Funny Girl Rose Kelso Makes Us Laugh
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This week, Comedy Central writer and comedian Rose Kelso joins V for lots of laughs. Rose uses her Long Island upbringing and Jewish background to connect with viewers both on professional stages and social media platforms. We’ll hear about writing jokes for different audiences, dealing with hecklers and criticism, and staying rooted in compassion even when she’s firing people up. Plus, what inspired some of her hit musical comedies like Boomer Stoop and European Boys. Follow Rose at @longislanddirt_ on Twitter and TikTok.
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V Spehar, Rose Kelso
V Spehar 00:04
Hey friends, I’m V Spehar, Welcome to V INTERESTING. Today I am so excited we are going to have a chat with one of my favorite people on this planet comedian Rose Kelso. Rose has a special on Comedy Central called Boomer stoop. Her parody songs are regularly featured on Comedy Central social media. A few of her hits include essential jerker descent into chaos, 420 remembrance day, and nature is healing. Rosa and I had the chance to meet at VidCon this past year, when we were both waiting in line at the Facebook pool party. I was wearing a full suit, it was 100 degrees outside, and we were waiting in line to get custom crocs made which at the time felt very glamorous, but in retrospect, I don’t know. are we pulling them off? airbrushed crocs? I don’t know. We’ll see. You know what, Rose can pull off though a mustache, very handsome woman, can pull off a mustache. So we’re gonna be chatting with rose about how to be funny, what it’s like being a comedian nowadays. What’s the difference between joking around and bullying and just generally kind of take a break from the news and enjoy the company of someone who cracks me up and is just a great human that I am so grateful to have in my life. Rose Kelso friends. Rose, thank you so much for joining me today. You’re a director, a writer, a photographer, a comedian, you kind of do it all. But I want to know starting at the very beginning, like baby rose days. When did you know you were funny?
Rose Kelso 01:31
Oh, my God. When did I know? I was funny. That’s such a good question. You know, my mom always likes to tell the story I used to take the pots and pans out of this was when I was like three years old. I would take the pots and pans out of her cabinet. And I’d stand in them. And then I bang on the pots to get everyone’s attention. And as soon as they’d come into the room, I’d be standing there with my pinky and I’d wink at whoever was in the room. So I don’t remember that. But I don’t know. I hear that story. And I’m like, oh, I’ve like always wanted attention.
V Spehar 02:10
Wanting attention and being funny are of course exactly the same thing. There is no difference. Did you start telling jokes to your family? Like when you were a kid?
Rose Kelso 02:21
Yeah, I did. I used to write funny songs when I was a little kid. Like I always try and like, I even remember like, cuz I grew up in like, the early 2000s. That was my whole childhood. And so a big a big thing..
V Spehar 02:40
You said you grew up in the early 2000s. I graduated high school in 2000. I have never felt more 40 than I do exactly right now.
Rose Kelso 02:50
Yeah, I was born in 97′, but that was the era where like, all brands had a special website with games or things. And so I remember going on to the Crayola website, and the Crayola website had this song. It was like such a good beat. And I just come up with silly songs over that and play them for everyone. But that was really, I think my joke telling.
V Spehar 03:15
Did you come from like a funny family?
Rose Kelso 03:18
Yeah, I think my parents were pretty funny. They’re just funny in general, too, because like, they come from such completely opposite backgrounds. Like my dad is Irish Catholic from Northern California grew up pretty low income and like with five brothers, and my mom’s side is like Jewish from Miami Beach and they were wealthier. So being around that, like they’re clashing mannerisms, I think is what was funny.
V Spehar 03:47
Yeah, finding that in between. And you scored a job with Comedy Central right after college as an associate producer. Now you’re a writer there you have this very funny Boomer stoop that can you tell folks about Boomer stoop?
Rose Kelso 04:00
Absolutely. Yeah, Boomer soup is my little series. The first, like serial thing I wrote professionally. Basically, it’s inspired by my parents. I’ll start with that. The logline of it is very much it’s Sesame Street for your boomer parents on Gen Z issues.
V Spehar 04:23
Got it. Okay.
Rose Kelso 04:26
Right now. It’s just like snippets. It’ll just be one song that kind of like sums up a lesson that Maybe you fought with your parents over like a holiday party or something.
V Spehar 05:04
I watched some of them. They’re very helpful. They’re talking about racism sexism. What is a pronoun? I’m not using that. Hilarious.
Rose Kelso 05:13
You. Okay, thank you for saying it’s helpful. Sometimes it draws a line of like, like, I don’t want to be pandering, either. Sure, you know, but I’m glad you saw value in it.
