Kenny DeForest, co-host of Comedy at the Knitting Factory, doesn’t want you to be comfortable. He wants you to think about race, about sex, about all the bullshit that keeps you comfortable. After five years in the Chicago comedy scene, DeForest is immune to discomfort (at least on stage). He thinks it’s hilarious to have to rapidly decide if you’re going to laugh when he says white men don’t get enough credit for letting women vote. “We didn’t have to do that!” Or when he does a woke version of “black people be like this, white people be like that.” Is this, like, okay for me to laugh at? Who am I sitting next to? When he imagines shouting at an Eric Garner protest about how his career in comedy makes him drink more than he wants, and he wishes he could SHUT IT DOWN, SHUT IT DOWN. Just know that nothing is that perfect. Relax, and laugh at what you think is funny.
When was the first time you remember making someone laugh? What happened?
When I was in 1st grade we were talking about how astronauts eat gelatin out of pouches that they squeeze into their mouth. When the teacher asked me to recall how astronauts eat, I said “they take the pouch like this and they “SQUUUUEEEZE the fun out of it!”” Which, as you’ll recall, was the ad slogan for Squeeze-It. First standing-o. That same year I discovered the power of a fart properly angled off of a tile floor. It was a good year.
What is the toughest part about being on the comedy scene in Brooklyn today? What is the best?
The toughest part is that my beard often gets tangled in all the other beards and I end up stuck in one place for hours. I’ve missed entire gigs because I was tangled up in a hipster rat king.
Speaking of rats, the best part of being on the Brooklyn Comedy Scene is coexisting with Bushwick’s vibrant rat population. It’s changed me in ways I can’t explain. I’m more evolved now. It’s important to experience other cultures, and rat culture is special. They take great pride in chewing through and dying in walls. It’s taught me to apply the same level of care and devotion to my own pursuits.
Who do you find funny?
What was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
A friend of mine was doing our show and out of nowhere he said “man, I LOVE pussy. There’s nothin like bustin’ in some warm pussy.” Watching a Williamsburg audience wrestle with a) their personal relationship with feminism b) the undeniable truth of the statement was very funny to me. It was also a VERY abrupt transition from an unrelated topic and the audience had already decided they liked him. I think the sense of betrayal the audience felt from that is what put me in tears.
What are your goals for your comedy career?
To walk all over the people I care about most for short-term material gain
And finally: What is your favorite knock-knock (or otherwise goofy) joke?
Flush the toilet and the turd’l go down
^^my grandpa’s favorite joke
To see 49 more of Brooklyn’s funniest people, click here.
Photos by Nicolas Maloof.