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Myq Kaplan And The Comedy Of Linguistics

Myq Kaplan. (Mindy Tucker)

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Myq Kaplan is a nationally touring comedian whose quick-fire wordplay leaves audiences in stitches. A graduate of Brandeis and Boston University, Myq (pronounced “Mike”) Kaplan got his start in Massachusetts before landing a spot on NBC’s Last Comic Standing.

Kaplan is one of the smartest comedians working today and with a master’s in linguistics, he makes every word count. As he says in his act, “Words are important. Words are all that separate us from the mimes.” Kaplan is renowned for his ability to take an idea, deconstruct it in front of the audience into its component parts, and then build it into something entirely new and hilarious. Here he is with Craig Ferguson.

Kaplan has also been featured on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central and now he’s returning to the Wilbur Theatre to tape his one-hour television special on Wednesday, April 3 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are free and available here.

We asked Kaplan five questions about his life as a comedian and starting out in Boston.

Chris Duffy: What are you most excited for in your upcoming TV special?

Good question! Everything! (Sorry to offer such a bad answer to such a good question. Let me try again.) Everything! (There it is again… it is difficult to pick just one thing, because I sincerely am just so excited to be shooting this special, doing it in Boston where I started doing comedy, having my friend Zach Sherwin who I love as the opening act, it being in April which is a lovely spring month representing rebirth and newness, all kinds of things! Do you want to pick just one of those? Could you?) If I have to, let’s say it’s the one where it’s in Boston. Boston!

You have a master’s in linguistics from BU. How does that influence the material that you perform?

I honestly don’t believe my degree influences my material. It DOES influence questions in interviews, but that’s about it. Sincerely, I believe that my interest in linguistics and the comedy that I do spring from the same well of characteristics inside myself, so I am the source of both of those, as opposed to those things affecting each other directly. That is to say, they are both symptoms of the same sickness, which is me.

What is your favorite thing about Boston?

Another favorite question! My favorite kind of question, as we know! I love so much of Boston. It’s the first place that I chose to live on my own, as an adult, not just where my parents had me. I love that it’s small enough to walk around, yet big enough to have tons of culture, arts, comedy, music, etc. Also I like that there are so many colleges around. I like college people.

What’s the best part of being a comedian?

Getting to wake up not to an alarm but when my body decides it’s time, and then getting to think of things I want to say, say them to people, have fun doing it, make THEM have fun doing it, and get paid for it. That thing.

How would you describe yourself?

I would ask someone else to do it. Or I would say I am indescribable. Or I would say a bunch of things that aren’t really a direct answer to the question, and then get somewhat sincere towards the end, like this: I am a person, like most of us. I enjoy doing what makes me happy, and encourage others to do that also. Do what makes me happy. And also you.

Chris Duffy is the editor of Paperweight Magazine, a new humor magazine for the iPad. He also produces and hosts “You’re the Expert,” a monthly show at Oberon that uses comedy to make academic research more accessible and exciting.

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