Episode 019 - Kent Rader

In this episode, I welcome Kent Rader! Kent is known as the World's Cleanest Comedian, and he is also a motivational speaker and author of the book, "Let It Go, Just Let It Go" about how to deal with stress. From his background of accounting to his professional speaking career and everything in between, Kent shares what fires him up about the arts. 

 

Get in touch with Kent Rader: www.kentraderspeaks.com | https://www.facebook.com/Kent-Rader-130340647028349https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT77fL6ZiPfx7lyCLAmDgog 

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Intro & Outro Music Credits:

Bad Ideas (distressed) by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3412-bad-ideas-distressed-
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

Episode 19 - Kent Rader

Lindsey Dinneen: Hello, and welcome to Artfully Told, where we share true stories about meaningful encounters with art.

[00:00:07] Krista: I think artists help people have different perspectives on every aspect of life.

[00:00:13] Roman: All I can do is put my part out into the world.

[00:00:16] Elizabeth: It doesn't have to be perfect the first time. It doesn't have to be perfect ever really. I mean, as long as you, and you're enjoying doing it and you're trying your best, that can be good enough.

[00:00:24] Elna: Art is something that you can experience with your senses and that you just experience  as so beautiful.

[00:00:33] Lindsey Dinneen: Hello and welcome back to Artfully Told. I'm your host, Lindsey, and I am so excited to have as my guest today the absolutely  wonderful Kent Rader, and Kent is the world's cleanest comedian. He is also a motivational speaker, a accountant, and so much more. And Kent, thank you so much for being here. I am just delighted that you are here with us.

[00:01:02] Kent Rader: Well, thank you for having me, Lindsay. I've missed talking to you.

[00:01:06] Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah, I know!

[00:01:08] Kent Rader: I'm not a very good accountant. Okay. We probably ouught to clarify that, but yeah.

[00:01:17]Lindsey Dinneen: Well, I'm sure this will come out a little bit more in your story because this is one of the things that I think is so great about just how you have changed careers and kind of developed into who you are today and all of that. But, Kent, do you mind just sharing a little bit about your background? 

[00:01:34] Kent Rader: Yeah, not at all. I went to William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri and graduated, went into accounting 'cause that was, you know, I needed a job and did it for 17 years and I was, I just, you know, it was a job and that's all it was. And, but I was fortunate. I went, I went back into public accounting at a time when home care agencies were really changing their payment mechanism for Medicare and they needed to know how to do a budget, needed to know how to read a financial statement. And so I was asked by all these home care associations around the country to do programs on it.

[00:02:09] And it was so dry. I mean, talking about double entry accounting and how it flows into it. And so I started telling stories and the audiences laughed and I thought, I just love that. And so, we got to a point to where I knew I was going to have to do something different. And I told my wife, I was on the verge of becoming a partner in the accounting firm, and I was offered it one day and I came home and I said to Twyla--my wife Twyla--I said, "I just don't want it." And she said, "What do you want to do?" And I said, "I want to be a speaker." And she said, "Then be a speaker." And I said, "You know, we may be passing up a fortune and I'll never, and it's the sweetest thing you've ever said to me."

[00:02:49] She said, "Your happiness is more important than all the money you'll ever make. So I started being a speaker and I was teaching, I did some financial programs, but then I really had an interest in health. I'd run my entire life and I had a lot of interest in stress. And so I developed a program on how to reduce stress and wrote a book called, "Let It Go, Just Let It Go" on reducing stress, but then it really evolved into how humor helps us reduce stress. And I thought, "Well, I want to get more funny." So I started going to an open mic night to comedy clubs, which was, that was the extent, Lindsey, of, of my idea was "Okay, I'll do open mic nights and learn how to write and learn how to be funnier." And, it takes years to do that.

[00:03:34] And so by the time I finally thought had a handle on it. I'm headlining clubs and I started working in theaters, just doing standup. And so my career really evolved into 50/50 speaking at conferences, mostly for healthcare and education associations, and the other half doing live shows of just stand-up comedy in theaters. And because I worked clean, I could take all the material from my standup and move it right into speaking. It was appropriate, and it's been a long... as the Grateful Dead said, a long, strange trip. So.

[00:04:11]Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah, absolutely. And I would love to touch on something because you do talk a lot about the fact that you are the world's cleanest comedian. And so what does that mean to you?  I'm sure there's an intention behind it. So do you mind just sharing sort of what got you to that point?

