Kase Raso will have you laughing out loud the entire time
It seems that there are more comedians today than ever before. With new Netflix specials showing up in my queue what feels like daily, more comedy television series than I have time for and comedy clubs overflowing in New York City, it's hard to keep up. From newbies to experienced comedic legends, I'm always on the lookout for more ways to laugh.
I recently went to an NYC comedy club with a friend and saw a show that had us in fits of laughter the entire time. Ranging in style and personality, one that stood out is the up-and-coming comic, Kase Raso. Since entering into the world of comedy a few years ago, Kase Raso has begun to acquire a steady following. Raised in Long Island, he knows the city well and has quite a bit to say about it. He talks on a wide range of topics from dating to life in the city to what it's like being Middle Eastern in America. Last week, I got to sit down with Kase to pick his brain on all things comedy.
When did you become interested in comedy? Have you always been drawn to making people laugh?
I would go to parties and hang out in the cafeteria and tell the same stories over and over again to different groups of friends because the bar for having a conversation with someone in college is as low as it ever gets. I really liked making people laugh and sometimes my friends would request certain stories at parties. I thought it would work the same for stand up and boy was I wrong. Haha.
Tell me more about your favorite comedians growing up? How did they influence your comedic style?
Growing up, I liked Dave Chapelle, Greg Giraldo, Dave Attell and Chris Rock. They influenced my comedy by making me think. I had no idea what I was doing by comparison (which is still true). These days it's still what I define funny by. In college, I would listen to a ton of comedy albums and try to emulate those people I looked up to.
Who are some of your favorite comedians today? What about their humor makes you laugh?
The same people I just mentioned, also Bill Burr And Sebastian. I also like a lot of my contemporaries- is that word pretentious? Too many to list all but they make me laugh.
Where are the best spots to see comedy in NYC?
There are a bunch of great places to see comedy in the city. New York Comedy Club is amazing- really fun shows. Also, and I'm not there yet, but the Comedy Cellar is another legendary place.
Tell me about a memorable show. What happened?
Years ago, I was doing a show and I went on about third. This guy fell asleep during the first comic and slept through the rest of the show. He was on a date, the host brought it up and so did every comic, but he kept sleeping peacefully. Show was over, he was still sleeping, me and some comics were talking to his date and were like what are you going to to do? She told us it was a first date and after a long pause, she said "F*ck this!" and left. We all left. Not sure what happened to the sleeping guy...
What's your process? Do you have a strict system or are you more free-flowing?
I'm going to be totally original and tell you I work on jokes and I improvise but I'm constantly working on jokes- they are never really done.
They say if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere and that seems to be especially true for comedy. What's it like hanging out with comedians? Do they seem to be more supportive or competitive?
Comics are weird wonderful people. Love going to diners and hanging just talking sh*t to each other in general but it's all in good fun. I've met a lot of cool people so far that I'm happy to call friends. Comics are supportive of funny.
You have a joke about being Middle Eastern and how people are shocked to find out you aren't white. What have you learned about people through their reaction to finding out you aren't white? And how do you incorporate that into your comedy?
Sometimes when people find out I'm not white, they seem to feel like they have to play catch up with their racism. One time this guy was speaking normally to me, but after he found out I was Middle Eastern, he started to speak slower and louder like I didn't know English all of the sudden, no joke. If he was messing with me, he didn't give any indication. I thought it was hilarious.
So I have a bit about this but one time a guy yelled "magic carpet mechanic" at me. Which is really just a fun job at an amazing thing. Not even sure if he was trying to hurt my feelings.
You have a clip on YouTube about the best looking guy you'd ever seen and how the women around you were gawking at him. Can you tell me more about that?
I mean I tell all of it basically in the joke, but it was the first time, I ever saw women reacting to a guy the way guys react to women. It was insane. And very funny to me because the women were looking at their phones, then would notice the guy, then back to their phones, then back to the guy, then to the phone, and then to the guy, and then to the phone, and then to the guy, almost looked like they were shorting out like their minds couldn't process how good looking this guy was.
Ladies (and dudes) this is the "good looking" guy in case you were wondering:
Yeah, he's on Instagram, duhInstagram @nick_bateman
Kase, if you weren't doing comedy, what would you be doing?
I honestly don't know. I like learning and I was in college for a long time. I enjoyed the cafeteria. So maybe go back to college? Teach? Who knows.
What life advice would you give to your 14 year-old self?
If a girl lets you kiss her don't dip her like you're in a romantic movie from the 1940s.
See Kase and other comedians perform this Wednesday, 9/13 at the New York Comedy Club at 9pm!
Listen to Kase Raso talk with friend and fellow comic, Akaash Singh, about being Middle Eastern in America on an episode titled Persian as I Wanna Be on the American Desis podcast.