Hangin’ with Kirby Heyborne
The world became a far, far brighter place on October 8th, 1976, when Kirby decided to be born and grace the world with an insane amount of joy. Known in the acting community to be the lovable and hilarious straight man, Kirby has been able to share his immense talents with the world in movies like Singles Ward, The RM, The Best Two Years, and Saints and Soldiers. He has also been a part of many an improv troupe and has read over 1,000 audio books. He has made audiobooks cool again! Currently, he’s on the BYUtv show Making Good, where he is able to shine light onto organizations that are doing a tremendous amount of good in the world. But most importantly, other than his Heavenly Father, his family brings him the greatest source of joy. We chatted about remaining joyful in an industry that has so many ups and downs. We also chatted about the importance of finding and staying true to your authentic self and to not let anyone dissuade you from who you really are. Fantastic convos. Enjoy!
Known by many of his co-workers as a bright, hilarious, and lovable man, Kirby Heyborne is a rare human being that you don’t often come by. Kirby has many talents and has offered them to the world in a generous and unconditional way, changing the lives of everyone he meets. But who is this charitable and open-handed man that is Kirby Heyborne? Below you’ll find a brief insight into the life of a victorious and generous individual.
Where Is Kirby From?
Kirby grew up in the small town of Sandy, Utah, and graduated from Alta High School in 1995. His leadership skills were apparent from the start, seeing as he acted as the student body present in his senior year. After high school, he attended the University of Utah and graduated with a degree in economics, showing his resilience and ability to see things through to the very end. Kirby is also a proud member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving a mission for his church in the Dominican Republic while in college.
Family and Work
One of the most noteworthy aspects of Kirby’s character is his devotion to his family. Throughout Kirby’s life, his rise to fame and fortune always took a backseat to his family, which consists of his wife and three children. Kirby has always been adamant about the importance of family and his devotion to them, saying that it is the most important thing in his life. In regards to his professional life, Kirby has led an outstanding career, even from a young age. From writing his first song at the age of 12, then teaching himself to play the guitar, and afterward performing anywhere and everywhere he could — he brought joy and music to the world from his earliest days. Kirby also starred in a variety of very successful films, like Saints and Soldiers, which won an Independent Spirit Award and The Best Two Years, Sons of Provo, Midway to Heaven, Pirates of the Great Salt Lake, along with countless other prestigious projects.
Aside from the films, Kirby has appeared in numerous commercial campaigns and has also delved into the writing industry, narrating a wide range of audiobooks that have received much praise from critics — titles include Gone Girl, All the Bright Places, and Cloud Atlas. This man of many talents even had much success with co-founding a trendy improv comedy group named The Society that has sold out theaters all over the country.
Kirby is a family man at heart, which clearly shows in his loyalty towards his wife and three children. Kirby also likes to use his many talents, like acting, writing, singing, songwriting, and comedy, to entertain and care for the world. He also likes to be active during his free time, participating in sports like biking, hiking, swimming, and water-skiing. But along with all the outdoor activities, his favorite activity of all is cooking and baking with his wife and children.
Kirby also likes to make people laugh, which is a beautiful attribute of his already sunny personality. He even has a comedy channel named kerBLINK which aims to entertain people in a comedic way with funny clips, videos, and songs. Countless fans have attested to Kirby’s generosity and caring side, saying that he actually cares about people and always takes the time to talk to each and every person who goes to see his performances. For many Latter-day Saint households, Kirby Heyborne is a household name, and many admire his contributions to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over the years, as well as his moving and sincere films.
Although there may have been some controversy over the years over one or two career choices Kirby has made, one being a cigarette he smoked in the film Saints and Soldiers and the other a Miller Lite beer commercial he did a few years ago. Kirby has stood firm in his beliefs and opinions about why he made the choices he made. He said that although some people may feel disappointed with him, he believes that his intentions were pure of heart and that all the experiences thus far have made him a better disciple of Christ.
In the end, Kirby is a giver at heart — someone who always has an open hand, ready to give to the world whatever it needs. And once you have read about everything he has done for the people around him, you cannot help but wonder what the world would be like if more people had a soft and gentle nature, as well as a generous and loving soul, like Kirby Heyborne.
Kirby Heyborne Podcast Transcription
Charan: What’s going on, guys? This is Charan Prabhakar with the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast, and I am here, oh my gosh, with a dear, dear friend of mine, Mr. Kirby Heyborne, who is a legend. He truly is a legend and in the circles of, gosh, Provo and … I’m just kidding. In-
Kirby: Maybe even Orem, who knows?
Charan: Maybe even Orem, who knows? No, Kirby has been an actor out in … he started his career in Utah and then he moved to LA for a long while, but his films have really made waves and they really have. I mean, the projects that I’ve seen you in have done really, really well in our circles, but in the community that we were raised in, it’s fun to have something to latch onto, something to say “Hey, I can resonate with that. That brings me hope.” In those circles, Kirby, your career has just shined and if you are LDS or happen to have heard of movies like Singles Ward or RM, Best Two Years, Kirby stars in those films, and he has not just a great role but a great thing for a role model that people can connect with. It’s awesome.
Charan: It’s also cool because you moved to LA and you built a career out there. You did a lot of great commercials and I believe you were in … oh my gosh … Larry, Curly and Moe. What is that? [crosstalk 00:03:01]-
Kirby: It’s Three Stooges [crosstalk 00:03:01]-
Charan: … Three Stooges. Yeah, that’s right. You were in that film, as well. Did a lot of great stuff there, but what people don’t really know is, because you do all these movies and things, and people are like “Well, what is Kirby like off-set,” and all that jazz, but we really connected right after your comedy show in California. You were so good at doing improv, but then we went and we had ice cream, I remember. We were kind of reminiscing about that, a little bit.
