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Posts tagged as interviews

Inside the Internet Outrage Machine with Jim Norton

After 2012's Please Be Offended and 2013's American Degenerate, standup Jim Norton returns to television tonight with his third Epix special Contextually Inadequate. Filmed at Boston's Somerville Theatre in January, the special dives deep into recent pop culture scandals and their internet backlash aftermaths, covering everything from the demise of Bill Cosby and Donald Sterling to his own personal experience after the firing of his friend and Opie and Anthony Show cohost Anthony Cumia last July. Ahead of Contextually Adequate's premiere, Norton spoke with us about hosting his own show on Vice, the difference between online criticism and outrage, and what projects he has planned for the year ahead.

Inside the 'SNL' Documentary 'Live From New York!' with Director Bao Nguyen

The world premiere of the new Saturday Night Live documentary, Live From New York!, opened the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival on April 15.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Director Bao Nguyen to discuss the process of making the documentary, what is was like to have access to the show’s archives, and how SNL can stay culturally relevant for the next 40 years.

Congratulations. Were you pleased with the response?

Thank you. Yeah, it was overwhelming. We, the team, have seen the film so many times, and we stopped laughing after a while with certain sketches. Just to see the response and really see how people still [...]

Paul F. Tompkins, King of Podcasts

Paul F. Tompkins is a very busy man; just look at how many appearances on Earwolf podcasts alone he has under his belt. So it was only a matter of time before he started his own show on the network. Spontaneanation with Paul F. Tompkins, which launched two weeks ago, is his follow up to fan favorite, The Pod F.Tompkast. Unlike his previous venture, Spontaneanation requires very little preparation and features a fully improvised story, a free form conversation and focuses on just being in the moment.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Tompkins about what it’s like being the most ubiquitous guest in podcasting and [...]

Keeping It 'Halal in the Family' with Aasif Mandvi and Miles Kahn

Funny or Die premiered a brand new web series today called Halal in the Family, a retro sitcom parody co-created and written by Aasif Mandvi and Daily Show producer Miles Kahn that reimagines the typical multi-cam family show through the eyes of an all-American Muslim family and all the stereotypes, misinformation, and prejudice they face on a day-to-day basis. Mandvi also stars with House of Cards' Sakina Jeffrey playing his wife, and Jordan Klepper, Samantha Bee, and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter from The Roots make special appearances throughout the four-episode series. Ahead of Halal in the Family's premiere, I spoke with Mandvi and Kahn about the series' origins, [...]

Being at the Intersection of Comedy and Magic with Justin Willman

When I was first asked to interview Justin Willman about his comedy special, Sleight of Mouth I was like, “Okay, cool!” Then I found out he was a magician and I was, like, “Oh. A magician?” Maybe I’m in the minority here, but magic isn’t really my jam. I’m not too proud to admit, however, that I was wrong. Very wrong. I had a chance to preview Willman’s special, which premiers on Comedy Central tonight at 12:30am, and I am now truly excited to tell my friends about it. Justin isn’t just an outstanding magician, he does magic in a way that’s fresh and new, and dare I say… cool? [...]

Inside 'Misery Loves Comedy' with Kevin Pollak

"Do you have to be miserable to be funny?" That's the question that comedian, actor, and podcast host Kevin Pollak sets out to explore with over 60 comics in a new documentary called Misery Loves Comedy, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last night and has already topped the iTunes charts since its VOD release last week. I recently spoke with Pollak about his first experience as a filmmaker, how to make a comedy documentary that's both serious and funny, and how he's learned to get great interviews from his fellow comedians.

Diving Into the Completely Insane World of 'Womp It Up!' with Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham

Break out your DiGiornos and prolapse your anuses, folks! Much like the rising of good ol’ Christ himself, Marissa Wompler is back and more disproportionately shaped than ever before. As we previously reported, a new bi-weekly podcast called WOMP It Up! launched on Earwolf.com today, and I had the good fortune to talk with the punk, billionaire, geniuses behind it: Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, both UCB vets and the co-creators and co-stars of USA’s Playing House.

For the unenlightened, Marissa (played by St. Clair) is the perpetually 17-year-old intern we have gotten to know and love through her appearances on Scott Aukerman’s podcast Comedy Bang Bang. [...]

