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What Won't Josh Kornbluth Write?
Adam L. Brinklow | Photo: Mark Leialoha | May 21, 2013
We tried to find something, anything, that the local monologist and filmmaker wouldn't do a show about.
Can Josh Kornbluth make any topic in the world funny? So far, yes.
Kornbluth, a monologist and filmmaker, performs his hit one-man show Love & Taxes at a fundraiser for Z Space this week. The story of how Kornbluth came to terms with paying taxes for the first time in his life and reconciling with the teachings of his Marxist parents is also being adapted as a film. "As it happens, the last thing we needed for the film was me performing the bit in front of a live audience," he says. "So you can support Z Space and help us finish the movie."
A 90 minute comedy about tax law sounds a little iffy, but Kornbluth is famous for being able to make virtually anything funny. "I did a show about not mailing 85 letters when I was a secretary," he says. "That was the whole show. It was good." We quizzed him to find any topic strange enough, unpleasant enough, or even boring enough that Kornbluth wouldn't want to write about it, but he's a hard man to stump:
—Serial Murder: "I would say that, given the choice of serial killing or paying taxes, nine out of ten people would consider my topic to be more grisly. So that's actually easy."
—Sewage treatment: "That's on par with tax law. That's actually a fantastic subject for a monologue because I spend a lot of my time in the creation of things that would later be treated by a sewage plant, and therefore I feel hugely connected to the topic. And it's all about bacteria, I mean, I can't walk down the street without people asking me about new bacterium. Which is weird."
—The DMV: "I don't drive, but one time I got a learner's permit because I had a little part in a Coppola movie [Jack]. I had to drive Coppola's own car, so I signed up for driving lessons through the DMV, and as I was going up and down these San Francisco hills learning to drive for the first time. My teacher is telling me he's got a family who are depending on him, so please watch these turns. So, look, that story was almost a whole show right there."
—Child labor: "Honestly, that would be a great subject. My mom wrote a book about it while I was growing up and I remember the whole thing. After my new piece, maybe a child labor show. And I can hire some kids to do research! And of course pay them not very well. And then I can have real experience with child labor to draw on."
—A coma: "The problem with a coma, for me, it's a little too exciting. All of that action and thrill would distract people."