Comic Kurt Braunohler has hosted a slew of comedy TV series, including the improv game-show “Bunk.” He also puts out the podcast “The K-Ohle.” But his latest goal is to bring whimsy into strangers’ lives using way less standard tools of communication — like airplanes. On the eve of the release of his first comedy album, he gave us this list of humor in unexpected places.
My name is Kurt Braunohler, I am a comedian. I recently ran a Kickstarter to raise $6,000 so that we could sky-write “HOW DO I LAND?”
And we did it!
The thing that I’ve been working on in my comedy is “How can I insert stupid or absurd moments into strangers lives.” Because I think it can, like, break peoples routine a little bit? For that reason alone it kind of makes the world a little bit of a better place. Like I’m not saving the world in any sense — I’m doing super dumb things — but you can look up and the sky isn’t the sky anymore. It’s kind of… you redefine the space in a way.
So here’s some more unexpected comedic venues.
1. The Idiotarod
It started in San Francisco and then was brought to New York City. It is a version of the Iditarod but using… instead of sleds, it’s grocery carts, and instead of dogs, it’s dumb humans. So you modify the grocery cart however you want, and then you have four people pulling the cart and one driver. And that’s the only rules.
I did the first one, and everyone would get dressed up. We were supposed to be prisoners who had escaped from Rikers? And so we were just throwing raw fish at other people who were racing. And we got an award for that, for like Best Use Of A Weapon.
Everyone is running from Brooklyn into a very far-away place in Manhattan, so you had to run probably three or five miles pushing this cart. So it looks absolutely hilarious.
Any time you substitute dogs for people — it goes both ways, People for dogs or dogs for people — comedy gold.
2. Subway Vandalism
My second example of comedy interrupting life is subway vandalism. It’s always there and it’s super stupid, but it’s often very funny and you never expect it.
I remember seeing the subway ads where it’s like Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington. And someone just on their foreheads had written “BAD ACTOR” on Tom Cruise’s forehead, and “GOOD ACTOR” on Denzel Washington’s forehead. And I was like, “Who are you talking to?!” Is that his thing? He just goes and writes “bad actor, good actor” on every actor that he sees in the subway? Stuff like that I love.
I’ve always wanted to vandalize actual on-air commercials the way people vandalize subway ads. Like most subway ads, when they’re vandalized, they’re really dumb, they’re super aggressive jokes — they’re usually a fart or someone’s blacked out teeth. It’s kind of like classic dum-dum comedy, which I’m a big fan of.
So I thought it’d be really funny if you actually — and this’ll happen in the future — where, like, someone essentially hacks in when the commercials come on, they’re the same commercials, but everyone’s farting the whole time, you know?
3. Sacha Baron Cohen
Another one that has to be on this list would be anything that Sacha Baron Cohen has done. Sacha Baron Cohen, for those of you who don’t know, does all of these characters, either Ali G or Borat.
Ali G is kind of like this hip-hop guy who’s super dumb and misuses hip-hop slang all the time, and then he would interview real political people. And they’re all trying to be very polite, but he’s being moronic. Like there’s a very famous one where he interviews the head of the UN, Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
The whole time Boutros-Ghali doesn’t know what to do. The level of commitment that Sacha Baron Cohen brings to his characters, and that he forces them into the world and forces the world to conform to his ideas, is amazing.
4. Small Town Billboards
My next thing is that I’m gonna be renting out billboards in small towns across America. I don’t wanna give away all the jokes, but I think one of the jokes is just gonna be a giant envelope — that’ll be the billboard, a giant envelope — and it’ll say “TO BRIAN.” And then underneath it’ll say, ”Giant Brian, not regular Brian.”