"Politicians Aren't Geniuses, They're Human Beings": Matt Walsh and the Humanity of 'Veep'

That Veep is the funniest show on television is certainly debatable, but there’s no doubt no other show has better insults. Take Selina Meyer’s description of former White House liaison Jonah Ryan, for example.

“You let that unstable piece of human scaffolding into your house?”

Every episode is stocked with similarly exquisite putdowns. And except for Jonah, no one is at the receiving end of them more than Meyer’s Communications Director Mike McClintock, superbly played by Matt Walsh.

With Meyer assuming the role of president in Season 4, that means we’ll also be seeing more of McClintock in his heightened role as White House Press Secretary.

I recently had [...]

Inside the Job of a Showrunner with 'The Comedians' Ben Wexler

For the past decade television audiences have become increasingly aware of the showrunner, the individual responsible for the day-to-day operations of a television show. Ben Wexler has built his career working on shows like Community and Arrested Development, where the showrunners can stand out as much as the stars. Wexler is now the executive producer and co-creator of FX’s The Comedians. The show stars Billy Crystal and Josh Gad as slightly heightened versions of themselves, teamed up to create a new FX sketch show. I spoke with Wexler about creative freedoms, the many talents of his stars, and the importance of being a decisive showrunner.

Coming Up Twice with Joe List

Joe List is the comedy underdog everyone seems to root for. A longtime fixture in the New York comedy scene, List had the reputation as the gifted standup comic who could never catch a break.

But to paraphrase Seinfeld, a List obsession, 2015 could be the Summer of Joe.

After a killer debut on Letterman last year, List is finally getting his due. He’s headlining more clubs, co-hosts the popular Tuesdays with Stories podcast with Mark Normand, and his peers recently named him a comedian to look out for in 2015.

I recently caught up with List to talk about his start in comedy, the mistakes he [...]

Tommy Wiseau Discusses Americans, Chickens, and Questions He Hates

Tommy Wiseau and his cult-classic film The Room are two of the greatest mysteries of the entertainment industry. Since its release in 2003, traditions have formed around midnight screenings of The Room that are similar to those that surround The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Most notably, at each viewing, fans come dressed as their favorite character, bring along with them an arsenal of shoutouts, and engage in various act-outs such as throwing spoons at the screen. Wiseau and his origins are the subject of great debate, to such an extent that co-star Greg Sestero and journalist Tom Bissell teamed up in 2013 to publish the widely acclaimed book [...]

Yannis Pappas Couldn't Be a Professional Athlete, So He's Making Comedy About Them Instead

When describing a move from New York to Miami, comedian Yannis Pappas said, “I had a New York body. I was thirty pounds heavier. My body looked like yogurt with hair on it. I looked like a middle relief pitcher for the Kansas City Royals.” Sports references like these come easy for Pappas, a former wannabe pro athlete turned standup, who has been honing his specific brand of humor for some 15 years. Pappas' current role as the host of AOL's new sports-centric daily comedy series 2 Point Lead is a perfect marriage of his rabid love of sports and his razor sharp wit. I talked to Pappas [...]

Zach Woods Has a Lot of Beefs (Not Really)

Season 2 of the Golden Globe and Emmy nominated HBO series Silicon Valley premieres this Sunday night. As a primer, I talked to actor and improviser Zach Woods, who plays Donald “Jared” Dunn on the series. Woods, who started improv at UCB at the age of 16, has had standout roles as Gabe Lewis on The Office and more recently, as Zach Harper on the USA series Playing House. We talked about the dynamic of the Silicon Valley cast both on and off the set, the expert craftsmanship of Mike Judge and the intricacies of playing awkward characters.

Giulia Rozzi and the Art of Making Comedy That's True to Yourself

Giulia Rozzi is a true comedic factotum — a jack of all trades — who has a well-developed talent, crucial in comedy, for making virtually any story extremely relatable. But beyond being merely relatable, Rozzi's humor is often deeply cathartic. In fact, she has so passionately explored the cleansing nature of comedy that she even had the honor of delivering a TEDx talk on the subject.

She has already run two successful solo shows: Stupid Foreigners (which examined her experience growing up in a fairly stereotypical Italian household) and Bad Bride (which explores the finer points of monogamy, love, and especially her own divorce and ultimate perspectives on [...]