Stand-up comedian Kurt Braunohler will perform 8 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at The Comedy Attic.
In 2012, Braunohler was named one of Variety’s “Top 10 Comics to Watch” and also one of Time Out NY’s “50 New Funniest New Yorkers.”
Before stand-up, Braunohler did improv. He began taking classes in 1999, when the improv sketch comedy group Upright Citizens Brigade opened its own theater in New York City.
A few years later, Braunohler decided he wanted to get into writing and start a variety show.
After a conversation with the artistic director of The PIT, another improv comedy theater in New York, he decided to approach Kristen Schaal, who had also expressed interest in creating a show.
Schaal, a comedian famous for her voice roles as Louise Belcher in “Bob’s Burgers,” Mabel Pines in “Gravity Falls” among many others, was also backstage at The PIT that night, Braunohler said.
“We didn’t know each other, we had seen each other perform, but I just like walked backstage, and like I just yelled across the backstage, ‘Hey, do you want to start a variety show?’” Braunohler said.
The show, named “Hot Tub, with Kurt and Kristen,” began in 2005 and continues to run today.
Braunohler said the show started off as very weird and wacky. An example of this was how they would end every show with an animal race .
“We released a cockroach, we had two sandworms, we had two snails,” Braunohler said. “An animal race was always a part of the show.”
Eventually, however, they had to stop doing this because they lost too many animals in the studio.
The show is now a stand-up showcase in Los Angeles and is still hosted by Schaal and Braunohler every Monday.
The first “Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen” show, and the night of Braunohler’s 29th birthday, was also when he first attempted stand-up.
Braunohler said he always regretted not starting stand-up earlier and that it took until 2012 until he felt somewhat confident with his stand-up performance. He said when he first started, he was almost just screaming information at the audience.
“I was like worried that if I stopped talking for a moment they would start to hate me, and so I was just constantly screaming jokes,” he said. “As comics go, I still do a good amount of yelling but it’s much more relaxed and confident, yeah, I’m taking my time a little more.”
Another change Braunohler said he has made over the years is a shift from writing small jokes to longer personal stories.
Braunohler performed at The Comedy Attic about six years ago and said he looks forward to returning and showing how he has improved since then.
“I was there very early in my career,” Braunohler said. “Having now been touring as a headliner for eight years now, I feel like I have a better handle on what’s an enjoyable experience at a club and I’m excited to be there this weekend.”
The show Braunohler will perform this weekend at The Comedy Attic features personal stories about his childhood, being a dad and being married.
“I’m gonna talk about my fucked-up family, and if you have a fucked-up family, I think you’ll enjoy it,” Braunohler said.
The tickets for this show are $12 for students and $15 for general admission and are available online at thecomedyattic.com.