V Spehar 05:24
I think it’s hilarious. Because it’s funny because it’s true, right? And it’s that fine line that you do so well, of telling a joke that just rip somebody enough to make them feel like yes, this is directed at you, but without feeling attacked? How did you? When did you decide, You know what, I’m going to make this my job? I’m going to be a comedian for reals.
Rose Kelso 05:44
I think for me, I was like, This is what I have to do. For so many reasons. One, because it was the only thing that I like, felt happy doing. And I was like, by any means necessary. I need to make this my career for a second in high school. I was like, maybe I’ll study linguistics.
V Spehar 06:03
That’d be just as hard a career path being a linguist as being a comedian, I suppose.
Rose Kelso 06:09
Well, that’s actually that’s kind of the fundamental idea of it all is like, no matter what you study and decide to go into professionally, like, it’s all hard. There’s nothing easy about and it’s even harder if you don’t have the passion for it. So I think when I was getting older, I was like, Okay, this is what I’m gonna have to do. And I’ll figure out how to do it without a plan B. But the origin of it all is actually from like, I think in 2009. So we were in the height of the recession at that time. My dad had lost his job. And my family was so scared. This was like, such a core memory of a day where I got off the school bus and my dad was standing in the front yard. And I was like, oh, something’s wrong. Like, I know something. He’s never home this early. And my parents were kind of keeping it a secret from me. And then they drove me to swim practice. And ultimately, I was like, what happened? Like, what’s going on? And they broke the news. And it was such a harrowing day. And I was so scared, because I was just like, 12 years old and didn’t really understand what that meant. I was like, are we gonna be okay? And I remember, I got home that night from swim, went up into my room to like, just give myself some space. And then all of a sudden downstairs, I hear my parents laughing. And I didn’t know why. And I go down, and they’re watching SNL.
V Spehar 07:37
Oh, yeah. We have to laugh or we’ll just cry all the time.
Rose Kelso 07:42
Yeah, that’s exactly it. And I, that affected me so much when I was a kid because I went and I sat with them. And I was like, Oh, my God, like, this is what this is for. So that was kind of my joker origin story.
V Spehar 07:59
And that was such a great time. The cast at that time was so great. Isn’t that like the Kristen Wiig years and that kind of switch?
Rose Kelso 08:06
Yeah. Bill Hader. Bobby Moynihan.
V Spehar 08:09
Making fun of the recession, letting people let out a little laugh about how it was going.
Rose Kelso 08:16
Yeah, yeah, it was great.
V Spehar 08:18
What was the difference between you know what we were learning from professional comedians, like the folks on SNL, and then the sort of like jokester culture that was brewing on YouTube at the same time?
Rose Kelso 08:28
Oh, my god. I think the difference between the two is that YouTube made me see that it was possible. You know, I was like, this is something that I could do right now, or, like, have a way in to a professional career in comedy. And I remember there was this one sketch group that I was obsessed with, called badboys comedy with Peter Gilroy. Have you ever heard of; I love them. They were making sketches that were so clever. And I remember, I would watch them. And I would write what the joke was, I would like watch those sketches and be like, the joke here is that they’re cowboys. And they want a diversity team. You know, like that was funny, you know? And so I would, it almost just felt like the textbook and then something more professional like SNL or any sketch show on TV was the test.
V Spehar 09:30
Right? Oh, that’s a great way to put it. Because we had Hank Green on a couple of weeks ago, and he was talking about early YouTube days and how it just democratized who had a camera and then there from that, who had a platform so all of these kids that were coming up just like making up jokes and entertaining each other didn’t have to go that traditional comedian route of like doing stand-up first or being a ground playing or like living in Chicago poor for years before you maybe got your shot. Yeah. But also from that, you know, there was an Out of bad comedy and a lot of not funny stuff that came out of it. How did you keep yourself on track? As a comedian to not fall into, you know, like easy stuff or stuff? That’s not funny.
Rose Kelso 10:12
I had ninth grade AP world teacher who, like her philosophy of life was like, always check in if it’s rooted in compassion. Which is yeah, it seems like a it feels like a simple cliche, but it’s a mantra that I keep in my head now all the time. And that’s how I checked myself and check my comedy. I was also pretty lucky because my parents heavily monitored me when I was online. That was a big thing. They were like, Okay, we have to keep up with this generation. Like, I our kid wants a Facebook like that’s what is going on. They want to YouTube whatever. So they were checking my stuff all the time. And even if some I made a joke once on Facebook when I was like 13, where I just wrote 69 to my friend and my dad was like, you have to delete that immediately.