Charan: We chatted about life, just life, and it was like the industry was kind of over, because I was in the film industry as well, and my path was different than yours but, as we were chatting about life, I realized, oh my gosh, our lives, the way we view life and the way we view the things that are important to us are very, very similar. That really spoke to me, and I realized you are just a really good family man, full of hope, and just want to do good in the world, in whatever you do.
Charan: At the time, you were telling me “Yeah, Charan. My career right now … I’m also doing a lot of the audiobooks and I’m also … just whatever I can do to help my family out.” Family always came first, and it was so good to hear that, because in the circles of filmmaking and stuff, if people don’t know who you are, they’re like “Oh, well, we think Kirby’s like this or like that,” but it was so cool to connect with you and be like “Oh, this is Kirby,” and it was so great to hear your story.
Kirby Heyborne Talks About Becoming an Actor
Charan: Anyway, I kind of want to take a little trip down memory lane and hear a little bit about how you even became an actor to begin with, and what was that whole process like? Because you graduated high school, I believe, in ’95, right?
Charan: Were you doing film before, or-
Kirby: No. I was doing … When people come to me and they say “Hey, how can my kid get involved in movies, commercials and TV, and be a part of the entertainment world,” I say, because it’s only the experience that I have, “Do plays in middle school. Do plays in high school. Do community theater. Cut your teeth on that, and then see if you really want to do it.” That’s what I was doing. My advice to people, and I know you didn’t ask for advice, but I’m going to give it anyway-
Charan: … I want it.
Kirby: … Don’t be an actor. There you go.
Charan: That’s good advice.
Kirby: It’s hard, man, and you know it. It’s one of the hardest things. It’s rejection after rejection, little success, rejection. You’ve got to have the stomach for it and, if you don’t, I think that’s why people turn to different lifestyles, because they feel like they are failing at something, when, in actuality, I don’t feel like I’m any more talented than the guy next door or the guy sitting next to me on the casting bench. It’s just you’ve got to be in the right place at the right time, and that’s such a cliché, but that’s really how it is. You just have to be happy with yourself, and then move on. So, to answer your question, I …
Charan: Well, you know what? We’re going to circle back to that, what you just said: be happy with yourself, and then go. We will go back to that point, because I think that’s a very important thing for people to know, but keep telling me your story.
Kirby: That’s the whole basis, I think, and I feel like that’s how I’ve been able to find success because I was happy with myself, happy with my family, and then I tried to pursue the acting because no matter what happened, I always had … In the beginning, it was just my two little babies and my wife that I’d come home to who, no matter if I was too short, too tall, too fat, whatever for the role, or a lot of times, just way too good-looking, I [crosstalk 00:06:54]-
Kirby: … got that so much. It’s just so-
Charan: It’s hard.
Kirby: … Did you get that?
Charan: No, I don’t. I never have. Tell me what that feels like.
Kirby: To come home and I’m dad and I’m husband, you just leave all of those troubles outside, and I’m not trying to find my identity. I’m not identifying myself as an actor but as a husband and father. The joy was just exponential. Then, when you start finding success, you realize that yeah, that’s great that I’m able to provide for my family, but really, this joy is in this family we have.
Charan: Is in this family.
Kirby: After I graduated from college, I got a role up in Park City. I thought I was going to be a musician. I had a full-time gig as a band. We were playing around locally, then even down into … I think we did Arizona once. Big-time.
Charan: Dude, that’s huge.
Kirby: Our peak was during the 2002 Olympics. We played all over the Olympics, and I think the peak for me was, we did the medals plaza and we opened for NSYNC, which was Justin Timberlake before he was Justin Timberlake.
Charan: Come on.
Kirby: I was like “This is it. This is what I’m going to be doing.”
Charan: This is it.
Kirby: But my career kind of took a side route, in that I did a play up in Park City with my band. They needed-
Charan: You loved plays and acting and stuff.
Kirby: … I had done plays in middle school and high school and loved it. My wife did plays, too, and there’s one story: when we were in … I think it was ninth grade. We were doing a play and everybody was on stage rehearsing. For some reason, my character and my future wife’s character … How old are you? 40-ish?
Kirby: We’re backstage, nobody else is backstage, and I go up to her. At the time, I was quite full of myself and I said, “So, what would you do if I tried to kiss you?” She looked at me, busted up laughing, and walked off, and [inaudible 00:09:11] So, we didn’t kiss, not until we were married. That’s the first time we kissed.
Kirby: Anyway, I did the play up in Park City. They needed somebody who could play a guitar, act and sing, which check, check, check. I can do all of those. Not very well, but I can do all three.
Charan: But you do them. Fantastic.
Kirby: I did that, then some of the people in the play, some of the older people, experienced people who had agents here, and it was just so cool. They said, “Hey, do you have an agent? You should meet with my agent.” Then, it’s “Oh!” All the glamor and the sexiness of being an actor and [crosstalk 00:09:49] you have an agent. I went, I auditioned for an agency, they liked me, and I did an Idaho Lottery commercial.
Kirby: It’s so funny, because that was the summer that I landed the gig in Singles Ward, and the dance that I did in the Idaho Lottery commercial, I did the Running Man, was the thing that later Kurt Hale told me booked me Singles Ward.
Charan: Oh my gosh.
