Kyle Dunnigan just taught Savage Henry how to avoid cooties…using math. This sage advice was dispensed via one of Dunnigan’s characters, Craig, who maintains dual residencies in both The Internet (Dunnigan’s YouTube Channel) and Reno (911!). Dunnigan’s work spans many mediums: Stage, small screen, and web. He’s done festivals like Just for Laughs, late night television shows like Jimmy Kimmel, and currently co-hosts the science-y podcast Professor Blastoff. Carl Sagan said, “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” Kyle Dunnigan is hardly anyone. Suck it, Sagan.
Isaac Kozell: Kyle, welcome to the Science issue of Savage Henry. As co-host of the Professor Blastoff podcast, what are some of your favorite scientific subjects, and why?
Kyle Dunnigan: I am fascinated with questions about where we come from. How stars are formed. The fact that we come from stardust blows my mind. That atoms in one of your hands could have come from a different star than atoms in your other hand. I think if that doesn’t blow your mind, you’re not thinking about it hard enough.
IK: I’m kind of terrified by the concept of The Singularity. Please say something that might make me feel better about it.
KD: Fear not young one. You have always been experiencing the singularity. It’s only space that was added. We were all one and we continue to be.
IK: Your friend and podcast cohort, Tig Notaro, has had an improbably wild year and you have been along for much of the ride. How does tragedy and triumph affect a friendship?
KD: Having to consider her possible death was so upsetting to me, that I feel like I soak up the fun that we have more.
IK: What have you taken away from the whole experience?
KD: The fact that we die is so covered up and turned away from in our society. More so here than anywhere else in the world. The downside to not contemplating your or a loved one’s death is, it puts what’s important into focus. People who have near death experiences, like Tig, get their shit together. Tig always lived her life well in my opinion, but I think this last year has really put her on track.
IK: You started out doing improv and then made the transition to stand-up. What prompted the move?
KD: I actually started off doing stand-up. I did it once in high school and I got suspended. It soured me to it for a few years and I found improv and sketch. I went back to stand-up because there was zero money in improv.
IK: I’m going to kill our fact-checker. (Editor’s note: Isaac Kozell is his own fact-checker.) Tell me about how you developed the character of Craig, who is a both YouTube favorite and a recurring face on Reno 911!
KD: I’ve been doing that character for as long as I can remember. I have no idea where it started.
IK: My current favorite of your characters is the elderly Vaudevillian, Del LaRue. How would you describe Del to the uninitiated?
KD: Thank you! I would describe him as sweet/soaks up life and those around him/terrible tapper but loves to do it.
IK: You were part of Howie Mandel’s hidden camera prank show, Howie Do It. He’s a legendary germaphobe. So, scientifically speaking, which parts of Howie’s body have you touched?
KD: Back left shoulder, on a Christian side hug.
IK: That’s hot. Let’s talk about relationships. Do you feel that attraction between two people leans more to the scientific, or to the spiritual?
KD: Scientific. I think everything spiritual is just something we don’t understand scientifically yet. That disturbs some people. But I think those people would feel better if they understood how magical science can be.
IK: The UK Daily Mail published a paparazzi photo of you and girlfriend Sarah Silverman eating lunch. The caption said, “Kyle sported a grey hoody over beige trousers and wore trainers on his feet. Although his hair looked freshly cut, he clearly hadn’t put a razor to his face in days.” If you could rewrite that caption, what would it say?
KD: Haha! What a sharp dresser! I wouldn’t rewrite it. I would just write before it: “Not that any one should give a shit , but…”
IK: A young man by the name of Dyllon recently wrote on your Facebook wall, and I quote, “good ideas for a whole lot of funny jokes. i am a young commedian, and you inspire me. hit me up.” What advice would you give to young, aspiring commedianz?
KD: Get up on stage a lot. Do what makes you laugh. Both not easy to do.
IK: And now, it’s time for plugs! What can we be on the lookout for in the not-too-distant future?
KD: I’m writing a Nickelodeon cartoon I created and I’m writing a pilot for a cable channel, but I don’t think it’s been released to the press yet so they might get mad if I say. Also I try to post new videos on my youtube channel youtube.com/kyledunnigan.
IK: Thanks, Kyle! Mind officially blown.