On Saturday night, a comedian delivered a funny but controversial monologue about the state of the world and comedy today. No, we’re not talking about Bill Burr on Saturday Night Live; we’re referring to Andy Kindler, who delivered his 25th annual “State of the Industry Address,” which he usually performs to a live audience at Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy festival. This year, he had to perform via livestream from his “bunker,” with the festival — and most comedy in 2020 — going virtual due to the pandemic. And if you missed it, you can thankfully watch the very funny, and at times pretty brutal, speech right here.
In the 30-minute clip, Kindler touches on a range of topics from a very strange year for comedy and pop culture, roasting everything from Zoom shows and Cameo to Joe Rogan, Adam Carolla, late-night hosts, “canceled” comedians, and more. We’ve noted some highlights below.
On Cameo: “What a difference a year makes! Last year I left Montreal on top of the world after giving the industry what for and eagerly looking forward to the numerous offers waiting for me back in L.A. Sure, I’ve been giving an uneven, poorly constructed, overly angry speech for 24 years without gaining any momentum, but I had a gut feeling that my awkwardly worded, self-serving, and vindictively unpleasant comedy had finally broken through! And then COVID hit, and I couldn’t sleep … But you know what saved my life? The heavens parted and the answer came: Cameo, folks! Cameo! And what have I learned by doing Cameo for the last month? I’ve learned what my value is as a celebrity, and my value as a celebrity is $35.”
On Bill Maher: “Talk-show hosts all handle the quarantine differently. Like Bill Maher — the way he gets through it is he laughs at his own jokes constantly, so he stays in the rhythm.”
On Chris D’Elia: “Everybody’s going after Chris D’Elia the person, but let’s not forget that he was also a horrible comedian. What he was doing onstage was a crime.”
On Jimmy Kimmel: “Let me tell you something: White people in blackface is reprehensible. But being one-half the creator of The Man Show is unforgivable. Right? I mean, what hurts longer?”
On Showtime’s Comedy Store documentary: “You know, I love to hear comics who I don’t enjoy go on and on about a club that I rarely play.”
On “canceled” comedians: “My wife and I are the same age, which is apparently why I can’t get sets at the Laugh Factory. It’s ‘cause they date young people. They’re always dating young people! A lot of comedians got canceled this year, which sucks for me, because I was going to punch up at them. Now it’s too late; they’re gone. You know your career is over when Andy Kindler can’t punch up at you … I’d feel a little bit better taking shots at the canceled guys if my calendar looked a little more full.”
On Joe Rogan and Adam Carolla: “By the way, how is it that you can be the worst stand-up comic in the world and then make a billion dollars in some other field? So, Joe Rogan was the absolute … I mean, I don’t think I’m speaking out of school: His act was horrible … He parlayed it into a $100 million deal. What I’m saying is if it wasn’t for Trump, Joe Rogan might be the dumbest person to have ever made $100 million. But I just love the idea that you can fail at comedy — even doing comedy at the lowest common denominator — but you can still make it in another field. Like Adam Carolla. Because he’s terrible at stand-up, we have to suffer through his ‘Why can’t Nazis speak on college campuses?’ shtick. You know, I didn’t think Adam Carolla was ever funny, but at least in the old days he wasn’t toxic. Maybe he was always toxic.”
On “offensive” comedy: “I miss the days when comedy was just offensive quality-wise. You know, like hack but not dangerously hack? Hearing 40 comedians wonder what part of the chicken the McNuggets came from was annoying, but it didn’t seem life-threatening. Carrot Top was not signaling to white supremacists. So I just wanna say I apologize to Jay Leno for finding his act annoying. I’m sorry. I should’ve been happy with it. Your act was not encouraging COVID-19 deniers.”
Watch Kindler’s full “State of the Industry Address” above.