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Knifestyles: Robert Kelly

Knifestyles: Robert Kelly

At GiantMouse, we are always interested in the different relationships people have with their blades. For this installment of Knifestyles, we talk to comedian, actor, and podcast host Robert Kelly about his long, tumultuous history with stand-up and sharp things. 

The term “comedy lifer” gets tossed around a lot. But no one’s earned the title harder than Robert Kelly. A Boston native, Robert’s been tackling stages since the 90’s, winning crowds from clubs to arenas with his abrasively honest stand up. His unfiltered routines pick apart the everyday details of life and relationships, finding humor in the insanity of being human.


You know his face and his voice. Maybe from the years of radio work, appearing as a regular fixture on The Opie and Anthony Show. Or as the current co-host of The Bonfire on SiriusXM, and his own top-rated podcast “You Know What Dude?” available on iTunes and Spotify.


Then there’s the countless screen credits, ranging from recurring roles on Denis Leary’s Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, and the hit series Louie, to guest spots on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Last Call with Carson Daly, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, Premium Blend, and moreNot to mention parts in movies like TrainwreckUnsane, and Fourth of July.


A true road warrior, Robert has toured consistently over the past three decades, never missing a chance to test new material. His most recent one-hour comedy special “Kill Box” can be found on robertkellylive.com. We caught up with the hard working comedian to deep dive on his EDC essentials, background with knives, and most memorable career moments.

The Knifestyles of Robert Kelly

What originally got you interested in knives?

My grandfather originally got me into knives. I remember him in the garden or backyard, and he always had a really cool pocket knife. He showed me how to open it and how to use it correctly and safely.


One of the cool first “manly” things I was taught as a kid was how to use a knife. So since then, I've always had a knife in my pocket. It was something that I could pass down to my son, who now enjoys having a great pocket knife and knowing how to use it correctly and safely.


I have a pretty nice collection of knives. I have a couple of Higonokami Japanese pocket knives, and I've had custom knives made for camping by a friend of mine, Mathew Lajoie, who made me some of the most beautiful camping knives I've ever seen.


Of course, I love my GiantMouse knife collection. They are just so well-built, sharp, and easy to use. I got to know GiantMouse through my friend Rick Baccari, who sent me my first GiantMouse knife.


But I have everything from a Swiss army knife to my prize possession, my Jack Lore Bushcraft knife. I love the art of knife making. Seeing a guy take a piece of steel and with his hands make it into something that can be used as a tool to do so many things is amazing.

How do knives fit into your life?

I always have a knife on me, because whether it's opening an Amazon package or cutting my cigar or for protection, I have a knife on me in case something happens. There is always a knife in my car or in my pocket at all times.

Robert's go-to EDC: I always grab my GiantMouse ACA Tribeca, then my ST Dupont lighter, and then I pick my watch. I usually wear a Rolex or Omega, as those are my favorites. But I do like the Garmin Fenix 7 watch, especially if I'm walking around New York City.

What is your favorite GiantMouse knife and why?

My favorite GiantMouse knife was, I believe, the ACE Jutland with the orange handle. I love that knife, but TSA snatched it right out of my bag because I forgot it was in there.


That one hurt. I remember the line to get through TSA was too long, and I would've missed my flight, so I had to let it go. It sucked. I love that orange handle because you could always find it. You always see it when you put it down. It pops out.


I do love my Bibio XL with the green handle and my black-handled Tribeca. They open fast and are sharp as hell.

What inspired you to pursue comedy?

Comedy kind of found me. I was in college studying to be an art teacher, and then I took an acting class as an elective which involved some improv. Then, I entered the talent show with a few other guys and did sketch comedy and improv, and I fell in love with it.


There's something about the instant gratification you get from people that nothing has been able to compete with since. I still can't believe I pay my bills with making people laugh. I was supposed to be some art teacher at a Boys and Girls Club, teaching kids how to make macaroni vases for minimum wage.

Can you walk us through your creative process?

The first thing that happens is life. People, places, and things make you smile, piss you off, or whatever it is, and then it's just about me getting on stage. I work all my material on stage. The best advice I ever got was to just get on stage. Don't listen to anybody, just get on stage.

Can you share a particularly memorable moment or show that has stayed with you?

For me, it was getting booed off stage at the Boston Garden early in my career with my comedy improv troupe: Al and the Monkeys. We were hired to do improv and sketch comedy in between the Spin Doctors and Phish in front of 14,000 people. Needless to say, it did not go as planned. They booed us off stage singing Na Na Na Na, Goodbye! 


And then, 15 years later, to come back and play the Garden and kill it, for Denis Larry's cancer benefit. He’s been doing Comics Come Home for the last 20-something years, and to go up in front of all those people and murder is such a great feeling. Also, being part of such a great benefit is the most memorable experience.

What's next for Robert Kelly?

Well, I just joined Big Jay Okerson on Sirius XM to co-host The Bonfire with him, which has been amazing. I also have a show called Comedy Camp that will be shooting the pilot in September. It's where I bring five comics into the woods for five days with no phones, no electricity, no social media, just nature. And they have to survive. Hopefully, GiantMouse will provide us with the knives we need (wink, wink).

What’s your life motto?

The thing I use most in life is the Serenity Prayer. Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. If you break it down, just relax, change yourself, and don't worry about other people, places, and things. Sometimes they use the shortened version: Fuck it!! Depends on how much time I have.

Discover Robert Kelly's Favorites

The GiantMouse Team would like to thank Robert Kelly for taking a break from his adventures to talk shop with us. Keep an eye out for more Knifestyle profiles coming soon! 

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