STAND-UP TUESDAYS: Robert Kelly

Robert Kelly 2012

Stand-Up Tuesdays is a weekly comedy spotlight written by the wonderfully talented Angie Frissore. Covering both known and unknown comics, Stand-up Tuesdays is your new source for all things funny.

This week, Angie puts a spotlight on Robert Kelly. If you or your comedy troupe would like to be featured on Stand-Up Tuesdays, please email utgjames@gmail.com.

Some things get instant reactions, like scaring the crap out of your unsuspecting friends. Other stuff takes a second, like that tiny moment when a kid falls and hasn’t yet ascertained whether or not he’s hurt. But there’s one really fantastic thing that will keep that instant reaction going long after the experience ends: Robert Kelly Live. In a fast-paced 45 minutes of pure live comedy, originally recorded in 2003 and now in a well-deserved re-release, Kelly distills the entirety of Boston into one acerbic, silly, accent-studded, filthy-mouthed, set chock-full of real-life truths. From the first track to the last, his audience is in the palm of the veteran comedian’s hand.

Whether it’s in commiserating over dry-humping related injuries, teaching the crowd how best to terrify fellow motorists, or pinpointing the precise, mathematically-calculated best ‘laid’ phrases, Kelly’s at his best when his exhilarating clip and Massachusetts candor get away with him. If you’re not amped up and laughed-out by the time you finish “Robert Kelly Live,” it’s not Kelly’s fault—that’s on you.

“You can’t even get in a fight with a guy,” Kelly states after telling his audience he’s from Massachusetts and pointing out how, well, homosexual the state’s name sounds. “It’s like, ‘Where you from motherfuckah?’ ‘Massachusetts, why? What is the problem?’” Kelly quips with a lisp.

Robert Kelly Live offers fans the edgy, doesn’t-give-a-rat’s-ass attitude that they’ve come to expect from Kelly, with no subject being off limits. Touching upon topics such as tanning salons and being naked in the city and the Piss Your Pants Monster that lurks just outside of the city limits, Kelly’s outlook on life is simply hilarious (and oftentimes offensive, but that’s a Masshole for you).

“There’s too many people around, you can go from happy to hate in, like, a second,” Kelly notes, reflecting on city life. “You ever have those days? You’re in a great mood and then someone cuts you off and you’re like, ‘Fuckin’ douchebag. Fuck you. Just go, you fuckin’ did it, just go. I was happy, NOW I’M NOT.”

Kelly isn’t all negativity, though – he’ll happily tell you just how much accents (particularly Spanish) turn him on, and how being a guy is the greatest thing ever.

“Girls don’t fuck with each other like that, you do it behind each other’s backs,” Kelly notes. “’You look awesome in those jeans, oh my god! Did you see her stomach?? Oh my god, what a fat cow.’ There’s always that one guy, though, who takes it too far too fast, just says some mean stuff, doesn’t even make sense. ‘Dude, you’re fat.’ ‘Yeah, I heard your mother’s sick.’ What are you, an asshole? She has Lupus, dick!”

I’ve been a huge fan of Robert Kelly for years now, and it’s not just because we share a similar Boston-born distaste for the general population. He has been winning over audiences for the last eighteen years and has traveled across the country in the “Tourgasm Live” tour with Dane Cook and Gary Gulman. Kelly is a staple of the Opie and Anthony radio show and has performed at the “Just For Laughs Festival” in Montreal (2008 and 2010), as well as the South Beach Comedy Festival, HBO’s Comedy Festival (Las Vegas), and the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival (Aspen 2007). In 2009, he performed for over 1 million people in 80 arenas across the country as a feature on Dane Cook’s, “Isolated Incident Tour.” Never one to slow down, Kelly recently chatted with me about a new television venture of his, a cop-based comedy pilot that he was preparing to tape for the FX network, called “Bronx Warrants”.

“These two warrant cops in the Bronx wrote it. It’s about slow warrant division cops, it’s like Dog the Bounty Hunter, but with cops, in the Bronx. They make extra money by collecting these warrants,” Kelly explains. “It’s a half hour comedy, really funny, really FX – very edgy and real, kind of like “Rescue Me” funny. Dean Lorey, who’s the most hilarious writer, wrote it with the other guys. Chris Ellis, who’s the director of 30 Rock, is directing the pilot, which is fucking insane. And then Apostle (Pictures) is producing it. It’s a really cool show, we start Monday. It’s me, Godfrey and two other people….we rehearsed the other day, it was pretty fun. It feels good just to be funny – legitimately say funny shit.”

Kelly, who is no stranger to the cop-genre of television programming, is excited to be working with FX, especially given the direction the network has taken by adding high-quality comedy programming to its lineup.

“TBS was supposed to be the comedy station, but…you know. They got one good show, they’ve got Steve Byrne. Steve’s show’s funny. I think FX is really blowing people away with their comedy. They’re not fucking around,” Kelly dishes. “It’s so funny, comics are so different than actors; comics, it’s like – famous, or nothing. Either you’re famous or you ain’t shit. Actors…they’re just working. They’re happy.”
In addition to shooting his FX pilot, Kelly is also looking forward to another career milestone in the upcoming release of his book, “Cheat: A Man’s Guide to Infidelity”, which is due out in October.

“I got my book coming out with Billy Burr and Joe DeRosa October 8, through Simon and Schuster, so that’s a pretty big event. We’re gearing up for that. That’s gonna be interesting to see what happens with that book. It’s called, “Cheat: A Man’s Guide to Infidelity” – how to cheat and get away with it. It’s very funny, but it’s not a quirky Urban Outfitters book. It’s pretty much end of the world type shit. It’s real. Colin Quinn read it and was literally sad, I think he said, ‘it’s very hilarious and soulless’.”

Be sure to download your copy of Robert Kelly Live when it’s released on Tuesday, September 4 on iTunes and Amazon.com. You will not regret it, unlike last night’s trip to Taco Bell.

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