Local comedian Ken Warner is obsessed with coffee, jazz, and the Subway dining experience. Follow him on social media and you’ll see we’re not lying. Follow him to Foam tonight for Coffee Break with Ken Warner and you’ll see something you won’t forget.
Name / Stage Name
How long have you been performing?
What do you do? (Stand Up / Improv / Sketch / Video / etc)
URL / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Who are some of your comedic influences?
Louis C.K., Bill Burr, Maria Bamford, Marc Maron
Tell us about your worst experience performing in front of a crowd.
I don’t know if anyone remembers this, but one of the first times I performed in St. Louis was at Nick’s. I had done some stand-up in college but maybe only one other open mic in St. Louis. It was just all comics there that night, and there were a lot of inside jokes and I felt pretty lost. I went up last and tried to say I was lost but I phrased it in a way that made it sound like I didn’t think everyone was funny. I then bombed for three more minutes talking about the Titanic. When I got off stage Kenny Kinds made fun of my material. In retrospect this was the perfect start to doing comedy in St. Louis. There is still no better barometer to tell if you’re bombing than when Kenny laughs while the rest of the room is completely silent.
Tell us about your best experience performing in front of a crowd.
I think the first time I really felt locked in as a performer was at the old Danno’s open mic on Monday. The weekend before I had brought up these two couches from my aunt’s house to give to this independent venue I used to perform at where I went to college. Without getting too in the weeds, one of the guys that ran the venue at the time didn’t like me, and left an envelope saying I had overcharged the venue for the couches I gave them. I just asked for gas money, and was just wanted to break even. It’s fine now, but at the time I was pissed and confused why anyone would think I would try to make money by moving old couches 200 miles. I got on stage at Danno’s that Monday and bitched about it, and was able to get the crowd on my side. Everything I was saying was working, and it felt pretty amazing and vindicating. I have only felt that locked in maybe once since. I tried telling the story the rest of the week and it bombed every time. So the moral of this story is: if you’re going to be petty onstage, only be petty once.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the St. Louis comedy scene?
I really love all the comics in the scene in St. Louis. Everyone is really supportive and there’s a great D.I.Y. ethic here. Comedy is still hard here, as it should be, but if you’re willing to work hard you get a lot of opportunities.
Pizza vs. Tacos? You can only pick one. The one you don’t pick disappears from reality. Which do you pick, and why?
Tacos. I have a lot of reasons for this, even though I also love pizza. That said, I feel like there’s a lot of mediocre pizza out there, and that the average quality of a taco is higher. There’s a lot more variety to tacos. I’m a vegetarian, and I think vegetarian tacos are better than vegetarian pizza. Finally, I’m kind of a health nut and I think it’d be much easier to be healthy eating tacos than eating pizza. Turns out I have much more to say about tacos than what I enjoy about being part of the St. Louis comedy scene.
If I gave you a time machine that allowed you to visit yourself the day before you decided to start performing, what would you tell yourself?
You are not even a fraction as funny as you think you are, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll start to get funny.
Promote something. Any show coming up? Got a book? Describe your current project. Anything. Self Promotion is great.
Yes, I have been working lately on my new showcase called Coffee Break with Ken Warner. It takes place every month at Foam. The next show is on January 27th at 7pm. I also have a Coffee Break the week after at Foam on February 3rd at 9. It combines two of my great loves, coffee and comedy, and I have had a great time doing it so far. Also, twenty percent of the proceeds of every show go to a coffee related charity. Everyday I am fighting the urge to combine my other great love, drumming, and comedy.
Anything else you want to say?
Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you haven’t seen live comedy before, or haven’t come to a show recently, please do. It doesn’t have to be my show. Comedy is best when you’re around people, and even a bad open mic is more interesting than watching a Netflix special alone.