From Lois Griffin on Family Guy to Miss Swan on MADtv, Alex Borstein has played some memorable TV characters. Though she was always a self-described “smart ass performer” from a young age, she almost nixed a life in show business for a more practical career as a lawyer and later an advertising exec. Now, after her big break on MADtv and years of acting, writing, and producing on all sorts of TV shows and movies, Borstein will be starring in a new HBO series called Getting On, a remake of the hit UK medical comedy of the same name. We caught up with Borstein to discuss the new show, how she helped turn Lois Griffin into a stronger character, and how hemophilia in her family propelled her into comedy. READ MORE
Though comics often make an audience feel as though they’re delivering their jokes for the first time, they're usually well-honed. But Rory Scovel often actually is making things up on the spot. Sure, the improv-heavy comic writes jokes, but every set looks completely different depending on the day. Whether it’s a new accent, character, or wacky form of crowd work, he is unique in his unpredictability and delivery. With a new album coming out and an upcoming TBS sitcom, I caught up with Scovel to discuss improv, acting, and listening to jazz vinyl on the couch.
I picture you as a really rambunctious child, what were you like as a kid?
I played a lot of sports and was pretty hyper, so yeah I would say I was pretty energetic.
What was your family like?
I come from a pretty big family and everybody played sports. Everyone is a smartass so I think that’s probably where my comedy comes from. READ MORE
It’s hard to find a more likeable person than comedian Ron Funches. Jolly with a soft-spoken sincerity about him, it is Funches’ optimism that makes him eccentric in the comedy world. He is the guy that other comics are actually happy for each time he gets something. He also has one of the top five best laughs in the universe — if you haven’t heard it, it’s a treat.
After leaving Portland for LA in search of more opportunity last year, Funches is achieving more and more success. He'll appear in the upcoming Bill Lawrence sitcom, Undateable, and is fresh off of “the best week ever” at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal where he opened for Dave Chappelle. I caught up with Ron to find out about his writing process, his sleeping habits, and his transition into acting. READ MORE
2013 has been a prolific year for comedy’s resident dark lord, Anthony Jeselnik, with the debut of his new show, The Jeselnik Offensive, and his new album, Caligula. Fresh off last week’s premiere of season two, I caught up with Anthony to find out what we can expect this season, if his mother is offended by his jokes, and if he was scared to make fun of cancer to actual cancer patients.
When you started out as a comic, was TV always your goal?
No, I originally wanted be a comic writer. I liked the idea of writing because you get to do it again every single week or every single night. If you make a mistake, you get to do it again and if you do well, you have to do it again. Something about that pressure, that appealed to me.
Who are some of your comedic influences?
One of my first comic influences, it’s funny it doesn’t show up at all, but Denis Leary was one of my favorite comics. I loved his No Cure For Cancer album. I love Steven Wright, I love Mitch Hedberg. I love those one-linery guys who would have these amazing jokes. They don’t really have to act out to get the audience’s attention. They just had great jokes. That’s what I gravitated towards, having jokes so good you can just kinda hang out. READ MORE
Amy Schumer has had a huge year with the debut of her hit show, Inside Amy Schumer, on Comedy Central. Known for her bawdy style, the New York comic is now in the midst of trying to juggle her own whirlwind of success. I caught up with Amy to see how she’s surviving her insane schedule, what’s next for the show, and how her parents felt about the show's "Two Girls, One Cup" sketch. READ MORE
Deon Cole saw a need for another perspective amidst the flurry of web clip shows and pop culture comedy on TV. After writing for Conan for four years, the standup comic and Emmy-nominated writer premiered his own show, Black Box, this past Monday on TBS in hopes of putting a new spin on things. While Cole acknowledges that his show is not a new format, he says that it’s his unique voice that makes it stand out. I caught up with the newly-minted TV host to discuss what Black Box is all about, how it all started, and why he won’t let success go to his head.
When did you first know that you wanted to do standup?
Well, a friend bet me $50 that I wouldn’t get up on stage one night in Chicago and I went up there and did it. I was hooked after that. READ MORE
After 13 years in comedy, Mike Birbiglia has reached his ultimate goal. This coming Sunday, he'll culminate his 70-city tour of My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend on the apotheosized stage of Carnegie Hall. His story goes that shortly after moving to New York City in 2000, he saw Jon Stewart play the venue, laughed his ass off, and decided that he would be on that stage some day too. Now after countless ups and downs in his life and thousands of comedy shows under his belt, Birbiglia has made it to one of the most highly regarded theaters in the world. I caught up with Mike to hear about why he’s attached to My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, what’s next for him, and why he thinks Ira Glass is like Houdini.
You started doing My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend in New York back in 2011, what does it mean for you to come back after a global tour and end it at Carnegie Hall?
It’s so exciting. I’m sincere when I say that I really haven’t wanted to stop doing this show. There is a part of me that feels like I could go on doing it for 5-10 more years, and make it better and better and then get another actor to come in and take over for me. Just run it for eternity. My Boyfriend’s Girlfriend is special because it’s optimistic which I think is rare in comedy. I’ve had a lot of people on tour that have proposed at shows to their girlfriends or boyfriends which just makes it so fun to do. My agent and I talked about how the best way to end it would be, (laughs) because he’s really been pushing me to end it and write a new show. I think he’s probably right so we decided that Carnegie Hall would be a great way to go out. Because you know, most people haven’t really been to Carnegie Hall. It’s kind of neat to give my fans an excuse to go there in a way. Our show is much cheaper than your typical show there. The most expensive ticket is $55 and the least is $35 so we did our best to keep ticket prices really low for everyone. I’m excited. READ MORE
After meeting at an open mic several years ago, Denver-based comedy trio, Adam Cayton-Holland, Benjamin Roy, and Andrew Orvedahl have become national fixtures on the comedy scene thanks to their popular Grawlix standup show and web series. The guys are generating even more buzz now that Amazon has picked up their pilot, Those Who Can’t. The show is about three thirty-something high school teachers — Loren (Spanish), Ben (History), and Coach Andy (P.E.) — who are fed up with facing the wrath of a jerky high-schooler named Bryce. They decide to seek revenge on their student nemesis and experience some hilarious obstacles along the way. I caught up with the Grawlix guys to hear about Those Who Can’t, how it all started, and why they love Denver.
When did you three meet and how did you start working together?
Adam: We met each other about nine years ago when we all started stand-up at the same open mic, the Lion's Lair, in Denver. We became good friends and after awhile we started putting on a show called Los Comicos Super Hilariosos. The cast of characters came and went, but the three of us were all integral parts of Los Comicos. Initially the show was very small, us performing for drunks at dive bars, but then it developed a following and we moved into an art gallery that my friend ran. Soon after, we started welcoming all sorts of great comics – Tig Notaro, Moshe Kasher, Maria Bamford, Kyle Kinane, etc., etc. But after awhile, we hung up that show and started the Grawlix, which is a monthly live show that takes place at this cool old theater in Denver called the Bug Theater. We started the web-series about a year and a half ago with the amazingly talented brother filmmaker team, The Nix Brothers, and that's where a wider audience started learning about us. But as far as me, Ben and Andrew, we've known each other from the time we all started and we've always been fans of each others stuff. That's how comics are, you start at a mic and are drawn towards the people you find funny. READ MORE