“Celebrity comedian Myq Kaplan washes dishes!” I joke, standing in Myq’s apartment, clicking my camera’s shutter while he cleans a glass in his sink.
“Celebrities, they’re just like us!” he laughs.
In the nearly 15 years Myq has been doing standup comedy, he has been a finalist on Last Comic Standing; appeared on television as a standup guest with James Corden, Conan O’Brien, David Letterman, and Comedy Central Presents; and released a Netflix special called Short, Dork, and Handsome. He has also recorded three comedy albums—Vegan Mind Meld, Meat Robot and, most recently, No Kidding—and has a podcast called “Hang Out with Me” on the Keith and the Girl network. Myq travels all around the country for work, sometimes to several cities in a week, at least one show every night.
Tonight there’s two, one at the “I Don’t Get It” comedy show at The Hi-Fi Lounge in the East Village, and another at the “Bitches’ Brew” comedy show at Halyard’s, a bar in Gowanus. First, though, it’s time for tea from a mug with a big K on it, an episode of New Girl, and some conversation.
I have known Myq for a few years, and one of my favorite things about him is how you can see his brain working while he’s talking, plucking portions of words or ideas from the edges of stories to initiate new ones. To the point where it was almost unsurprising to learn he had a Master's degree in Linguistics, another field where it is a requirement to think about the placement of words for a living.
My other favorite thing about Myq is the level of depth and thoughtfulness he offers to any question that’s asked of him. When we sit in his apartment, I ask how he is feeling. The room goes quiet and he picks up his guitar, a bright light beaming next to him. He strums, filling the space between chords with his answers, carefully constructing a response. The state of being creative in times of political crises can be difficult, he’ll say later, leaning in his doorway. Sometimes it’s important to offer an escape, and if that escape can bring people happiness, then all the better.
We don our winter gear and head into the night. Early to the first show, Myq paces around the block talking on the phone to his best friend Zach, another comedian who is based on the West Coast and is a regular part of his day.
The back room at at the Hi-Fi is small but has an enthusiastic audience. He’s a great first act for the night with his clever, intertwined jokes that double as studies of language, and soon the room is bubbling with laughter. After his set, we depart for Halyard’s, to a room so packed the host has to guide us in once we arrive. Myq sips a glass of wine and waits for the previous comedian to finish. He adjusts the microphone, clears his throat, and begins.