Interview: Traci Skene and Brian McKim

Double your pleasure
By SARA FAITH ALTERMAN  |  April 19, 2009

Shecky-double-comedy-main 

For the past 10 years, comedians (and married couple) Brian McKim and Traci Skene have cultivated a unique online niche for their comedy Web site SHECKYmagazine.com. A forum for both sharp, funny content and for erudite dissection of the craft and business of comedy, SHECKYmagazine is widely regarded – by comedians, industry folk, comedy fans, and various combinations of these things – as an authority on making and selling "the funny," as well as a sweeping resource for comedy-related news in general. McKim and Skene come to Mottley's Comedy Club (just named Best Comedy Night by our readers) this weekend.

I had assumed that you'd met on the stand-up circuit, but Traci's MySpace page says, "I've been doing stand-up since I was 19. I've been doing my husband since I was 18." Have you really been together since before you were comedians? What's it like to grow a relationship while it's also presumably fodder for material?
MCKIM: We met in 1984, when Traci was 18, and she started doing stand-up a year later. I'd only been doing comedy since '81. Our relationship is kind of fodder for material, but not really. We don't reveal anything about ourselves on stage. We're very old-school in that regard. I trash her at the end of my set, and she trashes a 'husband', but she refers to me obliquely. But it has been interesting. It's made the road much easier. The road can be horrific if you're traveling by yourself.

So what is the best, and, conversely, the most difficult part about working and touring together?
MCKIM: I think the best part would be that you can relate to each other. I would think it'd be very hard to relate to a comedian if you're not one yourself. I'm assuming that a comedian who marries a non-comedian has a rough go of it. Not that stand-up is so horrible. And I don't think we're unique in that regard. I think it would also be the same for a brain surgeon or a cab driver.

SKENE: The hardest part for me, and this doesn't apply to him, is that, when we tour, I go onstage before him, and then I have to worry about not just my set but his set. So, if it's a rough crowd, I start to feel bad for him because I know that he has to go on next. But then he feels badly for me. It's double the stress.

For stand-up, our writing process is individual. We write everything else together, but when it comes to our stand-up, it's separate. Each of us has one or two jokes that we've collaborated on, but for the most part we like to keep [our joke writing] separate.

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