We’re featuring Q&As from our recent Food Republic Interview Lounge at the W Austin during the Austin Food & Wine Festival and Moontower Comedy Festival, including video excerpts of the sessions with host Richard Martin. Next up, Andy Kindler, a stand-up comedian and actor who has appeared on Everybody Loves Raymond, The Late Show With David Letterman, Bob’s Burgers and Maron.
You live in LA but you grew up in Queens. What neighborhood?
I lived in Whitestone, near Bayside, everybody talks like this. My whole first act was based on my mother. One of my first jokes involved food. It’s a totally true story. My mother, she came out to California, and she got off the plane, she was reading the tour book and she said “Andy, you live in California, do you know about the Spanish explorers and the Franciscan monks? Andy? Did you know San Francisco was the fifth largest textile manufacturer? Andy? I wanna visit Sausalito. A small fishing village north of the Golden Gate bridge nestled in lovely Marin County.” And this is the only bit my wife saw that she liked. And I find this to be the dividing line. If you don’t laugh at this, I don’t wanna be friends with you or see you. If you do laugh, you’re in. So my mom is sitting in this restaurant, in Sausalito, and I swear to God, she looks at me, she looks at the menu and she says “Andy? You live in California. How are the fajitas?” That’s my mom in a nutshell.
To be fair it’s probably hard to find a good fajita in Queens.
That’s true but she thought, I live in California, I must know the quality of the fajitas. “You live in California, how are the fajitas?” They were good, too.
Now I have to tell you Andy, I wanted to do some deep research on you so I went into the deep, dark parts of the web. And I found a 2011 segment of you on Late Show with David Letterman, or Late Nite with David Letterman, I can never get that straight –
It’s the Late Show with David Letterman.
I saw you interviewing a bunch of Yankee players at spring training, back in like 2011. Not only do you share popcorn with Alex Rodriguez which is very humorous, but you also were looking around the outfield wall where they have all the advertisements for different foods, and you found some yellow –
Rice or something like that? What was the deal with that?
Well, I don’t really remember what I was saying but I was making fun of it –
Well it’s not what you usually see, with the Budweisers and stuff.
So that was basically the joke. They sent me – so much – it was unbelievable. They sent me food, they sent me pasta, they sent me olive oil, they sent me a shirt. Andy Kindler loves the Vigo. It was like a mountain of – it was such a cool thing. I just finished one of the last pasta cans. Not a can of pasta, you know what I’m talking about.
Now what’s it like for you, having been on some of these shows? Dave Letterman, Ray Romano — these guys are big stars. Do you get that kind of treatment? Do you walk into a restaurant like in LA, you go to Spago and they say oh, Andy, please step right this way, here’s your table?
Yes. That’s exactly what happens. You know, what I do when I go into a town like Austin and I check into a hotel to avoid the paparazzi, I check in under my own name. And they don’t bother me. The only time that I get any royal treatment is when I’m with someone who’s famous. And I don’t like to drop names –I’m friends with Zack Galifianakis. It’s not something I brought up, you forced it out of me. So I got to go to a Lakers game on the court, and then they had a picture in one of the papers – it didn’t even mention “with friend”. Zack Galifianakis at the game. Not with obscure comedian friend. I wasn’t even considered. I’m basically hugging him in the shot! And they photo-shopped my arms out! So when I go with him, I get – or my friend Phil Rosenthal. He created Raymond. So he has seven billion dollars just in his savings account. So he can just walk in and buy Spago. And then we eat.
So what about in Austin while you’re here? Have you had some good meals so far?
Well the problem is, this festival, the Moontower Festival, this is the best festival. It’s the third festival, it’s already amazing. Because I’ve come here a couple times during South by Southwest, which was fun, fly yourself in, put yourself up, and pay us seven hundred dollars. We’ll give you a guest set. But South by Southwest is like you can’t see the music because you’re performing. Everything is more relaxed here but still – I don’t have time to go to various places.
But you didn’t answer the question though! I asked you where you like to eat!
Well I like the Salt Lick, I don’t know if that’s considered – uncool. I wanna go to the Franklin’s, but my family – we don’t wait in line. We don’t wait in line for the Beatles, we don’t wait in line for a movie, well they go oh – yeah, it’s the greatest barbecue. Well you wait in line, for three or four hours, and you might not get barbecue. No! Off the list!