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Posts tagged as interviews

Finding Joy in the Saddest Depths of Capitalism with Kasper Hauser

The San Francisco comedy group Kasper Hauser has a knack for the absurd. For instance, their name is derived from that of a mysterious 19th century feral child from Germany. But beyond the far flung fringes of the unusual exists a sharp grasp of the delicate balance between comedy and tragedy. Since 2000, Kasper Hauser's four members — Dan Klein, James Reichmuth, John Reichmuth and Rob Baedeker — have been writing and performing comedy that adequately represents where they are existentially, both as a group and as individuals. They have just released SkyMaul2: Where America Buys His Stuff, their second parody of the popular SkyMall airline catalog. I talked [...]

Inside Portland's 'Live Wire! Radio'

Live Wire! is a radio variety show recorded weekly in Portland, Oregon and broadcast on public radio stations across the country. “Radio Variety That’s Like a Chew Toy for Your Brain,” the show features interviews, music, stand up comedy, sketch comedy, poetry, essays. The show is currently in its eleventh season and now hosted by Luke Burbank (host of the daily podcast Too Beautiful To Live and occasional Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me panelist) and distributed by PRI, it’s making an impression outside the Pacific Northwest. Courtenay Hameister has been with the show from the beginning as a writer, sketch comedy performer, and for many years, the host.

Currently the [...]

The Rebirth of Dane Cook

It's tough to introduce a standup like Dane Cook. He's explosively popular, famously polarizing, and his many comedy accomplishments — including a double platinum album and sold out Madison Square Garden show — only fuel the flames of disdain he's received from critics and the comedy nerd/cool kids' club. It's been over a decade since his debut album Harmful If Swallowed, and during that time Cook has experienced everything from record-breaking success to personal tragedy and very public feuds with other comedians. Cook's mixed bag of life experience gets put to work in his latest standup special Troublemaker (which he also directed and produced), and I recently got the chance [...]

The Free-Wheeling Todd Glass

Of all the memorable episodes of Marc Maron’s influential WTF Podcast, maybe none was more so than the Todd Glass interview from two years ago, when the long-time and well-respected comic announced he was gay.

Glass, who’s been performing for 30 years and is often mentioned as one of the funniest guys around by nearly everyone in the comedy community, said he decided to make the announcement because he couldn't take the hiding anymore and because he wanted to take a stand against the growing number of suicides committed by gay youths.

It’s a riveting interview that explains a lot about personal freedoms as key to performance.

It’s [...]

Cameron Esposito and the Business of Being Herself

Cameron Esposito is honestly hilarious and hilariously honest. She is vest-obsessed and unbeatably upbeat. These characteristics make for a live comic performance you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, and lucky for us, it translates beautifully to her latest album Same Sex Symbol (out tomorrow). Esposito also runs a biweekly standup show and podcast Put Your Hands Together at UCB LA, writes a regular column for The A.V. Club entitled "Who In The World Is Cameron Esposito?", and is pretty much constantly performing anywhere from Los Angeles to Montreal. Amidst all of this, I recently got the chance to talk with the woman whom Jay Leno personally dubbed “the [...]

The Weird and Wonderful World of Maria Bamford

Back in August, the web series Modern Comedian debuted an episode featuring standup Maria Bamford wherein she candidly breaks down her struggles with bipolar disorder and delivers a hilarious walkthrough of her favorite website Crazymeds.us. Lit by nothing but the glow of her computer screen, Bamford reads a panic attack-inducing list of side effects for one of her meds — including "instant old age," inability to drink alcohol, tooth loss, confusion, baldness, and dry skin — before bursting into laughter then telling the camera: "I don't mind losing a little hair. And, again, the tradeoff is pretty awesome."

In this little moment lies the true magic of [...]

Alan Tudyk and the Joy of Playing Idiots

Alan Tudyk is one of the more recognizable faces acting today, even if his name and voice hide behind his characters. Tudyk has been on Broadway, starred in a beloved TV show, and has done voice-over work for animated hits including Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, and Disney’supcoming feature Big Hero 6. He was also Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Tudyk once attempted standup, but after facing a threatening heckler, he joined an improv troupe, learning a skill that has aided his acting career.

He most recently signed on as the new host of Newsreaders as it begins its second season Thursday night at midnight on [...]

