Comedian Robert Kelly speaks fondly of Western New York and the surrounding area, even after some of his experiences here were less than positive. “I have been to Buffalo a bunch of times. I did some weird shows at the Riviera Theatre. The crowds were great, and Buffalo has really hot women,” Kelly said.
Originally from Boston, he moved to Spencerport, just outside of Rochester, when he was 16. “I moved there to work on a farm, but spent most of my time drinking and listening to Kool & the Gang,” said Kelly, who will appear at the Helium Comedy Club on Friday and Saturday.
In and out of juvenile hall in Boston, Kelly found himself in the Spencerport juvenile hall as well. “That was my last time in juvenile hall. It was a rough place. Everyone looked like Mike Tyson to me,” he said.
After that he returned to Boston and starting pursuing stand-up comedy at the same time as his current stand-up pals Dane Cook, Bill Burr and Gary Gulman.
“I was in a lot of pain. It felt like my knee was going to fall off, but we acted like animals on that tour. Someone was bound to get hurt. Unfortunately it was me. It was crazy. Dane fractured his ribs later in the tour.”
Besides learning how to perform on crutches, Kelly said he picked up other valuable lessons touring with Cook, who was at the peak of his fame at the time. “I learned to appreciate the fans. The meet-and-greets after the show lasted as long as the shows,” Kelly said.
“I should mention that I’m exhausted. I only had three hours sleep, ” Kelly added. “My wife and I just had a baby three weeks ago.”
He isn’t going to catch up on his sleep anytime soon. Kelly’s show, “Men vs. Food,” debuted on the Travel channel recently. It’s a mixture of comedy, food and travel, that features him and co-host Sherrod Small traveling to different cities and challenging each other to a series of meals every episode. The first show was set in Miami.
He shot a pilot for the FX network with comedian Godfrey called “Bronx Warrants.” They play a pair of warrant detectives in the Bronx who are assigned to arrest people with outstanding warrants. “I’m still waiting to hear if it was picked up. We shot it in four and a half days. It was pretty fast, but fun.”
Kelly also starred on the popular FX show “Louie,” with Louis C.K., where he played his brother. “It’s an awesome experience. Louis tells you what he wants for a scene, you get a clean take and then he you lets you play around,” Kelly said.
He is also working on his first hourlong special to be taped at the end of the summer and his album, “Just the Tip,” was iTunes Comedy Album of the Year in 2008.