Splitsider

Posts tagged as interviews

The Art of Holding Nothing Back with Chris Laker

Chris Laker has nothing to hide. For fans of comics like Marc Maron or Patrice O'Neil, that can only mean better comedy. Laker has cycled through multiple career aspirations, gone through rehab, been married, divorced, accepted, and rejected. On their podcast This Week in Jackin', Laker and Myka Fox delve into the masturbation habits and history of comedians such as Mark Normand, Giulia Rozzi, Dan St. Germain, and Ted Alexandro. Nothing is off limits.

Together with New Wave, Laker has released his first album, Moments of Greatness. On the album, Laker reveals some of the most intimate details of his life, as well as his take on topics [...]

Becoming 'Jonah from Tonga' with Chris Lilley

Chris Lilley is back. His newest show, Jonah from Tonga, premieres on HBO tomorrow night. The six-episode series follows Summer Heights High’s Jonah Takalua as he returns to school in Australia after being expelled from Summer Heights and sent to Tonga.

As in his previous shows Angry Boys, Summer Heights High, and Ja’mie: Private School Girl, Lilley wrote, produced, directed, and stars in Jonah from Tonga. With an all-new cast of supporting characters, the documentary-style series explores rebellious Jonah’s hilarious attempts at being a “good boy,” which take him both to prison and a singing competition.

I got to talk to Lilley about Jonah from Tonga, why he likesmaking documentary-style [...]

Pete Davidson and What It's Like Being a Rising Standup at Age 20

Pete Davidson is only 20 and already has amassed several TV appearances and a development deal. It would be easy to resent the success he’s had at such a young age if he wasn’t such a great comic. 

The NYC comedian is a regular at all of the city’s top clubs, has done late-night sets on Comedy Central and Jimmy Kimmel Live, and has a role in the Fox pilot, Sober Companion.

This year, Davidson was named one of Variety’s Top Comics to Watch at Montreal Just For Laughs, where he was among the festival’s highlights.

I had a chance to chat with Davidson in Montreal to talk [...]

Mike Birbiglia and the Importance and Power of Jokes

Mike Birbiglia has a very unique ability: the ability to tell any story, like the story of jumping out of a hotel window in Walla Walla, Washington, and make it relatable. To a certain extent, this is one of the primary goals of standup comedy. Although Birbiglia saw great success in the traditional standup circuit early in his career, he didn’t feel that he had produced an act that was true to his own form. So, after appearing on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend at age 23, Letterman at 24, producing a Comedy Central Presents special at 26, and his album Two Drink Mike at 28, he opened a one-man show [...]

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 [...]

Inside 'Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip' with Matt Albie

This fall, the long-running NBS sketch show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is set to enter its 29th season, and no one has been a larger part of the program's success than its head writer and executive producer Matt Albie, who has been a major creative force behind the show since he was first hired in 1997.

I was fortunate to be granted a rare interview with Albie, who contacted me via his Twitter account to set things up during his summer break from S60. Albie and I discussed the show's legacy, Emmy chances, and his tips for young comedy writers.

Balancing Standup and Writing for 'Late Night' with Michelle Wolf

Not many comics would close their New Faces Showcase at the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival with a three-minute joke tying together men’s masturbation habits and JFK’s assassination. That one’s got a high degree of difficulty.

Michelle Wolf made it look easy.

Wolf, 29, was among the standouts last month at Just For Laughs, the comedy industry’s premiere festival. The NYC-based comic, who’s also a writer/performer on Late Night with Seth Meyers, even earned herself a slot performing in front of 3,000 people for Seth Rogen’s televised gala. Not bad for someone who’s less than 4 years into stand-up.

I had the opportunity to chat with Wolf after her [...]

Inside Whiplash, 'Review,' and 'SNL' with Leo Allen

Two decades into his comedy career, Leo Allen is both the host of one of New York's most popular standup shows (Whiplash) and a busy writer who's worked for shows like Saturday Night Live, Jon Benjamin Has a Van (which he co-created), Comedy Bang! Bang!, and most recently, Andy Daly's Comedy Central series Review. Allen recently directed A Night at Whiplash, a concert movie version of his long-running standup showcase Whiplash, which was produced by Splitsider and features appearances from Janeane Garofalo, Eugene Mirman, Michael Che, and more. I recently interviewed Leo Allen about the right way to run a standup show, his stint on SNL, and the John McEnroe '80s comedy he's [...]

Sketch Anatomy: Andy Cowan Explains the Origins of 'Seinfeld's "The Opposite"

Welcome to our column Sketch Anatomy, where we ask some of our favorite television writers to choose any sketch — one they personally wrote or one from history they find particularly hilarious, notable, or underappreciated — to learn from a writer's perspective what separates a successful sketch from the rest.

For this week's Sketch Anatomy, we're breaking the rules a little to go behind the scenes of a classic '90s sitcom episode with Andy Cowan, former writer for Cheers and 3rd Rock from the Sun and the mind behind the acclaimed 1994 Seinfeld episode "The Opposite." Ranked at #1 in our own list of every Seinfeld episode, [...]

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, [...]

From Behind the Scenes to In Front of the Camera with Neal Brennan

With his new gig hosting The Approval Matrix on Sundance TV, Neal Brennan has completed his reverse transformation from behind-the-scenes writer-director to on-camera talent.

Brennan co-created Chappelle’s Show, and for years was a go-to film and television writer and director. Then, about 7 years ago he started to focus on standup, and has since reverse engineered (by traditional Hollywood standards) a performing career, including Comedy Central standup specials and voiceover work for Samsung, and culminating in the new panel TV show he’s hosting. 

Inspired by the famous back page of New York magazine, the new talk show presents Brennan and his panel guests the opportunity to dissect the latest in [...]

Inside Just For Laughs, Morning Talk Shows, and the Future of Comedy with T.J. Miller

Of all the funny things T.J. Miller said during his many performances at the 2014 Montreal Just For Laughs Festival, one of his best lines came in his introduction of Andy Kindler for the State of the Industry address, which was part roast/part tribute.

“I’m trying to mix sentimentality with humor,” Miller said. “Just like in Yogi Bear 3D.”

Miller’s ability to make fun of his roles in Yogi Bear 3D, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and other critically panned franchises, which he does frequently, is what makes him so beloved in the comedy world. He’s in a weird position in that he’s a successful actor with roles in Hollywood [...]

Inside 'Nathan For You' with Co-Creator Michael Koman

Michael Koman is the co-creator of two of the best comedies on TV — Nathan For You and Eagleheart – and he's about to add a third to his roster. Koman is gearing up for production on an yet-to-be-titled Adult Swim sitcom that pairs Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and Jack McBrayer, which Koman co-created with Robert Smigel and David Feldman. After spending seven years on the writing staff of Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Koman left the late night world, and he's since become some sort of anti-Chuck Lorre, responsible for multiple TV shows that are some of the most original and funny things currently happening on TV. Nathan For [...]

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 [...]