Kirby: I’m a one-trick pony. That one dance move-
Charan: But that trick works really well, man.
Kirby: … It does. Then, from there, I got to be good friends with the guys at Halestorm and I thought, “Hey, I think I want to do this,” so I kind of put the band aside. During all this, I was working full-time at Zion’s Bank, trying to support-
Charan: The family.
Kirby: … the family, yeah. Then, Singles Ward happened, we had our son, and then they told me “Hey, there’s a role that we would love … the starring role in The RM. Are you interested?” I’m like “Oh, yes.”
Charan: “Yes, of course.” [crosstalk 00:10:56]
Kirby: “Yes, please. What do I need to do?” Every day after they told me that, I’m just nervous. Did they forget about me? “Hey guys, just checking in!” “No, we’ll take care of it. We’re going to do it.” In order to do that role, I had to quit-
Charan: Zion’s Bank.
Kirby: … my financial job.
Kirby: My wife and I had agreed that, once we had kids, we wanted her to stay home and be available for the kids, so we went from a two-income family to a one-income and LDS films back in the day-
Charan: I was going to say-
Kirby: … you’re making a hundred bucks.
Charan: … A one-actor income family.
Kirby: One-actor income family, and very niche actor income family.
Kirby: Doing The RM, maybe I made, like, a thousand bucks. Maybe two thousand. That’s not a lot of money-
Charan: No, it’s not.
Kirby: … to support a family, but we did it. We just took that leap of faith and we did it. Then, from that, Best Two Years came along and then Saints and Soldiers came along. Then, I met Corbin Michael Allred. Out of respect, you always have to say his middle name.
Charan: I don’t respect him.
Kirby: Just to respect him.
Charan: I haven’t. I have never-
Kirby: You don’t?
Charan: … I don’t. I’ve never said his middle name before.
Kirby: I met Corbin Michael Allred and he said, “Dude, you’ve got to get to LA. That’s where the next step is.” Then-
Charan: So Corbin told you to do that?
Kirby: … Yeah, which was amazing, because Corbin has this huge body of work. He’s a working actor in Los Angeles, so to have him say that, I was like “Oh, sweet. Cool. I think I better do this.” For a year, I commuted to LA. I would leave my wife and my baby boy on Sunday night. I would cry all the way as I drove to LA. I would stay there through Thursday or Friday, just pounding the pavement and, in the meantime, I’m taking odd jobs, stocking pies in freezer trucks and shredding paper documents for legal companies and stuff.
Charan: Oh, man.
Kirby: My main responsibility was to provide for my wife and my son.
Kirby: Then, things just … I got an agent, I got a manager, things worked out, and then we said, “Well, the next step … I can’t handle-“
Charan: Just leave them there.
Kirby: … “being away from you guys this long, so we’re going to move to LA.” My wife has always been so supportive, and she says “As long as our rent is paid and you are happy, then let’s do it.”
Charan: Oh my gosh. She’s the best. [crosstalk 00:13:26]
Kirby: She’s the greatest thing in the world.
Charan: That’s fantastic.
Kirby: So, sight unseen, we packed up a U-Haul and landed at a condo townhouse that we hadn’t seen yet, we just saw online. We did it and then things just kept progressing. As an actor, you always have to have … I’d say jokingly, but it is true you say as many irons as the fire as you can.
Kirby: I’ve realized through my career you need to have as many irons in as many fires as you can, and after six months being there in Los Angeles, I did a play, which I’m not a fan of plays, they’re not fun.
Charan: Which is interesting, because you did them before.
Kirby: I know, I did them before, but once you get a taste of acting where you just have to memorize a page for a whole day-
Charan: Oh, it’s amazing.
Kirby: … and then you get to play around, having to know the whole thing every single night?
Charan: That’s rough.
Kirby: Oh, it’s gross. I did a play in Los Angeles and the sound designer happened to be a good friend of the people who wrote the play. He was kind of doing a favor for them. He turned out to be, at the time … This was 18, 19 years ago. The only real audiobook company that existed was Books on Tape. Penguin Random House Books on Tape was really the … they’re called books on tape because of the company, Books on Tape. He approached me in the middle of the play and said, “Hey, are you interested in doing audiobooks?” I said, “What’s an audiobook?” He said, “A book on tape,” and I go “Oh, yeah, sure. Whatever.”
Charan: “Yeah, whatever.”
Kirby: I was in LA to be the titular character in a sitcom, not to do audiobooks, and not to do plays, but because I was open to it and knowing that I needed to support my family, the play is still part of being an entertainer and an actor, then I thought, “Oh, this could be just a different facet.” One audiobook led to another. Now, 18 years later, I’ve done over a thousand audiobooks.
Charan: No way.
Kirby: I read every single day. Had I been closed off to not seeing that … I believed the Heavenly Father was opening up a window, actually, a huge door, two big French doors opening up saying “You want to entertain, you want to provide for your family. Here is a door,” and it was almost like a test. “Are you going to take this blessing or are you going to be so narrowly focused on being the main guy in a sitcom?” I was like “Thank you, Heavenly Father. Yes, I see this as a blessing.”
Charan: [crosstalk 00:16:05] a blessing, yeah.
Kirby: It snowballed and I love it.
Charan: You love it.
Kirby: Now, we’re today. That’s the history of my acting career.
Charan: That’s it. You know what’s crazy is sometimes, we’re so myopic in our vision of-
Charan: … what we think our life should be. Like “Oh, it’s going to look like this. I’m going to go out here and make this happen,” but if you keep an open mind and an open heart, then all these different things can come your way and things that you didn’t even see happening could happen that could be unbelievable for you.
