When it comes to politics, Greg Behrendt, like many Americans, is filled with hope about change, but he doesn't find the topic very funny. "I'll start talking about the current administration and then it will just go to a place that's not funny." But Behrendt's not a politician; he's a story-telling comedian and the best-selling co-author of the books He's Just Not That Into You and It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken. So audiences should expect plenty of laughs and zero political diatribes when Behrendt plays the Pittsburgh Improv for five shows on April 10-12.
This election seems to be all about hope and change. Are you filled with hope about change?
I have a lot of hope about change and I'm changing in prospect of a lot of hope. I'm hoping for change, and yet I'm changing for hope.
How are you changing yourself to accommodate all this hope?
I'm not spending any of my money. I'm saving my money for hope.
What do you see as the cost of hope?
The cost of hope is cynicism.
Do you see our culture becoming more cynical?
All you have to do is go on the Internet to see how cynical we are. All you have to look to is Britney and Jeremiah Wright and go, "This is a cynical culture."
How are you combating that cynicism?
I front an instrumental punk, surf and ska band called The Reigning Monarchs. I'm very proud of the work that we're doing currently, and I'm truly doing it for myself, in that it's available for free download off of MySpace.
How would you describe the band's vibe?
I think there's a very sexy, sometimes film noir feel to our music. Joy, you know --there's a lot of ska influence, which is a very upbeat vibe. You could write a ska song about cancer and get people to dance.
What sort of music would you compare standup to?
Comedy has a real association with rock and roll, but really I think it's probably a jazz type medium, because most people play off of what they're getting back from the audience and how their thought processes work.
What's the relationship between the joy of ska and the cynicism of our culture?
I see it as a solution [laughs]. I see it as time off from a world that is bent out of shape, and also I hope other people will leave the show and take those positive vibes and put something good out there.
Greg Behrendt Thu., April 10, through Sat., April 12. Pittsburgh Improv, 166 E. Bridge St., The Waterfront, West Homestead. $22. 412-462-5233 or www.symfonee.com