V Spehar 11:00
Yeah, I’m glad your parents were there to keep you from going down the fascist pipeline of the early YouTube days that could have been we could have had a whole different Rose right now. We would not have had the European boy song that I love so much that we’re going to talk about after this break. Let’s take a quick break and we’ll be back with more from Rose Kelso. Okay, welcome back and Rose is still here. Think thankfully, she hasn’t walked out on us yet. Rose. I want to ask you built a big platform on tick tock and your screen name. Your screen name. Oh my god. I’m so old. Your handle is Long Island Dirt. Can you tell us is there a story behind the handle?
Rose Kelso 11:43
Long Island Dirt. I wish there was more of a story. I basically, just I think I set it in conversation one day, you know, I really want to have like a better story for it. But I was just like, yeah, I’m Long Island, Long Island dirt. And then I was like, oh, okay, that’s, I’ll do it. And it’s stuck. The unfortunate thing is that someone else had long island dirt first, so I have to put the underscore under it. Yeah, it’s a bummer.
V Spehar 12:12
There’s so much room for creativity. Your good ideas. Somebody else’s good idea, too.
Rose Kelso 12:17
Yeah. Yeah, that’s humbling. It’s humbling. It is.
V Spehar 12:21
And did growing up on Long Island influence the type of comedy you do; you do a lot of like New York based comedy?
Rose Kelso 12:26
Yes. Okay. Absolutely. Long Island is one of the most perplexing places on the face of this planet in my. So everything about it has to do with my comedy, because I think one beautiful thing about comedy is, number one, truth, is like, the biggest thing, that’s how you make a joke. That’s everything. But number two is juxtaposition. And long island itself is the most juxtaposed place. And I can say that hands down, because it’s like you have this combination of beauty and filth, and Democrat, and all right, Republican and like, fear mongering, but also insane pride, and it’s so many things there were there was like, no bullshit, but also so much bullshit.
V Spehar 13:24
Expectations are very high. Tempers are very high. Talk to us about creating the character of rose on TikTok, which is different than rose, the comedian that we’re speaking to today.
Rose Kelso 13:37
It’s funny because I never thought I’d make a like a caricature of myself. And then TikTok allotted me that but I don’t necessarily remember how I started doing that. But when I would lean into the voice, it almost felt like the things that I would just say, normally were funnier, which obviously makes sense. They were funnier, but they also had a different, like, behind them. And I suppose at the end of the day, like, Long Island, dirt is my, my mask, or like, my alter ego that allows me to just like, kind of be free with what I say. Because it’s not me, but it is me. So you know. So that’s kind of why it’s stuck. And it’s also it’s fun to see when, like, even changing something so slight, like, your voice will connect people in in a way that I love. Like, I’ll get comments quite frequently that are like, I missed New York or like, I love this type of person and stuff like that. And I’m like, that’s hilarious, but I’m also so sorry, because it’s not real.
V Spehar 14:49
I’m sorry, I know. I know. So I’m gonna play a clip of one of your jokes that really sticks with me. I have loved this since it came out. It is of course my favorite joke that European boys song that you release this year. We’re gonna play a quick clip and then we’ll talk about it so folks can hear that special voice. Here’s the clip. I think this is just the funniest song. I think it’s so clever. And I just want to know what inspired you to write the song?
Rose Kelso 16:20
V Spehar 16:21
Yeah. Which is hilarious, which is always funny. Oh, he’s funny.
Rose Kelso 16:25
I know, that’s actually I have to hold myself back sometimes, because all of my songs would be about sex truly like. But I was literally hooking up with a Dutch man. And when we, when it was over, I just like, could not control my impulse. And I was like, what were your grandparents during between 1939 and 1945? Because, and that comes even like, I had two other people that I dated, were also European, because I have a type. And you learn from dating Europeans, like their families, most of them have stayed there. And they can trace their families back centuries, centuries, centuries, centuries. And that’s a lot of history to look through. And none of them were Jewish. So I, you know, it was the biting question for me. And then as soon as I asked that, I was like, I can’t believe I asked that. But his response was like, my grandparents, they made some mistakes.
V Spehar 17:34
Yeah. Just genocide.
Rose Kelso 17:38
Yeah. And then he also said his grandmother got the medal of honor in 1944, from the Netherlands. And I was like, oh, that’s great. But then when I thought about it, I was like, the war didn’t end until 1945. So who was he getting the Medal of Honor from? Yeah, so that’s when I was like, okay, I should write about this, because it’s a lot.
V Spehar 18:00
It’s a lot it is. And it really, there are so many ways, of course, that story is told. And this one I thought was, it’s a really powerful story for you, as a Jewish woman to be telling and to be making kind of funny, but also undeniably addictive to listen to. And it makes people just feel like, you know, we have to actually keep talking about this, because this is still a thing.
Rose Kelso 18:26
Thanks. Wow, that means a lot.
V Spehar 18:29
Do you incorporate being Jewish into a lot of your content?