[00:04:27] Kent Rader: Not at all. And my original thought was I needed to be clean because the material I was writing I wanted to move into the speaking and you had to be super clean to be, you have to be super clean to be a speaker, but quite by accident I realized that you'd never really find what's truly funny unless you work clean. And, and Chris Rock, who I've known for a long time, he came up to me two or three years ago. And he said, "You know, I talk about you and Vic Henley"--who unfortunately just passed away this year--he said, "because I tell people, work on the material and make it clean. 'Cause you don't know what's truly funny unless it's clean and then you can dirty it up later if you want to."

[00:05:05] Well, I've never really wanted to dirty it up, so I just kept it clean.  I have nothing against profanity, as you know, from being my friend, I swear like a sailor when we're not in a different venue, but I don't want profanity to be the punchline, you know? And that, that's the thing that people don't understand about  Dave Chappelle or Carlin. You could have taken out every profane word and the material was still funny. And too many comedians today think, "Oh, all I have to do is swear or talk about sex on stage. And, and it'll be funny." I mean, yeah, you'll get a laugh, but it isn't truly funny. You know, if you take all that out, what do you have? You still have to, in my opinion, you still have to have some content.

[00:05:47] Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And I love that because like you said, that's made your stories very easily transferable to many different opportunities that you've had to speak and things. So it's not like you have to reinvent the wheel every time, you know?

[00:06:01] Kent Rader: Right. And we talk about, about artists--too many comedians have-- and I think we've talked about this personally--too many comedians have a... they have a mindset of poverty. You know, I, I can't make a lot of money or I'm not an artist and that's just not true. You have to find a venue where you can make a better wage or living wage, if you will. You don't have to live with poverty to do it. And so one of the ways that you can do it in comedy is to be clean because people will pay higher ticket prices to come see a clean show. They will, you can be on television without having to change anything you do. Network television, I should say. And, and you'll find out--Jim Gaffigan's a great example.  Jim has always worked clean, and I've known Jim for awhile too. He's a great example of someone who's, who's reached a pinnacle because he's working clean.

[00:06:57] Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah. Yeah, he's fantastic. And it's, it's nice, especially for those of us who don't necessarily want to hear all those, what feels like it becomes kind of gratuitous instead of just the material that is funny, like you said, on its own, and it doesn't need that. So.

[00:07:16] Kent Rader: Exactly.

[00:07:16] Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah, no, that's great. Well, and speaking of sort of the money aspect of it, I've chatted with a couple of artists, especially people that maybe are painters or things like that, but  did you ever have a difficult time putting a price on your art, per se? 'Cause I know that that's a common theme of, well, I've been doing this my whole life and it doesn't feel like I should charge this much.  How do you navigate that?

[00:07:42] Kent Rader: How I navigated it was looking at what other people in my world, other performers, what they were charging. And I remember, you know, the first time I asked for a certain dollar amount, a friend of mine, Mark LeBlanc, said ask for $500 more than you're comfortable as far as the speaking engagement goes, ask for $500 more than you're comfortable with asking. I would have a dollar amount and at some point I'd screw up my courage and ask for $500 more than and they would either accept it or reject it. But most of the time they just accepted it. And so I built my fees up in that regard, but first by looking at what people were charging, and then kinda as I looked at the speakers, you know, very few were as funny as I was, because very few had taken the pains to go to comedy clubs and do a midnight show and go through all of that in order to learn how to be funny.

[00:08:39] I mean, they may have a two-minute set up and one joke, and mine are, you know, seven, eight, 10 jokes a minute. And so that that's how I developed that. I think getting out of your comfort of what you're asking for is a huge, a huge part. And once you receive that money, now you begin to get comfortable with that money. And at some point as you improve, you say, okay, I want to ask for a little bit more and you know, maybe 10% or 20%. And once when somebody accepts that it becomes the norm, you know. But you, you have a skill and it's not a skill like in accounting, but I mean the way you can perform with your body as a dancer, is something that I will never be able to do, and watching the beauty of that, and I should pay to see the beauty of that.

