Max Kross, The Clown Prince, New York

By Joe Nathanson 4th Jul, 2013

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Max Kross, The Clown Prince

Max Kross is only seven minutes late for our appointed meeting, but its with sincere relief that I watch him make his grand entrance. It is the third time we have been scheduled to meet, and each time there has been a last minute text about some 'urgent engagement' that has popped up. I was ready to throw my hat in and settle on a phone interview, when he rang to swear, on his 'masseur's life,' that he promises to keep our third meeting. Good, I said, adding, 'I don't think a phone interview will be enough for me to get to the bottom of Max Kross.' 

What happens onstage in his current one man spectacle, 'All Is Fair In Love And War, Max Kross Is A Dirty Whore,' is at times uncomfortable, always unpredictable,  and ultimately life-affirming. It is a comedy show, but because of the subject matter, can be seen as a philosophical discourse on the Youtube generation, presented by its biggest victim/ spokesperson - Max Kross.  Max presents himself as a Love Guru who is such a bumbling mess of a person you probably wouldn't trust him with directions to the subway, let alone with your love life.

Though it was consistently funny, every time I saw the show it was different; much of it is improvised, in a way that tailored to the audience that is there, which gives the show that edge that only live improvisational theater has. Kross is clearly an artist leaning into the edge of his abilities, and I am eager to find out the story of his evolution. 

JN: How did you get your start in comedy? 

MK: I was always a clown, I just didn't know it. When I was a ballet dancer with ABT I would hide in the shower stall at night when the janitor was locking up so I could practice all night. One time he had to come back for something and caught me at 3am, dancing around the studio in a thong. After I got injured I wrote a Mockumentary about ballet. Writing led me to improvisation which led to standup. I always dabbled in music, and a court jester has to be diverse nowadays. So I had the idea to have a one man variety show of sorts.

JN: What is your target audience? 

MK: I try and make sure to target people that can afford the 2 drink minimum. Its a heaven for single people who are clueless about the world and need a wakeup call. The show will also be particularly useful for social climbers, fame-whores, gold diggers, and wannabe 'It-boys' like me. 

JN: Why is that?

MK: Because they get spoofed rather brutally in it. This should help them refine their tactics.

JH: Wealth, fame, and beauty are 3 topics that you tackle in quite a bit of depth in the play. How important do YOU think these qualities are vs how important your character thinks they are?

MK: I think they can be important goals to aspire to because they motivate you to work towards something. In the process of working you will usually find that the real satisfaction comes from having a long term goal and growing on the journey towards it. Then things like fame don't matter as much because your life is no longer empty. My character wants the goals and doesn't understand they come at a price, or doesn't think that he should have to pay it. Seeing him struggle with the unfairness of this is where a lot of the comedy comes from. 


JN: Well said! One theme I noticed in your comedy is that you often seem to put yourself on pedestals, only to keep falling off of them. 

MK: Thats where comedy comes from. Thats clowning. The difference between clowning and standup is that a standup needs his jokes to be funny in order to get the laugh, whereas a clown usually gets the laugh when his attempt at impressing his audience fails. His failed attempt is what we laugh at. Sasha Baron Cohen is a great clown. Most of his humor is really about his failed attempts at connecting with people. 

JN: And - are you really a dating coach? 

MK: Yes Joe. I can help you to lose your virginity, and charge you a lot of money for it too.  

Somehow, I don't doubt he would. 


Max Kross has received praise at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, had lengthy runs at The Duplex, The Gotham Comedy Club, The People's Improv Theater, The Magnet Theater and his latest show is being shortlisted as a likely winner in the 2013 United Solo Festival of one man shows in New York City this fall. See the preview of 'All is Fair in Love and War; Max Kross is a Dirty Whore' at Gotham Comedy Club, Friday, August 9th, 7pm

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