Jared Kassebaum was in the middle of his Intro to Quantum Physics class at Purdue University when he decided he wanted a career where he could make people laugh.
The Lawrence native now lives in Los Angeles and has a stand-up comedy special called “The Better Jared,” set for release Oct. 4 on YouTube and other audio platforms.
Kassebaum said he taped the special at White Rabbit in Fountain Square with an all-Hoosier crew. It was a back-to-his-roots experience for Kassebaum, who was born in Indianapolis and lived in Lawrence his entire life until leaving for college in 2013.
“I went to Indian Creek Elementary, Fall Creek Valley Middle School and Lawrence North (High School),” he said. “Sundae’s Ice Cream on 79th and Fall Creek was the spot for ice cream in town, and still is.”
Kassebaum said he started performing comedy during his last couple of years at Purdue.
“I had always enjoyed comedy growing up, but it wasn’t until a close friend passed away during my college years that I ever felt like I could actually try it,” he said. “(I) wanted to try to make people laugh and add a drop of beauty to the world, especially after my own season of depression after my friend’s passing. Live comedy is a way to give people a sense of belonging in the audience and it’s the most fun gift I can give someone.”
When asked about the journey toward becoming a stand-up comedian, Kassebaum responded in typical comedian style.
“The journey has been easy-breezy,” he said. “No self-doubt, no crippling fear of the unknown. No months of wondering why in the world I moved across the country five years ago only to be a barista or a bookseller or a PA or live in a house with 10 guys and five bedrooms. No setbacks whatsoever. I’ve never once felt like the one skill I’ve really nurtured in my life might be more and more obsolete as the world seems to crumble around us.”
Kassebaum said the opportunity for his YouTube special came from a conversation wit Ghost Runner Records, an indie comedy record label, about creating an album.
“I realized that if I’m going to put all this work touring and crafting the best version of all my jokes possible to put on an album, I might as well put up some really nice cameras and pitch it around as a special as well,” he said. “In this new world of social media, video really is the king. Most of this has been independently produced and, in many ways, a big bet on myself, but I’m excited for the avenues it’s being released through and to see the new opportunities come from it.”
For more, visit jaredkassebaum.com.