Influencer: Brendan Kirby

The hilarious host talks about his Wicked Late past, favorite moments on The Rhode Show, and wishes for 2021

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Your junior year at Rhode Island College was spent in NYC as an intern at The Late Show with David Letterman. What were some of the biggest take-aways for you?

In the comedic stratosphere, David Letterman is by far my greatest influence, so getting the chance to work on my favorite show was simply incredible. I learned how a daily program was produced at the absolute highest level: the pressure, the disappointments, how they handled last-minute changes and cancellations. From production meetings to the control room, I just took it all in. The experience just reaffirmed what I wanted to do with my life. I will always look back fondly – and I still have my Worldwide Pants jacket.

 

What are some of your favorite things to do to get into the holiday spirit around Rhode Island?

For me, the holidays haven’t commenced until I’ve been thrown off of a neighbor’s lawn for unsolicited caroling at midnight. All kidding aside, for the last several years I’ve been honored to host the Mayor’s Tree Lighting on the steps of City Hall in Providence. I’m not sure how things will look this year – maybe we’ll light a massive Purell bottle – but I do hope everyone finds ways to enjoy the season. Gorgeous displays at the Newport mansions never disappoint.

 

Your Rhode Island public-access television show Wicked Late with Brendan Kirby ran from 2003-2012. Any plans for a reboot?

Haven’t we all suffered enough lately?! Jokes aside, I’m obviously proud of the work we do on The Rhode Show, but Wicked Late was my total vision, voice, and sensibility. Despite no budget or a paid crew, I worked with what I had and did my best hoping to be ready for a professional opportunity once it arrived, and I was. So if there is a reboot, we just need to find someone to play the role of me – perhaps Bradley Cooper – although I’m not sure he’s good-looking enough.

 

What types of segments are your favorites to do on The Rhode Show

I love the fact that we are live each morning! The energy when Will, Michaela, and I are in the room is palpable and our friendship is authentic. As for recurring segments, I’ve developed this semi-regular thing called The Kirby Kwiz where I challenge my co-hosts by asking silly questions. I’m also quite proud of the “cold opens” we do from time to time right at the start of the show.

 

Is there a fun fact about you that readers would be surprised to know?

While long-haul trucking in the late ‘70s, I won several amateur arm wrestling tournaments across the Pacific Northwest under the name Skip Bicep.

 

Any wishes for 2021?

I know it’s a total longshot, but concerts! I miss experiencing the atmosphere surrounding live events and being able to support them regularly. Oh, and to finally launch my own line of designer jeans.

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