JANUARY 25, 2018 – During the height of the last great comedy run, Jews like Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David made observations about the world. Questions like “What is it with airports?” became standard fare on stages across the country.
These days, however, it can be downright depressing to observe the world even at such superficial levels. This may be why more philosophical comedians, including Myq (pronounced “Mike”) Kaplan, are becoming popular.
Since his standup routine got him to the finals on the 2010 edition of “Last Comic Standing,” Kaplan has twisted the minds of James Corden, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, and the legendary David Letterman. He also made the quarterfinals of “America’s Got Talent” in 2015, when judge Heidi Klum said Kaplan made her “laugh out loud.”
On Feb. 9, the man who has been called a “comedy machine” will be on stage at Great Scott on Commonwealth Avenue in Allston for a relatively intimate and always intriguing set that is sure to make guests think as much as they laugh.
When asked when his comedy spark was first lit, Kaplan recalled playing the violin since the age of 4 and an early desire to be a singer-songwriter growing up in a Jewish home in New Jersey.
“I started playing guitar in high school and performed at talent shows and coffee houses and summer camp and such,” said Kaplan. And while his vocal work may have improved his bar mitzvah, he did not consider that religious rite of passage as a performance.
“That was real,” he insisted.
Eager to have opportunities to perform, Kaplan — who graduated from Brandeis University and went on to earn a master’s degree in linguistics from Boston University — began appearing wherever he could, including comedy clubs, where he found his “funny” songs (some of which he still plays in his live sets) worked well and made an easy transition from singing to speaking.
“I found that I also really enjoyed talking between the songs, which sometimes made people laugh,” he said.
“I also love laughter and connecting with fellow humans.”
Kaplan’s comedy connected early with his parents.
“My parents are very encouraging,” he said, noting that his mother was “always that way. … My dad was too, though with flavors of realism added in. He started fully supporting me when he realized he wouldn’t have to be fully supporting me.”
With that kind of support, Kaplan ‒ who described himself as “a vegan Jew who was often mistaken for being gay” ‒ said he always feels comfortable being himself, both on stage and off. This, he suggests, is what has allowed him to be successful.
“I would say that the ideal goal for most comedians is to be themselves,” said Kaplan,
“I am the most me.”