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Harnessing Absurdity to Help Others with Kurt Braunohler

You can catch Kurt Braunohler’s new episode of The Half Hour this Friday, July 25, but he’s been focused on a lot more than just standup lately. In June, the comedian jet skied the Mississippi River from Chicago to New Orleans as part of his Indiegogo campaign to raise $50,000 to provide 500 goats and 1000 chickens to African families in need. The quest is documented in his Comedy Central web series Roustabout, coming out this fall.

On top of that, Kurt is starring in the upcoming film B Roll, has plans to release a compilation album from his standup/variety show Hot Tub with Kristen Schaal, and continues [...]

Joe Zimmerman on His Comedy Central 'Half Hour' and Staying in NYC

Self-proclaimed "ambassador of joy" Joe Zimmerman is in a New York state of mind. The comedian is putting down serious roots in what he callsthe place to go if you want to be a standup comic.” And who can blame him? The city is treating him and his career quite well. After making his Comedy Central debut last year on John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show, Zimmerman is now preparing for the release of his Comedy Central Half Hour special this Friday. I talked to him about his comedy roots, the NYC scene and how West Virgina is kind of like Ireland.

Paul Scheer on 'The Hotwives of Orlando' and All the Other Stuff He's Working On

Paul Scheer is crazy busy. Now that the full first season of his most recent show, The Hotwives of Orlando, is available on Hulu, Scheer is moving full steam ahead with tons of other projects, from developing a cartoon with Adult Swim to an anthology series with HBO. He’ll also be starring in season six of The League on FXX, which is set to debut this fall, and releasing a comedy special with Rob Huebel based on their live UCB show Crash Test. Scheer talks about always wanting to keep things fresh, whether through the podcast, How Did This Get Made?, which he hosts with Jason Mantzoukas and his wife June Diane [...]

Finding Controversy by Accident with Kurt Metzger

After 15 years of performing standup, New York comic Kurt Metzger's career is gaining momentum, all without the help of business cards and t-shirts. But hey, it's never too late to try something new. "My income’s been getting kind of better, so it’s just a matter of if I have the extra money to spend on something like that."

His new one hour special, White Precious, premieres tonight on Comedy Central at 11pm. I talked to Metzger about leaving behind the religion of his youth, his family, his love/hate relationship with social media, and his penchant for controversy.

From what I’ve read you’re not much of a marketer [...]

Nathan Fielder on Fascinating People, Social Awkwardness, and Taking 'Nathan for You' Abroad

Nathan Fielder might play a hopelessly awkward and highly unorthodox business consultant on his hit Comedy Central series Nathan for You, but it's a role he's mastered thanks to years of experience embracing and exaggerating what he once thought were the "terrible" parts to his personality — the compulsion to talk during awkward conversational pauses, a lack of finesse with girls, and the persistent insecurity that comes along with being a social outsider. Now that the second season of Nathan for You is in full swing, I recently talked with Fielder about what he's learned from last season, how he and Nathan for You co-creator Michael Koman make the [...]

Talking to Kumail Nanjiani and Jonah Ray About 'The Meltdown'

The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail premieres on Comedy Central tonight as an eight-episode, half-hour standup showcase based on the very popular weekly alt show hosted by Kumail Nanjiani and Jonah Ray in Meltdown Comics’ NerdMelt Theater and produced by Emily Gordon. The show will feature a range of comedians many of whom have appeared on the live show in the four years it’s been a part of the Los Angeles comedy scene including Marc Maron, Jim Gaffigan, Adam Scott, Maria Bamford, and Moshe Kasher.

I caught up with Nanjiani and Ray and talked with them about translating their show to TV, working with director Lance Bangs, and making [...]

Joe Wengert on His 'Half Hour' Special and Writing for Three Very Different TV Shows

With a half hour special under his belt, Joe Wengert's standup career is taking off, so it’s not hard to believe that he's also an accomplished improviser. Wengert ran the UCB Theatre's school in New York and then in LA and still regularly performs improv at the LA theater with the team The Smokes in addition to the long-running show ASSSSCAT. His TV writing credits are impressive as well: Wengert has written for Kroll Show, Comedy Bang! Bang! and Playing House. You can catch his episode of The Half Hour this Friday, July 18th, at 12:30 am.

I got to talk to Joe about preparing for The Half Hour, writing [...]

