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Volume 11 - "Jackie Kashian"
Interview by Adam Pearson.
Posted March 8, 2006
Visit Jackie Kashian's Website
|Flipping channels one day, I saw Jackie Kashian. Her stand-up act was on
Comedy Central. She was joking about her friend Chad, who got his name
legally changed to his D&D alias. "What Chad doesn't understand, if you
go down to the county courthouse and legally change your name to "Quest
Akita", you don't get to keep your +7 Armor." Geek humor is always a laugh.
But then she started bringing up video games. She said one of the worst
(morally) games ever has to be Final Fantasy Legend for the Game Boy, where
you have to go find God and kill him. Everyone laughed at her account of
slashing away at "God" who is a teeny tiny sprite on the Game Boy screen. She
also recounted a frustrating Nintendo Counselor call, where she got laughed
at (she swears he must have been 12) for where she was stuck in FF Legend. It
was then that I knew I had to hunt her down and interview her for the site!
Luckily using my trusty Myspace account (knew that thing was good
for something!) I was able to get in touch with her. So here's entry 11
to the Seven Series, with the charming Jackie Kashian!
Internationally Feared By Chickens
DMG Ice: I heard you just beat Fire Emblem, the first one for the GBA. How was that?
Jackie: Well, it was all consuming. That's how I play RPG's. For example, I don't really believe in having a television in my bedroom (I watch enough of it as it is) but I recently realized that I take the GBA with me to bed, per se. And I looked at my boyfriend one morning, (who I am "shacking up with," living in sin, "doing the devil's work" at least til he makes an honest woman of me – October, 2006) upon just waking up, and said, "I love you, but I also love this game." He's very understanding and laughed. I look back on it and I can't say I approve. I think I should ban the GBA from the bedroom as well. As I'm now on Fire Emblem – The Sacred Stones, it sure as hell ain't a moot point.
DMG Ice: What are some of your other favorite games? Any games coming out you're looking forward to?
Jackie: I love me some Guitar Hero for the PS2. And, there is a game I'm not good at (and I'm not really good at any of them, but I do enjoy them; and it seems enough to love them and play them) that's called Shadow of the Colossus. Wow… that's a beautiful game. It's just you and your horse, Agro, and you ride over some beautiful terrain and fight 18 Colossi. 18 boss fights. H@! Oh – and all Zelda. I really like Zelda.
I'm looking forward to the PS3 of course and, specifically, a game called Warhawk. My fiancé (or "freedom boyfriend" if you're still mad at the French), is on the design team for it and it sounds really cool
and beautiful! I can say no more because I'm not sure what was in the press release. I've heard some things that, no doubt, I would be killed were I to reveal. Probably by strafing - God… I don't talk like
this – who knows why I'm writing like this.
DMG Ice: Aside from your act, is there anything you would say regarding video game violence and censorship? What do you think of Jack Thompson's ad hominem attacks towards people in the game industry, as well as gamers themselves?
Jackie: Grr. Sure.
I've got nieces and nephews and I've heard all the arguments for playing M rated games from an early age. But I do believe that the M is there for a reason. Don't buy yer 10 year old Vice City, Devil's Cry, or whatever. Just don't do it. Let him go over to Billy's house and play it there. You won't be able to stop him from playing it; I get it - that it isn't enforceable - but let you're kid get the creepy too-old for them vids at their "bad" friends' house. Which, by the way, is where they should get their porn and their booze as well. They should know that you need them to be fully aware of the difference between adult vids and kid vids. They'll still play them, but they'll know that it's something to be aware of the difference. Because, I think we all know, there is a difference.
Vice City is an example. I don't play it simply because I don't want to shoot a hooker in the face. Granted I've only played it a couple times. I bet it's fun. But I'm old. Remember the Hot Coffee incident?
There was a mini-game that was in the code of the game but not "attached" - not really IN the game? But the hackers found it and people got to see it and play it, and the mini-game was that you had sex with a hooker and had to give her an orgasm to win the game. WELL. That's just funny. Granted, it's 17-year old jackass hilarity. But I don't care if you're Tipper Gore, that's funny. And… the stock joke on that would be? If there's something a 17 year old man/child needs to learn the importance of… it's giving the nice lady an orgasm. Ah – comedy. So they didn't actively put it in. It's still funny. As is much of Vice City. But – pre 17 the joke of the mini-game isn't really fully appreciated. It's just dirty. By 17 you should get the joke. Or shortly thereafter. I hope. I pray for you.
