The BTA team was honored to have a short chat with stand-up comedian Albert Kajava about his artistic life!
Read what Albert thinks about the future of stand-up comedy and sees what are his tips for upcoming comedians among other topics! You can find Albert’s BTA profile from here! Enjoy!
Please introduce yourself
I am Albert Kajava – a stand-up comedian and engineer in environmental science from Eastern Finland. I am half Finnish and half Russian (I feel like I am presenting myself as some sort of dog breed). I´ve been doing stand up – comedy for 2,5 years with over 100 gigs all around Finland from comedy clubs to shopping malls (shopping malls being the worst so far). I bring on stage wide variety of subjects such as media, commercialism, relationships and Russia. I am not nice, but everything I say is true…from some perspective.
How did you get into stand-up comedy? How was your first gig?
The first time I went on stage right after we got our first stand up open mic – club here in Joensuu. I have some experience in theater, but this was different as here you are all alone by yourself with your own, rather personal material. Even more, the feedback on your performance is coming immediately. If you suck, you will hear it by not hearing anything. My first time went unexpectedly well considering the excitement I was feeling all the time. I recommend everybody to try it at least once in your lifetime. That one time won’t necessarily tell you much if you are actually funny or not, but you will learn surprisingly much about yourself while on stage. Talking to strangers for 5 minutes about anything you want, with the sole purpose to make people laugh, will uncover your own reaction to it and that gives a lot for your own self-discovery. Did I change the topic here? Anyway, my first gig was great, but then again, they usually are because on your first time the audience is on your side.
How do you come up with your jokes/stand-up routine?
I write down all the observations and ideas I came up to through the day, not necessary a joke per se, just an observation. Like when you are at the grocery store and you notice a bottle of ketchup which has a picture of tomatoes on it and a little asterisk saying that this is a “serving suggestion”. For ketchup, you know? Like, are they suggesting I could make this ketchup back to nice, firm tomatoes? Sounds neat, can I have a recipe for that? I could use it on my brains after a night of heavy drinking. I write those things down to rest and regularly revisit them to see if I have a new angle to it. Some punchlines come out right away by themselves while some jokes need a lot of work before they could be even considered a joke. Then again, sometimes some idea sound really funny for the first 5 minutes. I might laugh my ass off thinking about it, but later I read it again and only feeling I get is a pure shame of how painfully stupid some of my ideas can be and all I feel is just a gratitude that no one will ever, ever hear some of my thoughts. Like that example with the ketchup. This is why I normally set those ideas aside for some time to see if it will make me laugh next few times I read them. If a joke passes the test of time and changed moods, it could be considered to be chosen on stage to be told in front of actual, living human beings.
What is the best thing about stand-up comedy?
The moment when the whole room is exploding from laughs. The thrill of telling something new and funny to a room full of people who never heard this joke before is just enormous. You never know the reaction until it is too late. And the shyer you are (like me), the more you will get from it. It is easily the cheapest way to get your adrenaline flowing. Honorable mentions: other comics, travel, meeting new people, sometimes free food and a few beers. Money.
What is in the future for the art of stand-up?
Right now stand up in Finland is at it’s prime. We get lots of new performers all the time and there is a good chance for everyone to try it out. Taste of humor is very different for every individual so diversity is one of the strengths in this field. The more people bring something in front of everybody, the more interesting concepts we all get to see. In that respect, stand up comedy can definitely be considered as a form of art.
If you could choose, which artist would you like to see live? Dead or alive.
That´s hard question. There is one favorite band I still haven’t seen live: The Offspring. Years ago, they made me switch from euro dance to rock music. I am still grateful for that.
Tell us about your regular hang out? Have you ever had a gig there?
I like to hang up in the place called Kerubi, the very place I did my first gig in. Very warm atmosphere, lots of interesting performers: a wide variety of bands, stand up – comedians, improvisations, movie nights etc. You should check it out when you visit Joensuu.
Which artist would you like to see being interview by BTA? Which one question would you ask them?
Let´s pick The Offspring again. I just want to say: “Thank you, guys. I was in a dark place. You really saved me.”
Many thanks, Albert, let’s see if we can get the Offspring interview but, in any case, we can deliver the message forward! Until next week!
BTA – Team