Splitsider

 
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Talking to 'The Onion's New Editor, Cole Bolton

It’s a story as old as time itself: man dislikes his job, decides to pursue a career in comedy, sends a bunch of unsolicited work into The Onion, and eventually becomes editor of the world’s most popular satirical news site. Well, maybe it’s not that conventional, but it is the general career outline of newly-appointed Onion editor Cole Bolton. A former associate economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and research associate at Harvard Business School, Bolton’s comedy experience was practically nonexistent before he joined The Onion as a contributing writer in 2006. But despite never once being a member of a college improv troupe, Bolton’s passion and talent allowed him to work his way up through The Onion’s writers’ room, until he was named head writer this past November, and then editor just four months later.

I recently talked with Bolton about his rise through The Onion’s ranks, his new responsibilities as editor of "America’s Finest News Source," and the impact of satirical news in today’s media landscape. READ MORE

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Talking to Patton Oswalt about His New Standup Special and Other Stuff


If there’s a name in standup that qualifies for the “needs no introduction” treatment, it’s Patton Oswalt. The man who describes himself as “America’s comedy goblin” is an A-list comic whose specials – the latest of which, Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time, premieres tonight at 10pm ET on Epix and is available streaming online now via an Epix free trial – are some of the few things in the standup world that approach event viewing. Oswalt is adept at turning run-of-the-mill misanthropy into acerbic fireworks, his best known bits involving rants against KFC Famous Bowls, death beds, self-checkout machines at the grocery store, and the soul-crushing nightmare that is living in New York City. He’s also proven himself to be an immensely talented actor, breaking audiences’ hearts in films like Big Fan and Young Adult, warming them with roles in Ratatouille and Parks and Recreation, and invoking whatever the hell emotion people are supposed to feel when from the mind-melting insanity of The Heart, She Holler.

I recently had the chance to talk to Patton over the phone about his latest special, his various internet exploits, and what his generation has accomplished in standup comedy. READ MORE

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Talking to Adam Reed about 'Archer', 'Sealab 2021' and Working with Kenny Loggins

Adam Reed is not one for complacency. As one of the creative minds behind the classic Sealab 2021 and the vastly underappreciated Frisky Dingo, Reed fueled both his Adult Swim series with an inexhaustible supply of batshit unpredictability. Sealab was the kind of show that could easily devote an entire episode to a man trapped under a vending machine, while Frisky Dingo seamlessly went from a superhero spoof in its first season to a political farce in its second.

Reed is once again shaking things up, this time on his popular FX espionage comedy Archer. The show – which premieres its fifth season tonight at 10pm – could have coasted by on more Bond-esque debauchery but is instead rebooting as Archer Vice and turning the lovable sociopaths of ISIS into coke dealers. Having previewed the new season, I can confirm Sterling and friends have no trouble – morally speaking – slipping into a life of crime. I can also confirm that Archer remains one of the funniest shows on TV, with one of the most impressive ensembles ever assembled.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Adam Reed about his decision to upset the status quo, his comedic influences, and his experience finally getting to work with the man responsible for the song “Danger Zone.” READ MORE

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Talking to David Koechner About ‘Anchorman 2’, ‘Cheap Thrills’, and His Most Recognizable Roles

David Koechner has, by our rough estimate, starred in approximately a bazillion different television shows and movies. The versatile comedic actor who got his start in the Chicago improv scene is best known for his roles as Todd Packer in The Office and Champ Kind in Anchorman – two hilarious, yet very distinct types of chauvinistic jerks – but you’re just as likely to recognize him from any number of sketch shows, sitcoms, cartoons, and 3D killer piranha films from the mid-‘90s on.

This year has proved as busy as ever for Koechner. In addition to once again donning Champ’s cowboy hat for the much-anticipated Anchorman sequel, he’s also receiving early buzz for his decidedly dark turn in the pitch black comedy Cheap Thrills and is gearing up for a national standup tour.

