“I can find the humor in almost everything,” says Adrian Kulp, to which his popular blog, Dad or Alive, is consistently testament. After years as an executive in the Hollywood comedy world (Kulp has worked closely with Adam Sandler, Chelsea Handler, and countless others), his family’s move to Washington D.C. prompted a sea of change—regarding his career, his schedule, and of course, his comic fodder. In eager anticipation of his 2013 memoir, which chronicles his first year of stay-at-home fatherhood, we talked to Kulp about his life as a comedian, a writer, and a decidedly non-expert dad. —Lucie Alig
What inspired you to start Dad or Alive?
After transitioning from a full-time executive to stay-at-home parent, I needed to find a way to break through some of my frustration. I started the blog purely as a creative outlet, and a way to decompress at the end of the day. In the end, this blog helped me from self-destructing.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background in comedy?
I left college at 21 and took a one-way train from rural Pennsylvania to Los Angeles. I wasn’t even really looking for a job in entertainment, let alone comedy. But I landed a job as an assistant at a talent agency in Beverly Hills and worked my way up to being a junior agent. I was booking comedians at venues across the country, and spent four or five hours a night in the dark corners of Laugh Factory, Melrose Improv, and Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard. I started working for Adam Sandler as an executive at Happy Madison, and was there for almost eight years before leaving to become VP of Chelsea Handler’s Borderline Amazing Productions. Comedy has been really good to me.
As a creative topic, is fatherhood easier or harder to write about than other things?
I would have to say easier. Almost everything I’ve written thus far has been comedic in nature and parenting (specifically, being a stay-at-home parent) has been absolutely ripe with material. Before I started the blog, my wife and I had a serious discussion about privacy, or a lack thereof. Most everything in our lives is fair game for the blog, and we’re both comfortable with that. There’s nothing better than being able to read someone’s slice-of-life and relating to it, or even respectfully disagreeing with it.
In addition to slice-of-life entertainment, do you consider your blog to be a resource for parents?
I’ll never claim to be an expert at parenting; in fact, I take pride in calling myself a non-expert. Things that work for some don’t work for others. I often find myself wondering if what I’m doing is right and finding comfort with the occasional mass approval. However, with fewer dads than moms occupying the blogosphere, you always run the risk of having your perspective criticized and suffering social media assaults from the gang mentality. That sounds ridiculous, but I’ve seen it happen.
What have been some of the challenges and upsides of being a stay-at-home dad?
After 14 years in L.A., I moved with my family to just outside D.C. It’s been tough; I don’t get to meet many new people, as I’m home all day with Ava (almost 3) and Charlie (1) and spend my nights behind the keyboard. More times than not, it’s also a challenge to mingle and find acceptance with the other moms. But the upsides are that I get the amazing opportunity to spend this time with my kids. I’m watching them walk, talk, and develop a personality right before my eyes. This is time I can never get back and I think I’m a pretty lucky dude.
Lastly, do your kids think you’re funny?
I hope so. I’m still a kid at heart and I go out of my way to be silly anytime I can. Making people laugh is something I enjoy…even if my audience is just a couple of toddlers.