posted February 21, 2023
A vegan comedian? Is this the beginning of a joke? No, it’s not. I met Myq Kaplan pre-pandemic, at one of his standup performances. He is brilliant and funny! At that time, I had no idea that Myq was Vegan, only that he was a talented comedian. Later I learned he’s a member of Team-Vegan and was excited to learn more. Here’s my interview with Myq:
Cherie: When did you become Vegan? What prompted it?
Myq: High school was the first time that I remember thinking, “It would be great if animals didn’t have to be killed in order for me to eat.” But I didn’t know how to cook, I didn’t do the shopping in my home, and I wasn’t really aware of all the foods that would have satisfied this budding desire. So I kept eating what my mother would call the P-based food groups that made up the bulk of my diet: pasta, pizza, peanut butter. So, high school is when I DIDN’T become Vegan.
In college, more options became available. The dining hall had a vegetarian station which had international options from all over the world, a different cuisine each day. It was exciting to discover that I loved different things that were mostly made from vegetables. Also, my friends had different palates and life experiences and so I went with them to restaurants…Ethiopian, Indian, Cambodian, and I was introduced to all kinds of flavors I’d never had before. Sometimes people ask, “Isn’t it hard to limit your diet when you give up meat?” and truly, my experience was that my eating inventory expanded greatly when I became vegetarian. So, college is ALSO when I didn’t become Vegan.
It was a couple years after college that I did read, ask, and learn more about factory farms and how connected the meat and dairy industries are. It felt like once I knew that, I had to do whatever I could to not be a part of it.
Cherie: When did you become a comedian? Was it intentional or did it happen organically?
Myq: It actually DID happen organically (I’m a free-range comedian). Around the same time that I was transitioning to vegetarianism and Veganism, I was doing the same thing with music and comedy. My original dream career was to be a singer-songwriter. At summer camp, in college, around Boston, I was performing at talent shows and coffee shops and music open mics, and in my search to find places to perform, I found a place called The Comedy Studio. I called them up, told them I had a few funny songs and asked if I could come play them, and they said yes. In between the songs, I talked a little bit and people laughed, and I realized… maybe I don’t even need to bring this guitar everywhere anymore! So, one of the reasons I got into comedy is because guitars are bulky. Another is because I fell in love with it.
Cherie: Do you bring up being a Vegan during your shows or albums?
Myq: I do! My first standup album is called Vegan Mind Meld, and I believe that every album I’ve released has a good chunk of jokes about being a Vegan. One I did on Conan and a meme of it went viral in a way that included a butcher shop sharing my the joke on their window, which I think is the ULTIMATE in mixed audiences.
Cherie: Have you performed where the proceeds have gone to any animal-related charities?
Myq: Whenever possible!
Cherie: You have two podcasts—what are they about, in a nutshell?
Myq: On Broccoli and Ice Cream, I chat with guests about the work of their life (the broccoli) and the joys of their life (the ice cream, which is of course made of cashew, soy, or metaphor). On The Faucet, I generally just turn on the mental/vocal faucet and let out my stream of consciousness. (Here’s an episode called Proper Gander which discusses, among other things, some Vegan euphemisms.)
For more about Myq, check out his website.
Cherie Hans holds certifications from Dr. McDougall’s Starch Solution and Dr. Campbell’s Plant-Based Nutrition programs. She holds a Master of Science in Bilingual Education from St. John’s University, NY, and a Bachelor of Arts from the City University of NY: Queens College in English and Spanish, and currently teaches adults in English as a Second Language. After graduating from Main Street Vegan Academy, Cherie started the blog Fit and Fifties Vegan. She is from Queens, New York, but now resides in New Jersey with her husband and many rescued cats. And if you’d like to hear more from Myq, check out his 2017 appearance on the Main Street Vegan Podcast.