Andy Kindler is the Last Comic Standing

Published: July 8th 2010
in Culture » Stage

Andy Kindler

If Andy Kindler had it his way, his parents would have named him Tad. And he isn’t just saying that because he thinks Tad has a nice ring to it.


The Jewish comedian has his very own theory for why so many Jewish entertainers shy away from their Jewishness and change their surnames. When a comedian goes from Jonathan Leibowitz to Jon Stewart, it’s not a matter of stamping out one’s ethnicity at all. Kindler just feels somewhere down the line, Jews made a poorly thought out decision when they picked last names.


“You could say just the name Rosenstein and berg and thal, those don’t have a very sexy Hollywood sound. But maybe if everyone was named that then when people changed their name to Jack Benny, then maybe that would sound weird. So I think that first of all the sounds of the names that Jews picked over the years, they could have gone for punchier names.”


Whether he’s known as Andy or Tad, the LA-based, New York born Kindler is not one to mince words on any given topic. For years he’s shared his outspoken opinions and character assassination bits with the world at countless comedy clubs and on HBO, Comedy Central, his popular segments on Letterman and the Just for Laughs Festival where he will be performing in Toronto this Thursday and Friday.


“There’s always been this perception that if things are too Jewish then you’re going to alienate the non-Jews – that’s where the fear comes from,” he told Shalom Life. “That’s true when they used to say, ‘Write Yiddish, cast British.’ You want the Jewish writers but you want the people in front of the camera to be non-Jews. A lot of times, a lot of the anti-Semitism in the entertainment industry comes from Jews, they’re afraid to draw attention to themselves in certain cases. That’s ‘anti-semitism’ with a little a and a little s.”


As one of the judges on the current seventh season of Last Comic Standing, Kindler has become a genuine household name, both loved and hated by his peers for his willingness to take on any target, from the Leno/Conan situation (“It was the most passive aggressive act of all time. Leno said, ‘Fine, I’ll leave.’ And he never was going to leave. Instead of saying from the beginning, ‘I’m not going to go, you’re going to have to drag me out of here, I’m going to barricade myself inside the Tonight Show set.”) to the recent Gaza flotilla (“When I heard about it, I asked, ‘Who books the flotillas?’”).


Trashing your future employer might not be the usual way to get a gig, but Kindler comments that he used to make fun of Last Comic Standing in his act, using it as an example of the ludicrous nature of reality television; for example, they could have other incarnations such as Last Physicist Standing: “That’s a nice theory Einstein but you’ve been voted out of the laboratory.”


Related articles: (Stage, Andy Kindler, Elon Gold, Just for Laughs)

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