Inside the Big-Time Ambitions of 'Big Time in Hollywood, FL'

bigtimeinhollywoodflAt first blush, Comedy Central's newest scripted series, Big Time in Hollywood, FL, may seem like another entry into the category of Young Slackers Getting into Wacky Daily Misadventures. But the show's creators, Alex Anfanger and Dan Schimpf, have a much grander scheme in play. With the successful web series Next Time on Lonny under their collective belt, Anfanger and Schimpf set out to finally create a show six years in the making. Big Time is a serialized comedy about two wannabe filmmaker brothers who get caught up in multi-layered plot that forces them into adulthood for the first time in their lives. The show boasts a heavy dose of action and drama, backed by a season full of notable actors including Ben Stiller, Michael Madsen, Cuba Gooding Jr., Kathy Baker and Steven Tobolowsky. I talked to the series' creators about the new show, their writing process and how comedy is finally catching up to drama on television. READ MORE


A Discussion About Philosophy and Spirituality with Eddie Pepitone

eddiepepitoneOn his new full length comedy album, In Ruins, Eddie Pepitone lives up to his Bitter Buddha reputation with passionate diatribes on everything from the cost of war to his ongoing existential crisis. Like a well-caffeinated sidewalk preacher, Pepitone delivers his sermon with an improvisational flow that can only come from a seasoned mind full of too many competing ideas. He is a true comic philosopher, willing to hold himself up to the evils and tragedy that he sees in the world. I talked to Pepitone about his search for spirituality, the little joys in life and what he would like to see more of in standup comedy.

You're a big advocate for meditation and the philosophical quest to become a better person. At the same time, you have a joke on the new album where you say that you got addicted to Vicodin because you couldn't afford a real vacation.

That's the constant struggle, man. It's classic. The enlightened part of us versus the primal animal in us that just wants pleasure. My whole life has been a struggle against instant gratification. Especially in today's world where you can go on the internet and see pornography, or order food to be delivered, or watch movies. Instant gratification is so unbelievable now. I'm so glad I quit smoking pot and drinking because if I was still doing that I don't think I would travel. I don't think I would be productive at all. My whole thing with getting high and all of that was just to zone out into pleasure. We can pleasure ourselves to death. One of the books I'm reading right now is called Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman and it's all about that. READ MORE


Trevor Moore and That Awkward Conversation with Your Parents About Your Comedy

trevormooreTrevor Moore, founding member of The Whitest Kids U' Know, returns to television at midnight on March 6th with a brand new one-hour Comedy Central musical special, High in Church. The show was recorded live at the Gramercy Theater in New York and incorporates a full band, backup singers, dancing girls and some truly hilarious music videos featuring Presidential cat assassinations, drunk texts and Moore and his pals accidentally tripping balls at a midnight mass. I talked to Moore about the special, his conservative upbringing, and the latest news on The Whitest Kids U' Know. READ MORE


The End, and Beginning, of 'Jake and Amir'

jakeandamirAbout eight years ago, two boys with a dream and some spare time after work started making short, funny web videos. Those boys were Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld and their little web series, Jake and Amir, grew to become one of CollegeHumor's longest running series, amassing more than half a billion views over some 750 episodes. This week marks the first of the final eight Jake and Amir episodes. I talked to the duo about the evolution of the series, the final countdown, a possible TV series and their plans for the future.

Looking back over the life of the series, what are some of the benchmarks where you feel the show took a creative jump, either in character development or as a whole?

Jake Hurwitz: That's already the most thoughtful question we've ever gotten.

Amir Blumenfeld: We're going to pass.

JH: Are you sure you don't want to know if Amir really likes chicken nuggets?

AB: I've got an answer. Let's see if this matches Jake's. When we stopped shooting ourselves on digital point-and-shoot cameras and added cameramen with HD cameras, that was a big leap up.

