'Funny Side Up!'
On a sleepless night in September 1997, Aaron Karo, then a hard-partying freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, sent an email filled with humorous anecdotes and observations about college life to twenty of his high school buddies. His friends got a kick out of it, so Karo started emailing out his thoughts on a regular basis. Soon, via forwarding and word-of-mouth, the column spread and Karo began signing up subscribers who wished to receive his emails directly. In April 2001, after writing every month for four years, Karo sent out his final issue. He had amassed over 11,000 subscribers around the world.
Following graduation, Karo moved from his hometown on Long Island to Manhattan and began working at a top Wall Street investment bank. In April 2002, Karo began a new email column, called 'RUMINATIONS,' about life after college. Chronicling his evolution from frat boy to manhood, 'RUMINATIONS' was an instant hit with readers, and its popularity encouraged Karo to take his humor from the page to the stage. In July 2002, he made his stand-up debut, an event so highly-anticipated that the New York Post devoted to it a full-page article.
In August 2002, Simon & Schuster published Karo’s first book, 'RUMINATIONS ON COLLEGE LIFE,' a compilation of his college column as well as previously unpublished material. Considered a cult classic about the college experience, the book immediately attracted nationwide media attention and is currently in its seventh printing. Upon publication of the book, Karo left Wall Street to focus on comedy – writing, stand-up, and otherwise – full-time.
Since then, Karo has proven himself to be one of the hottest draws on the stand-up circuit, headlining sold-out shows at clubs and colleges across the country, including Carolines in New York, the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, and both the New York and Hollywood Improvs. His shows are known to regularly sell out within minutes. In addition to his stand-up and acting pursuits, Karo became a Seventeen Magazine advice columnist, humorously advising young girls going away to college for the first time.
This May, the follow-up to 'COLLEGE LIFE' – entitled 'RUMINATIONS ON TWENTYSOMETHING LIFE' – will be released (also through Simon & Schuster). Karo is also currently working on a project for 20th Century Fox Television under the blind deal he signed in 2004 to create a sitcom based upon his unique take on twentysomething life. He will be seen this summer on NBC’s “The Good Life” and can currently be seen as a guest commentator on VH1’s “I Love” series.
Is there a difference in how you present your comedy act to people in Michigan to say, New York or LA? "Yeah, I talk slower. OK, that was a cheap shot. And I’m only kidding. Actually, doing shows outside of NYC or LA are a lot of fun because the audience is less jaded in a place like Michigan. In New York or LA we have every single freakin’ mode of entertainment available at all times. It’s harder to get a strong reaction because they’ve seen it all. I’ll do the same act I do in New York in Michigan though. You guys still get drunk and hit on chicks right? And that’s what I talk about anyway!"
What is your fascination with the word 'Ruminations'?! "Why, because both of my books as well as my email column have “Ruminations” in the title? Does that qualify as an obsession? Actually I started calling my writing “Ruminations” way back in 1997 when I was a freshman in college. I’m not even sure I knew what it meant back then, but it kinda of stuck."
What's the main difference between working on Wall Street and working a Detroit Night Club? "I feel uncomfortable taking a crap in either place. (I know, that was actually a similarity, not a difference, but I really wanted to get that joke in)."
Thus far, what's been one of your most memorable Stand-Up performances ... for all the wrong reasons?! "I’m a huge Yankees fan and I did a gig in Boston right after the Red Sox won it all. The crowd was really letting me have it. I’d really rather move on to the next question."
If life truly imitated art, which piece of art would you be ... and why?! "I had to really think about this question. And after I’d spent about five minutes thinking about it, I said to myself, “What hell are you spending five minutes thinking about this question for? Just say something witty.” But then I couldn’t even think of something witty. And now I’m sweating a little!"
Were there any juicy R-rated letters sent into you when you were the Seventeen Magazine advice columnist ... and please share one of those with us now! "Get your mind out of the gutter! The letters were PG-13 at best. Mostly they were like, “Do you think I should hook up with my friend’s roommate?” I was always like, “Sure!” and then they would edit my response to be, “Girls, always remember, guys totally kiss and tell!” I was like, uh, I didn’t say that. So that advice column didn’t last too long."
Finally, what's the funniest quick joke you know ... and please tell us it in full! "Horse walks into a bar. Bartender says, “Why the long face?”
"I think that’s pretty funny! Hey, gimme a break, I’m still thinking about the art question!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
You can catch Aaron when he performs in Ann Arbor this weekend at the Blind Pig.
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