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Comedian Laurie Kilmartin’s special pokes fun at ‘jokette’ that had her shelling out for more home security

Kilmartin's new stand-up special 'Cis Woke Grief Slut' tackles some dark topics with humor

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Laurie Kilmartin
Laurie Kilmartin. Photo courtesy of Bruce Smith

The following story contains material that may not be suitable for all audiences.

Comedian Laurie Kilmartin is now officially a member of the illustrious “BETA” Three-TimeGuest Club.

She’s been making people in Los Angeles laugh for more than 30 years. Kilmartin’s stand-up special, “Cis Woke Grief Slut,” makes sure she’ll be making you laugh for 30 more.

As she always does, Kilmartin brings the funny with suitably Kilmartinesque jokes, jokettes and jokelets, like reading Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl” to her young son, going viral for all the wrong reasons and why she’s a big ally of transwomen.

To hear Kilmartin tell it, her special isn’t anything special. She’s a throwback comedian used to doing roadwork, and she said “Cis Woke Grief Slut” just happens to capture her latest material.

The following interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Doug Gordon: How does this special capture your latest material?

Laurie Kilmartin: I’m a comedy club act. I was just thinking about this, this morning. Like the notion of a special. It almost makes it sound like a theater piece. Like a one-person show theater piece.

I think because I write, and I obviously write in my own voice, everything’s going to have some sort of theme throughout. But I wasn’t consciously writing a book, you know, like a “Nanette” or something, where there’s a through line through it that you can see that like it’s a novel. It’s not. I’m a club comic.
 
Doug Gordon: You have a bit early on about reading Anne Frank to your son to advance his reading. How did that go?
 
LK: Well, that is based in truth. He doesn’t like to read. He’s more of a comic book guy. And so for a time, I was always, like, reading books that were ahead of him. And in hopes that somehow words would permeate his brain.

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DG: Your son finally got a smart phone, and it sounds like he wanted one for years but couldn’t pass your test. Can you share your smartphone gantlet with us?

LK: I just wanted my son to be able to do normal research, like we used to do in libraries. Or if you had encyclopedias at home — amazing. I didn’t for a time. But then my mom discovered Funk and Wagnall’s and we would buy them one letter at a time at Safeway. So it took us two years to get the entire set, basically. So, I was only up on, you know, “A” through “J” answers for about a full year in school.

And then, as the alphabet progressed, my knowledge did as well. But I have all my old encyclopedias, so I just made my son learn to look things up in the encyclopedia first before I gave him a Google machine, which is, you know, basically the iPhone.

DG: I don’t know about you, but I always associate Funk and Wagnall’s with “Rowan &Martin’s Laugh-In.”

LK: I don’t remember that, but I do remember that when we upgraded to Britannica, it felt like our family had moved up an economic class. We got a full set at once from one salesman instead of the janky volume by volume at the grocery store.

DG: You tell the story in your special about how you went viral. What made you go viral?

LK: Well, it was that abortion joke on MSNBC, and it got clipped out. It wasn’t even a great joke, you know, it was just like a little comment riff or whatever.

DG: Yeah. I’m sorry you had to go through that. You joke about the wrath you faced in your special. But on a human level, were you as calm?

LK: I was pretty worried, honestly. I mean, there were some stalking things. Someone posted my address. I just couldn’t believe that all this came from one little line, you know?

Luckily, I have a pit bull, I got a home security system, and I had to pay for this other stuff. I mean, it did cost me quite a bit of money. No one from MSNBC, by the way, ever called to apologize or check in on me. It was pretty, pretty crazy.

DG: You’re a big ally of transwomen. Can you tell us why?

LK: I wouldn’t have even touched that topic. But so many male comics are doing whole specials on transwomen. It’s like, why? Why are you coming after them? And it’s not really original material or thought, and transwomen are incredibly vulnerable right now.

Legislatively, people are coming after them. They’re used as piñatas right now in the legal system or with politics, and there’s a high murder rate. We’re really going after them? Well, not all of us.

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