Saturday, July 4, 2009
Who is This Ben Kronberg and Why is He So Funny?
By Brian Polk
Inspiring as much hatred, silence, and outright confusion as he does uncontrollable laughter, Ben Kronberg is rapidly emerging as one of Denver’s most promising stand-up comedians. With subject matter ranging from fast food and bodily discharges to angel abortions and testicular massiveness, the comic won the Comedy Works New Talent Contest as well as several other competitions not really worth mentioning. The love and dedication he invests in his craft is second only to the affection he feels towards his own penis, which is huge. Just don’t ask him what the phrase, “Through the trunk,” means … trust us on this one.
Recently, Kronberg agreed to an interview with The Yellow Rake, but refused to make eye contact or acknowledge our writers’ existence in public. Therefore the interview was conducted by his agent via the “Interweb.” We hope you enjoy it.
What type of psychological make-up must an individual possess to become a stand-up comedian? How did you get into comedy?
You have to be very repetitious and be able to constantly come to terms with the realities of comedy over and over again. The realities are: Every time is different, every crowd is different, you are different—even if you are saying the same thing you said last time. I think if you don't recognize the change in yourself then you might become a stale version of yourself. I got into comedy through music and music open mics. My mom bought me a guitar my last semester of college and I started making up songs. At that time, the songs were about terrorism and war and I parleyed my political songs into songs about poop, pee, semen, and McDonald's.
A comedian and a musician? If you were a candidate in an election year, you would be branded a “flip-flopper.” What gives?
I never set out to do comedy, but the natural flow of my creative juices happened that way. I still play "serious" songs, mostly by myself—to be serious by yourself is okay, but to try to be funny by yourself is sad. You need to be interacting with people to justify funny thoughts. You talk, they listen. You write, they read. You make, they watch. Joking with yourself is like masturbating in front of the mirror: Sometimes it's hot. Plus it's nice to see how you would look while having sex. Whenever I jerk off in front of the mirror, I pretend like I'm having doggystyle sex cause I'm standing up and that makes the most sense.
Do you think there’s a part of the brain that makes you want to become a comedian?
I think funny things might happen in the brain, but I think people who are really funny have it in their soul, just like people who like to kill—it's in their soul. The most extreme parts of any human are in the soul. So yes I would still be funny, ‘cause I'd be drooling and pissing and shitting myself. Retarded people are really good at slapstick.
Ever since you won the Comedy Works New Talent Contest, you’ve been doing unhealthy amounts of blow, jumping from one groupie to the next, and walking around like you own this motherfucker. Even though it must be nice to be a Mile High Comedic Celebrity, the chaos that has become your life can’t possibly make you happy. Could you please expound on your inner-emptiness?
You always want more: pussy, blow, peanut butter—there is never enough. The more you have, the more you want. I think not being satisfied is one of the keys to success. The emptiness that I feel lets me know that there is room for more stuff. I Love to eat, and when I indulge and eat a lot and feel really full, that's when I feel the most empty.
You also won the Denver’s Meanest Person Contest, which strikes me as odd, considering other Denver comics who are much bigger assholes than you (ahem, Greg Baumhauer, ahem). Are you a closet dick that only shines when the occasion calls for it, or what?
I have a dick side to me, and unfortunately it has nothing to do with my dick. I keep my hate for other people secret and repressed. Those other cocksuckers like to rag on people most of the time, which clears them out. So when my dick comes out, it can really shoot a big wad of angry semen.
Are your obsessions with McDonalds and poop directly related? Or are they separate entities each suitable for their own respective discussions?
I like things that are salty, and those two things are the saltiest things I know of. I would gladly humor any discussion about either of those topics separately or together. What I would really prefer to do is eat McDonalds with someone and then go poop next to them in a McDonalds, (If you know anything about McDonalds you know they only ever have one place to poop, no paper towels, and a scratched up mirror so the tandem poop wouldn't be possible. I’m a dreamer’s dreamer). And then we would talk about McDonalds.
I saw you almost get your ass kicked by a member of the crowd who happened to be a Mexican Veteran (perhaps you could expound on this). Obviously some of your comedy is offensive. Is it in a comic’s best interest to remain conscious of the line between edgy and distasteful? Or do you just go with what’s funny regardless?
Funny is usually the focus. Edgy and distasteful are ideas that get projected on the things we do/say. I've done most all of my material in front of my mom, and if she can take it but a Mexi-Vet can't, there is definitely something wrong with him. I think and believe that it is more important to do your comedy in front of people who aren't going to like it. It helps you grow and it helps them grow. I want the ideas behind my jokes to be bigger than the laughs they get. So even if no one laughs, they can't say that was a stupid idea.
Does rocking the Casio keyboard during your set make you Avant-garde or just badass?
I'll take the Avant-Garde over the badass. But if they are both up for grabs I think that would benefit me the most. A lot of comics will dismiss the use of an instrument as a prop, but then those same comics will say, "I have this idea for a song; I think it would be funny." And I'm like, "Yeah, totally," ‘cause I'm a nice guy.
(Originally published April 2006)