Kirby: I never thought that you could be a successful commercial actor, either, and I’ve done dozens of national spots that made me be able to support my family. It didn’t make us millionaires, but we were able to live comfortably. That was another fire, another iron in a different fire than that myopic view of “I have to be just this.”
Charan: No, you had a house with a swimming pool in California, so I’m telling you, that’s fantastic.
Kirby: Which is about 90% of the people in California.
Charan: That really is, that really is, but none of them are actors.
Kirby: Right. That’s the thing, too.
Charan: That is a thing.
Kirby: What a blessing [crosstalk 00:17:15]-
Charan: Yeah, it’s a blessing.
Kirby: … able to be a working actor, because a lot of my other acting friends had waiter jobs or they sold real estate. I was able to do audiobooks and commercials. I had a small stint, a short-lived sitcom that was like “This is it, this is why I came here,” but it was only six episodes and then it was done. It was beautiful.
Charan: I mean, I had similar things where I was on the show Silicon Valley. I’m like “Oh my gosh, this is it. This is going to be it.”
Kirby: [crosstalk 00:17:45] “This is it.”
Charan: “I came here for this! This is happening!” They’re like “Oh my gosh, we love your character. We’re writing you in all the time.” That was the last time I heard from them. As you can tell, I’m like “Okay, well, that’s … “
Kirby: That’s the thing.
Charan: That is.
Kirby: It’s such a perfect analogy to life. You could have the promises made to you that you are going to be a recurring character on Silicon Valley. You’ve talked to the producers, the director, everybody says “We love you, we love what you do and you fit the genre perfectly,” and then it’s taken away. What are you going to do with that? Are you going to say “Well, I’m a failure, I can’t do this anymore,” or are you going to find joy in being who you are and being comfortable in who you are, and make the best of it? Make it lemonade.
Charan: Absolutely. It’s interesting because … and I want to ask you this question first: did you ever get that thing where you’re like “Oh, if you can go to LA, don’t lose yourself,” because I’ve gotten that question a lot. I’m like “Wait, what does that even mean?”
Kirby: What does that mean? Right.
Charan: They’re like “Well, you know. You know exactly what we’re talking about.” I’m like “Go ahead and clarify a little bit more,” and they’re just like “Well, you know, you’re going to forget about your faith, you’re going to forget about where your roots are,” and all that stuff.
Kirby: Your faith, your values.
Kirby Heyborne Talks About Staying True to Himself
Charan: Your values … all that stuff. How did you manage that? Because I feel like I have my own answer for myself, but how did you feel like “Hey, I know who I am, and I want to keep staying on my path.”
Kirby: I think that it doesn’t matter what career you’re doing. You can be a UPS driver, you can be a brain surgeon, and if you don’t already have your values just ingrained in you, it’s going to be easy to give them up. It’s going to be easy for you to take a package that you know has money in it if you’re a UPS driver. I think you just already have to have those values. Not relying on your parents’ faith, not relying on your spouse’s faith, but you need to have your own relationship with your faith, with your deity, whatever it is, and be comfortable with that. Then, move forward.
Kirby: For me, I never had to question my faith. A lot of times, I held up what I was doing to my faith just on occasion to see “Am I compromising?” I don’t feel like I ever had. I think you have to make the decision beforehand, just like you’re told as a kid: you need to say no to drugs now because when you’re faced with the opportunity to do it, if you haven’t made the decision beforehand, you’re going to do it. I think it’s the same thing. It is. You see Hollywood and you think debauchery, drugs, and you can’t have family values, but you can. You just make that choice.
Charan: [crosstalk 00:20:48] choice.
Kirby: What is it for you?
Charan: Well, honestly, I was in this acting class and this girl and I … we were in this activity, and she’s like “Charan, how is it that you maintained your career, or how is it that you’ve even had a career,” because she’s like “I feel like you’re always working, you’re always doing something.” I said, “Well, to tell you the truth, I believe in God, and I believe that just my faith in God and following His plan has led me to having awesome opportunities.”
Charan: For me, I have this real inability to even be able to act if I don’t have God in my life first. It’s almost like He is the reason I’m able to act, the reason I have life in me, because that’s another thing: for me, God equals life. If I have faith in God, I have more life in me, and that life, that energy, that’s what helps me to act.
Kirby: Do you find that, when you have that attitude, that maybe not more doors are opening but your vision to see those doors opening increases for you?
Charan: Absolutely, because the thing is, you’re more flexible. You already have joy right now.
Kirby: Right, because if you’re not trying to find the joy in this role-
Charan: [crosstalk 00:22:05]
Kirby: … you already have the joy.
Charan: Then, at that time, expectations are let go, because I think we have expectations, we have these feelings of “It’s got to be this way, it only can be this way for me to have joy.” Well, that’s a dangerous way to live, because there have been times when those doors have opened, and I’m like “Dang it, I’m still not joyful.”
Charan: I think that’s a dilemma that a lot of us fall into.
Kirby: Because I narrate books, I don’t read for pleasure anymore, so my wife reads great books and then summarizes them, gives me the CliffsNotes versions of the books, but there’s a great book by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama about joy. It’s beautiful and amazing … well, my wife says it’s beautiful and amazing, and her summary was … Actually, anything that comes out of her mouth, I just-
Charan: You just love it.
Kirby: … want to kiss every word that comes out of that beautiful mouth.
Kirby: This is getting awkward, I’m sorry.
Charan: It’s not. In fact, I’m … this is finally getting good.
