Kashian in on the Laughs

In true dork form, Wisconsinite Jackie Kashian is crashing the ACME party this weekend.

Comedian Jackie Kashian will be headlining at the Acme Comedy Company this weekend. Much of Kashian's humor centers around video game and science fiction humor.

Marisa Wojcik

Comedian Jackie Kashian will be headlining at the Acme Comedy Company this weekend. Much of Kashian’s humor centers around video game and science fiction humor.

Sarah Harper

What: Jackie Kashian

When:  8 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m. or 10:30 p.m., Friday; 8 p.m. or 10:30 p.m., Saturday

Where: ACME Comedy Co.

Cost: $15-30

Age: 18+ 

Instead of spewing high-falutinâÄô jokes about Newt Gingrich and Blue Ivy Carter, comedian Jackie Kashian prefers to play her humor farther from the TMZ chest.

The Wisconsin native, who did time on the Minneapolis stand-up circuit before high-tailing it to Los Angeles, prefers to riff on her family and friends.

âÄúIâÄôm unmoved by what Tim Tebow is doing, or anybody really. I hope it all works out for Brad and Angelina,âÄù Kashian said, âÄúbut I donâÄôt care. So I talk about the people that I know âÄî the people that I know continue to do things that I find hilarious.âÄù

Kashian kicked off her comedy career in 1984 as a heckler. She was a college student who had never seen any stand-up comedy in her life. After kicking back five shots of tequila, Kashian harassed late comedy V.I.P. Sam Kinison.

âÄúHe tried to shut me up, and I just would not,âÄù Kashian said, âÄúand finally the manager came over and said, sarcastically, âÄòOpen mic night is on Sunday. You got to shut it or IâÄôm going to kick you out.âÄôâÄù

Kashian shut up, but she was listening âÄî three weeks later, she got up on stage and did her first few minutes of stand-up comedy.

And KashianâÄôs been lining her trophy shelf with accomplishments ever since: She landed a half-hour Comedy Central special, she contributed a story to âÄúThis American LifeâÄù and she regularly produces a nerd-friendly podcast called âÄúThe Dork Forest.âÄù

In a world ridden with podcasts, KashianâÄôs could easily blend into the rough. But âÄúThe Dork ForestâÄù is a diamond. Entertainers like Jen Kirkman and Margaret Cho have been featured, but the nonfamous make appearances. The only criterion is that guests must be ready to talk about their âÄúdorkdomâÄù âÄî the thing that theyâÄôre obsessed with beyond all reasonable measure.

Kashian recently interviewed Mad Men actor Rich Sommer, whose dorkdom is board games.

âÄúFifty-eight minutes on board games,âÄù Kashian said. âÄúHe plays board games alone.âÄù

When she was little, Kashian wanted to be a forest ranger. So itâÄôs only logical that she should be navigating the unpredictable environs of nerd society. But the name of âÄúThe Dork ForestâÄù really comes from a bit in KashianâÄôs stand-up routine that centers on how deep you have to go into the proverbial dork forest to reach certain dorks.

âÄúI will hang out with everybody up to, but not including, the war reenactment guys. YouâÄôve got to go by Beanie Baby people, and Star Wars guys and Star Trek guys and Renaissance festival freaks and Pokémon kids and sparkle vampires and Harry Potter himself to get to the war reenactment guys, who I donâÄôt hang out with anymore, Kashian said. âÄúI hang out with all the dorks in the world, but the war reenactment guys creep me out.âÄù

Kashian has travelled all over the world to perform her jokes about video games, online dating and Stieg Larsson for American troops. You can walk through Saddam HusseinâÄôs palace in Iraq with her via YouTube.  The adventure doesnâÄôt stop there: Kashian has also been to Comic-Con. No matter where she is or what sheâÄôs doing, Kashian acts as a walking respite for the nerdy among us, a ranger in the real-life dork forest.