Rose Kelso 18:34
I do. And, yeah, I usually have not, because it does feel very delicate to me in a way and when you are in a minority group, or at least that’s how I feel. It’s like, I want to make sure that I’m not saying anything that they wouldn’t agree with, even though like European voice itself is kind of a risk. And there are Jews who have listened to it and reached out and been like, I don’t like this. And that’s okay. But I do care a lot about like, one, if I’m going to speak on Judaism and be like, I’m Jewish, like making sure it’s done correctly. And also, I don’t want it to be my whole identity, although it’s a huge part of who I am. Especially because, I mean, I even have the example of like, European boys came out and it got a lot of attention. And then I would be interviewed by people who were very religious, Jewish, and it was interesting to speak with them. But it also made me realize like, Oh, God, like they’re, they’re more in it than I like they really understand this deeper and it almost made me feel like an imposter in a way where it’s like, I have to like, kind of bring now that they were making me feel like an imposter but he’s like, there’s so much more to this. And there’s so much more that they understand. And like, I don’t know everything, right? So I need to be more balanced about how I kind of present myself with this.
V Spehar 20:11
And you do put so much thought into the jokes that you’re writing to make sure they’re constructed well, and that they’re funny and they’re respectful. And like you said in the past year rooting compassion. How does one write a joke? So many people want to be funny, so many people don’t know how to, how do you write a joke?
Rose Kelso 20:27
I really think a lot of the times the joke is the first thing that pops in your head that makes you giggle for a second. I. And I think that’s true for anyone, like the moment I try to write something. I can’t like I’m so constipated. But it’s kind of like, I think the art of joke writing is like the art of being in touch with your gut. Almost because you know what’s funny? It’s like, it’s such a primal thing, humans and laughter. So I think it’s kind of just like, the ability to hone what that thing is that popped into your head, writing it down on paper, and then returning to it, and chiseling away at the fat, if that makes sense. But I wish if I if there was like an actual formula for writing a joke, that was like, Oh, you have to do is squeeze your ear low. Or yeah, like do this, then I would be using it all the time. But unfortunately, like, yeah, a part of it, it’s so based in feeling, right? That like, I wish it could be more concrete.
V Spehar 21:50
Do you find yourself able to just enjoy things? Are you always kind of like your brains working in the background creatively to be like, Is this funny? Should I write this down?
Rose Kelso 21:58
No. Yeah, I that’s literally always on my mind.
V Spehar 22:04
Is this content?
Rose Kelso 22:06
Yes. And that does get exhausting. After a while. I’ve had to like stop myself. Because even in the times that I take Tik Tok too seriously. And I like whip out my phone. Or I’m about to ask someone, can you do that again? I have like, learn to stop myself from doing that. And just kind of be like, okay, lightning in a bottle. You caught it, or you did it. And that’s it. And if it’s really valuable, then I’ll beg someone. But my mind is like constantly like, oh, that’s the thing. And like this could be that. It’s exhausting.
V Spehar 22:40
I know. Another joke you had the other day that I thought was so funny. It was about the Aperol Spritz, which is almost ruined that brand, honestly, Rose, except every single person was like, I’m gonna go buy Aperol so I can recreate the Aperol Spritz, vive. Can you recap for folks who might not have heard it yet? What the Aperol Spritz joke was about?
Rose Kelso 23:01
Yeah, basically, the Aperol Spritz joke is, you know, there, there’s been a counter culture recently, that kind of started with a more popular shirt. And the shirt said Aperol Spritz sucks, or, like, doesn’t taste good or something. And I’ve been seeing more and more people come forward and be like, Yeah, fuck, Aperol Spritz, like, why do we drink it? It’s not good. It’s not good. And so my joke was basically like, No, we know it’s not good, like, tastes bad. But we drink it because of the feeling it evokes in us the fact that when I drink in Aperol Spritz, I am a renaissance woman with an endless bank account who’s so free and alive and hot. Living in a villa. So that was basically the joke.
V Spehar 23:51
I thought it was the one of the best and I’ve, I’m sure one of the most duetted because yeah, when we go out, right, there’s these things we do as human creatures in particular, as women in groups, where we’re like, okay, we’re all going to have the mimosa do people actually like mimosa’s? We’re all gonna get the Aperol Spritz at the beginning of the summer do people actually like this? And the fact is no, it’s for the aesthetic than it is for the actual straight taste of it all.
Rose Kelso 24:15
Yeah, and it’s a strong aesthetic to like that it honestly tastes good, because I feel glorious when I drink it.