Kirby: The main point is, it can’t be “I’ll be happy when … ” It has to be “I’ll be happy now.” Look at what you have around you now and be happy with what you have now, because it will never be “I’ll be happy when I have X amount of dollars in my account,” because you’ll get there … like you said, opportunities, jobs that you did, didn’t bring you the joy that you thought it would. It’s so important to now be happy with what you have and not wait until you’re on your deathbed to realize “Oh my goodness, I had-“
Charan: You missed life.
Kirby: … “the ruby slippers on me this whole time. I could’ve been happy. I could’ve been home.” Just take the time to appreciate right now and what you’re in.
Kirby Heyborne Talks About Choosing Happiness
Charan: How did you get to this attitude? Did you always have this attitude of “I’m always happy now, and that’s why things were happening?”
Kirby: No, I don’t think so. I don’t know what it was that clicked because, without getting too detailed, a lot of crazy, crappy things happened to me throughout my life that I feel like … I think because of those, I’m happier.
Kirby: Because I look at those and you make the choice of “I will look at this bad thing that has happened to me and I can either curse God and turn away or I can take it, learn from it and choose to be happy.” That’s a thing that my wife and I have tried to teach to our kids, and I think that it’s working. [crosstalk 00:24:48]-
Charan: You’ve got some incredibly well-adjusted kids. That’s for dang sure.
Kirby: … They’re amazing kids.
Charan: They are. They are amazing kids.
Kirby: Despite me. It’s all my wife, but I think it’s because of the hard things that have happened to me that you choose to … I don’t think there was any one moment. It was just a culmination of all of these things occurring and I can either be sad or I can be happy. Isn’t happiness so much better?
Charan: I mean, the thing is, you could find bitterness through it, and then you’re like “Oh my gosh,” but just being bitter makes me feel worse.
Kirby: It does. I do not know anybody who’s harbored bitter feelings towards somebody else who’s genuinely happy. They might enjoy going water-skiing or have these moments of joy-
Charan: Of pleasure.
Kirby: … but then they come back to that dark coal at the center of “This person did this to me,” and they’re not happy.
Charan: There’s this analogy I like to talk about where I say imagine that, in your heart, there’s a well, and whatever is inside that well, you’ll share with the world. It’s also what will come back to you.
Kirby: I love that.
Charan: It’s so important that we investigate and retrospectively think “Hey, what is inside my well? Is it full of darkness? Is it full of bitterness because of some random event that happened? It might not have been anything in my control, but it’s there. Is it full of light?” I guess just kind of asking you how do you fill yourself up with light, with joy, when the bad stuff happens? Because they happen, they happen to everybody. What are your tips?
Kirby: I start my day consciously saying, “I’m going to make today an opportunity.” There’s a quote by Thomas S. Monson, I think, that he had on his fridge or by his fridge that said, “Today is my day of opportunity. I will not let it go to waste.” I have that reminder when I turn on my phone. That’s the first thing that pops up every day that I have to consciously look at and click to clear out before I get through everything. I start every day happy, knowing I may not have tomorrow, so today’s an opportunity. Don’t just sit around and let it go to waste. Then, when those bad things occur, it’s taken years, but you look at it as “What’s this opportunity that’s being presented before me that I can approach it calmly and with faith?” When you do that, that makes it a better experience for you and for sure for your family.
Charan: I love being an actor but not for the reasons why you think. “Oh, yeah, I want to be on movies and stuff.” I love it because it taught me from since I started doing it how to handle disappointment.
Kirby: Oh, for sure.
Charan: Because that is just what happens. You have so many promises made to you and then pulled away. Like you said, you feel like you’re not good enough for this role or you weren’t this for this role. So many different things where you thought you had it, everything was going your way, and then just gets shut down. I have a buddy of mine that was telling me, after trying so hard and everything, he booked this movie with Will Smith. I’m like “That’s amazing, man.”
Kirby: That’s amazing.
Charan: “That’s awesome. You’re doing a scene with Will Smith.” Then COVID hit. The movie shut down and he couldn’t do it. He had no control of that matter. I mean, it’s a global pandemic, right? As we were kind of talking about that, I realize I love being an actor for that reason of “Hey, I’m faced with disappointments all the time,” and it was because of all those failed auditions that I’m so grateful to learn “Wow, I can have joy right now.”
Charan: I remember this one time, particularly. I was going to my car to go to an audition, and as I’m walking there, I started laughing. I’m like “Whoa, I’m so happy right now. I don’t care what happens in this audition. I don’t even need this audition. I’ll go to it, but I’m happy right now.” It’s a beautiful place to get to, and I think that people that try to control their lives too much or try to say “This has to happen and now this has to happen. Now, this has to happen.” Then, when the wrecking ball of life comes through, because it does, it decimates them.
Kirby: It absolutely does and, by going in with that attitude, so many other actors, whether you booked it or not, it doesn’t matter, but you left an impression on the casting director, the director, the producers, of a guy that’s not desperate. You’re not defining yourself with this role, and I believe that’s how I booked so many commercials, because I would go in just happy and I would see all the other guys on the bench-
Charan: Freaking out.
Kirby: … so nervous and “I need this or I’m dead, what am I going to do?” I looked at it as “What a great opportunity,” and I’d want to talk to the guy next to me, then go in and just … you don’t put the casting director up on a pedestal. You treat them like a human being. They see that and they enjoy that. It puts them at ease. I’m sure when you went into that audition, just “You know what? I’m happy,” you left an impression on them. Whether you booked it or not, they came away thinking, A, “I would love to work with Charan” or B, “I want to have that spirit that he has in my life,” so they go and they figure out “How can I get rid of this dark coal of bitterness and just be happy?”