Before he set out for Anchorman 2’s promotional media blitz, I had the chance to talk to David Koechner over the phone about the sequel fans have spent the last decade asking him about, his impressive work ethic, and what he’s learned from his recent move into the realm of standup comedy. READ MORE

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Talking to Jon Daly About 'Betas', 'Kroll Show', and Being Friends With Kenny G

As a longtime improviser, Jon Daly has entertained countless UCB audiences, been featured on sketch series like Human Giant and Kroll Show, and created such memorable Comedy Bang! Bang! staples as Bill Cosby Bukowski and Mall McCartney. As 30something programmer Hobbes on the new Amazon comedy Betas, Jon Daly has thus far purchased a robot vagina, carried around a frozen dead cat in a bag, and bared more skin than any given character on Game of Thrones. One of those sets of achievements may not sound as impressive as the other, but Daly imbues his burnout Betas character with genuine pathos, and has quickly established himself as the strongest comedic voice on the promising new series.

I recently had the chance to talk to Jon over the phone about his experience on Betas, what we can expect from the second season of Kroll Show, and some of the upcoming projects he’s most excited about. READ MORE

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Talking to Loren Bouchard About 'Bob’s Burgers', 'Home Movies', and Pitching Shows About Cannibals and the Devil

Despite the occasional talking toilet, eight-year-old auteur, and Satanic family member, the works of Loren Bouchard are surprisingly grounded for cartoon shows. Creator of Adult Swim favorites Home Movies and Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil, Bouchard has an ear for naturalistic dialogue that verges on the improvised, and a knack for making the most outlandish characters and plots seem mundanely relatable. The organic vibe is one he’s honed since his start as a producer and writer for Comedy Central’s Dr. Katz, one of the first shows to commit free-wheeling conversations between comedians to animation.

His latest creation, the wonderful Bob’s Burgers, has quietly established itself as one of the standout staples of Fox’s Animation Domination block. The weekly trials of the Belcher family mix King of the Hill-style values and heart with Bouchard’s trademark wit and the universal appeal of voice actor Jon Benjamin yelling at things. As Bob’s Burgers continues its fourth season, with a renewal for a fifth recently announced, I had the opportunity to talk to Bouchard about some of the common themes of his past and current series, convincing The National to perform a song about Thanksgiving, and playing leadoff hitter for Adult Swim. READ MORE

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Talking to Adam DeVine About 'Workaholics', His New Show, and the Joys of Voicing a Cartoon Slice of Pizza

While one would think there's not much left for somebody to accomplish after popularizing the phrase “tight butthole,” Adam DeVine's career is only just getting started. After launching into the comedy spotlight on the hit Comedy Central sitcom Workaholics – which he co-created with fellow Mail Order Comedy members Blake Anderson, Anders Holm and Kyle Newacheck – DeVine has since landed roles on Community and Modern Family, appeared in a couple commercials, and had a memorable turn as egomaniac Bumper in the a capella musical comedy Pitch Perfect.

DeVine even managed to find enough time away from writing and filming the upcoming fourth season of Workaholics to host his very own standup show. The first episode of Adam DeVine’s House Party airs tonight at 12:30am on Comedy Central, and the series puts a unique twist on the standard showcase format. House Party features DeVine blowing his production budget on nightly ragers at his mansion and blends scripted sitcom-style storylines with real performances by up-and-coming comedians. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Adam DeVine over the phone about his own standup career, the movie the Workaholics crew is developing with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and his quest for the perfect set of jet skis. READ MORE

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Talking to Chelsea Peretti About 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine', 'Parks and Rec', and the Differences Between NY and LA Standup

Springing from the creative minds behind sitcom golden child Parks and Recreation and boasting an ensemble that would make any comedy nerd and/or diehard Terry Crews fan salivate, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is, unsurprisingly, one of this year’s most promising new series. Contributing to the ridiculously high hopes is the show’s inclusion of longtime comic and current Twitter hero Chelsea Peretti, who plays Gina, the fictional precinct’s sardonic office administrator. Peretti has steadily gained a reputation as a comedian on the verge of breaking out, her silly and sarcastic style having led to writing gigs on the The Sarah Silverman Program and the aforementioned Parks and Recreation, roles on shows like Louie and Kroll Show, and a practically nonstop touring schedule.