[00:09:37] And so, yeah, I think find what other people in your level are charging and then start working your fees up. And, and of course, after, after this, after the COVID is over, I don't know that we'll have any idea what fees will be. We'll deal with that. Then we may have to start over, who knows, but we'll deal with that then. But yeah, that's how I did it. And of course I'm an accountant, so you know, that, that  made perfect sense to me. I mean, I have a friend out in Kansas who, she's a wonderful speaker and she will not charge, she will not charge what she's worth. I mean, she brings home for speaking engagement and just as much headache of traveling as I have, and she'll bring home, you know, 25% of what I'm making, and it's because she doesn't see the value in what she's delivering to these people, and she has tremendous value. And you have a skill that a whole lot of people can't do, or if they could, we'd have a whole lot more people in the arts that we don't and, and you need to be paid for.

[00:10:46]Lindsey Dinneen: Amen. I hope everyone listening heard all of that. Because there is so much value to the arts and, you know, and obviously those who have listened to this podcast for a while, kind of know my stance on it and how much I know that the arts can have such a, such a beautiful impact on people's lives and on culture and, and, and the change that it can bring in. So. But the, the people that create that, they are providing something of value. And so, yeah, getting paid for that is important.

[00:11:22] Kent Rader: And there is no reward for being a starving artist. There is nothing of merit about being a starving artist. I mean, our, our daughter, Maggie is, you know, is a Shakespearian actress, and yet she has more money in the bank most of the time than I have because she's good with money, but she makes people pay her for her art. And her husband, Justin, is good too, because he makes people pay him for his art. He's also a performer.  And, you know, if Shakespeare were easy to do, we would all do it and read it, you know, but when, when Shakespeare play that Maggie does you understand it as well as you would understand a movie or a play that was written today because she understands what Shakespeare wanted to do. And she understands the rhythm and the rhyme of Shakespeare. And it's beautiful. I have a joke about her being a Shakespearian actress and I cite two Shakespeare lines in that joke. And she one day corrected me on how to say it. And when she did that line I had been saying for two or three years made all the sense in the world, and she said, you pause here. And I thought, "Oh yeah, that makes sense 'cause I just run it all together." I knew the words, but I didn't know. I wasn't portraying the meaning of it. 

[00:12:46] Lindsey Dinneen: Yes, absolutely. Well, and I think that speaks to your due diligence. Something that I've really admired about learning about how you work, and that is-- I'll let you explain it more-- but one of the things that I've been impressed with is that when Kent does a show, he doesn't just say, "Okay, wahoo!" And then go party afterwards. He, as he'll share, goes back to his hotel room or back home and starts reviewing what he did, what worked, what didn't, tweaking things. So he is a true professional in that he's constantly also working on his art. He's not just satisfied with where he is. Does that, is that correct?

[00:13:29] Kent Rader: It is. And, and the one thing I do--that probably even most comedians don't do--I write every day. I don't write productively every day. A lot of it's junk, you know, but I do, I have a time every day where I spend two to three hours just writing and then the process I have, which has been interrupted with the COVID, is once I have something written, I take it into a comedy club usually just doing a guest set. So I do 10 minutes, you know, walk in and do 10 minutes with the show and, or I still do four or five weeks a year in comedy clubs where I can do an hour set and string some of that newer material together. I do it. I record it. I take it, like you say, back to my hotel room and I listen to it.

[00:14:14] I see what works and what doesn't work. And then the next morning when I'm writing, I rework the stuff that isn't working, take it back into the comedy club, work on it or record it that night, take it back to the hotel, listen to it, rewrite it.

[00:14:29] After World War II a guy named W. Deming went to Japan to rebuild the Japanese economy, and he had developed something called the Circle of Continuous Quality Improvement. And basically it's a circle that you have an idea, you implement the idea, you put it into your product. Then you ask your customer how they like it and whatever they don't like, you go back to the idea, you improve it, you change the product, you ask the customer again, how do you like it? And that's how Toyota and Honda became two of the biggest auto makers in the world is that back when I was a kid, Toyotas had a connotation of being a junky car, but they kept improving it all over those years. And now they have some of the best quality cars in the world. And so that's what, that was the idea with mine is that you improve it every night.

[00:15:22] And it's never done.  My wife is an art teacher and she said that is the sign of a true artist. You are never happy with it. You know, it is never done. I just really rewrote something I've been doing for 16 or 17 years, rewrote the line, took two words out and it, and it's hard to do because I've got it in my memory in a different way, but it works better. So you're constantly improving the material, constantly improving the product. And too many people, too many comedians ,get an hour of material and then quit writing, you know?

