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Posts tagged as interviews

The Enduring Legacy of Phil Hartman

As much as Phil Hartman's work and influence lives on, the Ontario native has so far escaped the kind of mainstream legacy re-appraisal that so many other late standups and sketch players have enjoyed.

You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman, which takes its name from the catchphrase of The Simpsons mainstay Troy McClure (voiced by Hartman), aims to right that. The long-overdue appreciation of Hartman's genius, which will be published tomorrow by St. Martin's Press, looks at the arc of his career — from his little-known stints as a rock 'n' roll roadie and album-cover designer to his comedy work with the Groundlings and beyond — as well as [...]

Getting Weird in Toronto with Tim Gilbert

Tim Gilbert has been a fixture on Toronto’s alternative comedy scene for almost a decade, and is one of the most consistently funny comedians in the city. He’s a member of Laugh Sabbath, a group that boasts alumni like Nathan Fielder. Tim released his first album, Please Help Me I Am Very Sick, as a pay-what-you-want download on Bandcamp. I spoke to him about the album, his wide range of work, and how his blend of horror and comedy has led him to wear a Crypt Keeper costume on stage.

Puck Magazine and the Birth of Modern Political Cartooning

In the late 19th Century, long before Mad Magazine and the Daily Show, there was Puck. The magazine helped to change the very nature of political cartooning, was at the forefront of printing technology and agitating for progressive causes during the Gilded Age — and is even credited with helping to put Grover Cleveland in the White House in the election of 1884! In their new book What Fools These Mortals Be: The Story of Puck, America’s First and Most Influential Magazine of Color Political Cartoons writers Michael Alexander Kahn and Richard West look at the history and the influence of the magazine. Richard West has written extensively about [...]

Taking Standup to Netflix with Jim Jefferies

"There's a formula in stand-up comedy: The more offensive the joke, the funnier it has to be. It's simple math." This is a formula that Jim Jefferies knows by heart. He has built his comedy career on straddling the fine line between offensive and insightful. His brand new stand-up special, Bare, just released on Netflix, shows the math at work. "The new special is probably the most confrontational special that I've ever brought out," says Jefferies, who phoned us from Los Angeles to discuss Bare, his creative process and which part of the world has best mastered the use of the "c-word."

Here we are at 1pm on a Wednesday. [...]

Daniel Sloss and the Art of Telling Critics to Piss Off

At only 23, Daniel Sloss has become one of the biggest draws at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Scottish comic played to packed houses during his fun in a 400-seat lecture hall in Edinburgh, and he's about to take his show "Really?!" on tour throughout the UK. He's also got his eye on the US, having appeared three times on Conan in the last year. I caught up with him in Edinburgh to talk about being famous in his hometown, not letting reviewers into his show, and his first attempt at pilot season in the US.

I feel like a lot of Americans don’t quite understand Edinburgh. What’s the appeal of the Fringe [...]

Inside 'Marry Me,' 'Hotwives,' and 'Drunk History' with Tymberlee Hill

Having to transition from being an eccentric sitcom neighbor to a reality show housewife to any number of historical figures as filtered by intoxicated comedians would normally make for a serious case of mental whiplash, but it’s no issue for the incredibly talented and incredibly funny Tymberlee Hill. The Virginia Beach native began her career as a classically trained stage actress before making the completely accidental switch to comedy after her move to LA. A few chance performances at UCB have since led to roles as the insanely entrepreneurial Phe Phe on the Hulu exclusive The Hotwives of Orlando, as a frequent player on Comedy Central’s Drunk History, and as [...]

On the Road with Gary Gulman

Gary Gulman is on tour right now in support of his upcoming third standup special, It’s About Time. Like his jokes, the title has several layers and meanings. But you could add one more: it’s about time Gulman is recognized as one of the best standup comedians working today.

Now 20 years in, Gulman is one of the most consistent performers around in the vaunted New York comedy scene. He’s done specials for all the major comedy networks and is one of the few comedians who can boast of appearances on all seven late night talk shows. His joke writing is legendary, and he’s got an uncanny ability [...]

Throwing a House Party with Adam Devine

Part sitcom, part standup showcase, Adam Devine’s House Party might be difficult to describe, but it’s a fun hybrid.

