Couples that write together stay together. It's a concept that's been proven time and time again. Just look at all these examples: Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally; Allen Ginsberg & Peter Orlovsky; David Foster Wallace & Mary Karr; Mary Shelley and Percy Shelley; end examples. Regardless of what Hollywood would probably lead you to believe, working with your spouse can be real fun.
Keisha Zollar and Andrew Kimler are proving that their relationship is one for the books (in this case, screen). The two have worked together, dated and married all in the name of love (and comedy). Their relationship is symbiotic; Kimler is the funny man while Zollar helps paint a picture for the audience. Now, the two are paving their way into the podcast world with Applying It Liberally -- a podcast about pop culture, politics and other related jazz. I recently had a chat with the two about their love, laughs, and why their so likable.
I wanted to,first of all, say congratulations on being an interracial couple. As a black man, I really aspire to that. My hat goes off to you.
Kimler: Cool. Thanks!
Zollar: Well, he did all the work. The white part. So, we’re okay.
Kimler: Yeah, I’ve been working on that white stuff my whole life.
He’s literally 50% of it.
How long have you guys been together and [when did you] start working together?
Kimler: We started dating about five years ago --
Zollar: But we’ve been working together for years.
Kimler: We’ve been working together in an on and off capacity for about eight years. We knew each other for a while. We did a lot of improv and sketch together. About three years into that, we both found ourselves single and started dating. We just got married a little under two years ago.
Aww. That’s so nice. Did you guys enjoy working together? Did you gusy find that your ideas were able to bounce off each other pretty well?
Kimler: We found that we complement each other in pretty good ways. We’re good at different things. WE usually reinforce each other’s strength’s more than anything.
Zollar: And we like each other. And luckily we know how to talk to each other and give constructive notes without wanting to murder each other. But call back in 20 years; one of us might be dead. I don’t know.
Do both of you write or do you like to focus on performing more so?
Zollar: Both of us write. We write together often sitting down working some stuff. I would say Andrew is a smidge more writerly than me. I guess we both write in different ways.
Kimler: Keisha is much better at handling structure and tone whereas I’m probably more better at joke writing.
Zollar: I can support that.
So at that point, you guys are able to make a fully formed sketch piece or a short form video.
Kimler: Or sometimes pilots.
Zollar: Yeah, we’ve been writing a lot more narrative stuff. And that’s been fun to work together to do those things.
Have you guys gotten any big time things? I know that you guys are won an Emmy for your short “The And” and I was wondering how that came about.
Zollar: So we didn’t win the Emmy…
Zollar: The production company won the Emmy. But we’ve worked with them a while.
Kimler: We were one of if not the most popular episode they’ve had on the season they won the Emmy. Which was pretty cool!
What was the process like working with that production company? Did you guys not get an Emmy? I thought the people that work with the production companies get an Emmy too.
Zollar: We would love that.
Kimler: We’ll take an Emmy. If you have an Emmy, we’ll give you our address. We’d love an Emmy.
You know, actually, I work at a news station and they have tons of Emmys. I can actually send one over to you if you want. [laughs]
Kimler: That’d be great. They won’t even miss it.
Keisha, I get so many emails from your reps about you for literally once a week for the past year. I’ve seen you, videos of you, and pretty much everything. Andrew, not to leave you out, you were in one of the last few ones that I got a few months back. You guys do videos a lot together like the last one “I love you but you’re wrong” for the Internet Action Force. Is it good to keep working with your spouse or do you guys find it a little bit tough?
Kimler: Correct me if I’m wrong Keisha, I enjoy it.
Zollar: Good answer. [laughs]
Kimler: We’re both pretty busy. Any chance we have to spend together, we’re always very appreciative. The fact that we’re both creative people…when we both get to play in our creative spaces together, that’s everything. That’s the cream of the crop. If we could do that every day we’d be thrilled.