V Spehar 24:22
Yes, I feel rich thereby. It tastes rich. I just feel better than everybody else. And, you know, so many of your jokes are funny. They’re just observational comedy. You’re talking about stuff you’re seeing in New York it raining in Brooklyn, and like how glamorous you made that? How do you approach comedy and keep yourself outside of offending people? You know, there’s a lot of you say the wrong thing once on the internet, and that joke just didn’t land and now you’re completely under attack. Is there anything any questions you ask yourself or how do you stay out of that?
Rose Kelso 24:54
Yeah, I mean, this goes back to the rooted in compassion thing like I truly am myself that every time I’m about to do something, but also I have a general rule of thumb of like, people should not be the butt of the joke. Unless it’s someone who’s like, come for me personally, and I’m gonna, like do a clap back at them or something. That’s why so much of what I will make fun of is like New York City, this or Aperol Spritz that, like, it’s things and thoughts that I have. And I just try and make fun of the way I view the world, or the things that I’m seeing that are funny. But I think, like people who have been saying, for so long, but like, especially in the last 10 years, like don’t put your fingers where they shouldn’t be, you know, and I tried to keep that in earnest. But I don’t even know if I use that phrase, right. And I’ve used it twice. Now. I tried to keep up. It’s a thing. Now it is, um, but I do, try and keep that in my head. And there are times that I’ve made jokes, I don’t remember what they are. Or like, was going to post a TikTok, and then just like felt in my gut that it was wrong. Or I’m like, questioning it too much. And usually, like, if I have an ounce of doubt, I just won’t do it. Because I don’t really want to risk it. And luckily, I knock on wood have not had an issue where I’ve offended people that I like, whose opinions I care about. But if that day were to come, I didn’t want like I think like a sincere apology is kind of the only way to fix it and a break a sincere apology and a break.
V Spehar 26:44
Yeah, sometimes some of the jokes aren’t going to land. That’s just the way that art works. Some of the art is bad, some of the art is good. So I think it’s interesting for an important for folks to hear that feedback that comedy is spontaneous, but not when you’re posting on the internet, which is forever. You do want to sort of self-edit your content to make sure that it’s safe, that it’s appropriate that it’s something that you want to live on forever, because even if you delete it, it doesn’t really go away.
Rose Kelso 27:11
Yeah, it doesn’t. Nor does the guilt truly.
V Spehar 27:15
Or the hecklers and the, the sort of call out culture that comes with it. So we’re going to come back and we’re going to learn from Rose Kelso how to deal with hecklers. Welcome back, my friends, we are going to continue our conversation with Rose. What happens after a joke doesn’t land and you know on TikTok. We are going to talk a little bit about what happened to Jake Novak, a Canadian young guy, nice guy. He posted a TikTok that went very viral about wanting to become the next SNL cast member it was a little musical song very Lin Manuel Miranda. innocent enough just sort of posted it out there didn’t even have a lot of followers. This went incredibly viral. I think it’s up to like 4 million views now. But the views are nothing compared to the duets. And it’s been seven weeks that people have continued to hammer on this kid for being the king of TikTok cringe making fun of him endlessly. And now we’re seeing showing up even to his job. He’s a performer at Disney he sings and like one of the Disney shows and videotaping him and just like absolutely destroying this kid who kind of cringe you’re not just need a little video with a little song shooting his shot. What do you think went wrong with the Jake Novak situation.
Rose Kelso 28:47
With the Jake Novak situation, I think it actually exposed something about our generation that learned Gen Z in particular that everyone’s so actively tried to be like, we don’t do that. Like we don’t bully people. We’re leftists, and on this side of like bringing people in and everything. But you then usher in this idea of cringe culture. And it almost I think it was like a test and we failed. And a lot of people failed and just like went off on this guy, Jake. I don’t think Jake did anything wrong or bad. Obviously, he shot his shot. And people responded to it. And unfortunately, you can’t control the internet and how they respond to it. And he also I think he did the smartest thing possible which was disappear. Because like what do you do? And I ever posted again after that one. And I’m sure he’ll be back. He’s a really talented guy who was and this is awesome. It makes me sad. He’s a really talented guy who had a hard goal that he set for himself to put out a new music video every Wednesday like, I don’t do that. That’s crazy. That’s it’s so intense that level of output. And now he has to take a break from that. And I do think it’ll benefit him for one thing to like, go easy on himself a little bit. But it’s also so devastating that like, he was achieving this impossible thing. And now he’s stopped because people were so cruel. And it was all sides. But I really think it was like, I don’t even mean to sound so like this side, this this side that but I the like, all Gen Z sought people who would be my friends, or, like that was who attacked him, and creators that I love to, were posting shit about him. And I’m like, that’s crazy that you’re no different. You know?