[00:15:56] Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah.

[00:15:57] Kent Rader: I don't know how they do this because you could be better. You could, you could do better.

[00:16:02] Lindsey Dinneen: Right. Yeah. Well, I think that's something that I've always personally loved about my art form in particular, but all art forms are like this, of there's no way to reach a level of perfection. So you have to continue. You know, it's just not a thing, you can't. And so you just keep striving for excellence and you keep honing your technique and, you know, that means going and making yourself do the technique class by yourself, in your garage. That's me right now, you know, just otherwise you, you are stagnant.

[00:16:39]Kent Rader: Your art you're passionate about, and I'm passionate about mine and it is, it is a passion. And so it's not work to me. You know, I, I love the idea that I have two hours or three hours to write. And, the Saturday shows are hard for me because I've usually had a Friday show. And I've traveled after the show to a new hotel and I get in at two or three in the morning, so I sleep there and then I get up and I, I need to run and I need to work. I need to write and I need to get to another show. And, that cuts into my writing time. And I miss that, you know, I miss it. I spend a lot of time backstage once I get to a show and do the soundcheck, I spend another hour writing before it. So it's a, it's it's part of my life and it's an important part about it. It is a big part of my life.

[00:17:30]Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah. And so to that point, I'm just curious, because since you're constantly working and reworking and all those kinds of things, has there ever been a time where you've had this show memorized and then you're working on something else, do you ever kind of get off flow that way of thinking about the new material?

[00:17:48] Kent Rader: Yeah,  I can leave out whole segments of a story, because when you do new material,  you sandwich it in between two pieces you know that work. You know, so you've got this story that you've been doing for five years. It works great. You got another story that you've been doing for seven years. It worked great. So take the new piece and stick it in between the two, because you know, there are only two or three minutes. If I lose the audience, I know I'm going to get them back with the next story. So it's fine, but I can be so focused on that new thing, that the piece in front of it, I can leave out half of it, you know? Because my mind is not there. My mind is on the new, new material. And so Twyla will listen to a recording and she'll go, "Oh my gosh, he left out two whole minutes." I go, "Yeah, I know." It's an odd thing in my mind, what I'm doing . But the audience probably doesn't know that.

[00:18:39] One time I had to do a show and they were, had a dinner in front of it and they were struggling to get the dinner served. And the lady said, "You know, we've got stuff after you. And, and so we're going to have to go on." And eating and comedy don't work well together. And so, I said, "OK, it's your show." And they're still eating, so they're not listening. And then after they quit eating, I get them back. And there's a 45 minute show, probably. So 20 minutes of it, they're still eating. And so it's struggles, you know, and then the last 25 minutes everything's great. And she comes up to me and she tells me what a great show it was. I go, "Are you kidding me? You have no idea how good this show could have been had they not been eating." You know?

[00:19:22] No, that was just, that's back to me. You know, it's like, you know, it could be a lot better, but back to being paid, you have to do what the person who's paying you. And that's why you're a professional. You know, you have to be able to overcome all of those things that the person who's paying you, the obstacles they throw in front of you... You know, one things I hate to do is take an intermission in a show, because comedy builds on itself, and you have to, it's like starting all over, but I understand that theaters need the revenue from the drinks to survive. And so I'll take an intermission and how I did it was I built a second opening three minutes. So it's like I'm starting all over with a new opening and it work. I don't enjoy it, but the theater and the audience do.

[00:20:11] Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and back to Twyla, because I know that she has always been obviously very supportive of what you do, and I think that's incredible, but I just have to ask: so when you run new material by her, is she like your greatest advocate, and just like laughs because she's so supportive, or is she also your greatest critic and says, "Yeah, that's silly."

[00:20:33] Kent Rader: She's my greatest critic and I mean that... she and Maggie will tell me the truth. Okay. That's what I need. Everything I write is the greatest thing ever written according to my mother, you know, and that feels good. Because your mother should support you that way, but that's not what helps me. Twyla laughs at -- it's funny-- she laughs at very little at what I say. You know, now she'll laugh at a show because she's with the audience. But when she does laugh at something, then I have to keep it in there. Oh, Stephen King wrote a book called "On Writing," and it's about his process of writing. And he said he had an ideal reader, which is his wife, who is a poet and that's who he writes for. And that's who I write for.  I write to make Twyla laugh.

