A GoPride Interview

Joel Kim Booster

Homecoming: Joel Kim Booster returns for Queer Comedy at Zanies

Sun. October 19, 2014  by Adam Guerino

... I've started doing a lot more sketch writing out in New York and I think that's definitely bled through to my stand up.
Joel Kim Booster
Joel Kim Booster is a Chicago bred, Brooklyn based comedian and writer. A veteran of Queer Comedy at Zanies, Joel was the first winner of their annual competition. Since moving to New York Joel has performed at comedy clubs, bars and libraries all over the country and most recently was featured as a New York finalist for NBC's Stand Up For Diversity showcase at the Gotham Comedy Club. Joel is a proud ensemble member of Chicago's The New Colony theatre, where he wrote the critically acclaimed comedy "Kate and Sam Are Not Breaking Up" which has since been produced in Charleston and Toronto. Follow Joel on Twitter @Ihatejoelkim. It's all he has, really.

On Tuesday, Oct. 21, Booster returns for the Queer Comedy at Zanies Homecoming Edition. To catch up with him a bit for the upcoming show, host Adam Guerino asked him a few questions.

AG: So I'm just gonna go ahead and ask what's on all our minds, are you gossip girl?

JKB: In lieu of trying to be overly clever here, I'm just going to admit that I never watched the show, except for one clip on Youtube of Chuck Bass kissing a boy that I stumbled on accidentally.

AG: Make a t-chart, what has been awesome about moving to NYC for comedy and what has been a bummer?

JKB: NYC is an amazing bootcamp for stand-up comedians. You can go up three times a night, every night if you want to, because the scene is just so big. Also, it's incredibly competitive, which I take as a positive. I mean you're surrounded by success constantly— people getting late night spots, writing gigs, cast on television shows, whatever. It's encouraging and it drives me to keep working. But with size you lose a bit of, I d'know. Personality? Learning how to be a stand-up in Chicago felt fun and exciting. Chicago is just a better, more livable city too. I love New York, but no matter how I look at it, I'm paying a lot of money to live in a sad hell-pit.

AG: Who do you like more and why, Blossom or Taylor Swift?

JKB: Oh this is no contest in favor of Taylor Swift. Blossom is fine, you know she gave us Joey Lawrence, but beyond that I have no use for her. Taylor Swift on the other hand, I mean. Where do you begin? She's just so fun to talk about because there's just this bizarre mythology that I, and much of the Internet, have constructed around her. I have no idea who or what Taylor Swift is, but the character of Taylor Swift is so much fun to talk about. Also, I'm a populist hack and will listen to "Shake It Off" forever and ever on loop in between Tweeting about how Taylor Swift is a teen witch.

AG: Who are some of your queer, comedy and queer comedy heroes?

JKB: Oh boy. This is a tough one. There are a lot of queer heroes to mention, obviously, but one major person who I admire a lot right now is Justin Vivian Bond. There's so much going on in the Trans/Gender Queer corner of our little Queer world and, so many conversations just sort of devolve into name calling and infighting but I think Mx. Bond has navigated it with so much class and thoughtfulness.

I guess if we're talking comedians who have influenced me for a while, or who have "made it" whatever that means, I'd definitely say Jessi Klein. Just a hilarious stand-up comedian and writer. She actually wrote one of my all time favorite SNL commercial parodies, Brownie Husband for Tina Fey, and is currently the show runner of Inside Amy Schumer, which I think is just one of the smartest and funniest sketch shows on television right now. I hosted a show she was on in Brooklyn and she was very nice to me even though I was awful and maybe mentioned Brownie Husband within the first five minutes of meeting her.

And right now I guess my queer comedy hero would have to be... Brent Sullivan? I don't know, right now is a really great time to be a gay comedian, you've got people like Cameron Esposito and James Adomian and everyone is killing it, but I've really admired Brent's work for a long time and I think he's great.

AG: What can some of your fans from Chicago expect from your newer material?

JKB: I think when I started doing stand-up, it was very story driven, very "this happened to me, and this is how I feel about it!" which is still where I start from with

a lot of my jokes. But I've started doing a lot more sketch writing out in New York and I think that's definitely bled through to my stand up. A few more absurd premises are mixed in now. I just talk and talk and talk about porn and time travel now.

AG: What's the best response to hear from an audience member after a show?

JKB: Oh whenever people make eye contact and say "you were really funny" is nice. I've had a couple of gay people come up to me after sets and say "it's so great to see a queer person up there," interspersed between all the hilarious straight men that populate stand up stages. I try to make my sexuality sort of just the backdrop and not the actual premises of my jokes, but it's always nice to know you're reaching an audience that doesn't always feel in on the conversation.

Thanks Joel! You can see Joel at Queer Comedy at Zanies: Homecoming Tuesday October 21st, click here for tickets.

Adam Guerino is a producer, writer and nationally touring standup comedian based in Chicago. He's been called a "comedian-producer-genius" by Chicago Reader and is also the creator of Stand Out: The National Queer Comedy Search which partnered with The Advocate Magazine to give queer comedians national exposure, Outloud Chicago which for over three years has brought queer inclusive entertainment to mainstream Chicago venues and The Rainbow Connection Queer Comedy Tour which combined gay, lesbian, bi and trans comedians for a cross-country tour. Check out adamguerino.com for more info.

Interviewed by Adam Guerino