Kai Is Effortlessly Funny in His New Comedy Special Kaipocalypse NowPhoto by Greg Feiner Comedy Reviews Kai
The list of one-name wonders—Bono, Cher, Beyoncé, Future, I could go on—has grown one stronger, with comedian Kai joining the ranks as a performer whose talent requires no surname. Of course, if you watch until the end of his new comedy special Kaipocalypse Now you’ll see his last name in the credits, but I’m not going to tell you what it is. You’ll just have to watch his stand-up to find that out. (Also, he posts too much spicy stuff on social media and I’m not a rat.)
Kai may be familiar to true crime fans, having previously hosted the podcast Women Who Kill, which featured guests like Atsuko Okatsuka, Dani Fernandez, and the hosts of Lady To Lady. More importantly for us, though, Kai is a stand-up comic of singular wit.
Filmed at the Crow Comedy Club in Santa Monica, California, Kaipocalypse Now (streaming for free on YouTube) delves into female orgasms as a porn category, how bigots need to pick a lane, the 2011 TV movie Cyberbully, and plenty of other topics. Kai’s onstage presence is laidback, putting you at ease until he pulls the rug out from under you, a wily smile on his face the whole time. He takes scenarios past their logical conclusion, with ridiculous, unpredictable, and, of course, hilarious results.
Kai’s subtle and effective physical comedy complements his well-crafted jokes. For example, one bit about looking forward to seeing Girl Scouts is good enough on its own, but it reaches a new level of funny as Kai kneels down and acts out a hypothetical grocery store encounter with a cookie seller. His interactions with the crowd are likewise understated, yet expertly executed to foster his connection with the audience. Effortless is the word that comes to mind when watching Kai behind the mic, but there’s clearly such precision there that he just makes look easy.
Kai is also one of the few comedians who talks about trans people and makes it work—and that’s because he’s trans himself. The best comedy comes from your own personal perspective on and experiences with a subject, and Kai obviously has greater insight here than cis comedians who treat trans people like the hot topic of the moment rather than actual people. Kai does more than call out the most obvious transphobia during the special, criticizing liberal cis white women in one of his most biting (and also self-deprecating) jokes. His observations are rooted in reality and are far funnier than any edgelord’s hamfisted goofs.
While he may be “Hollywood old” (or as laymen call it, 39), Kai’s comedy is a refreshing change of pace. At a breezy 45 minutes long, Kaipocalypse Now is a satisfying introduction for new Kai fans (myself included) and a gut-bustingly good time.
Kaipocalypse Now is streaming for free on YouTube.
Clare Martin is a cemetery enthusiast and Paste’s assistant comedy editor. Go harass her on Twitter @theclaremartin.