Kurt Braunohler
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Kurt Braunohler

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"Braunohler: Cut-up puts absurdist spin on gameshow format 10 Comics to Watch 2012 - Kurt Braunohler"

While his new gig as host of IFC's mock-gameshow "Bunk" has brought Kurt Braunohler increased visibility, the indefatigable comic still insists on getting his face out there any way he can.
"I'm performing every night," he says. Whether he's working the clubs of his hometown New York (with or without longtime professional partner Kristen Schaal) or going on tour with "Comedy Bang! Bang!" next month, Braunohler takes every opportunity to share his slightly bizarre brand of humor with audiences.

Although he started doing improv in 1998, Braunohler first branched out into standup just five years ago. In the time since, he has played everywhere from Bonnaroo to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and worked on multiple projects for the stage, television and online (he hosts the hilariously misinformed nature series "World Wild of Animals" on FunnyOrDie.com).

But nothing has boosted his profile quite like "Bunk." The project developed out of a failed gameshow idea, which inspired the frustrated comic to ditch the pretense of making the program an actual competition. He took from that experience "all of the funniest ideas" and decided "not to worry about making it legally a gameshow."

Still, Braunohler's heart remains in standup, where he's made his mark with a series of bizarre sketches that have become viral hits, including a celebrated round of riffing on Craigs-list's "missed connections" section -- a bit that will be featured in his upcoming appearance on "John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show," a wacky sample of a still burgeoning standup career.

P.O.V.: "I would say it's high-energy and absurdist with a mix of personal storytelling," he says of his style.
Influences: Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Eugene Mirman
Reps: Avalon - Variety

"50 Funniest New Yorkers"

Whether he was improvising with Neutrino, welcoming guests to the Hot Tub variety show, doing sketch with Kristen Schaal or working as a stand-up around the city, TONY has always been one of Braunohler's biggest fans. His chipper, absurdist leanings have found even more traction as he has been putting on a live Pee-wee Herman–inspired talk show, Night of the Living, and hosting the new IFC game show, Bunk. He's still on the way up, so we're still hoping L.A. won't snatch him away - Time Out New York

"Comedian Kurt Braunohler Has a Thing for Hard-boiled Eggs"

Name: Kurt Braunohler
Age: 36
Neighborhood: Sunset Park (or Greenwood Heights if we're being silly)
Occupation: Comedian and host of the new IFC comedy game show, Bunk, premiering tonight at 10:30 p.m.
Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. During the blackout, as we were all trudging home, he was on the Brooklyn Bridge all night just yelling into a megaphone, "Welcome back to Brooklyn!" I'll always love him for that.
What's the best meal you've eaten in New York?
There's this secret Korean taco/cupcake truck I go to. To find it you have to bring a hard-boiled egg to this deli in Bushwick where they give you the address. After you've eaten your cupcake taco (the cupcake IS the taco shell!) a man punches you in the stomach for dessert, and it only costs $40! Only in New York!
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
Sit around naked in my apartment and wonder where animals go when I can't see them.
What was your first job in New York?
I worked at a bakery in Park Slope. I had to be at work at 5 a.m. and my manager sold weed out of the bakery. I quit when I realized that at 40 hours a week, I couldn't pay even half my rent.
What's the last thing you saw on Broadway?
A pigeon going to town on an everything bagel. I actually used to see a lot of Broadway with my mom. Mom, we should start doing that again. (I only communicate with my mom through pieces in NYMag, so it's tough to coordinate.)
Do you give money to panhandlers?
I used to all the time. Now it's 50/50.
What's your drink?
Vodka soda. That's my version of "working out."
How often do you prepare your own meals?
Every day. But only hard-boiled eggs.
What's your favorite medication?
Percocet. I try and have as many unnecessary surgeries as possible. Which is tough with no insurance.
What's hanging above your sofa?
Me. My sofa butts up against my "home office."
How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
More than $60 seems excessive, but my hair is short and easy. If I had five-foot-long hair, I would totally spend $1000. But I'd also be riding a horse while it got cut, so it would be worth it.
When's bedtime?
If I'm surfing in the morning the next day, it's early. If I'm not, it's late.
Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
I dislike each of them equally! For people who mourn for old Times Square — hey there's a TON of places in the city still like that! Get on the train and go visit them! And for people who love it now, you're a creepy weirdo. Or a child.
What do you think of Donald Trump?
I think of him as a duck. Not like Scrooge McDuck — he's a relatively cool duck because he wears clothes. Donald Trump is more like a real duck that is inexplicably on TV, makes a lot of squawking noises, and then shits on everything.
What do you hate most about living in New York?
Besides being a city that's a predatory monster, consuming water, power, and souls and outputting trash and sewage at an unimaginable rate? I dunno. Probably the lines at Duane Reade.
Who is your mortal enemy?
People who use their horns excessively while I'm walking down the street. (Unless I'm the one using the horn, then it's fine.)
When's the last time you drove a car?
Yesterday. After sixteen years of living car-free I got a car in January. I love it more than I should.
How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
How long ago did it crash? I'd have to look at my calendar.
Times, Post, or Daily News?
None. Not super into "information" lately.
Where do you go to be alone?
Rockaway Beach.
What makes someone a New Yorker?
New York is a place that can grind you down and spit you out. A true New Yorker doesn't get ground down, he gets polished. - New York Magazine

"Comedian Kurt Braunohler on his new show and partnership with Kristen Schaal"

