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Talking to Andy Daly About ‘Review’, ‘The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project’, and His Many Characters

Comedy Central’s Review, a new show for which TV reviewers must already have their puns locked and loaded, premieres tonight. Based on the Australian cult hit Review with Myles Barlow, it stars Andy Daly (who also created the show) as Forrest MacNeil, a straight-laced, intellectual “life critic” who wholeheartedly commits to reviewing firsthand experiences — including drug addiction, racism and sex with a celebrity — and weathers through the resulting chaos. Review also stars Jessica St. Clair, Fred Willard and James Urbaniak, and features such five-star guests as Jason Mantzoukas, Maria Thayer, Lance Bass and Andy Richter.

I recently had a chance to ask Daly about his absurd new podcast The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project, his favorite character to play, and Forrest MacNeil’s entirely arbitrary system for doling out stars.

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Talking to Colin Quinn About Standup, Twitter Hate, and 'Girls' Season 3

SNL veteran Colin Quinn, who sarcastically hails himself as “one of the great writers in the entertainment industry,” will host the 66th annual Writers Guild Awards in New York Saturday. Quinn is currently touring his one-man show Colin Quinn: Unconstitutional (nicknamed “The Toosh”) and appearing on Girls as Alex Karpovsky’s bespectacled, coffee-shop-owning mentor. He’s also working with old friends Jim Norton, Nick DiPaolo and Tom Papa on a very meta Jerry Seinfeld-produced cop show about making a cop show. It’s called Cop Show.

I recently had a chance to talk to Quinn about his thoughts on the New York standup scene, the sheer vitriol he faces (mostly from loyal fans) on Twitter, and his plans for a Girls soap-opera spinoff starring his terminally ill character, Hermie. READ MORE

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Talking to Rob Delaney About His New Memoir, Writing About Mental Illness, and the Importance of Privacy

Standup and self-branded cool dad Rob Delaney, celebrated for his shameless Twitter musings on Mitt Romney, the perils of marijuana, and the filthy things he’d do to his neighbor Karen if afforded the chance, has written the equivalent of several million tweets in the form of a memoir called — brace yourself — Mother. Wife. Sister. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage.

Released today, the book is a departure from Delaney’s silly Twitter persona in the same vein as pieces he’s written for Vice and The Guardian, delving into his personal history and confronting the many-headed beasts of depression and addiction. He calls it an effort to “amalgamate stuff from [his] life and hammer it into a book shape,” and promises a wealth of stories never before told in his standup. I talked to Delaney recently about the memoir-writing process, his new standup hour, and why he’s glad he ever decided to write about mental illness. READ MORE

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Talking to Chris Hardwick About His New Game Show ‘@midnight’, Post-Shows, and His Unmitigated Positivity

Chris Hardwick, king of the Nerdist empire and TV’s most prolific host, brings his infectious enthusiasm to Comedy Central tonight with a new late night game show, @midnight. It premieres at… well, midnight, right after the channel’s dominant Daily Show/Colbert Report block. Produced by Funny or Die with Reno 911!’s Tom Lennon and Ben Garant serving as executive producers, the show pits a rotating lineup of Hardwick’s favorite comics — among them Doug Benson, Natasha Leggero, June Diane Raphael, James Adomian, Ron Funches, and Rob Delaney — against one another in lampooning the silliest, most bizarre social media events of the day. It’s billed as “the ultimate Internet wormhole.”

I talked to Hardwick recently about going up against TBS's The Pete Holmes Show, the secret to his positivity, and the “structured fuck-around session” that is @midnight. READ MORE

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Talking to Marc Maron about His New Special ‘Thinky Pain’, ‘Maron’ Season 2, and Getting His Due

Marc Maron, who debuted a book and a TV show this past spring while still maintaining his wildly popular podcast WTF with Marc Maron, has had a more productive year than most. Amazingly, he’s also found the time to tape a new special — called Thinky Pain — released today on Netflix. Thinky Pain, shot at the intimate Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village, is Maron at his storytelling best: Perched atop a stool, he reminisces about performing with Bill Hicks, stresses about discovering Captain Beefheart years too late, and stages a riveting psychodrama in which he counsels “Fat Marc,” his Pee-Wee Little League self, through a humiliating ballgame.

I talked to Maron on the phone last week about his new special, the upcoming second season of Maron, and his hard-earned success. True to form, at the end of the interview, he asked, “Are we good?” READ MORE

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Talking to Megan Ganz about 'Modern Family', Finally Having Free Time, and Her Undying 'Community' Fandom

Longtime Community writer Megan Ganz, who joined Modern Family's writing staff midway through last season, is growing up. Gone are the all-nighters spent staring at the newly-reinstated Dan Harmon’s famed story circles. At her new job, Ganz can clock out at 6pm. She has a social life, side projects, and sleep. And bit by bit, she’s learning to write for ABC’s Emmy darling, which (to no one’s surprise) took home its fourth consecutive Outstanding Comedy Series award Sunday.

