Comedian Robert Kelly has been winning over audiences for the last eighteen years. In addition to clubs and colleges nationwide, Kelly has traveled across the country in the “Tourgasm Live” tour with Dane Cook and Gary Gulman. He is a regular on the Opie and Anthony radio show and has performed at the “Just For Laughs Festival” in Montreal. He has also appeared at the South Beach Comedy Festival, HBO’s Comedy Festival (Las Vegas), and the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival (Aspen 2007). In 2009, he performed for over 1 million people in 80 arenas across the country as a feature on Dane Cook’s, “Isolated Incident Tour.”
Having overcome many hardships in his life, all of which have made Robert Kelly the actor/comedian he is today. From his early days as a kid growing up in Boston in and out of juvenile hall, Kelly’s unique, honest take on his own life and his relationships make his comedy clever, abrasive, funny, and yet refreshingly vulnerable. No matter where his career takes him, however, Boston remains very close to Kelly’s heart.
“I used to love the Comedy Connection, as far as selling tickets and as far as doing it, there was nothing like it for me. It was a 400-seat room; I didn’t have to worry about selling it out. People had options, Friday or Saturday, two shows a night. So it was really a good place for me. It took me a minute to like the Wilbur – but the last time I was there was one of my favorite shows, I loved it. Everybody made money and the fans showed up. That’s the key part is when the fans show up and actually fill the place. There’s something, uh – not to get too f**king silly, but it does something to your heart. It makes you feel good. Thank you for not making me look like a c**t.”
When it comes to choosing feature acts in his hometown, Kelly remains loyal to the scene that helped launch his career.
“I used to get all into that, but whoever it is it’s a Beantown comic and they’re getting work. I don’t like taking work out of Boston comics’ hands when I roll into town because I want to bring some douchebag from Colorado,” Kelly explains. “By doing that, I met Joe List who’s on my podcast a lot and is one of my favorite new guys, [Tom] Dustin opens for me, [Kyle] Ploof – that idiot’s opened for me a couple times. I like that, I like the young guys. I’ve never had a stinker. That’s because it’s Beantown. If you’re doing comedy in Beantown you’re pretty much funny.”
Kelly’s extensive TV comedy credits include the recent Comedy Central Special “Comics Anonymous,” “Comedy Central Presents Robert Kelly,” HBO’s “Tourgasm,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC), “Premium Blend” (Comedy Central), “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn” (Comedy Central), “The Carson Daly Show” (NBC), “Awesomely Oversexed” (VH1) and MTV’s “The Jim Breuer Show.” His acting credits include portraying Louie CK’s brother (Robbie) on “Louie” (FX), “Law & Order” (NBC), “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (NBC), as a detective playing opposite Vincent D’Onofrio, on NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” and a guest starring role on “The Job” with Denis Leary (ABC).
Never one to slow down, Kelly recently told the Boston Comedy Scene Examiner about his new venture, a cop-based comedy pilot that he was preparing to tape for the FX network, called “Bronx Warrants”.
“These two warrant cops in the Bronx wrote it. It’s about slow warrant division cops, it’s like Dog the Bounty Hunter, but with cops, in the Bronx. They make extra money by collecting these warrants,” Kelly explains. “It’s a half hour comedy, really funny, really FX – very edgy and real, kind of like “Rescue Me” funny. Dean Lorey, who’s the most hilarious writer, wrote it with the other guys. Chris Ellis, who’s the director of 30 Rock, is directing the pilot, which is f**king insane. And then Apostle (Pictures) is producing it. It’s a really cool show, we start Monday. It’s me, Godfrey and two other people….we rehearsed the other day, it was pretty fun. It feels good just to be funny – legitimately say funny sh*t.”
Kelly, who is no stranger to the cop-genre of television programming, is excited to be working with FX, especially given the direction the network has taken by adding high-quality comedy programming to its lineup.
“TBS was supposed to be the comedy station, but…you know. They got one good show, they’ve got Steve Byrne. Steve’s show’s funny. I think FX is really blowing people away with their comedy. They’re not f**cking around,” Kelly dishes. “It’s so funny, comics are so different than actors; comics, it’s like – famous, or nothing. Either you’re famous or you ain’t shit. Actors…they’re just working. They’re happy.”
In addition to shooting his FX pilot, Kelly is also looking forward to another career milestone in the upcoming release of his book, “Cheat: A Man’s Guide to Infidelity”, which is due out in October.
“I got my book coming out with Billy Burr and Joe DeRosa October 8, through Simon and Schuster, so that’s a pretty big event. We’re gearing up for that. That’s gonna be interesting to see what happens with that book. It’s called, “Cheat: A Man’s Guide to Infidelity” – how to cheat and get away with it. It’s very funny, but it’s not a quirky Urban Outfitters book. It’s pretty much end of the world type shit. It’s real. Colin Quinn read it and was literally sad, I think he said, ‘it’s very hilarious and soulless’.”
The Wilbur and Bill Blumenreich present Robert Kelly
August 18 at 7:00 p.m.
The Wilbur Theatre is located at 246 Tremont St. in Boston’s Historic Theatre District
For more information on Robert Kelly visit http://robertkellylive.com/2009/index.php
For more information about the Wilbur and other great events visit http://thewilbur.com