Kurt Braunohler has been a staple of the New York comedy scene for years, largely due to the genial, 7-year-old variety show Hot Tub, which takes place weekly in a Brooklyn concert space. He co-hosts the show with Kristen Schaal, and together, they have uncanny chemistry, a propensity for experimental stand-up bits, and a welcoming attitude toward comics and variety acts who share their sensibilities. They’ve toured the festival circuit with the show, and have tried to adapt it for television. Over the last two years, the tall, imposing Braunohler has also found success outside the partnership. He appeared on Delocated and The Heart, She Holler, and he was featured on This American Life, where he described a Rumspringa-like break he and an ex-girlfriend took from one another. (Braunohler also told a version of the story in his one-man show, The Amish Guide To Fucking.) Next up is a gig that fits Braunohler like a glove: He’ll host Bunk, IFC’s new faux game show created by Ethan T. Berlin and Eric Bryant, in which comedians compete against each other in ridiculous contests like “Shame That Puppy.” In anticipation of Bunk’s première, The A.V. Club sat down with Braunohler to discuss how he came to host the new show, Hot Tub bits that were famously ill-received, and how stand-up compares to surfing.
The A.V. Club: You were brought in to help with Bunk early on. Were you always going to be the host?
Kurt Braunohler: It’s kind of hazy. I knew Ethan—I coached him in improv, and we had written on a MTV game-show pilot together—and I remember him saying the idea of Bunk essentially came to him during that show, because the ideas we really liked and thought were funniest were never made, and all the dumb ideas that we didn’t [like] were actually made. Literally, it was his idea of just making a game show that was funny.
AVC: And you guys don’t follow the rules that normal game shows lay out?
KB: The rules of game shows limit stuff so much. I remember on Money From Strangers, being in the van—not even performing—and there was a lawyer there the entire time. “No, you can’t give money for that. Yes, you can give money for that. That’s a partial answer. That’s a full answer.” We’re just such a litigious nation; people will go on a game show and sue because they didn’t win. But once you’re free of the rules, then it’s just making fun of the structure. So yeah, they asked me to come help work on it, and I think someone was like, “You should try out hosting.” We tried out every element of the show before a live audience; I think the first one was at the [People’s Improv Theater], the old PIT space, and it was just for fun. It’s been a long time. The pilot went into the New York TV Fest, I dunno, last year? Two years ago?
AVC: Had you always wanted to host?
KB: Oh, it’s totally within what I do. I like hosting things. When they approached me with the idea, I was like, “I want to host this,” 100 percent. Because it’s so fun. I love smarminess. I love high-status creepiness, because the creepiness undermines the high status, but that person is oblivious to how creepy they’re being. And game-show hosts are that. That guy on Family Feud [Richard Dawson] who would always kiss every single woman, even if they’re 13-year-old girls—and kiss them on the lips, and hold them around the waist tight while they competed. What a creep-o. And the fact that Pat Sajak was drunk. He just came out saying they shot four episodes a day, and by the second one, they were wasted. He and Vanna [White] would get wasted. I love that. They’re such weirdoes. It somehow dovetails weirdly into what I like as a stand-up, which is that high-status creepiness. And then the structure of the show is weird too, which helps.
AVC: Do you have a hosting persona?
KB: I have a hosting tone of voice; they are tangential to each other. The Bunk-hosting persona is very cheesy, and more creepy than he needs to be. Just really over-the-top, where every word has this squirminess. And when I host Hot Tub, it’s much closer to my stand-up self, but it’s still slightly different. My stand-up self can be low status with the audience if I want to. But with a [game-show] host, you can’t be. The audience needs to fully trust that you’re in charge and know what’s going on even if you don’t, and they can relax and enjoy the show.
AVC: So you have to take control?
KB: For me, at least. When Kristen hosts, she doesn’t need to be that way, because the audience is endeared with her. They’re just along for the ride, even if the show is awkward and weird. But for someone that looks like me—that looks like the science teacher—I have to project that weird male authority that says everything will be okay, which I fought against for so long. But when I gave in, oh, people respond.
AVC: Why did you fight against it?
KB: For a really long time in my life, I fought against how I look. Because I was raised Catholic in school, where everyone had to wear a suit and tie. I hated eve - Onion AV Club


Still working on that hot first release.



Kurt Braunohler is an “adult” male comedian, who enjoys skywriting jokes in the sky and altering greeting cards.

Kurt was recently named one of Variety’s “Top 10 Comics to Watch” as well as Time Out NY’s “50 Funniest New Yorkers”. He was even named another “Comic to Watch” by Comedy Central and the New York Comedy Festival.

Kurt has been seen (or heard) on TV on Bob’s Burgers (FOX), Chelsea Lately, Delocated (Adult Swim), John Oliver’s NY Stand Up Show, The Heart She Holler (Adult Swim), Comedy Central Presents, Jon Benjamin Has a Van (Comedy Central), Assy McGee (Adult Swim), Human Giant (MTV) and the anti-game show he hosts, BUNK! on IFC. He can also be heard on the radio on This American Life.

As far as stages, Kurt has performed at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival, Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal and Chicago, New York Comedy Festival (named a “Comic to Watch”), SXSW, Bonaroo, All Tomorrow’s Parties, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (IF.Comedy Award nominee), Melbourne Comedy Festival (Barry Award Winner), the HBO Vegas Comedy Festival, the Chicago Improv Festival (“Improv Ensemble of the Year” Award Winner) and he once performed at Radio City Music Hall, but only because his comedy partner is pretty famous.

His debut album, “How Do I Land?” will come out on Kill Rock Stars Records in the summer of 2013.

Kurt co-created a pilot for Channel 4 in the UK with Kristen Schaal, for their popular web-series, Penelope: Princess of Pets. The duo also have hosted the NYC staple variety show, Hot Tub, for the past 7 years, now in LA.

Kurt also hosts the monthly late night talk show, Night of the Living with Kurt Braunohler, with past guests including Zach Galifianakis, Ted Leo, and Jon Glaser. Kurt holds the World Record for leading the most people in an all-meow version of “Lean on Me” (it’s 117 people.)