You might know Kyle Kinane as the voice of Comedy Central. He’s appeared on the network’s Drunk History and @midnight, as well as in his own special on Comedy Central Presents. His album Whiskey Icarus is the best possible blend of harsh, silly, and self-reflective. (I have seen him live and he made me literally fall off my bar stool. I wasn’t even drunk.)
Opening for Kyle Kinane tonight is local comedian Andrew Voris. This is no small honor, and Voris is certainly up to the task. From his fearless improvisational style to his charming and bold stand-up at Memphis on Main, Voris has chops. He appears in comedy open mics and showcases all throughout this area, primarily in Champaign and Peoria. Voris’s quirky phrasing, dazzling smile, and sharp political and social observations put him ahead of the game in the Champaign-Urbana comedy scene, which is now thriving.
Jesse and Justin Tuttle founded CU Comedy, which has allowed some strong talents to showcase their stuff. Andrew Voris is among them, and is a regular performer at CU Comedy’s Wednesday night comedy showcase at Memphis on Main, as well as with The Abe Froman Project at Mike ‘N’ Molly’s.
Smile Politely: How did you get started doing comedy?
Andrew Voris: The first time I got on stage to tell jokes, it was for atonement. I was in the audience at a show in D.C. and interrupted a comic to offer my own uninvited observations. (This, for the record, is heckling. SHAME!) So when the host announced a “joke contest” at the end of the night I jumped on stage -knowing that I didn’t have a single joke, the audience thought I was a jerk, and that I’d get booed off. And that’s exactly what happened. Then I came back the next week and was kindly offered the opportunity to perform for three minutes, during which I presented the audience with my (golden) material on piano bars and “cougars.” I’ve been performing stand-up regularly ever since.
Voris appears at Memphis on Main, Wednesday night Comedy Showcase
SP: Do you have a specific goal in mind -besides laughter- when to get up there?
Voris: When I am on stage, my goals are to:
a) Connect with the audience
b) Make a kissy face at a large man
c) Call my mom
d) Say something people will remember fondly
e) Eat fresh veggies
SP: Do you have a fresh veggies joke? Like Carrot Top probably has a ton…
Voris: I don’t like to write jokes about vegetables. But I am concerned that there are too many soybeans and corn in this country now, and they all need to go back to where they came from.
SP: What are your thoughts on Kyle Kinane as an artist? As a drunk person? As a bearded man.
Voris: I think Kyle is a good artist because I think he used to be French. I bet when he drinks alcohol, he starts fights and kisses lots of ladies. (We had milkshakes once and he did the same thing.) I read in HuffPo that his previous beard was killed by a U.S. military drone strike, and his current beard works every day to bring attention to the issue.
SP: That’s some pretty serious shit, beard-wise.
Kyle Kinane, drunk man with a beard
SP: What’s your background? Who are you? What’s your deal?
Voris: When I was in kindergarten, I told an older kid on the bus -who was kind of a bully- that I wanted to be a ninja when I grew up. He made fun of me, and later told me that, if you stick a finger in your butt, you get AIDS -making me nervous about normal, everyday butt wiping. If the internet had existed then the way it does now, I could have quickly figured out his fib…but I guess then he probably also would have just bullied me online.
Later, I dropped out of college for a year to fry wings at a Hooters knock-off.
I like to watch DEMOCRACY NOW and drink strong ales that cost more than I can responsibly afford.
SP: Well, if you’re going to spend your money on something…
Speaking of: What would you do with your last $5?
Voris: I would buy a bottle of coconut water.
SP: Y’know thats a natural laxative…
See Kyle Kinane with David Ross and Andrew Voris tonight at the Highdive. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $14.
“Kyle Kinane is a comedian seen on Comedy Central and Conan, as well as peddling his wares in lands near and far. His mother is finally accepting his life choice. Also, farts.”
Top photo: Voris, right, with local comedian Jason Dockins.