Comedy Central had Brian Kiley guest blogging on its site the week before his half-hour stand-up special aired on the cable network that spring. It wasn’t Kiley’s idea. "They made us do it. There are certain things you fantasize about before you start your career…but there are other things that you’re like, ‘Oh, I hadn’t thought of that.’"
The same goes for his animated appearance years ago on Dr. Katz, sort of. "The idea of being a cartoon had never occurred to me. It’s just a weird thing having someone sending you a picture (of yourself)," he said. Did you like your cartoon self? "Nah, I was smaller. I wish in the cartoon, they could’ve made me more formidable. They could’ve at least made me a superhero. It is a cartoon."
As for the guest blogging? "Sometimes you get an assignment and can’t think of anything you want to do…that was actually fun to do. I don’t know if I’ll do any more blogs."
Kiley hails from Newton, Mass., a place that’s produced more than a few stand-ups. Why is that? "Louis CK is from Newton, and Fran Solomita, and Jon Fisch. Jon Katz has lived in Newton for a while now..I don’t know…I can remember in the fourth grade, standing up on the radiator of our classroom and telling St. Patrick’s Day jokes for my class. But I don’t know what it is, if it’s just, yeah, I don’t know. It’s a statistical anomaly or something."
Kiley writes for Late Night with Conan O’Brien. How does that affect your stand-up? "Before I got my job at Conan, I used to do a lot of topical stuff," he said. "But now that I give that to him, I don’t do any of that in my act. I actually lost 25 minutes of material in my act…but I don’t want any conflict of interest. Oooh, do I give that to Conan or keep it for myself? So my act is all about my personal stuff, and I give Conan all of the political stuff."
You’ve also gotten to perform stand-up on Conan. How does that work? "They let me do a set on the show maybe once a year." He also tries to do three live shows a week in New York City. "But the problem in New York, there’s a tendency to do a lot of short sets in places. There’s 12 comics on the bill and everyone is doing six minutes."
Still, Kiley feels like he has to keep fresh by getting onstage. "It gets scary if you haven’t done it for a while. If you do it all the time, it’s not scary…(if not)…but what, I have to go there? In front of those people? Are you crazy? I had a show one time where I had a friend of mine who was going to come to the show to watch. I asked Tony V if he could put him on the guest list, but Tony thought he meant the comic list, so he said ‘Sure’ and put him on the list! Tony came over and told me friend, ‘OK, you’re up next.’ He was almost suddenly thrown into the spotlight."