Charan: I think we do a world a beautiful service by just being happy ourselves, because when we are and we go and interact with people, it’s almost like we’re giving them permission to be happy, we’re giving them permission to be joyful and to come alive themselves. I think that’s why people hire us.
Kirby: Right, [crosstalk 00:31:06] The thing is, bad things happen.
Kirby: You have to address the sadness and feel it. This book that my wife summarized for me, by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, I love this. This is what we’ve been trying to do, just haven’t been able to put words to it, but you see sadness as a cloud and then it’s going to just … You see it, you feel it, you observe it, then it’s going to pass by. Then just let it pass on. Don’t let that be-
Charan: All that you are.
Kirby: … The same thing with happiness, which is different than joy, I think. You can still be joyful and be sad, and feel for somebody, feel empathy, or something bad happens to you. I think it’s healthy to feel the sadness, but don’t dwell on it. Just let it go. All it is, is an emotion. Tiredness, the anxiety … all of that. The happiness … it’s all just fleeting emotions that you have to just put it all in your globe of joy and you will be happier.
Kirby Heyborne Talks About Finding Hope in Trying Times
Charan: COVID-19 was terrible. It shut the world down. Not just physically, but I think emotionally, it shut a lot of people down. A lot of people fell into despair. I know for sure a lot of youth felt very isolated and alone and, whereas they could’ve gone to school, they didn’t have that opportunity. How have your kids been able to manage it and how have you been able to inspire them and give them hope during that time?
Kirby: When school shut down for us and our kids needed to be home, we made sure we tried to find the joy. We played games every day, we went outside every day, and we didn’t let them wallow in whatever sadness they were feeling. Let them experience it, acknowledged it, felt the sadness of not being able to see your friends and then instead of saying “Hey, stop feeling those feelings,” we would give them an alternative, something that they could be happy with. “Let’s play a game.”
Kirby: We had so many rowdy, fun, loud games together that they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives, and then the family walks, where we would see other families completely on the opposite side of the street, but still it was just so exciting to see other people out with their families. We just gave them opportunities to experience joy in our small, little nuclear family. I think that helped them. It’s interesting to see now that they are able to go out and do more, they still enjoy coming back, playing games and going on family walks-
Charan: I love that.
Kirby: … whereas before, it really was a chore. “Guys, let’s get up. We’re going to go for a walk. Come on.”
Charan: It can do that.
Kirby: Now, they’re suggesting “Oh, hey, should we go for a walk,” because we’re just sitting there. What are we going to do? “Let’s go for a walk!” You find the joy in the simplicity of walking.
Charan: I was just going to say that. It’s simple. It’s a very simple solution. I think that’s the beautiful thing: finding joy can actually be a very simple thing to do, and it can be a very relaxed, easy thing to do that’s totally free, that doesn’t cost a lot of money or anything like that. One of the things that I find that brings me joy is just exploring nature. I love it. It’s so fun.
Kirby: It’s been scientifically proven … Siri says-
Charan: Siri [crosstalk 00:34:51]
Kirby: … Siri’s having a hard time. So sorry, Siri.
Charan: [crosstalk 00:34:52] Siri. She’s so serious.
Kirby: She is. It’s been scientifically proven: the more you’re outside, the more joy you feel and the healthier you are. Your metabolism’s better, your health is better, your attitude, your emotion, your spirituality. Being outside-
Charan: It’s just amazing.
Kirby: … even in the cold. I was listening to a radio show this morning with a guest. Do you listen to The Lisa Show? You should.
Charan: You know what’s funny, I had Lisa on the podcast.
Kirby: You did?
Kirby: Talk about someone who’s joyful and brings light and joy to the world through horrible hardships. She’s a light, but on her show, there’s a guy talking about taking cold showers, how that-
Charan: Brings him joy?
Kirby: … brings him joy, yeah, and how … he’s going through all the benefits of metabolism and stuff, but finding simple, little tiny things like that. Even a cold shower can make you happy.
Charan: I remember, I think it was last week, I went snowboarding with my dad. He skis, I snowboard, and it’s interesting, because I used to teach snowboarding, so-
Kirby: Oh, cool.
Charan: … I love doing it, but as I’ve gotten older, I still get very, very sore. I know how to do it but, when I get home, I’m like “Oh my gosh, I just don’t have the leg strength anymore.” I went and then the following day, I could barely walk. It was embarrassing, but the day after that, I was supposed to snowboard again with our mutual friend, [Garrett Battie 00:36:32], and I’m like “Oh no, I don’t know if I can.” I’m like “You know what? I’m just going to pray this away. I don’t know what else I can do.”
Kirby: The thing is, Charan, you have so much faith, it doesn’t surprise me at all that you could do that.
Charan: Well, I did it and it totally worked. It was amazing.
Kirby: Of course, because you have that faith.
Kirby Heyborne’s Biggest Fear
Charan: Then we went and then I came home. Right as I came home, legs were just so tired. My other buddy texts me and says “Hey, Charan, let’s go play some tennis.” I’m like “I’m there. That’s the one thing I want to do right now.” It was so fun just being outside, being in nature. How that freed my mind and my soul. I think sometimes we get so cramped up in here, and so going out in nature helps, but what would you say though, Kirby, would be your biggest fear?