Jack Thompson is a reactionary dick. He doesn't play games, he doesn't understand people who do, or really, as far as I can tell – have any sense of humor at all. Penny Arcade has his number. I don't get a guy
like him. He's not old. He's from a generation that had games at SOME LEVEL. So – he's just a buzzkill without any idea of what he's talking about.
DMG Ice: Nintendo seems to be sitting out on the tech-specs race with Microsoft and Sony, favoring fun and innovative games over flashy, cinema-esque ones. So far, at least with the DS, their strategy seems to be working, especially in Japan. Do you think Nintendo has the right idea? Have Sony and Microsoft lost sight of what makes good video games?
Jackie: I really love Nintendo. I love them for the kid friendly, all ages approach and the innovative spirit of the idea of vids. I have a GBA, but my nephews have the DS. It seems very cool. I have another friend
with a PSP – he loves it. I love the PS2 games too. I think there's room for all of them. It helps that there's both cinematic emphasis and kid-friendly emphasis. My opinion, without all the information of course, is that, with both, gamers have even more choice. And that – I love.
DMG Ice: I can imagine relating things a fellow geek might find hilarious to a generalized audience might be hard sometimes. Is it most important to be yourself up on stage, though? Does bringing up Final Fantasy in front of a ton of people get any puzzled looks?
Jackie: When I first wrote the joke it was six minutes long. It was so long that I had to say, in the middle of it, to old people in the front row, "it's funny at the end. I promise." I spent a lot of time explaining the games I was talking about. Luckily it got shorter and more concise til it became what I told on the Comedy Central special. I have NEW video game jokes and dork forest humor that is newly longwinded and needs culling. Ah –the journey.
And yes – you have to be yourself on stage. I think that even comics who do "characters" show their viewpoints in the topics they choose and the viewpoint they espouse. Yeah – I said espouse.
DMG Ice: I read that you just got DSL! What have you been doing with all that newly acquired bandwidth? Think you'll be getting into any intense online gaming, or just good ol' Game Boy for now?
Jackie: Oh my God. I didn't even THINK. I could play WOW now. God. I have been so entranced at just receiving music and watching streaming video of the Daily Show (I don't have Cable yet. Oh, one day?). Having the PS2 and Game Cube in the house, as well as the GBA has brought productivity down down down. I'll be sticking with the GBA for now.
DMG Ice: Lastly, is there any stuff you would hop in a Delorean and tell yourself 10 or 20 years ago? Or, what would you tell other budding reality-dodging comedians?
Jackie: Huh. I'm sure there should be. But, comedy is one of those things where you rarely give or take advice. It's such a personal thing, comedy. There's advice that is - I dunno – unwritten yet someone must
pass it on. Write your own material. Get on stage a lot. Try to write stuff that is true to you (it's the best way to be original). But there's also a saying in standup that I've heard, "no good comics give unsolicited advice about comedy. Only bad comics do that." I don't know that that's always true. But it's been ingrained in me.
When I first started out I asked for a lot of advice from the working comics I met – all contemporaries and friends of Sam Kinison – and one woman actually wrote a thing. It's framed in my bathroom (so I read it a lot), and a copy of it is on my website on the bottom of the index page. It's the best advice and non-advice I've ever received. It was all suggestion; all to be taken or ignored as I wished. It was perfect
for someone, like me, who hates to be bossed. So – if I could go back 20 years ago, I'd just make more copies of the thing she wrote for me. In 1986 oddly enough.
You can see Jackie Kashian in Margaret Cho's new-ish movie "Bam Bam and Celeste", or you can try to catch her "Comedy Central Presents" act in syndication, or you can just go to her awesome website and buy all her CD's.
Thank you so much, Jackie for agreeing to answer my questions!
-Adam Pearson- (Provided the Questions)
-Jackie Kashian- (Provided the "Answers")
-DMG Ice 2006-