[00:21:22] And if Twyla laughs at it, and Maggie thinks it's good, then I'm good with it. I had a bit about Maggie when she was in high school, and I run everything past my family if it's about them, I run it all past them to ask them if it's okay. 'Cause I wouldn't want to hurt somebody. I wouldn't want to hurt my loved one's feelings for something I've, you know, for a joke. I wrote something about, about Maggie when she was a senior in high school, and she said, "You know, you're fine to do it. It doesn't bother me, but it's not funny." And I thought, "Oh, she's just saying that, you know, she's 18." And so I did it for every night for a month and it tanked every night. And I finally admited to her, "You're right. It isn't funny."

[00:22:05] No, but I wrote something the other day and I wrote up a little piece about this woman that spoke at one of the conventions. And she, she said she believed that every household should have one vote in the election. And her quote was, "In a godly household, the man would have the final say." Which is something I completely disagreed with. And my joke is, "I think her husband ought to tell her to shut up." And I thought, and I thought that was way over the line, okay. I said it to Twyla and she laughed out loud and I had to, and I made a comment. So don't blame me. I, I just thought of it, Twyla's the one who laughed, you know? And so it's her fault that it's here. She's a critic in the good way. And Maggie is as well. But I need that. I need that honesty from them and it comes from a place of, they want the best for me. You know, my son Keith is not critical of me. And I think he was afraid he would hurt my feelings. Now he will, and he would speak up if it was something really, really bad. Maggie will tell me the truth and Twyla will tell me the truth and that's what I need.

[00:23:14]Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah, absolutely. Well, so I'm curious, are there any particular stories that come to mind as far as maybe of your own experience as a comedian, something that happened that comes to mind as being either meaningful or funny or, or whatever? Or from your own perspective of having viewed other art or anything that just like really stands out to you as far as, you know, an interaction with art essentially.

[00:23:40] Kent Rader: Like I said, my wife is an art teacher and, so she, she appreciates visual art much more than I do. And that's what I love about your, I cannot fathom how you write a dance. And be able to visualize that in your head of the movement. And I can't understand, I have no concept of how someone takes a landscape or a picture or an idea of somebody's face and then can put that onto a canvas, but Twyla can. And so she loved Georgia O'Keeffe, and we'd go to New Mexico and they have a Georgia O'Keeffe museum. And one, I remember Georgia O'Keeffe said, let's see... "To create one's own world in the arts takes a lot of courage." And I thought that's what it really took for me was a lot of courage to leave a steady job.

[00:24:32] And I would never have known that had I not been with Twyla and tried to understand the visual arts of painting and pottery. I love the movement of your art, even though if you've seen me perform, I stand there. I don't move, you know? But one of the things that, that I was, I wrote, let's see, I did a thing about... oh, I know... I did a thing about our grandson playing video games. And so when I perform it on stage, I have my head down and I'm put my thumbs together and I'm punching my thumbs, like a kid playing a video game. And so every time I talk, I'm standing there and then every time I'm having Kai talk, I've got my head down, punching a video games and Maggie saw me on TV one time and said, "Where did you learn about anchoring?"

[00:25:29] And I'll go "Anchoring? I don't know anything about anchoring." And she goes, "Oh, that's something that Shakespeare had developed 400 years ago." Was that you? I anchored the character because every time I've got my head down and doing my thumbs, I don't have to say "Kai said this." I just say it because the audience understands why I'm standing there. And so, you know, it's amazing that I came up with an idea that Shakespeare came up with 400 years ago, you know, and she told me all the ways you can anchor. It's through speech or voice or gesture or whatever. And so, I mean, Keith Richards says there's only like 12 songs in the world. Everything else is a offshoot of those 12. And it's amazing though, how we, how we learn sometimes on our own and sometimes from other artists about things. Or the perfection thing I learned quite from, from Twyla talking about that so many artists painters, especially where they've found works after they were dead, that were never finished because their art is never finished.

[00:26:37]Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah. Excellent.

[00:26:39] Kent Rader: I rambled on.

[00:26:42] Lindsey Dinneen: No, no, I love it. And I think that it's interesting because you have a unique background and perspective. And then with having Twyla have bringing in all of her art and then your daughter and son-in-law with their art. And it's just, you've got such a rich atmosphere to work from. And that's really cool.

