Performer: Langston Kerman
Where: Max Watts, Swanston St, until April 21
BY ALEXANDRA GAUCI
Stand-up comedian Langston Kerman’s laidback charm and casual demeanour during his shows is a gift that can move any audience member to feel like his close friend.
Performing to sold out crowds in the Headliners show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Kerman said comedy seemed like the natural option for him after leaving college.
“I saw myself without a job, and not a lot of prospects for advancing my career along the way,” Kerman said.
“I chose to try comedy because it was outside of the general process.”
Kerman has the ability to not take life too seriously, and test the boundaries.
When asked what it was like transitioning from being an "NBA ball boy", as mentioned in his website, to a stand up comic, he said, the bio was just a joke.
“The ball boy thing was complete nonsense. I made that up and didn’t think anyone would take it seriously, but it actually stuck so I left it,” Kerman said.
This nonchalant attitude also extends to his shows, as he seamlessly strikes a balance between addressing social issues and pushing the envelope.
“There is a gross power in what comedians do,” Kerman said.
“We are certainly in a time when people are more inclined to correction and sensitivity. As comedians we intentionally say things that are shocking or challenging.
“However, there is a way to press buttons and challenge people without alienating and crushing them,” he said.
Having written material for Chris Rock's Academy Award skits in 2016, Kerman said he is capable of putting his ego aside to boost comedic success of others.
This Illinois-born stand-up comedian has a humble outlook, saying he doesn’t believe he has "risen to prominence".
“None of us are ever really satisfied with where we’re at,” he said. “We’ve always got another vision for what we should be and where.”
Achieving these goals is founded upon the support of other comedians, he said.
“You find that in comedy your peers tend to be your biggest support and your biggest champions when things are going well.”