Brian Huskey on UCB, Improv, and Being a Character Actor

Brian Huskey might have once been "that guy," recognized for his work in commercials and film and TV, but the actor and UCB-trained improviser has built a career as a quick-thinking talent able to sink into a role — often a soft-spoken or buttoned-up character — that Huskey makes his own and twists into something more complex. Huskey played an empty-headed panelist in Onion News Network videos before he began appearing regularly as the unbalanced EMT Chet on Childrens Hospital, and he's been popping up in shows and movies all over, including a memorable scene in This Is The End and on shows like Workaholics, Parks and Rec, Bob's Burgers, [...]

Damien Lemon on His Comedy Central 'Half Hour' and How He Became a Comedy Cellar Regular

For years Damien Lemon was known as much for his comedic skills as his legendary beater Toyota Corolla. With the way his career is going now, he’s probably due for an upgrade if he hasn’t done so already.

Lemon is one of the rising stars in the NYC comedy scene and has become a regular at most standup clubs, including the famed Comedy Cellar. He’s a cast member on MTV2’s Guy Code, and made his film debut two years ago in The Amazing Spider-Man.

On Friday, you can see his new special on Comedy Central as part of their Half Hour series.

I recently caught up with Lemon while he [...]

Maria Bamford on How She Develops Her Act

When she’s not touring, playing open mics and festivals, making web series, or recording an album, Maria Bamford finds things to keep her busy—in the past couple years, she’s appeared on Louie, Kroll Show, and Arrested Development, and she does voiceover acting for cartoons like Adventure Time and Bravest Warriors. Beyond her busy schedule, though, what’s impressive about Bamford is how in her standup she addresses dark or personal matters like suicide and mental illness stigma while never sacrificing her effervescent stage presence. Her 2012 direct-to-download the special special special!, which had her performing a set in her living room for her parents with breaks to serve cookies, [...]

Sheng Wang on New York and San Francisco's Standup Scenes

Over a decade into his standup career, Sheng Wang has amassed a list of credits that includes Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show, and his own Comedy Central Presents special. Wang, who came up via San Francisco's comedy scene, currently resides in New York, where he plays both alt rooms and clubs. Wang is one of several comedians, alongside Janeane Garofalo, Eugene Mirman, and Michael Che, featured in A Night at Whiplash, a Splitsider-produced standup concert movie based on Leo Allen's long-running live standup showcase Whiplash. I recently had the chance to talk to Sheng Wang about his beginnings in comedy, [...]

David Rees on How to Make a "How-To" Show

Fans of the 2001-2009 comic strip Get Your War On will be happy to know that David Rees, the man behind the cult classic political send-up, is back with a new project. Only this time, Rees has his sights set on ice cubes, shoelaces, and holes.

Going Deep with David Rees, which premiered Monday on National Geographic channel, is a how-to show that puts tasks we take for granted – say, swatting a fly – under the microscope. It’s a testament to Rees’s abilities as a humorist that he’s so easily able to pivot from blunt critiques of post-9/11 U.S. politics to the dry, though entirely earnest wit he [...]

Mark Normand on His Eventful Comedy Central 'Half Hour' Taping and Bad Advice from Other Comedians

Mark Normand has slogged his way through the New York comedy scene since 2006. For years now, he's labored through open mics all across the city, played shows to half-filled rooms and drunk, distracted patrons, spent hours enticing passers-by to free comedy shows in the West Village, and balanced multiple careers, a relationship, and a social life.

But all of these have not been for nothing. Normand is now a Comedy Cellar regular, has appeared on Conan, Last Comic Standing, and Inside Amy Schumer. Most recently, Normand finally assembled his first album, Still Got It, and filmed his first Comedy Central special for their series The Half Hour, which [...]

Rachel Feinstein on Her Comedy Central 'Half Hour' and the Other Rachel Feinstein

Rachel Feinstein came to New York when she was 17. She did not go to college. She lived in Brooklyn. She shared her apartment with a band that called itself "Dicksister." When Feinstein entered comedy, however, she found an outlet and crowd that she grew to love. Since then, she's appeared on Last Comic Standing, had a Comedy Central Presents special, performed in Women Who Kill, produced an album (Thug Tears), appeared in numerous online sketches, done voices for Grand Theft Auto, and has begun to make more appearances on the acting scene.

Her second Comedy Central special, as part of their series, Half Hour, airs this Friday. I recently [...]