Comedian Jamie Kilstein on Music, Liberal Racism and Bernie

Jamie Kilstein is like a punk-rock standup comedian, and not solely because he recently opened for punk icons Bad Religion. He’s a comedic renegade whose brash, unflinching political rants have gotten him invited to perform on — and sometimes uninvited from, canceled and booed off — some of the grandest stages on the planet. Those include “Conan,” NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” “Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell” and “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” to name a few. Janeane Garofalo likened Kilstein to “a combination of George Carlin and Bill Hicks.” Glenn Beck called him a doofus.

“Like an underground Daily Show affiliate with more swearing, less civility, and zero budget, the daily political-comedy talk show Citizen Radio addresses the news of the day with a side-eyed glance at what, how, and why news is reported … For those who view mainstream news and think, ‘That can’t be right, and surely someone has something funny and insightful to say about it before 11 p.m. ET,’ Citizen Radio is a must.” – The Onion’s A/V Club

“Hilarious and scathing” – Rolling Stone

“★ ★ ★ ★ … Politically engaged humour…The delivery is passionate, fast-paced and, when he uses notes for absolute precision, almost poetic.” – Bruce Dessau, The Standard UK


“★ ★ ★ ★ ★ — Kilstein, is to me eerily reminiscent of Bill Hicks and not in the sense of an astute impersonation but as if we are witness to some sort of Second Coming. Eloquent intelligence, razor-sharp wit and unconventionally convincing arguments. Kilstein is a special talent and one that I feel privileged for having seen at this early stage of his career.” – Broadway Baby


“★ ★ ★ ★ — This is beautifully, intelligently crafted stuff. Kilstein is possibly the most impressive writer/performer, I have seen – his set is so well written it could have a life apart from him and still be brilliant. Performed by him gives it an added oomph, but I have not been so aware of the writing quality of a comedy set this year.” – Kate Copstick, The Scotsman


“★ ★ ★ ★ — In this brisk, fluid hour he’s sharp, sarcastic and engaging, fearless in niggling his targets and knows how to write a joke to back up his incredulous indignation…as funny as it is audacious.” – Chortle


“★ ★ ★ ★ ★ — Kilstein’s savage intelligence and razor-sharp wit will make you think as much as laugh…Damned funny. Working in the same sort of education-by-comedy mould of the likes of Bill Hicks and David Cross” – Andrew P Street, Time Out Sydney


“★ ★ ★ ★ –It might make his hero Bill Hicks spin in the grave, but Jamie Kilstein is not afraid to stick a cat story into a 70-minute touring show.” – Brian Donaldson, The Scotsman

“Jamie Kilstein is a comedian – and there is no arguing with the fact that he is blisteringly funny. Charmingly frenetic, urgent and unquestionably earnest, Kilstein is a searingly entertaining spectacle.” – GiggleBeats

“There are few truly insightful, passionate and hysterically funny political comedians around, and even fewer coming out of the States. New Yorker Jamie Kilstein is a shining light probing into the murkier corners of the religious right and corrupt politics of his homeland. Funny and penetrating, he’s taken Bill Hicks’ baton and run with it.” – Time out London

“Jamie Kilstein is not the kind of comic who will sit back and make jokes about a subject when he could get actively involved.. So, rather than simply wisecracking about the rightwing bias of Big Media, he set up his own left-leaning news and comedy show, Citizen Radio – almost certainly the only podcast in the world to give Sarah Silverman and Noam Chomsky equal airtime. ” The Guardian

“If you liked Bill Hicks… If you think comedy should be about something more than just froth and banter… If you want to hear someone standing-up for freedom of speech and smacking religious bigotry and political stupidity squarely in the face… then this hugely talented American is the guy for you.” – Time Out Critics’ Choice

“Jamie Kilstein kills. His show is the kind you walk away from feeling a sense of euphoria.Kilstein dissects the racism, sexism and homophobia prevalent in today’s society with unrelenting ease, somehow still providing a laugh a minute. My festival favourite so far. Impeccably crafted, his show ends on an impassioned note earning him mad applause that didn’t stop once he’d left the room. Engaging, insightful and nothing short of brilliant.” – The Pun, Melbourne

“Not many have the power to mingle didactism and socio-political awareness with killer jokes and the word ‘fuck’, but comedic preacher-man Jamie Kilstein is one of the chosen few. He’s like a Bill Hicks that you wouldn’t mind taking home to meet your mum… and he could probably teach your conservative stick-in-the-mud dad a thing or two about the world, as well.” – Drum Media Sydney “Sharp, unafraid and eloquent” – Sydney Morning Herald ‘Hot Pick’

“Searingly funny, highly intelligent and courageously irreverent” – The Daily Telegraph