Former KSN anchor Justin Kraemer telling his story on stage

Former KSN anchor Justin Kraemer, famous for being fired after an accidental on-air expletive, will headline a comedy show in Wichita next week.
Former KSN anchor Justin Kraemer, famous for being fired after an accidental on-air expletive, will headline a comedy show in Wichita next week. The Wichita Eagle

A year after an accidental on-air expletive caused former KSN anchor Justin Kraemer to lose his job at the station – but gain national notoriety – he’s still unemployed.

But he’ll have a job for at least one night this month when he headlines a show at the Live at 215 Performance Theatre titled “Anecdote: Real People, Real Stories.” The show, scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday , will feature several local personalities sharing stories from their lives.

And Kraemer, who just returned to Wichita after spending five months in Los Angeles and one in Houston, said he’s accumulated plenty of stories of late.

“I definitely have half an hour of good stories in me explaining the last year,” he said. “It’ll be funny, or at the very least a cautionary tale.”

It was almost exactly a year ago when Kraemer, then a weekend anchor at KSN, was wrapping up the Saturday-night newscast. As the credits rolled, Kraemer could be heard muttering to his co-anchors, “Let’s get the (expletive) out of here.”

The following Monday, Kraemer, who had worked at the station since 2008, was fired. But the clip of his utterance had already gone viral, getting more than 1 million views on YouTube. The incident was written about on national websites and joked about on late night television.

The following week, a television station in Colorado Springs that had been looking to hire Kraemer backed off. The following month, Kraemer and some friends produced a four-minute video in which he reenacted some scenes from the 2004 film “Anchorman,” starring Will Ferrell as a news anchor who famously signs off with the same expletive then goes on a downward spiral after being fired. That video, which featured the voice of Kansas native Bill Kurtis, also went viral.

After that, things quieted down. Kraemer was unable to find a job and decided to move to Los Angeles to see if he could make a comedy career. He raised about $1,000 through a Go Fund Me campaign and in July left Wichita for California.

But Los Angeles was not for him.

“I had some ideas as far as possibly trying something with the entertainment industry. I wanted to look around and find a real job while I was out there,” he said. “But as it turns out, I wasn’t the first person that’s come up with this idea. That’s a tough town. I couldn’t even get a job delivering pizza.”

Burned out by traffic, congestion and frustration, Kraemer returned to Wichita and was asked by local comedian and producer Ronald Shively, also known as Mr. Biggs, to participate in the anecdote show at the venue.

In August, Shively had organized a similar show starring former Kansas Attorney General Vern Miller and liked how it went.

“It’s just real people telling real stories about their lives,” he said. “I think it’s an interesting story when you see someone who accidentally falls down like that. You wonder what happens after that.”

Kraemer wonders, too, he said.

He’s been frustrated many times in the past year but still is hopeful everything will work out for the best.

“Overall, I’m still really optimistic about what’s going to happen next,” he said. “I still believe that good things are going to come out of all this. Life all about experiences. This was a fascinating experience. I’ve been on this ride enough, though. You’d kind of like to be off it at some point.”

If You Go

Anecdotes: Real People, Real Stories

What: A show featuring real stories from former KSN anchor Justin Kraemer, improv actor Andrew Bennett and local comedian Chris Winslow

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Live at 215 Performance Theatre, 215 N. St. Francis

Tickets: $10, available at the door or at www.loonybincomedy.com or by calling 316-618-4242

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