[00:27:03] Kent Rader: It is. And I think that that when you have artists, when you are around artists, you learn from them and you're encouraged by them as well, and you're supported by them. That's one of the things I loved about last year's Fringe Festival was you guys came and saw me and I went and saw you. And I, I love that, that we were supportive enough of each other. And I don't understand your, I mean, I could never do your art. I, one of the musicians did a thing of all new songs and it was beautiful. And it was a beautiful setting and it was beautiful music. And I thought I couldn't do that if, in a thousand years, but I enjoyed it. And I learned from it, I learned from the process. So yeah.  I think it's important we support each other.

[00:27:52]Lindsey Dinneen: Yes, I absolutely agree. That's something that I've always really appreciated about the Fringe Festival is the atmosphere of we're all in this together and we're just manifesting in different ways essentially. But, I mean, I had a great time. I went to go see Kent and had a great time at his show and then he came to support my show, but we, we all kind of support each other within the community, which is really amazing. And I think that it helps, maybe indirectly, but it helps our own art forms when we can watch and absorb the things that, you know, another artist does so well and you think, "Oh, I wonder how I could utilize that somehow." Or, or for you, maybe you're getting new material because you're watching something, and then that sparks an idea. And, so every little interaction that you have with art can be really impactful in a different way.

[00:28:45] Kent Rader: Right. Well, I'm glad you said that because one of the things that every writer and I think probably, I don't know, I'm sure every comedian--we have thousands of little post-it notes everywhere of ideas, you know? And, and when you go see, I always have a notebook with me and a pen, even when I walk or when I am at a show, because that sparks an idea and you think you'll remember it, but you won't. So write it down. And then come back and use it in your own creation. And I, and that has been important. And a lot of mine is junk. I had a post-it note on my car dashboard. And Twyla saw it the other day and she goes, "What does that mean?" And I thought, "Well, I'm not really sure anymore." It was a great idea when I came up with it. I didn't make it detailed enough, I guess.

[00:29:42] Lindsey Dinneen: Right, right! Oh my word. But yes, I think that happens to all of us. Well, It's funny because I have a personal antidote of being on the receiving end of this. So, last year after Kent came and saw our production, we ended up being able to connect and get together and actually start forming a friendship, and the first, the first day he brought his--was it your program that you had written all over?--or maybe it was a note, but anyway, I was peppered with questions and I loved it because it was so fun to get to share a little bit more about the process and, and just sort of talk to each other about, "Oh yeah! What do you think about this?" And, but yeah, the notebook is real, folks.

[00:30:31] Kent Rader: I'm fascinated with how people write or create, I guess, more importantly. And, and so when I see a show, I was fascinated how you see that. Or do you see, you know, do you see that? Or do you, 'cause I'm so much verbal and all mine is, is in words, but occasionally I will see a movement that I want to do. But not, not an hour, not an hour of total movement of 30 people, so yeah. And how does someone, how does someone come up with that? You know, my brain doesn't work that way.  Thank goodness your brain works that way 'cause it was beautiful.

[00:31:15] Lindsey Dinneen: Right. But my brain doesn't work the same way yours does to create your art. So you know, it's all good.

[00:31:21] Kent Rader: Yeah. But we can appreciate other art as well.

[00:31:27] Lindsey Dinneen: Right, right, exactly. Well, Kent, I have a couple of questions that I always like to ask my guests if you're game for that.   The first is how do you personally define art or what is art to you?

[00:31:40] Kent Rader: Art, art to me is something that you created that is unique to you. And there's a difference in my mind between art and success. Too many people want to be successful, so they recreate something somebody else has created or they mimic something else that somebody else has created. And that isn't art to me. Success, I mean, how do you define success? You know, it's more important that it's unique and that it's personal to me.  And I remember a turning point in my life as an artist was stop making it about your success and make it about bringing joy and happiness to an audience.  That was a huge turning point, but also it had to be so personal and so come from me. I want it to be so much about my life that nobody else could make it theirs, but they could relate to it as well.

[00:32:48]Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah, absolutely. Well, what do you think is the most important role of an artist?

[00:32:54]Kent Rader: I think to bring joy and happiness and a different end, to bring a different perspective, but especially today, we have a lot of difficulty in the world and if we can help someone through that, that's what I think we should be doing.

