Brian Kinney & Billie Jo Gillispie: Contributors of the Comedic Anthology “Comedians Are People Too! (and other lies)”
Kasey Rodriguez: This is our first official IDK The Author interview. Today we have Brian Kinney and Billie Jo Gillispie, two members of the Colorado stand-up comedy community and contributors in the comedic anthology “Comedians Are People Too! (and other lies).” Thank you guys for joining us!
Brian Kinney: Thank you for having me. Sarah Benson initiated the idea, but could not be here tonight
Billie Jo Gillispie: Sarah has been an amazing driving force in this book. Not just because she facilitated it, but she came up with the idea and has been a coach all along the way.
Kasey: We’d like to kick this interview off with a little background from the two of you. Brian, where did you grow up and what led you towards stand-up comedy?
Brian: I was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I’ve been in Colorado almost 4 years now. All my life people have told me I should be in stand up. I figure I’m not getting any younger, so why not? I’m at the age I don’t care what people think so I’m just going to do it
Bobbi Brandt: How about you Billie? Do you prefer Billie or Billie Jo?
Billie Jo: Billie Jo. Thanks for asking. I was born in Thornton, raised between Oklahoma and Commerce City, now based in Boulder. I started Stand up in 2011, after saying “one day” since 1992.
Bobbi: I did get the chance to catch some YouTube of Brian and Sarah, and an interview you did on a podcast. You guys are all very funny. I’m so happy you guys agreed to be our first interview. Thanks for that.
Brian: No, thank you for the honor
Bobbi: Do you guys personally know all the comedians in the book?
Brian: I saw Sarah perform at an open mic but did not have the pleasure to talk to her. Friended her on Facebook. I’ve seen some of the other comedians either on Open Mic or YouTube
Billie Jo: I think there are only a couple I haven’t worked with several times. Colorado comedy has a deep rich talent pool.
Brian: I haven’t had the pleasure of watching Billie Jo perform live either, but I watched her YouTube videos and she is a funny lady. And I would like to take this opportunity, Billie Jo, to say thank you for serving our country
Billie Jo: It was my honor.
Brian: Just don’t ask her to prove it
Kasey: Yes, thank you Billie Jo! It seems that quite a bit of talent comes out of Colorado, I am assuming that open mic opportunities, especially for beginners, are abundant for your area?
Billie Jo: Pre-COVID it was easy to do 15-20 mics a week. Any night a comedian could find choices for where to practice. Now, we are limited to choices on a couple nights, but almost every night has opportunity. When it gets safer, the opportunities will be more plentiful.
Brian: I agree.
Bobbi: It’s been that way for my band, also.
Kasey: I bet COVID, as well as the widespread wildfires, have created quite a few obstacles for you guys. What are some ways the stand-up comedy community has been able to continue delivering laughs to their viewers?
Billie Jo: Those who have hustle are still making stage time for people. It’s in parks, parking lots, and rooftop bars, but we are able to practice, and have shows.
Brian: I’ve seen some Zoom shows, and I believe there are some shows that were like drive-in theaters
Billie Jo: I have a Zoom show called Out House Comedy on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month. This Week’s headliner is Jackie Kashian.
Kasey: I was just about to ask about Out House Comedy. Has the 2020 madness created increased views for this?
Billie Jo: So that the artists don’t have to worry about burning material, there are no recordings of the shows. The last one was the night of the presidential debate, so lighter attendance. Others have been well attended. I think as the cold and flu season begins, more people will be back indoors like they were in the spring. For that reason, we’re still booking the funniest people to answer our emails.
Bobbi: That’s great!
Kasey: Let’s talk a bit about Comedians Are People Too! (and other lies). Each chapter includes a poem, short story, a script, etc. You mentioned that Sarah had come up with the idea for this book. What was the selection process, if any, for getting a chapter?
Billie Jo: She asked who was interested, and got everyone into a Facebook group. We discussed as a group what we would do with the funds, how would we do the editing process, etc. If I ever need a manager, I want them as on it as Sarah is.
Kasey: Absolutely! She did a great job with this book, and obviously knows how to get great content!
Brian: Thank you, Sarah, for all the hard work you did
Bobbi: Brian, do you ever miss the Eau Claire, WI Area?
Brian: I don’t miss the weather but yes I do miss my friends and family and cheese curds
Kasey: One last thing regarding your book, what was the process like with trying to decide what each of you would do with your chapter? How many times did your submissions get kicked back, if at all?
Brian: Sarah said just keep it to x amount of words. Then we had someone proofread it and turn it in before the deadline
Bobbi: Wow. that’s a big task. Kudos to the proof reader.
Billie Jo: Mark Masters edited mine. It arrived to him a mess of errors, and too long. He did quite a bit of magic. I was so glad I was paired with him.
Bobbi: Billie Jo, I don’t know if you’ve visited the blog or not but I have a great page about my outhouse. You should check it out.
Billie Jo: I haven’t had a chance yet. I certainly look forward to checking it out.
Brian: Lauren Dufault proofread my chapter
Bobbi: oh more than one proofreader. that’s good. Kasey does all my proofreading. She knows my mistakes before I make them at this point.
Bobbi: Well, Thank you guys so much for your time. Be sure to pass along how much we appreciate you guys sharing the book with us. Comedians are people too (and other lies)…
Brian: You’re welcome. Thank you
Billie Jo: Thank you, so much. I sure will.
Bobbi: Is there anything you guys would like to add or promote before we wrap this up?
Billie Jo: I have made the World Series of Comedy top 101 comedians for 2020. We are working on how to safely travel to Las Vegas for the final competition.
Bobbi: Brian, do you have anything to add?
Brian: If you don’t see me performing a show you can always catch me on YouTube
Kasey: For sure!
Check out the link below to Billie Jo’s Facebook Page Out house comedy. They do live Comedy shows!
Brian Kinney found his way into Sleeper Agent as an extra. Check it out!