Zollar: Yes! We love making videos together, we like writing together, and we like hanging out. So it’s fun because for us we get to hang out and laugh a bunch and come up with dumb ideas together. And, when we’re not doing that, we get to be a boring married couple who watches Star Trek on the sofa.
Nobody hates Star Trek so that sounds like a pretty good life to me.
Zollar: Good answer.
Before your newest podcast, you had the Soul Glo Project and I think that was a UCB show as well. I was looking around for episodes. Do you have any idea when you’re going to bring that back?
Zollar: There’s still episodes. Just go to the NPR One app and you can find us.
Great. How does that translate to a UCB show?
Zollar: Soul Glo started before UCB. Basically, the mission statement for Soul Glo is creating spaces for underrepresented people who talk about their story and provide their unique comedy perspective. We’ve interviewed people from Hari Kondabolu to up and coming New Yorkers who are really funny. We just want to give some sort of insight and hold a mirror up to identity within comedy – which is a very real thing. We’re on a radical shift in terms of comedy. It’s not going to look the way it did ten years ago, twenty years ago. People are excited to bring their own points of view to whatever they do. If it wasn’t marketable or valuable, Jessica Williams wouldn’t have a damn show with Comedy Central coming up.
Exactly. The Soul Glo Project is more on the business side of the podcast terrain but with Applying It Liberally, would that be more of the pop culture or discussion based podcast?
Zollar: Yeah. Andrew and I love being liberals. And we love talking about liberal things and inherent liberal bias to our friends to varying degrees. It’s always funny to get into a room full of liberals because there’s always that person that’s like “Oh, I guess I’m conservative for a liberal” or “I guess I’m radical for a liberal.”
Kimler: We did another episode with someone a few weeks ago with another self-professed liberal. And we found that we have very different ideas on some things. I think the media would paint all liberals as being the same in some areas. But I think there’s a lot more nuance to it that a lot more people would argue.
What’s different about applying it liberally is that it’s more of a conversation. You guys are not shying away from politics and everything whereas I would listen to another podcast – I’m not going to call anybody out – but they would be like straight comedy, straight pop culture and that’s pretty much it. It’s good that you’re brining politics into the forefront of it all.
Kimler: Yeah. I think we both have – correct me if I’m wrong Keisha – a point of view, as creatives and comedians, that there is an element of social responsibility that comes with any sort of performing. We both find it important that if you have a voice, you use that voice to highlight issues that you care about. We try to make that priority. Do you agree?
Zollar: Yeah. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the podcasts that are jokes. I also am of the NPR generation too where I’m like “Let’s also talk about some shit.”
Kimler: I think some of the best content that I think will affect people the most is stuff that’s not just funny but also didactic in some way. Otherwise, I think it’s easy for content to feel like junk food. It’s fun and good to have but you leave it not gaining much from it.
Before we go, I want to say Keisha, congratulations on Divorce. I’ve seen the trailer for that show. I think it’s fantastic. I think it’s going to be super funny. And I love Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church.
Zollar: I’m only in two scenes with Thomas Haden Church. You have to watch until episode six, maybe. But all my scenes are with Molly Shannon and Tracey Letts. Meeting Molly Shannon was my comedy girls nerd dream. I forgot my name when I met Molly Shannon. Luckily, I don’t think she noticed but I had that moment…Molly Shannon is not one of those people who it’s like “Oh, I’m a fan girl of one thing.” I think she’s presented a body of work and she keeps developing. She’s only more interesting the older she gets. I don’t know; I could talk about Molly Shannon all day. I like her a whole lot.
Kimler: Every time I tell someone you did the show with Molly Shannon, it doesn’t matter who they are if they’re our generation or our parents’ generation, they all geek out. They all say the same thing. “Oh my god! I love Molly Shannon!”
Zollar: And she’s so nice and human and real. And she’s everything I – she’s great.
So what you’re saying is you and Molly Shannon are now technically friends?
Zollar: Watch the show, you’ll see. Not friends but watch the show. Watch to the end. You’ll see exactly what that means.