[00:33:09]Lindsey Dinneen: I wholeheartedly agree. Okay. And then my final question, and I'll define my terms a little bit, but do you think that art should be inclusive or exclusive? And what I mean by that is inclusive meaning that the artist shares a little bit about what inspired the art, whether it's a backstory or a title or program notes or something to give a little bit of context to what they're putting out in the world. Versus exclusive referring to an artist creating something and sharing it with the world, but not providing any background. So it's solely up to the participant or viewer to come up with their own interpretation.

[00:33:57] Kent Rader: Well, I, I would say inclusive. I can see both points of view, because if you were exclusive, you would want that part, you would want to give them what you've created and let it be theirs then. I find great joy in understanding what went into that. And I think that's probably why I peppered you with all these questions.  I wanted to know what went into that. I'm not a big Eric Clapton fan. But I saw a documentary and how he came up with what "Layla," what the song "Layla" meant to him. He was in love and the woman was married and didn't, you know, it's a difficult situation. And once I heard that, I fell in love with the song, "Layla," you know, and when I hear what went into this piece of art, Maggie's working on something that Charles Dickens wrote and a remake of "Great Expectations." And when she told me what Charles Dickens was going through, "Great Expectations" had a whole different meaning to me than what it had when I read it 30 years ago. And so I think for me, I want people to know what went into that. So yeah, definitely inclusive for me, but I can see both sides of both viewpoints.

[00:35:20] Lindsey Dinneen: Yes. Yeah. And I love asking all these questions, because like art, it's all subjective and it it's completely up to the person, you know? And I think that's such a valuable thing about art is that there's lots of avenues to enjoy it. 

[00:35:34] Kent Rader: Right. Yeah, without a doubt.

[00:35:38] Lindsey Dinneen: Well, we don't all have to agree, you know, that's okay.

[00:35:41] Kent Rader: If we all agreed, what good is art?

[00:35:44]Lindsey Dinneen:  There you go. I once heard that-- and I'm going to blank on his name, but he's an author--and he said that if he doesn't get at least 10% bad reviews of the works that he creates, he feels like he's not been true to himself because if you're everything to everybody, then that's not being honest with who you are. And I really love that.

[00:36:04] Kent Rader: Right. You know, I have people come to the show, don't enjoymy shows, and that's okay because I'm not for everybody.  Yeah, there are comedians that I don't enjoy, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be artists and they shouldn't be comedians.

[00:36:19] Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah, well, Kent, first of all, thank you so very much for joining me and for being on the podcast. I really appreciate your time. I would love, you know, if people could connect with you or see some of your work. I know you have lots of avenues for that. Are there some good ways for any of our listeners to connect with you?

[00:36:39] Kent Rader: Yeah, the best way is probably through my website, kentraderspeaks.com. And I do a daily thing on Amazon called "Laughter Matters," which is just a one to two minute piece on something funny that hopefully bring everybody a laugh and so you can look it up on Amazon, on their Daily Flash Briefing. It's called "Laughter Matters." So both of those are great ways. And then, if you go to kentraderspeaks.com, when we get back to performing live, we'll have dates on there as well.

[00:37:06]Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah, absolutely. And you have some clips and things like that too on your website?

[00:37:11] Kent Rader: There are, they're on the website. And there's a YouTube channel Comedian Kent Rader that you can see them as well.

[00:37:16]Lindsey Dinneen: Excellent. Well, thank you again so much, and thank you for being brave and for having taken that big leap of faith, back in the day, so to speak and, and then continuing to  hone and craft your art. I think that you do bring your audiences a lot of joy. I'm privileged to have seen, I think a couple shows now, but I just really appreciate you. And, so, so thank you. Thank you for sharing art with the world.

[00:37:43] Kent Rader: Thank you. And the other thing about art is it takes awhile. Don't give up on it. You know, I mean it takes years and that's okay. No matter how long it takes us to do it, it's good. But thank you. Thank you for having me. Like I said, you're always a joy to be around.

[00:37:59] Lindsey Dinneen: Thanks! Well, and folks, thank you so much for listening too, and if you have a story to share with us, we'd love to hear that, but also, just if you are as inspired as I am after listening to this episode, I'd love if you'd share with a friend or two and we will catch you next time.

[00:38:22] If you have a story to share with us, we would love that so much. And I hope your day has been Artfully Told.

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