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Fall 2010 Table of Contents

Myq Takes the Mic

Alum’s fight to be the last comic standing ends in final round

| From Commonwealth | By Robin Berghaus
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Myq Kaplan (GRS’09) and other finalists from Last Comic Standing are touring the nation through February. Photo by Robin Berghaus

Last summer comedian Myq Kaplan faced the biggest audience of his career: 5 million viewers tuned in to see which of the 10 finalists on NBC’s hit reality comedy competition Last Comic Standing would survive.

“Not knowing what would happen was nerve-wracking,” says Kaplan (GRS’09). “My performance got a great response, but it’s easy to second-guess yourself.” His stress gave way to elation when he found out he’d been voted on to the next round. Three weeks later, Kaplan was eliminated in the final round.

Kaplan describes his comedy as “cerebral and wordy.” He often draws on his own life for inspiration. References to his vegan diet, his liberal political views, and his thoughts on religion pop up frequently in his monologues. And sometimes, the joke is just a random thought: “When I die, I want to have my remains scattered over a beautiful park. I don’t want to be cremated, though.”

As a BU graduate student, Kaplan studied linguistics, an interest that complemented his passion for writing and performing comedy.

“They spring from the same well: a love for language, communication, semantics, and humor,” he says. Wordplay permeates his jokes (“Many rap albums contain a warning on their covers: ‘May include explicit lyrics.’ If I ever write a rap album, I’ll have a warning for implicit lyrics. My lyrics are going to be like: ‘You know what I’m going to do. Use your imagination.’”) and even his adopted moniker. Inspired by pop star Prince and his various name permutations, Kaplan changed the spelling of his name from “Mike” to “Myk” and finally to “Myq.”

During his eight years at BU, Kaplan worked as a senior resident assistant. The security of free room and board allowed him to hone his art. In 2008, he moved to New York to become a full-time comedian.

Kaplan paid his dues opening for other comedians under “bringer crowd” conditions, where comedians guarantee to bring 10 to 15 paying friends who also promise to buy drinks. Since then, he’s commanded laughs at famous venues such as Caroline’s on Broadway, headlined a special on Comedy Central Presents, and even appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.

But arguably the most important gig of Kaplan’s career was his role as a finalist on season seven of Last Comic Standing.

Newfound fame has also meant more recognition by fans. Walking through Park Slope in Brooklyn recently, Kaplan heard someone in a garbage truck yell out, “Is that Myq from Last Comic Standing?” Kaplan acknowledged, and the worker cheered, “Good sh—!”

Kaplan admits it feels weird to be saluted by strangers, but he enjoys the support; it’s a welcome development for a man who once only dreamed of having an audience.

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