Conan Writer and Stand-Up Veteran Laurie Kilmartin at ‘The Bend’

“It’s a real talent to be the headliner of a comedy club.”

Laurie Kilmartin’s statement should be obvious to anyone who appreciates the art of stand-up, which she has practiced for over 30 years. “You must follow a feature [comic] who tries to bury you. You have waiters distracting the audience with drinks and tabs. You have the audience getting more and more drunk. It takes decades of scene time to be able to manage all that well. Any idiot can talk for 50 minutes; the headliner is different,” she explains.

After being tried in the crucible of club work, as well as producing on-demand jokes for a late-night comedy show, Kilmartin’s show conditions, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5 at the Historic Theater in West Bend, aka The Bend (125 N. Main St., West Bend) should be a relative breeze. She can’t wait to be there.

“I have no idea what West Bend will be like, I’m excited to walk around town on Saturday and experience it on stage Saturday night,” she says. Soaking up the local color of the cities she embodies is just one of the perks of life on the road, but the company of colorful characters in her line of work is another.

“Comedy attracts so many different types of people. I’ve met so many fun and interesting comics from different walks of life, people I never would have met if I had stayed in the Bay Area and sold a property. real estate or whatever,” she adds.When Kilmartin was earning his way to headlining status, however, finding female peers was arguably one of his biggest challenges.

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“My generation of actresses rarely had mentors; we were alone,” she recalls. “There weren’t many women ahead of us, and we were all so isolated professionally that we rarely met.

“I didn’t know Carrie Snow or Paula Poundstone or Rita Rudner or Carol Leifer when I arrived. The bookers at the club never allowed new female comedians to work with a female headliner. And you couldn’t really having a male comedian as a mentor because you would always be afraid that he would try to sleep with you.It seemed like every comedy scene allowed a female comedian to be seen as the “good one” and could work a lot. The rest just fought for crumbs,” Kilmartin says of how it used to be for funny women in her position.

While things have improved for her when it comes to respect and opportunities in comedy, they have also improved for an even more vital role than being a source of joy: being a single mother to her son. Although he has inspired his work since birth, the burden of parenthood has eased as he is now a high school student.

“My son is 15 now, and being a parent is a lot easier. He can take care of himself, the only thing I still have to teach him is to clean up after him in the shower,” Kilmartin says with relief His bank account is also relieved “Parenting is also cheaper with a teenager. I had years of paying a babysitter $50 to be able to do a set that paid $20. Now all these 20 bills $ are all mine.

Celebrity, No

What is not his, perhaps happily, are the dazzling reactions from his son and his peers for his media appearances and tenure on the Conan O’Brien writing staff. “I don’t think his friends think I’m a celebrity. I mean, I’m just a stand-up who’s been on TV, it’s not like I play video games on Twitch. And while she may not have the imprimatur of many teenagers, Kilmartin has a platform and a lot of things she wants to express through her. If nothing else, she offers a change of perspective that other, younger comedians haven’t yet acquired.

“If a club only books white men or straight men or young women, you’ll just get those views. If I see three comedians in a row joking about dating, I’m bored. I mean, you don’t do anything but date? Other apps on your phone besides Tindr? Please let me hear the jokes of an elderly person who has done something in his life besides date losers,” Kilmartin implores,

Thanks to her experience on stage and elsewhere in her life, Kilmartin has the ability to bring insightful laughs to her listeners, even if she’s not bothered by the hippest social media platforms. As she suggests, “Comics that have been doing it for 20+ years are usually very good at it, but they might not get as much work as someone with a huge Tik Tok following.” But, whether it’s online likes or laughter from a live audience, she says, “It’s really fun to laugh.”

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Here, Kilmartin recounts a new way to limit porn viewing, among other parenting successes and failures: