“If you google Keisha and Andrew you will hear us overshare our lives,” Keisha Zollar says. She and her husband Andrew Kimler are a comedy power couple: Zollar writes for Comedy Central’s The Opposition and Kimler has a long performance resume in the New York comedy scene.
Together they host “Applying it Liberally,” a weekly podcast that takes a deep dive into a single sociopolitical topic per episode with humor and debate. This week they taped live at the New York City Podcast Festival.
“There is a lot to be said about taking one major topic and getting into it,” Kimler explains, because of today’s hectic news cycle. “We don’t really see this in the news.” Each episode recaps topical issues in a sketch, then goes into an in-depth round table with a mix of comedians, experts and friends.
The topics have covered a wide range: Puerto Rico, guns, Day Zero in South Africa. As Kimler explained, “We look at the news, not the stories that are trending for the week but themes in the news and try to dig deep.” The topics also depend on the guests.
The podcast is a labor of love for the couple in every sense: “We love working together, and we both are politically-minded, and that’s probably why we have kept this going through some of the toughest years of, not our marriage, but our lives,” Zollar explains.
The idea came to them after they appeared in a documentary series together. “Our episode was so popular they had us come back year in and year out,” Kimler noted.
The impressive thing about “Applying it Liberally” is the way Zollar and Kimler take a topic, often as seemingly uncontroversial as taxes, and consider nuanced arguments and views on it. “We tried early on to get away from black and white,” Zollar says, “to define the nuances of (the) liberal argument, away from talking points.”
The guests are not all liberals, and the couple often disagree with each other as well. “Andrew and I are not a monolith,” explained Zollar.
During the interview, Kimler mentioned that with all the misinformation the Trump era has brought, a podcast like this has changed from “something important to something necessary.” Zollar quickly added she was hesitant “to call anything I do important.” She added, “I am more nihilistic than Andrew… [that’s why I love] celebrating the fact that as a married couple we can disagree.”
And maybe being a married couple is part of the magic. Unprompted, Zollar mentioned not only trying to get pregnant within the next year but how she loved that Kimler doesn’t mind often being the only straight white male in spaces like podcast tapings. Similarly, Kimler said of Zollar, “What’s not to love? One of the smartest and quickest comedians I’ve ever met.”
The couple has been together almost seven years, and the podcast itself started about two years ago. Kimler mentioned that when they started the show, they believed Hillary Clinton would win the election. But the podcast almost makes more sense as a product of the Trump era: their image and their mission feel energizing in a time when politics can be exhausting to think about.
Zollar explained that what makes her a liberal is her “stance on human rights and safety for humans… even (the) ones I disagree with.” Kimler quickly added, “Weird that that’s become a liberal point.”
Their website, which has every episode available, https://www.ailpodcast.