An Interview with Kelly Kinsella – Writer, Actor and Comedian

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Writer, actor, and comedian Kelly Kinsella has finally found a home as an artist, where she will present her body of work, at The Cell Theatre in Chelsea – a stone’s throw away from her home as a human near Penn Station, where she often fantasizes about packing up her murphy bed and running away to the woods where she can read books and plays by her inspirations: Edward Albee, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams and Martin McDonough. She kissed Martin on TONY night when his play, The Pillowman was nominated. She worked as a dresser on that show on Broadway and is a proud member of the theatrical stage union. Currently she is a dresser with Jersey Boys.

Kelly is taking the slow, cheap path to success- no MFA, no debt, and so far, no big breaks. A Facebook friend recently applauded Kelly for still “chipping away” at her career which she decided to take as a compliment.

Kinsella’s style is unique, personal yet universal and in the vein of storytellers Lily Tomlin, David Sedaris, and John Leguiziamo. She continues to receive positive reviews for her work, including this one from Backstage which she thought for a long time was awesome- “She thrums with the aggressive, ruthless humor of many male comics, but underneath is the touching neurotic charm of a still unmarried woman.”-until her PR pointed out that “thrums” has an annoying connotation.

Kelly kind of wishes she could just do yoga for the rest of her life but she doesnt have a rich husband. She does however find solace and contentment in cooking for her boyfriend, friends and family. Once in awhile, she performs stand up in New York and Los Angeles.


 1. What are three things most people don’t know about you?

I make myself laugh every day. I taught English in the Czech Republic for a year when I was 23. I’m a bad dish washer.

2. What’s the most exciting thing happening for you right now?

I was invited to create a new one woman show for the tenth annual soloNOVA Festival in NYC at the end of this month. I had a very short deadline and I think I’m going to make it!! Phew! Its the most reputable theatre festival for solo performance artists in the city; my  one woman show, When Thoughts Attack was one of eight shows selected for the ninth annual festival. The artistic director liked it so much she asked me back to do something totally brand new. The show is about that experience. How to create something out of nothing and the pressures and freedom an artist may find in doing that!

3. How do you integrate healthy living into your schedule and find the balance between work and home?

Well, I don’t have a family so the pressure should be less. “Should.” That being said I am very much a do-er and so I sometimes struggle with keeping the house clean, the fridge stocked and my boyfriend happy! I pretty much have two full time jobs but I seem to have more energy now than I did at 20. I am very health conscious. I belong to a CSA and will be getting my first pick up in a few weeks, which is both exciting and overwhelming. I’m constantly cooking to keep up! I like to juice but it takes half an hour with the clean-up and all-ain’t nobody got time for dat! And I tend to be on to some other activity like cycling or yoga by the time I’ve finished the last sip. I cycle to get around the city so that keeps me fit without even trying. Yoga has become a passion; I’ve practiced now for over 20 years. Its the only place I’m able to shut up and keep still.

4. What advice would you give to someone who has the heart for acting and writing but no talent?

I don’t know about that. No talent. That’s a tough one. I don’t know anymore if that is necessarily true. I think its more about passion and less about talent. Are you passionate about something? Enough to sacrifice everything else? Are you blessed with a voice that needs to speak? Through your art? If you are blocked, if you block yourself, then maybe that appears to the outside eye as having no talent. Blocking is different than being conflicted. Being internally conflicted often is the case for many great artists. But those types often just get in the way of their own success. These are two different issues I think.

5. What makes writing alive for you?

Its alive when I simply SIT DOWN AND DO IT! I love to write but I avoid it like the plague! I still struggle with the discipline of it. I talk about sacrifice earlier and that’s hard for me too! I love nature and taking walks- especially in the spring. I’m a painter too and I want to be doing that- especially now when all the flowers are blooming. These things all feed each other and since my writing stems from the experiences I have in my day to day life, I try not to be so hard on myself. A friend gave me great advice and said to put on music that inspires you while you write. It sets the tone for your writing that day- it makes you happy to be there.

6. If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you want to know?

I’m obsessed with Tennessee Williams. His plays are poetry in motion on a stage. Wow! What a life he had- what a life he portrayed -in each and every one of his characters. The drama! The humour! The humanity! He had a wild imagination but he had an even wilder truth. I would want to know what made him happy day to day. I would want to know his rituals- with his diet, his writing practice, his socializing, etc…I would want to find a nugget in there of something that would inspire me, and I would steal it and make it my own. And I would feel better about myself as an artist, and hope that maybe- just maybe-I could deliver something so rich and honest as he was able.

 7. How do you want to be remembered?

I want to be remembered as a reliable person who made people laugh hard and think harder and who also made a great tiramisu.