JH: That was my first thought as well. Also, at that same point, we went from filming by ourselves after work to it becoming a regular part of our job. That helped the series too because we had dedicated time to write at work, instead of sticking around after to write scripts and shoot them in the dark.

AB: The second big step is when we actually started writing scripts, instead of just notes. READ MORE


Kyle Kinane Is Not Punk Rock

kylekinaneAfter a long, unconventional course of some fifteen years, Kyle Kinane finds himself at an interesting point in his comedy career. To his fans and peers, he is one of today's best comics. He's developed a unique, personal style that allows him to deliver his observational wisdom through the natural persona of a grizzled everydude. His first two releases, Death of the Party and Whiskey Icarus, garnered critical acclaim and his list of TV credits continues to grow. Now, on the eve of the world premiere of his new Comedy Central special, I Liked His Old Stuff Better, Kinane faces the challenge of staying true to his old fan base while courting new admirers who are getting their first taste of his work. I talked to Kinane about the new special, the connection between comedy and music and, most importantly, drinking in the shower. READ MORE


Getting Back Into the Spy Game with 'Archer' Executive Producer Matt Thompson

mattthompson-archerArcher is back for a sixth season and with it comes a return to the secret agent “mission of the week” format we grew familiar with during the series' first four seasons. Season Five, Archer: Vice, was a fun detour into the seedy world of cocaine sales, but after last week's premiere, it seems that people — including the show's creators — are glad to get back to the spy games that Archer is best known for. I talked to Executive Producer Matt Thompson about how real-world terrorism affected the show's universe, this season's spectacular guest stars and the possibility of an Archer movie.

Congratulations on the Season Six Premiere. What kind of feedback have you been getting?

It's a blessing and a curse to have the internet out there and get instant feedback. I read a lot of Reddit comments and stuff and it seems pretty positive so far. I think there's a real danger in trying to analyze things the next day. It's better to give it a second to breathe. But from what I'm reading, people don't want to kill us.

Last season was a bit of a departure from the spy format, focusing instead on Archer: Vice. That was somewhat of a controversial move. Some people loved it. Some people hated it. This season, you're back to the espionage storyline. Can you talk about the process behind making the decision to go back to the original format?

There was never any intention to not go back to it. Adam Reed writes all of the shows himself. Well, 95% of the writing is him. I think he was just a little bit burnt out on “mission of the week.” He wanted to keep the same people, have them be very recognizable, but have them do something different. It was almost like What About Bob? — take a vacation from your problems. I think it was wonderful for the show and the characters. We learned and grew. But it also makes coming back home that much sweeter. It makes it exciting that in Season Six, we're doing what we're used to doing. READ MORE


A Very Controversial Year in Comedy

dave chappelle 3It's been a big year for comedy and an even bigger year for controversy. Heroes have fallen, debates have ignited and feet have been inserted firmly into mouths. Social media once again played a major role in spreading truth, lies and everything in between. These are the stories that raised our blood pressure, ruined our dinners and kept us hitting refresh. READ MORE


The Weasel Grows Up

paulyshoreThe late 80s and early 90s were good to Pauly Shore. The Weasel — an alter ego born out of Shore's standup — became, for a time, more than just a character. The Weasel was a living, breathing thing whose mannerisms and catchphrases, like it or not, infiltrated the fabric of American pop culture. From the small screen to the big screen, there was no escaping Pauly Shore. Shore's new documentary, Pauly Shore Stands Alone, which recently premiered on Showtime, opens with archival footage from that wildly successful point in his career. But the film quickly shifts focus to the reality of today: Pauly Shore, age 46, dealing with the mundane pressures of adulthood while trying to manage a career in standup comedy. I talked to Shore the day after the film's television premiere about his motives for making the movie, life on the road and people's strange and intense connection with The Weasel.

Your documentary just premiered last night on Showtime. What's been the feedback so far?

People seem to be in to it, I guess. I just kind of look at my Twitter feed for my notifications, you know? People seem to like it.