I recently talked to Chelsea about her role on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, her standup career, and the universal act of deleting mediocre tweets.

We last talked to you a few months ago, right before the Brooklyn Nine-Nine pilot got picked up. How did you react when you heard that the show was ordered to series?

Well, it was definitely – I would say exciting. You know, it’s the kind of thing where you’re waiting. We heard a lot of positive feedback about it, but until you have that final answer you never feel certain, so it was just nice to have that certainty. To know that we were gonna get to make more, move on, and that people were gonna see it.

It’s probably the most anticipated comedy that’s premiering this year.

Yeah, I've read a lot of scripts and I definitely, personally, have a good feeling about it where you’re in the middle of a scene and you’re like, “This is funny.” I feel like I would wanna see this, and so I think that’s such a great feeling. And also weirdly rare in LA, I think. READ MORE

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Talking to Nate Corddry About ‘Mom’, ‘The Heat’, And Why Boston Stereotypes Will Always Be Funny

Nate Corddry is no stranger to the fickle whims of television. He’s starred on three tragically cancelled series, including the much-hyped Aaron Sorkin joint Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, the David E. Kelley legal dramedy Harry’s Law, and the recent animated adaptation of an ‘80s sci-fi classic, Tron: Uprising. But despite the short-lived nature of the shows that have featured him, Corddry himself has left a lasting impression as a sharp, versatile actor. He’s ably balanced both the dramatic – roles as a creepy, clingy restaurant manager on United States of Tara and a soldier in the HBO war epic The Pacific – and the hilarious – a year spent as a Daily Show correspondent, and a part as one of Melissa McCarthy’s brash, Bostonian family members in this past summer’s buddy cop comedy The Heat.

Thankfully his latest project, CBS’s Mom, sounds as close to a surefire hit as a TV show can get. Hailing from sitcom guru Chuck Lorre, featuring the talents of veterans like Allison Janney and French Stewart, and giving the frequently underserved Anna Faris her first major television role, Mom is poised to be the next breakout multi-camera comedy from the network that’s managed to make even 2 Broke Girls a hit. And as Faris’s love interest, Corddry is a terrific addition to an already stacked cast.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Nate about his work on Mom, the lessons he’s learned during his career, and why fraternal duos like him and his brother Rob are so prevalent in comedy. READ MORE

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Talking to Ike Barinholtz About 'The Mindy Project', 'MADtv', and His 'Game of Thrones' Audition Tape

From Twitter buddy to staff writer to breakout series regular, Ike Barinholtz earned a well-deserved meteoric rise during the first season of The Mindy Project. The improv actor had initially befriended Mindy Kaling over Twitter, which led to an invitation to the writer’s room on her Fox sitcom, which in turn led to Barinholtz donning the medical scrubs of Morgan Tookers, the show’s eccentric yet affable ex-con nurse. Barinholtz’s character was a highlight in the comedy's freshman year, which should come as little surprise to anyone who knows him for his work as a former cast member on MADtv, or more recently as Eastbound & Down’s Ivan Drago-inspired Russian rival Ivan Dochenko.

I recently chatted with Ike over the phone about what we can expect from Morgan in The Mindy Project’s upcoming second season, his career in sketch comedy, and the drastic, Christian Bale-esque physical changes he’s undergone for his television roles. READ MORE

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Talking to Ken Marino About ‘Bad Milo!’, ‘Eastbound & Down’, and Playing Both Nice Guys and Jerks

If there’s one actor who possesses the sheer gravitas to play a man plagued by a murderous ass demon, that actor is Ken Marino. As one of the many talents to spring from the MTV sketch group The State, Marino has starred in a number of classics that have become required viewing for any modern comedy fan: Wet Hot American Summer, The Ten, Party Down, Childrens Hospital, and, most recently, the horror-comedy destined for cult status, Bad Milo! Executive produced by the Duplass brothers and featuring Marino as a downtrodden nice guy whose stress at work and at home physically manifests itself as a bloodthirsty butt monster, Bad Milo! harkens back to the slapstick creature features of the '80s and '90s, and mixes equal parts laughs, gore, and heartwarming ruminations on family and fatherhood.

