“All the stories start in truth, but I wanted to make sure they ended in good ways.”
How did the writers’ strike get Keith Knight to finish his long-awaited graphic memoir, I WAS A TEENAGE MICHAEL JACKSON IMPERSONATOR (Keith Knight Press)? Find out in our conversation at SPX about his wonderful new book, which chronicles Keith’s 18-month stint as an MJ impersonator in the mid-’80s! We get into how he found himself by being someone else, what he learned about audiences and the business of entertainment, the role music has played in his life, his favorite MJ song, why Off The Wall is better than Thriller, and how Janet Jackson was the lucky one, all things considered. We also talk about Keith’s experience writing and producing two seasons of WOKE on Hulu (sadly cancelled), how he got involved in every aspect of making that show, what he learned about storytelling in the writers’ room, and what he wants to bring to his next TV project. Plus we discuss why comics are the ultimate DIY art form, the differing modes of audience-artist interaction from comics to TV to slideshow lectures to MJ performances, how deadlines can be your friend, why Stevie Wonder may have the best three-album run of anyone in music history, and a LOT more. Give it a listen! And go read I Was A Teenage Michael Jackson Impersonator and watch WOKE!
“The first season of Woke cost something like $26 million and it’s based on something that cost $1.26 to make: a pen and a piece of paper.”
“Music opens up your world just like a book opens up your world. . . . Music made me travel to places when I couldn’t afford to physically travel to places.”
“In no way, shape or form should learning about this stuff make someone feel awkward or guilty. If anything, it should be empowering to know the truth. Knowing the history of this country can help us not do the same thing over and over again.”
“It’s nice to get the likes & the reposts, but I’m a people-person, and maybe being a cartoonist isn’t the best gig for someone who likes people.”
About our Guest
Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at the Bethesda North Marriott on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 microphones feeding into a Zoom PodTrak P4 digital recorder & interface. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Zoom PodTrak P4. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of Keith by someone else; double-selfie by me. It’s on my instagram.