Andy Kindler’s 2016 State of the Industry at Just For Laughs Montreal

Two decades. 20 years. That’s how long Andy Kindler has remained a fixture and a must-see stop during the final week of Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival, just to see and hear what Kindler has to make of the comedy industry and show business via his annual State of the Industry address.

Stand-up legend Emo Philips sat in the front row this year, laughing at what Kindler had to say.

But first, Todd Barry introduced Kindler and joked about how he was backstage “frantically whittles down his top 10 Bill Maher slams…is 80 of them enough?” and said you could figure out who Kindler’s targets would be. “Just imagine the list of comedians he’d give his left nut to work with. And that’s who he’s going to take on tonight.”

“The way Todd talks he makes it sound like I have the same targets every year,” Kindler noted in his opening, before adding: “I have made 20 years of Jay Leno jokes.”

And he’d have a few more to make Friday, too! This batch focusing on Leno’s visits to New York City to retake the Tonight Show stage in monologue tag-ins from host Jimmy Fallon, as Kindler imagined the pitch Leno’s publicist made to convince him, with an assist from voice mail messages Todd Glass had left Kindler ranting about it.

But first! Kindler took aim at himself with a series of self-deprecating jokes, as is his wont, and part of what endears him to the comedy community.

Among this year’s self-roast quips:

  • “I’m so sick of the show slowing down when my material gets weak.”
  • “I have a new stage name. I’m the Andy Christ! I’ll be turning water into whine.”
  • And this requested line for his eulogy: “Finally he came up with a decent closer.”

Though his annual address is meant to focus on comedy and show business, the 2016 presidential election and its hijacking by a “reality” TV personality certainly got more of Kindler’s attention and focus. Before going all-in on The Donald, Kindler began with a comedic reference, proposing: “I’m banning every comedian with a beard from entering North America until I can figure out what is going on!”

Referring to a past State of the Industry target, Kindler teased: “Why would I go after Louis CK when it was so damaging to my career the first time I did it? So, Louis CK…”

Kindler feigned shock upon hearing CK explain to Marc Maron on WTF that he didn’t take much time writing or doing rewrites for Horace and Pete.

Kindler joked, too, how the media went nuts over CK when, in one of his emails to fans about a new episode of Horace and Pete, CK compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. “I’ve been comparing people to Hitler since I was five years old,” Kindler said. “I compared Dane Cook to Hitler except at least Hitler had a point of view…I compared Bill Maher to Hitler, except at least Hitler was likable.” Kindler made fun of the fact, too, that CK’s audience who downloads Horace and Pete wouldn’t exactly be tough to persuade out of voting for Trump in the first place.

Kindler called Trump “an insult comedian with no material” who talks in the cadence of a comedian but has nothing there to back it up. If he wins? “Get ready for Celebrity Fuhrer!”

Who’d be willing to play along? Kindler figured Trump’s second choice for VP “was Jeff Dunham’s puppet Walter.” Who else? “He was on Celebrity Apprentice twice. I rest my case against Penn Jillette.”

And he blamed “greedy Lorne Michaels” for helping the Trump campaign by letting him host Saturday Night Live last fall. “He gave Trump a platform!” Kindler said, “so if Trump wins, blame Lorne Michaels.”

“Who wouldn’t Lorne Michaels allow to host? Pol Pot?”

There was a brief tangent out of late-night TV and into a tragic murder that happened late at night outside of The Comedy Store on West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. “It’s hard to believe something negative happened at The Comedy Store. And it wasn’t me. I’ve definitely never killed at The Comedy Store.”

Then back to late-night TV. “Carpool Karaoke?” Kindler wondered if this was the future of late-night TV talk shows. Not that Kindler held James Corden’s predecessor in much higher regard, noting that Craig Ferguson had blocked him on Twitter. So he could joke: “Craig Ferguson had a show on the History Channel. Maybe it should be on the he’s history channel, am I right?”

Kindler said all of the late-night TV hosts have enjoyed a field day with Trump, with the exception of Jimmy Fallon. “I saw Ryan Seacrest and Jimmy Fallon compete in a superficial-off,” Kindler joked.

Have you seen the Golden Corral TV ads featuring Jeff Foxworthy? A fitting pair, Kindler joked. “Huge portions of bland material.” That’s right! “Nobody from The Blue Collar Tour is safe tonight!”

If you follow Kindler on Twitter, you already know he’s not a fan of Ricky Gervais, whom he said Friday is not a stand-up comedy, even if he was willing to go on HBO and pretend to be an expert on it. “Here’s the truth about Ricky Gervais: He hates his own guts. There’s no doubt about it. Deep on the inside he knows he’s a fraud. And so he has to cover it up with bravado. You can’t have every other Tweet be about how you don’t care what people think, and then expect us to not believe that’s all you care about, is what people think.” He then read some of Gervais’ Tweets to back up his case about the lack of jokes. Case in point: “‘With my material, often you don’t know it’s a joke until the surprise.’ I mean that’s crazy, right? You don’t start a joke with the punchline?? He’s a rebel! It’s not a joke until the joke part, is that what he’s saying? He’s on a different level, this guy.”

Talking about Gervais and award shows, Kindler pivoted to his own “In Memoriam for shows I wish were dead.” Among them: South Park, Arli$$, 2 Broke Girls, Carson Daly, Jon Stewart. Yes. Jon Stewart. “What will we miss most about you?: The mugging and the humility.” He tagged that and then some. “Too soon??!?!?”

Kindler closed with yes, another year of jokes about Leno and Dennis Miller, plus an extended bit with an assist from Todd Glass and transcripts of Glass’ voice mails to Kindler.

Hear the full speech from Andy Kindler including Todd Barry’s intro. Enjoy it!

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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