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The Young Standup: Brandon Wardell on Drake, Bob Odenkirk, and Taking the Unexpected Path

At 22 he may be young, but he looks even younger. With a recent move to Los Angeles from his native DC, Brandon Wardell's notoriety in the comedy scene is growing.

He was included as the opening act of Bob Odenkirk's latest album Amateur Hour and even featured on the album's cover — a dream for any young comedian. He's even begun to make the podcast rounds as a recent guest on the OMFG Earwolf podcast and The Todd Glass Show – listen if you are prepared to hear a Brandon Wardell song stuck in your head for days.

To understand his humor, read his Twitter feed of one-liners about pop [...]

The Weasel Grows Up

The late 80s and early 90s were good to Pauly Shore. The Weasel — an alter ego born out of Shore's standup — became, for a time, more than just a character. The Weasel was a living, breathing thing whose mannerisms and catchphrases, like it or not, infiltrated the fabric of American pop culture. From the small screen to the big screen, there was no escaping Pauly Shore. Shore's new documentary, Pauly Shore Stands Alone, which recently premiered on Showtime, opens with archival footage from that wildly successful point in his career. But the film quickly shifts focus to the reality of today: Pauly Shore, age 46, dealing with the [...]

The Secret to Bill Burr's Success

Bill Burr was never an overnight sensation. It happened gradually. He's a comedian who has been so consistently hilarious, so consistently impassioned about his jokes, and so consistently on edge that after two decades, hardly anybody can remember a time when they didn't know Bill Burr.

But that's not to say that he's never the subject of widespread media interest. In 2006, Bill Burr walked onto a stage in Philadelphia in front of an audience that had booed and jeered every comedian who had come up before him, and they treated him the same. That became his shining moment. Bill Burr unleashed a torrent of witty rage that was so [...]

Chris Rock Talks 'SNL,' Standup, Politics, and More with 'New York' Magazine

New York magazine recently conducted a lengthy interview with Chris Rock to promote his latest film Top Five, and it's loaded with great insight on everything from standup and SNL to political correctness, President Obama, and current events like Ferguson and Bill Cosby's demise. Here are Rock's thoughts on how cell phones and social media have driven comedians' self-censorship when developing material:

It is scary, because the thing about comedians is that you’re the only ones who practice in front of a crowd. Prince doesn’t run a demo on the radio. But in stand-up, the demo gets out. There are a few guys good enough [...]

Bob Odenkirk on Being an Amateur Standup and the Inevitable Decline of Improv

Bob Odenkirk may be busier than ever, starring in the upcoming Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul, but that doesn't mean he's put comedy on the back burner. If anything, he's amped up his comedic output as of late. Odenkirk released his first book A Load of Hooey last month, he's producing and writing for the IFC sketch show The Birthday Boys (currently in its second season), he just got back from a book reading/live comedy tour, and his debut standup album, Amateur Hour, comes out today. Recorded this summer at LA's Nerdist Theater and released by A Special Thing Records, Amateur Hour consists of a standup performance by Odenkirk, as well as a set from [...]

The Secret Society of John Hodgman

John Hodgman, comedian, author and generally knower-of-all-things, has a live comedy show that you probably have never heard of, because by design it is a secret. A Secret Society that is. Members meet in the basement of Union Hall in Brooklyn and are sworn to secrecy about the comedy, guests, song or anything else that might happen… or so I’ve been told. The only reason I was given this coveted information is because for the first time, Hodgman is opening his society to the public in “A Secret Society Meeting & Public Holiday Spectacle” on December 18th in New York. Though I’m not an official member, I was given a little [...]

Captive Audience: Meet the Protester Who Did Standup in Jail

Most people will go their entire lives without knowing the simple joy of telling jokes in front of an audience and pretty much no one on earth but Evan Jones will ever understand what it’s like to do standup comedy in a concrete cell surrounded by steel bars. Last week, while protesting against the Grand Jury’s decision to forego an indictment in the Eric Garner murder, comedian Evan Jones was arrested by the NYPD. After being ziptied and tossed into a paddy wagon, he was driven to a holding cell where he proceeded to do what he does best.

What’s it like to tell jokes in jail?

It was awesome. [...]

