Love and laughter is center stage at Helium on Valentine’s Day

Ramin Nazer

Love is a funny thing.

For some couples, there’s nothing but laughter between you all the time (which is kind-of annoying, all that giggling, but I digress). Or, maybe amidst all if the chaos this year, you could just really use a laugh.

Either way, getting far away from usual Valentine’s Day romance could mean hanging out with podcaster and stand-up comedian Myq Kaplan, who is hosting and performing at Sansom Street’s Helium Comedy Club for two shows on Monday, Feb. 14 – both featuring a helping of chocolate and strawberries. Along with a laugh and a sugar rush, Helium is also dark as night, so you can pretend your in a cozy nook with a loved one, or just embrace the atmosphere by yourself.

Metro and Kaplan spoke at length about what it means to hang out at Helium Comedy Club on Valentine’s Day.

Mindy Tucker

Amorosi: I don’t think of you as a big relationship comedian. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, love and romance, what do you have to add to the dialogue? Of what it means to be in love, or out of love, for that matter?

Myq Kaplan: Great question. I mean, I wouldn’t say I’m in LOVE with the question, but we’ve only just met and I’m happy to see where things go. Sincerely, I am very much in love, and the hour of comedy that I’m touring with right now is actually all about my current 6-year romantic partnership and the path of growth I’ve been on through my relationship history. My girlfriend Rini contributes a lot and is essentially the main character of this hour, so this show is born out of love and is all about love and being in love. Love love love. In fact, many have called it the most romantic hour of standup they’ve ever seen. Thus, this night of comedy is not only the perfect activity for Valentine’s Day, but it would essentially be a mistake to do anything else.

Amorosi: Growing up in New Jersey, who did you love as a comedian and how did your tastes shift as you got older?

Myq Kaplan: The first comedian I saw on TV was Paul Reiser. I loved him. Still do. It’s weird that 12-year-old me with no life experience responded so much to an adult man talking about how much he loved his wife, but maybe I was seeing into the future a bit, with part of me being aware that someday I myself would become a comedian who loves his partner. So, my favorite comedian now is me. I really speak to my exact experience in a way that totally gets me. Paul Reiser is now a close second.

Amorosi: As a podcaster, what say you about the publicity the form has received – the meme of racist Joe Rogan as destroyer of life, health, medical truth and Neil Young, as well as HBO Max’s ‘And Just Like That’ where Carrie Bradshaw’s leap into the form makes you want to tear your head off?

Myq Kaplan: I’m glad that podcasts are growing so much. It’s like with TV, where there only used to be three channels, but now there at least four, so there’s something for everyone. Same with podcasts now. There are so many. Infinity, I think. So, you don’t have to listen to the ones that don’t speak to you and there’s probably one out there for you. Or if not, you can make one. Be the podcast you want to see in the world. Or don’t! There are plenty already.

Amorosi: You started The Faucet podcast during Covid to go with your Broccoli and Ice Cream cast. Does doing two podcasts tend to blend into each other?

Myq Kaplan: When conversing with others, my goal is to learn as much as possible about their experience, compared to an all-me stream of consciousness. I actually started The Faucet because my girlfriend noted that I always have a lot of extra fun talk-energy streaming out of me, so why not let everyone hear it? Another creative outlet born of love. You just got Valentined!

Amorosi: Can you give me the lowdown on your use of “Myq” as opposed to the “Mike” with which you were born? Was the glyph taken?

Myq Kaplan: When I was 14, Prince changed his name to a symbol, I thought that was weird and cool. I was inspired. Compared to him, at least you can still use a conventional keyboard to type my name. Though compared to me, he had a legal reason for doing it, and when he changed back to “Prince,” I was like, “Oh, I guess I’m weird and alone now.” Since then, I’m grateful to have befriended a lot of other lone weirdos. Come on out to the shows, lone weirdos.

Amorosi: Would you say that most of your romantic relationships have been good, great or at least humorous?

Myq Kaplan: Yes, yes, or yes!

Amorosi: What are you hoping to do with the crowd at Helium on this special night? How will you act as an entrée for any possible romance to follow?

Myq Kaplan: Dan Savage is a sex/relationship advice columnist/podcaster who I love, and so I’ll paraphrase his Valentine’s Day advice here, which is to make love first. Before you’ve had a big heavy dinner. Before you’ve gone out for an evening where you might get drunk and tired. So, if you follow that advice, my show can be a delicious dessert to help you conclude your evening meal of activities.