Kirby: Oh, wow. That’s a very good question. I think it’s always disappointing people. I think that comes from childhood, being a middle kid and whatever baggage from that, but I think that’s always my biggest fear, especially my family. My wife and my kids being disappointed in me. Not living up to what I should be living up to. Then extending that out to my community of actors. The fear of not being good enough, of disappointing. Wow, this got dark.
Charan: It got so dark and oh man, that was really good. You know what? It’s interesting, because I have that same fear. I just do not like hurting people or disappointing people, and if I know that I had done that … I mean, I try to be a good person, try being intentionally positive, but I realize that other people can interpret things. They have their own life to live, basically, and if I feel like I’ve hurt someone or disappointed someone, oh my gosh, it makes me feel so bad.
Charan: I realized, and we’re going to circle this back around to what makes us happy, what brings us joy, but I realized that … My parents divorced when I was a young kid, and I was so nervous. I was like “What can I do? What can I say to make them feel good or to make them feel positive?” Kind of living that people-pleasing type of life, and I realized that people-pleasing thing robbed me of authentic joy. It robbed me of it because it made me feel like I couldn’t authentically be me. I couldn’t because, if I did, I might be disappointing somebody, or I need to live in someone’s expectations.
Kirby: At the end of the day, we are all responsible for our joy. You cannot rely on somebody else, because people will let you down, but that’s a mature thing, I feel like, that you realized that no matter what I do, this person still has a choice to be happy or sad with what I do.
Charan: I guess since I’ve known you, I’ve just known you to be a very authentic person. You are who are you are, and it’s great. That’s what makes you so wonderful. How did you find your authentic self, I would say? Because as an actor, we’re always trying to figure out what we want to do and everything.
Kirby: I think 20 years of being an actor really helped me, because I realized in the beginning, when I would go to auditions, I was desperate, I was scared, and “I need this literally to put food on the table, if I don’t, how am I going to put food on the table,” to getting to the point where it’s through faith, it’s through basing my happiness and my joy on what I have and being happy with that, that I was able to go to these auditions and be myself and be happy. Really, it got to a point … I’ve had other actors ask “How do you book these commercials? What do you do? What’s the trick? What’s the little thing?” I say “Really … ” I could write a book, it’ll be one sentence. It’s “Go in and just don’t care.” You do care, but you know what I mean.
Charan: I know what you mean, yeah.
Kirby: It’s “I don’t need this.” If you go in with that attitude, that you’re happy regardless of what happens, and I love what you just said just a second ago, and I’m going to say that I came up with it.
Charan: You should.
Kirby: Because I’m the guest on the podcast.
Charan: You are. I don’t even know. I shouldn’t even be hosting.
Kirby: You have to make … you said “You have to be intentionally positive,” and it’s hard. It’s work. It does become a muscle that you exercise enough that you’re able to be positive for most of your life, but you have to be intentional about it, says Kirby Heyborne, quoting Charan Prabhakar.
Charan: Quoting Kirby Heyborne.
Kirby: But that’s what you have to do: you have to be intentionally positive and then it works out. Sad things will happen, but you’ve got to exercise that muscle of making the conscious decision “Here’s this thing in front of me. I can either look at it as a sad thing or a joyful thing.” It’s so much better if you make it joyful.
Charan: Absolutely. Well, I also think what human beings really want more than anything else is to be alive, is to come alive. I think that’s really what we’re really seeking after when we look for … like “Oh, we want all this money, we want all these things,” really what it means is we just want to experience more. We want to see more of whatever it is. I’ve also met people that have tons and tons of money and they’re very unhappy. They don’t really experience life. They’re trapped by the money that they’ve made, the cars that they own or the house that they have. I think that lifestyle of joy, that lifestyle of really feeling alive right here, right now … if we can do the things, the necessary meditations, practices, prayer, whatever it is for yourself to feel alive right now, things are going to be okay for you.
Kirby: I love that … also what you said, but I’m going to take credit for it-
Charan: Absolutely. You need to.
Kirby: … is finding your authentic self. I love that, too, because you’re going to experience life differently than me just because I hate snowboarding, but I would go skiing with you. We could still bond together.
Charan: Maybe, yeah.
Kirby: But I could look at that-
Charan: I’m just kidding.
Kirby: … Maybe, I don’t know. I could look at it as “Oh, Charan finds joy in snowboarding and I’m no good at it, so then I can’t find joy in that way,” then I’ll try to snowboard and maybe I will find the joy that you do, but being my authentic self, I would go skiing with you.
Kirby: We experience the mountain resorts differently as our authentic selves. Finding joy … I would find it skiing, you would find it snowboarding.
Kirby: I think if you experience life and realize that I can experience life only the way that I can, it doesn’t have to be exactly the same as the person next to me. Find your authentic self and go skiing. Don’t ever snowboard.
Charan: Ever, ever, unless you’re a snowboarder, in which case-
Kirby: Then do that.
Charan: … Then do that, but avoid skiing at all costs. I love that.
Kirby Heyborne Talks About Making Good
Kirby: I think that when you are your authentic self, then you’re able to see these doors that are opened for you, these windows that are opened for you, that have been there all along. I know for … not to plug my amazing TV show, Making Good, on BYUtv-
Charan: No, not at all.
Kirby: … but it is. It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever been a part of because I’m able to be my authentic self. Organizations that we go and meet with … some of them, at the beginning, are a little trepidatious, thinking that I’m just an act, because they’ve seen some episodes and they think “There’s no way that this guy cries so easily and really gets involved with this stuff.” Then, when they see that’s really me, I now have relationships with … we’ve done almost 30 episodes now with 30 different organizations that are making a huge difference in the world. I have a relationship with them now because that was my authentic self, and if I felt like crying, I let the tears come.