V Spehar 30:56
it was maybe this year’s greatest example of punching down, which is something that I think we should just clarify for people are like put language around. When you’re making jokes. And we’re making fun of celebrities for doing something cringy or whatever. Those folks have a confidence level and a financial security that affords them a little bit more room to be made fun of or to be criticized. They’ve made themselves a public figure. They understand kind of what comes with that they’ve often had media training or other sorts of support to ensure that their career isn’t completely destroyed when we’re punching down. It’s the entire internet going after like a 22 year old kid who made a joke video about wanting to be on Saturday Night Live. And I agree, I saw so many people that I respect too, who were sort of just jumping on this easy content. Which is one of the downfalls of TikTok when somebody decides that something is the new punching bag, there is no stopping it in that particular area.
Rose Kelso 31:48
I also think Jake himself that the song that he posted, I think it like evoked a fear in a lot of people in the sense of like, Could I be perceived this way? Like, because at the end of the day, like the line is so thin. And Jake is a perfect example of like, if you put something out on the internet, will people love it? Or will people hate you and this perception of you because of what you’re posting. And that could be any of us. That could be the next video that like someone who’s beloved today, post something tomorrow, and it’s cringe and everyone’s like, okay, old like I this is now he’s a cringy person, you know?
V Spehar 32:30
Yeah, people could have easily thought me doing the news under my desk was cringy it is kind of cheeky to use the kids. But you know, you try things. And that’s how we have great artists, you try stuff and some of it works. And some of it doesn’t. But I just I really did feel bad for Jake and I hope that there’s some sort of redemption arc that he gets. How do you deal with criticism in person, like at a show or in a feedback meeting after you’ve done a sketch?
Rose Kelso 32:56
I suck it in. I really, and it takes my full brain power. And there’s always that moment where you’re having something told to your face that you don’t want to be told to your face that like there’s a voice in your head, or at least your mind. That’s like should I speak up on it? Is this what everyone goes through? Am I like, really mad and usually people are calm when they have to deal with this. Am I bad at taking criticism, but I think I really try to practice restraint. And when I get a piece of criticism that like almost sets off a different light in my brain. I’m like, that’s something that I should be listening to. And like maybe the feelings that I’m having that feel attacked right now were more just like an upset that I have to rework something or that something didn’t land or that I have to put more work into something. And I’m just frustrated that I have to do that. And then there are other times that I’ve been criticized to my face, and I just felt it was unfounded. And I’m, I can be mad about that for like, a minute or two. And then I’m like, Okay, you have to pack it away. Like that’s just gonna happen.
V Spehar 34:09
Have you seen the industry in comedy change with all these new avenues opening up? Is the legacy comedian doing that kind of stuff? Are they helping people out? Is there this idea that you haven’t paid your dues if you’ve come up on the internet?
Rose Kelso 34:24
I see a mix. I think when TikTok first came up, and previous prior to that was like YouTube was kind of the big thing. There was a difference of like, okay, this is a comedian and this is not, but now seeing the impact that tick tock has that’s like retro actively made all these social media channels like completely change has kind of bridge the gap between legacy comedians, and social media, comedians. I guess although I don’t even know if that’s true because there is a difference between people who make jokes online sheerly online and people who have gone out and like perform live. They’re two very different things. Although I think it’s easier to pivot from like being a legacy comedian or being a comedian who’s like, come up in this more traditional way, it’s easier for them to pivot to being online, rather than someone who’s just made jokes online to pivot to something maybe more professional or serious and live.
V Spehar 34:33
Live. Yes. And we’re gonna take one more quick little break. When we come back. We’re going to talk about how folks can be really successful online and then kind of Bob in the live situation and vice versa. So for anybody out there who is aspiring to be a comedian, we will have those answers for how to do it well, right after this break. Welcome back, friends, we are here with Rose Kelso a comedian one of my favorite TikToker’s, one of my favorite people. And we are talking about how to be funny. Before we get into making that jump for folks who maybe got really popular on Tik Tok or YouTube that are now trying to like, swing it in the real world. I wanted to ask, have you ever had something just absolutely bomb? How you deal with that?
Rose Kelso 36:28
Oh, boy. Yeah, there was this one time. It wasn’t like an absolute bomb. But I felt the air gets sucked out of the room and I got terrified. But in my live set, I have like this tight 10 minutes that I do where I do an impression of Sam Elliot. This was earlier when that the whole Sam Elliott thing happened. And for context, Sam Elliot said that power of the dog was too gay. And like that never happened in the wild west. So like, I’m out. And I’m like, there ain’t nothing gay in the wild west. But one of the I think one of the first things I say in the Sam Elliot impression is like you queers are making too many movies. And I’m a queer person, I identify as queer. I did that joke at a queer space in Brooklyn. And as soon as I set it, the, where I’ve normally gotten big laughs on that everyone was silent. And I was like, holy shit, and I couldn’t stop the thing and be like, hold on, everyone. I’m queer. This is okay. I’m not about to like roast a room. Right?