Mensch that he is, Devine created the show in part to give the up-and-coming comedians who perform on it a chance to display their acting chops. The show features short written scenes interspersed between standup sets, and for many of performers Adam Devine's House Party is their television debut.

Season one was set in a gaudy Los Angeles mansion, but in Season two the party has moved down to New Orleans for even more debauchery.

I recently had the chance to talk to Devine about the upcoming season, his love of [...]

Plumbing Politics and the Crazy State of the World for Comedy with Andy Zaltzman

Andy Zaltzman is best known in the States as half of the excellent satirical podcast The Bugle, which he co-hosts with long-time collaborator John Oliver. A lover of all things satire, he's hosted his "Political Animal" show for years, and his new show, "Satirist for Hire", adds a twist to the format. For each show, audience members request topics for him to satirize with his sharp, pun-loving wit; topics range from war and government policy to sports and fashion trends. I caught up with him at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to talk about audience suggestions and why The Bugle will last forever.

You’ve been coming up to the Fringe for 15 years. What’s the [...]

Keeping Your Childlike Enthusiasm Alive with Janet Varney

Janet Varney's positive and generous attitude might be best exemplified by her Nerdist podcast The JV Club; in it the actress, producer, and writer interviews women in entertainment (and this summer, men) about their experiences growing up and how their formative teenage years influence their work and who they are today. In her often funny and sometimes emotional conversations Varney exudes warmth and an earnest curiosity to understand and share her guest's stories with her audience.

As a comedic actress Varney has made a variety of guest appearances in shows and movies like Kroll Show, How I Met Your Mother, and Key and Peele, but she might be best known [...]

Finding Business Lessons in the World of Improv

In his book Funny Business, Bill Connolly explores the connection between business and comedy. With interviews from Boston’s powerhouse standup Gary Gulman to the owners of Boston’s Improv Asylum, Connolly explores how his ten comedic principles, if applied, can better any boardroom or office.

For several years Connolly performed at the Improv Asylum in Boston and worked as a marketing analyst. He couldn’t deny the benefit his professional life received from his comedic one, and it inspired him to research the correlation.The result? His book and a new career.

Connolly currently travels for the ad agency iCrossing teaching improv to all its US employees. I caught up with him while [...]

Aziz Ansari on Selling Out Madison Square Garden and the Business Side of Comedy

Aziz Ansari might be a TV star on NBC's five-year favorite Parks and Recreation and soon-to-be published author, but performing live standup has always been his main love. Ansari recently finished up several dates on the Oddball tour and kicked off his own tour Aziz Ansari Live!, becoming only the seventh comedian to sell out New York City's Madison Square Garden in the process. I recently got the chance to talk with Ansari all about his new tour as well as what it feels like to sell out the Garden, how he's working to make buying tickets a stress-free experience, and what we can expect from [...]

Inside Rachel Bloom's Showtime Pilot 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend'

Rachel Bloom made her first big splash in 2010 with the hilarious short "Fuck Me Ray Bradbury," which was so successful that Rachel had the honor of being present for Bradbury's first time watching it. Since then, she's produced numerous other successful and equally hysterical shorts, released two albums (Please Love Me and Suck It, Christmas!!! A Chanukah Album), produced a short Disney musical parody, and written for and voiced characters on Robot Chicken.

Bloom, together with Aline Brosh McKenna, is now developing a musical television series for Showtime, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The show will follow Rebecca (played by Bloom), who leaves her job in a prestigious New [...]

Inside the Return of 'Superego' with Matt Gourley, Jeremy Carter, Mark McConville, and Paul F. Tompkins

On September 1st, the incredibly funny podcast Superego is returning with the debut of its long-awaited fourth season. The semi-improvised sketch show will return from its year-plus hiatus with comedian Paul F. Tompkins, a frequent guest on seasons past, officially joining the group full-time as a regular cast member alongside Matt Gourley, Jeremy Carter, and Mark McConville. Since its launch in 2006, Superego has grown to become one of the comedy podcast industry's best and most elaborate programs and has attracted a slew of famous person guests like Jason Sudeikis, John Hodgman, and Gillian Jacobs, just to name a few. I recently had the chance to interview Gourley, Carter, McConville, and Tompkins [...]