Kirby: It is being your authentic self. People want to see that. People talk about a light that you have and, yes, I think it’s because you’re joyful, because you’re a man of faith, but I also think it’s because you’re living your authentic self. You’re intentionally finding joy. That is the light that’s coming from Charan, and I think that’s coming from other people is all of those things together. It isn’t just the light of deity in us, which it is a part of that, but it’s also opening up all of those things, being your authentic self, because if you’re not your authentic self, you’re putting shutters in front of your heart. People may not be able to recognize that, but they can feel it. Maybe it’s a lack of feeling your light.
Charan: Of your light shine?
Charan: It’s interesting: when COVID hit, I was doing a lot of praying, because I was like “What am I supposed to do?” Because everyone shut down, right? The feeling I kept getting, which was a great feeling to have, was “Charan, go have more fun.” I’m like “Wait, what? That sounds amazing, [crosstalk 00:46:22]”
Kirby: “Okay, sign me up.”
Charan: I mean, don’t twist my arm, but why? Why have more fun? I just kept feeling it’s like, because, when you’re having more fun, you’re actually authentic.
Kirby: That’s true.
Charan: I’m like “Oh,” and then I started thinking about it. I kept feeling these more feelings come in saying “Hey, why … ” I felt it was of God, and he was saying “Why would I want to build your life up when the life that you’re building is not really what you want to build to begin with?”
Charan: “I’m happy to bless you, I’m happy to build you up, but if you’re not being completely authentically you, you’re trying to build up somebody else’s dream, and you’ve convinced yourself that’s your dream because of what other people have told you, then you’re kind of living a false life. It’s not truly you. If you find out who you really are and what you really want to do, I will build that up for you.”
Kirby: Isn’t that amazing?
Charan: It’s been amazing. Even this podcast started because I thought, “Hey, you know what? Let’s just do these Zoom podcasts with people. I just want to get to know people, see what’s going on, just inspire people.” Then, all of a sudden, one of the people I interviewed was Greg Trimble, who now is saying “Hey, come be the host of the Lemonade Stand podcast.” It’s just how it all works. It’s a miracle, man.
Kirby: Look at that: because you’re being your authentic self, this opportunity was probably always open for you but until you were authentic self, you couldn’t see, and things just open up.
Charan: Absolutely. Okay, last question, I think. This is-
Kirby: Oh, Charan, but I don’t ever want to leave.
Charan: … I know, buddy, I know. I’m glad we had that, and it’s all recorded on camera.
Kirby: Good … which, by the way, everybody needs to know, you are genuinely authentic and a bright light. It’s going to make me cry because I cry so easily. My life is blessed because I know you. My family is blessed because we know you. The light that you are … people don’t know that you … Not that my son was going through a hard time, but it’s trying to find his authentic self. You’re a legend in our house. Everybody talks about Charan and sadly, my 12-year old, she says ,”Is Charan married yet?” Because she’s hoping that she can hook up with you someday.
Charan: Well, you know …
Kirby: If you can wait another, maybe, 15 years …
Kirby: You left such a great, positive impression on our household that-
Kirby: … our kids … it’s almost like WWCD: What Would Charan Do? It’s always … Charan’s just a bright light, a happy guy. I don’t know if you remember, but you took the time to listen to my son, which every kid wants to have that, so thank you.
Charan: Oh, man. Of course.
Kirby: That’s it, and I’ll stop crying.
Charan: Listen, you’re so great.
Kirby: So dumb.
Charan: No, dude, here’s the thing.
Kirby: This is my troubled childhood coming up through tears.
Charan: You’re awesome, man. I mean, I remember so vividly that day we gave those firesides. Your son had asked me to give a fireside in your ward and funny enough, that same day, you were giving a fireside in my ward.
Kirby: We didn’t know before that day.
Charan: We had no idea. We were like “How is this even happening?” Yours was before mine, then we went straight to your house, had dinner and then had the fireside at your ward. I remember … Man, your family’s just such a beautiful family and I mean, you give me hope. Honestly. Not just because of those movies, but I look at my life and I think “Well, there’s so many people I know that have had troubled marriages or marriages that have fallen apart, or families that have fallen apart,” and those things discourage me. They really discourage me.
Kirby: Of course.
Charan: It’s really, really tough, right? Then, when I see a family like yours and I see your kids, how adjusted they are, and having conversations with them, it just gives me hope. It makes me be like “Wow, even in a troubled time like right now-“
Kirby: “And if Kirby can do it … “
Charan: … “if Kirby can do it … “
Kirby: “Anybody … “
Charan: If a vacuum cleaner can do it, anyone …
Kirby: No, man.
Kirby Heyborne’s Advice to His Younger Self
Charan: Well, listen. Gosh, I really appreciate you being on this podcast. Do you have-
Kirby: Thanks, man.
Charan: … any last words of advice to give to the youth or to your younger self? What would you say?
Kirby: What we’ve just nailed into this coffin, it’s be your authentic self, be intentional about finding your joy, and just have faith.
Charan: That’s awesome. Kirby, I cannot thank you enough, man. Thank you so much for being on this podcast. You’re amazing.
Kirby: Thank you. Charan, you’re amazing.
Charan: You’re amazing. All right. Thanks, guys, for listening. Ah, Adam.
Kirby: That was great.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to the Lemonade Stand podcast, and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback in the reviews and if you or someone you know has an awesome lemonade stand story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.