V Spehar 37:35
Wow. Yeah. And you have to just stand up there, right? And keep going.
Rose Kelso 37:39
Yeah. And I had to keep going. And luckily, they came around because the end of that whole set is a song. And the song is very overtly like, like, this was a crazy thing that he said, Yeah. But that just like, felt bad. I remember that happening. And I was like, did I just stand in front of a train? How am I gonna win these people back, but knock on wood. Luckily, that’s about as bad as it’s gotten. But that is not
V Spehar 38:05
something that somebody could have done if they didn’t have your experience, being a professional comedian, and like understanding, having that emotional fortitude to keep going. And that’s something that that kind of stops a lot of folks who are funny on the internet, and then they’re trying to get into comedy. And it’s a whole different craft, it’s a different world. What advice would you have for folks who are funny on the internet that maybe want to try and make this their career? What should they do?
Rose Kelso 38:30
I mean, I think something that I really had to learn for myself, when performing live, especially in the beginning of my journey, performing live was when you perform live that moment, is an abstract moment in time that disappears into the sands of life, you know, and like, that’s something you have to internalize is like, okay, I’m doing this, it’s five to 10 minutes of my life, and then it’s gone. And I get to do it again, in a different place. There is a mental hump that you have to like, overcome. Because as we know, with social media, it’s pretty easy. If you get something on a good track. It’s easy to have that validation. And you feel like if you did the same thing in person, you would get the same response. Because it’s funny, it works like why isn’t it working now? But when you perform live, you have to take into account so many factors, like did you eat dinner before you came? Are the people the audience drunk? Are the people in the audience happy? Is the room too hot? Or did the performer before kill and now you’re worse or like, did they suck and now everyone’s afraid to laugh, like, there’s so many things that you can’t control. So the best thing you can do is do your best. And you have to keep doing it and that’s the torturous aspect of it is this idea of like, drilling and like, if it didn’t do well, like fix it a little bit? Come back again, it probably won’t do well, but it might feel a little bit better to you, you know, it’s so much it’s just like a, it’s a completely different craft with almost like the same response, like you’re going for the same high, taking a different drug to get there.
V Spehar 40:20
Because the jokes you tell in New York are going to be different than the ones you tell in Dallas or Iowa or anywhere else. The audience actually matters. How much work do you put into getting to know the audience before you do a live show?
Rose Kelso 40:33
Truly? Not that much? Because it almost feels like if you open Pandora’s box, like it’s open, yeah. And people feel comfortable, and then they feel too comfortable. And then they think they’re as funny or like, which they could be. But you know, time in place/
V Spehar 40:48
It’s your show. It’s your day.
Rose Kelso 40:50
Right? Right, exactly. But there are times I’ll like watching the back and kind of see what people are laughing at. And that will very much in fuse, what’s the word I’m looking for that will inform that will inform that will inform maybe like, the first thing I come out and say, and whether or not that flops on like, it doesn’t matter. Like as long as I’ve said something to try and like bring everyone together like the room sure is hot, isn’t it? Or like something actually funny? I’m like, yeah, your comedy tips, say at the rooms.
V Spehar 41:36
How about the weather?
Rose Kelso 41:41
But that’s about as much as I’ll do. And then the rest. I’m like, either they’re gonna like it or they don’t. And like, I know, this has worked before. So I just have to know that for myself.
V Spehar 41:50
And at this point, people are coming to see us specifically, they know what they’re gonna get into. They want to hear the songs, right? Is it harder to write comedy songs, or to write comedy jokes?
Rose Kelso 42:01
For me, it’s impossible to write comedy jokes, I get so nervous doing that. So when I see people doing like Mike and stool stand up, I just have the utmost of respect, because that is something that like, like, you just need such a grounded personality to do that, which I know sounds crazy, like a stand-up comedian is like, not a grounded person, usually. But it’s, it’s like this rock solid faith in yourself that like that you’re funny. So I have such a problem with that. I also have an issue with like, like, I’m trying to learn how to be better at being silent, or like letting quiet kind of inform a joke. But when you’re up on stage, and you’re just telling a joke, with no music behind it, like you’re out on your own, you’re in the middle of the ocean, just like hoping that you’re gonna float. With music, some people, I think people who aren’t used to doing music or like don’t really have a musical bone don’t know how to play an instrument. They look at it, and they think it’s harder because it’s a skill that I’ve developed over time. But for me, it’s so much easier because I’m like, the music that helps it like emphasizes the points I’m trying to make and it also no one cannot laugh in the middle of it, because I’m playing a song. So it’s like, whether they laugh or they don’t , they’ll play the song.
