Kristine Knowlton (website here) is a New Jersey-based comedian, actress/director/producer, professional cosplayer, and artist. She’s on R-rated Twitch three nights (10 PM EST) a week at Kat Box Comedy: Mondays, where she plays video pinball and makes ball jokes concurrently, Wednesdays for Solo Improv Comedy Night, and Saturdays, where she watches RiffTrax riffers riffing on old cartoons. Fun fact: her film, “M” is for Maleficent, has better ratings than Angelina Jolie’s version.
Below, we made her answer five short questions.
You’re a hustler (in terms of your hobbies/income generation). What do you like about that? What would you improve about that lifestyle?
I love being creative. As you may have guessed, I have extreme ADHD, so I have many hobbies and ways of generating income. I’m fortunate that almost everything - from being an actor to a comedian to an artist to a cosplayer - has generated an income. They also continue to pay in their own ways. Take, for example, my latest big accomplishment of becoming a Twitch Affiliate. This allows me to not to just game, but also bring my comedy, characters, music and improv skills to the table. Now that I’m an affiliate, I profit when people subscribe to my Twitch Channel, Kat Box Comedy, and can also make tips.
Is it anything to live off of? Not at this point, because you have to work really hard to be very profitable. I am on the path though. I love it, because I get to be creative whenever I want, and I don’t even have to leave the house.
In terms of what I would improve, I need to be more on a schedule. There’s so much more than just going online and live streaming - it takes a lot more to be successful. Anything in the creative field is so competitive, and I’m not a young chicken - don’t let the videos with cat ears fool you - so I’ve got to be different and speak from my experiences. There’s always room for improvement.
Another thing I would improve is that I live in a dead zone for comedy. For me to get to actual venues like NYC, it’s six hours round trip, and can become very costly. I’m not going to let this stop me, though; I’m going to continue to reach for my goals. A couple friends have asked me to team up and get more open mics and shows our way. I’m not the only comedian in my area, so we all just have to work together.
I’m now hoping that, through all my online shows and improv, a character can fully evolve and I can take it on the road. I feel like I’m breaking the mold somewhere and will crack it soon. One thing I have going is that I’ve been a cosplayer or artist everywhere, so I have connections and can now be at conventions under my own name, Kristine Knowlton, as opposed to my cosplay name, Carter Cosplay. The two can be combined, and I’m fine with that.
How does one get into the world of professional cosplaying?
Be yourself. Put on a costume and have fun. Go to lots of events and comic cons.
I just got some great photos done - mostly by Howie Levy of HSL Photography - and contacted local comic cons, presented myself as a cosplayer, and got invited to panels where I get to talked about how to get into cosplay, cosplay positivity, and body positivity with my great friend and sister, Lady J Cosplay. It snowballed from there.
Never be afraid to take a chance. Anyone can be a cosplayer - Never let body image or money stop you. It’s literally putting on a costume and having fun. That’s all there is too it.
What fashion trend would you bring back?
Anything from the 1920’s through the 1950s. I love vintage. The hairstyles and makeup are amazing! Besame cosmetics are the best! They’re the company that created Agent Carter’s red lipstick - Red Velvet, to be exact. All of their makeup is all-natural, and I love Gabby, the creator, and makeup expert of Besame Cosmetics. (I got to be on a panel with her as well as the amazing Agent Carter Cosplayers at the San Diego Comic Con a few years ago. She is very nice and I’m glad I got to meet her in person.)
A lot of my cosplay dresses I’ve made myself. It is hard being a plus size girl in a vintage world, and thank goodness for clothing patterns and sewing machines. Once in a blue moon, I do find things off the rack, but not too often.
How did you come up with your best joke?
It was the very first closing joke I came up with, and it was a hit: “Do you want to know why I do standup comedy? Because when I did it laying down, they called it prostitution!” Oddly, it’s my go-to joke when someone finds out that I’m a comedian and says, “Tell me a joke.”
That one joke got me booked on many shows. It literally just slipped out of my mouth, and still works today.
Describe your comedy writing process.
Is this like processing dairy, because this won’t end well (j/k).
I’m weird and I don’t really have a process. I call it living life. I’m glad I grew up in the time period where there was no internet or cell phones; I think I was 20 when I got my first one.
I had a crazy youth. I basically attended my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting before the age of three. (My dad liked to put beer in my baby bottle, and we knew I had a problem when I toddled my way to the fridge, grabbed a beer and popped the top. Still waiting to be sponsored by Budweiser - ha! Don’t worry, it only stunted my growth for two years.) I stole a snowplow with my older cousin Kim before the age of eight. I had my first cigarette around 10 years old… Really, it’s a wonder that I remember my childhood.
All that living gave me material for at least a decade, and more just keeps coming. I’m inspired by everything and everyone around me.
Photography: HSL Photography (first photo)