An Interview with Comedian Kira Soltanovich!


Kira-SoltanovichKira Soltanovich Live From the Lunch Room Interview

Kira Soltanovich has been making people laugh for years now. She was a correspondent on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for almost ten years and has made appearances on: Hello Ross! with Ross Mathews, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Last Call with Carson Daly, Hell’s Kitchen, Last Comic Standing, Set List TV, and The World Stands Up on Comedy Central! She has written for Joan Rivers, Scott Baio, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. She even self produced her very own 60 minute special while she was pregnant! Kira is one mighty comedian and one epic woman.


Kira will be appearing in Santa Cruz at DNA’s Comedy Lab on Saturday, May 4th. With an Early show at 7:30pm, tickets here and a late show at 10:00pm, tickets available here!

Until then check out our interview with Kira Soltanovich below!


Stand Up Santa Cruz: You started doing comedy in the late 90’s in San Francisco?

Kira Soltanovich: I did, I started doing comedy in the 90’s but I took a break and then I got really inspired again in 2000 and I went full force into it.

SUSC: Were you still in SF when you got back into doing comedy?

KS: No, I was actually in Los Angeles at the time.

SUSC: At that point were you just doing different open mics?

KS: Oh yeah, I would do spots anywhere and everywhere! We’ve all done the weird bowling alley or a hostel where like half the people don’t even really speak english…

SUSC: Wait a hostel? I’ve never heard of that before!

KS: What? Oh that’s a big one in LA! Because you don’t really need anything, you just stand in front of these traveling college kids.

SUSC: That’s so random! This was when you first started out?

KS: Yeah, I’ve done all kinds of different places. I did a show at a women’s shelter, I’ve done  lunchtime shows for companies…not even a corporate event it was just me in a lunch room where people are microwaving their casseroles from the night before and eating leftovers while I’m just telling my jokes and a microwave is beeping. That’s why when people ask me how you get into comedy I think, “You just have to be broken enough inside to do 90% of what it takes to really get good”. Things where most people would be like yeah I’m not gonna put up with this!

SUSC: Totally, I’ve had experiences doing shows where in the middle of it I’m like “Okay, where am I and what am I doing?”

KS: Oh yeah but you know it does shape you. It’s as if we’re all like a piece of coal and the tension of comedy is gonna make us sparkle and unfortunately that’s what you need. We need to be squeezed and made to feel uncomfortable but then when you get out if it you’re like,  “Oh wow, look at this shiny, bright joke I have now!”

SUSC: What a great analogy! Do you remember anyone that you were starting out with in situations like that back in LA?

KS: Well LA is a funny place, it’s weird and fluid. You think you’re starting out with someone because you’re doing open mics together but then you find out that someone’s been a comic for the past five years somewhere else. Or someone who just moved from New York has to start fresh in L.A. When I was doing shows at first I remember seeing Zach Galifinakas a lot and I’m sure he started before me but we were doing these bizarre, random rooms that weren’t super packed or anything. We were just trying material and he was experimenting a lot.

SUSC: That’s fun little fact, you got to be in that experimental phase with him!

KS: Oh yeah I remember I used to help run The Belly Room at The Comedy Store every Sunday  and when Tig Notaro first moved to L.A she was new and didn’t know a lot of people so she asked for spots and we always wanted to be really welcoming and inviting, in the beginning it’s hard for everyone.

SUSC: So how did you go from being a comic doing stand up at open mics in L.A to doing The Tonight Show with Jay Leno?

KS: Well they asked me to come in to audition for this sketch, the hidden photo booth prank, because they knew I had hidden camera experience from doing the “Girls Behaving Badly” show and they just hired me right on the spot. And it turned into an 8-year gig!

SUSC: How serendipitous, that gives me so much hope!

KS: Isn’t that wild? You could go in for one thing and it can turn into half your career. It’s like how people make fun of the weather in Kansas, like if you don’t like it just wait five minutes! That’s showbiz too. If you’re feeling bad about something like a booking or a bad audition, just wait five minutes because it will change. It’s similar to playing the lottery every day. It sucks but then there’s just another thing that comes if you’re willing to put up with it.

SUSC: I like that mindset a lot. Do you remember the first time you finished a set and you had that first worthwhile moment? That wow feeling where you knew the audience loved it and it worked?

KS: Yes it was actually really early on in my career. This always sticks out because I remember calling my dad in tears! It was at The Improv and I just had one of those sets where it all came together; the timing was perfect, perfect feeling in the room and there were agents and managers talking to me and it was so overwhelming. I ran outside and called my dad and told him I wanted him to know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life!

SUSC: That’s amazing! It’s also amazing that you filmed a full hour special while you were pregnant!

KS: Yes I did do that! I think I may have been the first comic to do a full hour actually. It’s called “You Did This to Me” It’s on Amazon and iTunes. It was crowdfunded and my husband and I did it all with our own production company. We did everything! It was really hard to do pregnant but it was amazing.

SUSC: What would you say was the most challenging thing?

KS: Not peeing on stage! It was an hour straight. The whole time I’m peeing just a little bit.

SUSC: Oh my god I’m definitely putting that in the interview.

KS: Oh yeah everybody watch “You Did This To Me” and see if you can spot when I’m peeing!

SUSC: That’ll be a fun game. So you just finished that, what do you have going on now?

KS: I just finished filming Winsanity with Donald Faison and it’s on Netflix now! Other than that I’m just planning a few things and writing on different shows. I’m always doing a bunch of different projects.

SUSC: Awesome! Last question, If you could go back and give brand new Kira Soltanovich as she was just starting out any advice what would you say?

KS: Sleep your way to the top and do drugs with the right people! Learn to play golf. Lots of golf fundraisers out there.

SUSC: Ok so have sex, do drugs and play golf?

KS: Maybe that’s terrible advice. Truthfully I said no to a couple jobs because of ego and I regret those. I would tell myself to say yes! Be like Jim Carrey in that movie, everything is an experience!


Interviewed by: Mac Ruiz


Don’t miss Kira at  DNA’s Comedy Lab Saturday May 4th! Her one hour comedy special, “You Did This To Me”  is available on Amazon and iTunes.

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