A Q&A with YouTube comedian Kurtis Conner


Kamrin Baker

Leta Lohrmeyer

Kurtis Conner performs on stage at the Funny Bone in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo by Kamrin Baker/the Gateway

Welcome back to the Gateway. If you’re new here, what’s up? How’s it going? If you’re coming back, what’s up? How’s it going? It’s great to have you here. See what happens when you read the Gateway? You get an extra greeting at the beginning of every article.

Kurtis Conner is a commentary YouTuber who is currently on a Midwestern stand-up tour. After starting his entertainment career on Vine, he has amassed over two million subscribers on YouTube, a fanbase he calls “Kurtis Town.” Conner will be in Omaha on March 3, performing at the Funny Bone. The Gateway sat down to chat with him before his show in Des Moines.

Q: What’s the origin of the extra greeting?

Kurtis: I don’t really know; I think in one video I just said that because I didn’t have anything to start off my videos with. I just didn’t know how to start, and I started saying that. It was kind of funny so I kept with it and now I have to do it in all of my videos because people will get mad at me. So that’s why I still do it, because I’m scared of people.

Q: What does Kurtis Town mean to you as a fanbase?

Kurtis: Oh wow… Nothing at all. No, the opposite actually. I mean, I wouldn’t be able to do stuff like this or, you know, make a living doing what I like to do without them. And they’re all very funny and cool. I feel like I’ve been very lucky with the fan base I do have. They all have very good senses of humor and stuff. Yeah, so I guess probably everything.

Q: Do you think you attract people who are similar to you?

Kurtis: Like really cool people you mean? Yeah, I don’t know. I feel like a lot of the people that do watch my videos, I feel like you have to have a certain type of humor, I guess. I dunno, I’ve never really thought about it. I think because when I do these shows and stuff, there’s people of all like ages and like everyone every type of person is here. So, and I think there’s all different types of people here but, I guess the common thing is that they all like my videos.

Q: You have so much stuff going on, videos, podcasts, touring, everything. How do you practice time management?

Kurtis: Very poorly. I just have a lot of anxieties and stress when I don’t get things done. Like, I find it hard to just like get rest and like sleep in some days and just have a day to myself. And I feel like I feel like if I go a day without doing anything that like contribute like towards like my career, it’s like, I just freak out. And I get really uncomfortable. So that helps. I live in constant fear of this going away. So, I feel like I have to do everything all the time. So that works. That keeps it going. It’s just stress and fear all the time. Yeah, I’m very lazy that which is a bad, weird combo. So, I’ll be working on something, and then I’ll just get distracted really easily. It’s weird, like I’m always working, but not well. Like I’m not good at doing what I do.

Q: You’re talking about your career and not wanting it to go away. What’s the future you want for your career?

Kurtis: Um, I don’t know. I feel like YouTube’s never going away, so I feel like I want to be on there as long as people want me there, I guess. But obviously, stand-up is another love of mine that I like to do. So obviously I want to do a stand-up for as long as I can. And then other stuff as well, like acting and writing my own show one day would be cool. Having a Netflix special is like my dream. But yeah, as long as I’m just like making things that make people laugh, that’s all I ever wanted to do.

Q: How do you think your comedy has developed over the years? Because you’ve been doing this for a while and over different platforms like Vine and then YouTube, now stand-up.

Kurtis: I feel like when I used to do Vine, I was doing a lot of one-liner jokes. That was fun and I like doing it. But I think now it’s like I’ve kind of started doing like more traditional stand-up and storytelling and stuff, which I enjoy a lot more and it’s kind of more reflected with my YouTube, as well. So yeah, I just think its kind of naturally evolved into, you know, just being more comfortable with long-form stuff and just kind of being more like, honest with what I’m saying on stage.

Q: Do you have any comedy inspirations or comedians you look up to?

Kurtis: Yeah, Bo Burnham is definitely my favorite. He’s great, obviously. John Mulaney is the funniest guy in the world. Nick Thune, I’ve always loved his stuff. Steven Wright. There’s just so many. Neal Brennan was another great one. He his special last year was amazing.

Yeah, there’s so many who all do very different stuff. It’s a very it’s exciting to do comedy right now, there’s just so many different ways to consume it. Everyone’s so talented and good. Trevor Wallace is another one who’s also on the internet and does stand up. So yeah, it’s exciting. It’s an exciting time for sure.

Q: A lot of people watch YouTube to relax and unwind from work, but YouTube is your job. So, what do you do to relax?

Kurtis: I play video games with this guy. [Kellen Schneider]

Kellen: When we’re not on tour we play video games and everyone’s like aren’t you sick of each other? We’re like, yeah but we gotta play video games.

Kurtis: I also just watch YouTube a lot too. Even though it’s my job I still enjoy watching YouTube videos.

Q: Who do you watch?

Kurtis: I like Danny [Gonzalez] and Drew [Gooden], like Cody [Ko] and Noel [Miller] obviously. I watch a lot of the Corridor Crew. They’re really cool, they do VFX videos. They do like “VFX artist react to.” It’s really cool, I like them a lot. Just whatever pops up like Binging with Babish.

Q: Okay, we have a lighting round for you now.

Kurtis: Oh, wow.

Q: If you could get a tattoo that represents the Midwest, what would it be?

Kurtis: Casey’s.

Q: What’s your favorite song by the 1975 right now? We know you’re a fan.

Kurtis: Probably “Me & You Together,” the song that they just put out. But it will probably change because it changes every day.

Q: If you were a TikTok trend what would you be?

Kurtis: Oh, the spin the bottle one.

Q: What is one thing you can’t leave the house without?

Kurtis: My wallet, I guess.

Q: If you could give the key to Kurtis Town to anyone, who would it be?

Kurtis: *immediately* Brendan Fraser.