com and 8 p.m. Friday at The Bell House, 149 7th St., Gowanus, thebellhouseny.com; $25.