How the Birthday Boys Found Their Footing in Their Second Season

Watching The Birthday Boys feels strangely candid. Their antics and self-described "stupidity" are immersed in a sort of all-inclusive comradery that dates back 10 years, to their time together at Ithaca College. Since moving to LA, the troupe has performed out of UCB LA alongside sketch troupe A Kiss From Daddy, produced numerous shorts for Funny or Die, and performed at the Montreal's Just for Laughs.

In 2013, none other than Bob Odenkirk agreed to collaborate with the troupe (consisting of Mike Hanford, Matt Kowalick, Jefferson Dutton, Tim Kalpakis, Chris VanArtsdalen, Mike Mitchell, and Dave Ferguson), to produce their show for IFC, The Birthday Boys.

After a [...]

Setting Goals and Loving Yourself with Pete Holmes

Comedian, podcaster and creator/host of The Pete Holmes Show, the eponymous Pete Holmes is proof that self-belief can lead to success. Although the show was canceled after two seasons, the perpetual optimist is not letting it get him down.

His podcast You Made It Weird is a one-on-one conversation with a range of guests from notable comedians to spiritual leaders. Aiming to find the weirdness in others, Holmes is at his best while openly discussing his own life in the podcast or standup. His demeanor is never false whether laughing at his own sexual endeavors or discussing spiritual adventures.

I recently sat down with Pete before his shows at the Toronto Just for [...]

Jerrod Carmichael Has His First HBO Special, But Don't Worry — He's Not Nervous

At only 26 years old, he’s being called an “up-and-coming” comic, but Jerrod Carmichael knows who he is, knows what he’s good at, and thanks to his first television special (on HBO no less) directed by THE Spike Lee, soon everyone else will know who he is too.

He’s got a laid back vibe and comfort level of a much more seasoned comic, but when you know who you are and what you think, the confidence shines through like it does for Carmichael. And he’s not wrong. He may be chill, but he also happens to make you think while you’re laughing. Plus, the word is he’s one of the [...]

Wyatt Cenac: Standup, Writer, Puppet Aficionado

Wyatt Cenac is best known as being a correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as well as writing for King of The Hill. He’s also been in films such as Sleepwalk With Me and Darren Grodsky’s independent film Growing Up (and Other Lies). Working more on his own projects these days, the New York comic wrote and directed his new one-hour standup special on Netflix, Wyatt Cenac: Brooklyn. He’s currently traveling for his tour "Wyatt Cenac Live in Brooklyn in ___(insert city name here)___", and I caught up with him to talk to him about his plans for doing more of his own projects. Hint: they involve puppets.

I [...]

Getting Personal with Jonathan Katz

Interviewing Jonathan Katz is an interesting experience, especially when doing so over the phone. After all, most of us know him from the animated sitcom he created, wrote and voiced in the 90’s, Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the series and is being celebrated with the release of a new album, Dr. Katz Live. Speaking to Katz over the phone was like talking to the Doctor himself. In fact, at times I caught myself opening up to him as if I were in an actual therapy session. Perhaps this is from his inquisitive nature and because he was genuinely interested in learning more about [...]

Scott Aukerman and the Evolution of 'Comedy Bang! Bang!'

The critically acclaimed Comedy Bang! Bang! returns to television this Friday. Creator, executive producer and host Scott Aukerman, continues to prove this talk show is more than just an interview. Aukerman questions celebrity guests accompanied by bandleader Reggie Watts; packed with sketches, character cameos and story interwoven, the show riffs in a surreal world.

He is the co-creator, producer and director (and recent Emmy winner) of Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis, co-creator of the podcasting network Earwolf and creator/host of the weekly Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast.

I spoke to Scott while he was in New York City about finally getting celebrities on the show, cultivating new talent and of [...]

The Unceasing Honesty of Dan Harmon

Few people would relish the opportunity to have their lives documented in the midst of a low point peppered with job loss, substance abuse, self-doubt, and relationship woes, but in talking to Dan Harmon, it seems that he would have it no other way. In the recently released documentary Harmontown, director Neil Berkeley takes us along on a 20-date live podcast tour with Harmon and his cohorts after Harmon's dismissal from Community and during a somewhat uncertain time in his career and personal life. It's an entertaining and often uncomfortable look not only at Harmon, but also at the people who surround him in the personal and public worlds. I talked [...]