I recently chatted with Ken on the phone about the surprisingly grounded themes of Bad Milo!, his work on the Emmy-nominated Childrens Hospital and Burning Love, his recent roles on Eastbound & Down and Axe Cop and, inevitably, the oft-rumored Party Down revival. READ MORE

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Talking to Jim Rash About 'The Writers' Room,' 'The Way, Way Back,' and Why We All Love Dean Pelton

It’s rare for a sitcom role as a pansexual Dalmatian fetishist to launch an actor to stardom, but ever since taking on the mantle and accompanying Tina Turner wig of Community’s fashionable and frantic Dean Pelton, comedian Jim Rash has won an Oscar for co-writing The Descendants, debuted as a director with the charming The Way, Way Back, scored a pilot for  Fox, and generally worked his way deeper into America’s heart with every new dean-based pun and mocking Angelina Jolie pose. Rash can currently be seen hosting the Sundance Channel’s The Writers’ Room, an insightful look into the writing staffs of some of television’s most popular shows, from the evil geniuses behind Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones to the comedy dream teams who bring us Parks & Recreation and New Girl. I recently had a chance to talk with Rash about his personal writing experiences, his projects with longtime collaborator Nat Faxon, and what he thinks is behind Dean Pelton’s almost Magnitude-levels of popularity. READ MORE

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Talking to Matt Jones about 'Mom,' 'The Farm,' and the Final Season of ‘Breaking Bad’

Best known for his role as Badger, Jesse Pinkman’s longtime friend and on-again-off-again drug-dealing lackey, Matt Jones brings a welcome dose of comic relief to Breaking Bad’s usual high-wire tension and meth-addled misery. The man of a thousand knit caps is also a longtime improv and sketch performer with a lengthy list of TV credits, having popped up in everything from Community to NCIS to TRON: Uprising. Jones recently donned the world’s most uncomfortable-looking fake beard to play Dwight Schrute’s cousin Zeke on the attempted The Office spinoff The Farm, and is currently slated to star as Anna Faris’s ex-boyfriend Baxter on the upcoming Chuck Lorre sitcom Mom, set to debut this on CBS fall. I had the opportunity to talk to Matt about his sitcom work, his time with the famed Amsterdam comedy theater Boom Chicago, and how often he feared for Badger’s life on Breaking Bad.

So the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad are set to air and I know you probably can't share too many details about what happens, but can you at least tell me if we get a good sense of closure on Badger?

Uh, I can't. [Laughs] I can't tell you that. But I can tell you that… I was describing this to someone, the great thing about the show, and the great thing about these last eight episodes is, as a fan of the show, if you watch the show sometimes you think, like, "Oh man, what if that happened?" And in these last eight, some of that stuff happens. Some of it doesn't, but some of it you're like, "Oh man, I thought that might happen, but holy shit, I can't believe it did." Stuff like that. READ MORE

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Talking to Brian Posehn About His New Album, 'Mr. Show,' and Who Should Direct the New 'Star Wars' Movies

Throughout an insanely prolific career, Brian Posehn has been far more active than one would expect a headbanging stoner with a comic book obsession to be. The Comedian of Comedy has lent his distinctive monotone and alternative sensibilities to all manner of cult classics in the last twenty years, from the brilliantly bizarre sketches of Mr. Show and Human Giant to supporting roles on skewed sitcoms The Sarah Silverman Program and Mission Hill to Adult Swim mainstays Tom Goes to the Mayor and Metalocalypse.

His latest comedy special, the hilariously and profoundly titled The Fartist, was released on DVD and CD last month and finds an introspective Posehn discussing his decision to quit smoking weed, his newfound fatherhood and, of course, what it’s like to fart in front of Christian Slater. I recently talked to Brian about the upcoming 20th anniversary for Mr. Show, his thoughts on the new Star Wars movies, and what elevates his fart jokes above run-of-the-mill fart jokes. READ MORE