V Spehar 43:34
What do you say to people who say that women aren’t funny?
Rose Kelso 43:42
People who say that? They haven’t lived, right? I don’t know. I wish I had something more clear to say to them, but it’s almost like it’s like just saying like, the sky is fucking red like, or I guess it’s the sky can be red sometimes. But I mean, like, the sky isn’t blue. It’s like saying the sky isn’t blue. It’s like, okay, like, you believe that I’m not going to engage with that. Right? Because I see the sky and the sky is blue. And you know, a lot of people think that this guy is blue. So go on your merry way. Dig deeper into your biases, I suppose. That would be great if they didn’t, but.
V Spehar 44:24
Let people enjoy things is what I say. If you like it you like don’t shut up. What comedians would you say really informed, you know, the artists that you’ve become?
Rose Kelso 44:38
Number one, weird out. It feels like a basic answer. But like, he was someone that I was consuming my whole life since I was a kid. I just thought what he was doing was amazing. And it blew my mind when I was younger that like, someone could make a career out of purely being funny. Out of like, just like something that they found funny. Could that’s what you could do for lifetime. You know, so weird out, I owe my life to, and I want to meet him before I die.
V Spehar 45:14
I feel like we can make that happen.
Rose Kelso 45:16
I pray, I hope and I think I’d pass out if I met him. But also, I mean, Robin Williams, I think is like the ultimate example of like, a person who does comedy with compassion. So much of how he lived his life was just purely playfulness and like wanting to play. On top of that, though, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Monty Python, bad boys comedy, like I could go on, it’s just, I think they all have such beautiful ways of like viewing the world. And that’s how I wanted to view the world.
V Spehar 45:59
They’re also such hyper present figures like you knew that they were there right there for you with you. Is that something you bring into your work as well?
Rose Kelso 46:09
I try. I hope so. I would love that. I think the connection that people feel to you is, maybe the most important thing you could build for yourself as a comedian is like making sure that people come to you and they’re like, Oh, I’m expecting that. Just have someone to play with right now.
V Spehar 46:28
Yeah. Where do you think comedy is headed next?
Rose Kelso 46:33
Who’s to say if I knew I’d be capitalizing. It’s interesting. Because since it’s become so low fi, and everyone can do it, and our whole world is online. I don’t know if that means like, bigger media companies will fall or if there will be more of a grab on, like, kind of creating a collective. I don’t know if people necessarily want like one place to turn to anymore. That’s just like, their place. Like that was so SNL from the 70s to maybe like, pretty recently, I don’t know if that’s not really has that standing so much anymore. But that SNL used to be the place you would go for comedy. And, you know, and now it’s kind of like, well, I laugh just as much watching this person who has 33,000 followers on TikTok as I do this $10 million show, you know, right, so I don’t know, it’s going somewhere, I think what’s gonna ruin it is, like, kind of gating people out with money. So like, all these subscription services, and anything that’s like making you pay for access to entertainment, that’s gonna die, in my opinion, because people can get it themselves and also people pirate stuff.
V Spehar 48:05
We’ll Rose, what’s coming up for you next? Where can people find you?
Rose Kelso 48:09
Well, you can find me at Long Island dirt on all social media platforms. And coming next, you know, I have this lovely little cushy job at Comedy Central, where I get to write sketches and make people laugh all day. So it’s more of that. Hopefully, I’ll keep coming up with stuff that I’m proud of that people like, but that’s about it. Right now, it feels knock on wood, pretty smooth, sailing.
V Spehar 48:38
Nice and solid. It has been so much fun chatting with you. I just appreciate you so much. Thanks for coming on the show.
V Spehar 48:51
Thanks again to Rose Kelso for joining me I absolutely love this girl. She cracks me up. I’m gonna have European boys stuck in my head all weekend. I’m sure I’m gonna be singing it out loud inappropriately all weekend long. And I hope that you will join me back here on Tuesday for another dose of V INTERESTING goodness. Feel free to leave me a voicemail at 612-293-8550 telling me what’s going great in your world. Subscribe to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts. And follow me at under the desk news on Instagram and TikTok Have a great weekend. I will see you on Tuesday.
V Spehar 49:29
V INTERESTING is a Lemonada Media Original. Our producers are Rachel Neel, Xorje Olivares, Martín Macías, Jr. And Dani Matias. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Mixing and Scoring is by Brian Castillo, Johnny Evans and Ivan Kuraev. music is by Seth Applebaum. Please help others find the show by rating and reviewing wherever you listen and follow us across all social platforms at @VitusSpehar and @UnderTheDeskNews, also, @LemonadaMedia. If you want more be interesting, subscribe to Lemonada premium only on Apple podcasts.