Elizabeth Laime and the Lessons Learned From Podcasting

Elizabeth Laime knows all too well that all good things must totally come to an end. Her flagship podcast, Totally Laime, is winding down its five-year run with a final flurry of episodes, the last of which will drop on January 23rd. It's shaping up to be a fond farewell that won't leave fans of Laime and her cohost/husband, Andy Rosen, completely empty handed, considering that a mini-empire of Totally spinoff podcasts are still going strong. We talked to Laime about how luck, laziness and low expectations can somehow be the perfect recipe for success.

Well, it's the final countdown. How are you feeling?

You know, I'm pretty excited. [...]

Keeping Busy with Barry Rothbart

Barry Rothbart is doing a little bit of everything these days. He co-directed a documentary about competitive eating that premiered this summer, he co-created and stars in a web series on Comedy Central, and he’s got a role in Demetri Martin’s new movie, to name a few. When he’s not working on various film and television projects, he’s also an established standup comic.

Last month AST Records released Rothbart’s debut album, Streets of Fire. It’s a funny, crowd-work heavy compilation that showcases Rothbart’s goofy sense of humor.

I recently had the chance to talk to Rothbart about his new album, his various projects, and playing a [...]

Inside A Special Thing and 'Never Not Funny' with Matt Belknap

Matt Belknap has had many aspirations. As a teenager he hoped to make it in Hollywood after reading a Spike Lee book on screenwriting. After attempting to make films, he carved his own path by starting A Special Thing message board, originally designed as a place where Tenacious D fans could congregate. But AST morphed into an alternative comedy hub where fans and comedians alike could post and discuss comedy. Belknap soon started A Special Thing Podcast and since 2006, Belknap has been cohosting the weekly podcast, Never Not Funny, with one of his favorite comedians, Jimmy Pardo.

Along with his cohosting duties, Belknap cofounded A Special Thing Records, which [...]

Dan Soder and the Importance of Originality

Dan Soder’s comedy career began in small town Tucson, Arizona in 2004. “I did a joke about homeless people in Tucson, like the stock joke for beginning comedians. You notice homeless people and you’re like ‘No one’s really dove into this in the US.’ Everyone has dove into [the homeless joke]. But my joke was about being tricked by a homeless guy because I was high on pot and he was high on meth. And he tricked me.”

Soder says, “It was one of the first jokes I did that worked every time I did it, so I just milked that motherfucker 'til I realized the wrong I was doing. [...]

Strapped In, Helmet On: Tom Scharpling Talks the New 'Best Show'

The last thing listeners heard during the final episode of The Best Show on WFMU was Black Flag’s “Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie” — a sign-off but not exactly a goodbye. For several months, fans of the program wondered what host Tom Scharpling would do next. The answer is a revived Best Show, debuting soon on TheBestShow.net rather than the New Jersey radio station on which it aired for more than a decade.

The original Best Show combined the call-in talk format with written segments by Scharpling and comedy partner (slash indie rock drummer) Jon Wurster. In the course of a typical episode, Scharpling would hang up on a series [...]

Getting Dark and Weird with Amy Sedaris and Scott Adsit

The Heart, She Holler, the odd little 11-minute-long Adult Swim show staring Patton Oswalt, Amy Sedaris and Heather Lawless is back for a 3rd season. Yes, it is as dark and weird as ever. It’s also even better than ever thanks to the addition of the hilarious Scott Adsit who’s taking over the role of Sheriff originally played by Joe Sikora. Talking to Adsit and Sedaris was not only fun, because I’m a fan of both of them, but also because it was really fun seeing how much they both truly admire each other.

Comedy and Comic Books with Andrés du Bouchet

If you listen closely to the lead track of Andrés du Bouchet’s new album, 20-Sided Guy, you’ll likely pick out my obnoxious cackle. I was lucky enough to be present at the RIOT LA comedy fest this past January where du Bouchet recorded the track “To Victory!” which is a monologue delivered in character as a medieval general and which my friends have nearly gotten sick of hearing me talk about. Du Bouchet recorded all 16 tracks on the new album at different venues, adding yet another layer to the multi-faceted nature of his work, his high-concept, one-man-show-esque character pieces. This approach to comedy has also served du Bouchet [...]