I recently caught up with Ganz for a long chat about moving from meta-humor to mockumentary, balancing work with everything else, and why she’ll never stop adoring Community from afar. READ MORE

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Talking to Vernon Chatman and John Lee About Season 2 of 'The Heart, She Holler'

Season 2 of The Heart, She Holler, a Southern gothic melodrama steeped in incest, gore and absurdity, has been two years in the making: Adult Swim greenlit another season right after the live-action show’s initial six-episode run in 2011, but showrunners Vernon Chatman and John Lee (Xavier: Renegade Angel, Wonder Showzen, and the 2002 Snoop Dogg sketch show Doggy Fizzle Televizzle) were tied up in other projects. Plus, Chatman and Lee pointed out, they needed time to “incubate, gestate and barrel-age the season in [their] mindwombs.”

The Heart, She Holler chronicles the ongoing struggle of shamelessly slutty Hurshe (Amy Sedaris) and telekinetically inclined Hambrosia (Heather Lawless) to wrestle control of their late father’s estate, the Heartshe Holler, from their brother Hurlan (Patton Oswalt). Hurlan, a grown man dumber than the walnut he tries for an entire episode to open, muddles through each episode to hilarious, surreal and often cringeworthy results.

Before the show returned last week for its 14-episode second season, I had a chance to speak with Chatman and Lee on the phone about mocking Southerners, recasting Hurshe and growing fond of even their most repugnant characters. Though some of their answers were cryptic, our interview at the very least provides a glimpse into the minds that cooked up this clever nightmare of a show. READ MORE

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Talking to Glenn Howerton About Season 9 of 'It's Always Sunny,' the Element of Surprise, and His Dream Episode

Dennis “Golden God” Reynolds, America’s favorite maybe-sociopath, returns tonight on the ninth season premiere of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He’s played to perfection by Glenn Howerton, who promises even more vanity, sadism and darkness in the coming season.

Howerton and the rest of “The Gang” (Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito) have big things in store: They’re now the anchor for FX’s brand-new sister channel FXX (which boasts “More X”), and will play host this season to some illustrious new guest writers (Game of Thrones’ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss) and guest stars (Josh Groban, Seann William Scott and WWE veteran “Rowdy” Roddy Piper). I had a chance to talk to Howerton earlier this week about season 9, keeping Sunny fresh, and the dream episode he has yet to write. READ MORE

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Talking to Matt Braunger About ‘Up All Night,’ 15-Minute Podcasting, and Making Standup Personal

Few things are funnier to Matt Braunger than a good old-fashioned dumb joke. That’s why his favorite six-second Vine video features him tucking his shirt into his underwear, and why he beams with delight as he belts out a made-up Inception theme song (“Girl, it’s a dream inside a dream inside a dream inside a dream…”). His high-energy 2012 special, Shovel Fighter, teems with silly moments like these, punctuating his commentary on the gender politics of strip-club etiquette and tales of acid-laden pub-crawling.

Raised in Portland and trained in Chicago’s improv and standup scenes, Braunger has landed gigs on Up All Night, Pushing Daisies, United States of Tara and the last season of MADtv, though he insists no one remembers him from that show. He’s also worked on projects of his own, like the eponymous single-camera pilot he made with Chicago contemporary Kyle Kinane and The Office’s Brent Forrester, which Comedy Central ultimately passed on. Braunger is currently developing a show with J.D. Ryznar, creator of Channel 101’s Yacht Rock, and aiming to tape a new hour special by the end of the year.

I recently spoke with Braunger about his work on Up All Night, the vigor of a 15-minute podcast, and why parodying a Springsteen album cover for his next special might backfire terribly.  READ MORE

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Talking to Chelsea Peretti about Standup, 'Call Chelsea Peretti,' Pau Gasol and Jonathan Winters

Chelsea Peretti is a self-proclaimed “silly billy.” She berates people for liking soup, routinely discusses the merits of Lakers forward Pau Gasol, and has recorded an entire song dedicated to Wolf Blitzer. And yet, she’s one of the most hardworking comedians in L.A. right now: Formerly a writer for Parks and Recreation, Peretti performs stand-up tirelessly and now hosts her own call-in podcast, Call Chelsea Peretti.

She’s also known for her irreverent, caps lock-heavy Twitter account, which ranges from helpful tips (“If ur depressed buy a can of whipped cream spray it into your hand + mash it on your face u will def feel like a silly billy in seconds flat”) to current events commentary (“CNN W THE RACIAL SYNONYMS ‘DARKSKINNED’ ‘BROWNSKINNED’ ‘OBSIDIANISH’ ‘NON-ALABASTERY’”). Most recently, she guest-wrote for Saturday Night Live and Kroll Show, and was one of nine comedians featured on Time’s Top 140 Twitter Feeds of 2013. She’s currently crossing her fingers that Fox picks up the Mike Schur/Dan Goor cop comedy pilot, on which she’ll play a civilian office manager named Gina.

I recently had a chance to talk to Peretti on the phone, thrilled but terrified that she would hang up on me — a move she pulls often on her podcast. I had the good fortune of receiving one of her famous “food tests” — in which you express like or disdain for a certain food, and she deems your answer either right or wrong — and fail miserably. (I incorrectly chose chocolate cake with vanilla frosting over yellow cake with chocolate frosting. “You’re always gonna get a yellow with choc,” she said.) We went on to discuss her in-progress hour special, memories of the late Jonathan Winters, and a potential future collaboration with her brother Jonah, creator of BuzzFeed. READ MORE