Are you happy with the way it came out?

Yeah, I like the feel. Have you seen it?

Yeah, your people sent me a screener. I watched it last week.

OK yeah, so I like the feel of it. I like the honesty of it. I like the look. I like the music. I like the shots and I think the story is cool. People seem to relate to it.

This was something you directed yourself. What prompted you to do it at this point in your career?

I just thought it was at an interesting time. I mean, I think my story, a lot of people are going through. It's relatable — being in their 40s, taking care of their elderly parents, maybe not having the best relationships with family members and being alone. I thought it would be interesting doing it with the backdrop of this snowy Midwestern tour, telling this story as I'm cruising along and doing my thing, you know? I just thought that the timing was good and the fact that I was living at home with my mom, you know, people relate to that shit. It's the real thing. READ MORE


Elizabeth Laime and the Lessons Learned From Podcasting

elizabethlaimeElizabeth Laime knows all too well that all good things must totally come to an end. Her flagship podcast, Totally Laime, is winding down its five-year run with a final flurry of episodes, the last of which will drop on January 23rd. It's shaping up to be a fond farewell that won't leave fans of Laime and her cohost/husband, Andy Rosen, completely empty handed, considering that a mini-empire of Totally spinoff podcasts are still going strong. We talked to Laime about how luck, laziness and low expectations can somehow be the perfect recipe for success.

Well, it's the final countdown. How are you feeling?

You know, I'm pretty excited. We have some exciting plans for the final episodes.

Are these episodes already booked, or are you still looking to fill a couple of spots?

I’d say they’re almost all ready to go. I have who I want and I have a few words out. I’d say it’s sixty percent booked. Hopefully we’ll be able to pull it off. We’ll see.

What inspired you to start your podcast with Andy?

Actually, do you know Too Beautiful To Live?

Yeah, I’ve heard of it. Was that a radio show?

I think it was in Seattle. It’s Luke Burbank, who eventually came on Totally Laime. We used to listen to it on road trips. We had moved to LA just before we started the podcast. Andy was a record producer, so he had all this recording equipment. Luke’s format is that he records every single day, so it was barebones in terms of prep. They just dive in. I had come from New York and had been performing and writing. When we got to LA I focused mainly on writing. I was feeling kind of isolated in the comedy community, so I thought that it would be so cool if we just had our funny friends over. We could do this! So we did. We just started doing it. I think when we started, I was like, “Let’s do twenty of these and see how it goes.” Then five years later, we’re pulling the plug. But I never, ever thought it would turn into what it did for me. READ MORE


The Punk Rock Comedy of Eric Andre

ericandreshowBoth professionally and physically, Eric Andre has paid his dues. From boring commercial work, to thankless standup gigs, to working as a Geico Caveman at live events, Andre has done what it takes to make his dream of a twisted, absurdist, ferocious talk show a reality. The Eric Andre Show brings celebrity guests from all across the entertainment spectrum into a DIY, punk rock interview format that flips the traditional ways of late night talk shows on their heads. The path to success has been paved with constant damage, both to the frequently abused set of the show and Andre's body itself. This willful self-destruction, while incredibly entertaining, serves to prove Andre's intense commitment to his insane craft. Now entering its third season, The Eric Andre Show premieres tonight (technically, tomorrow morning) at 12:15am on Adult Swim. We had a quick chat with Andre about the show, the comedians who inspire him, and the undying shock value of fake vomit. READ MORE


Finding Joy in the Saddest Depths of Capitalism with Kasper Hauser

skymaulThe San Francisco comedy group Kasper Hauser has a knack for the absurd. For instance, their name is derived from that of a mysterious 19th century feral child from Germany. But beyond the far flung fringes of the unusual exists a sharp grasp of the delicate balance between comedy and tragedy. Since 2000, Kasper Hauser's four members — Dan Klein, James Reichmuth, John Reichmuth and Rob Baedeker — have been writing and performing comedy that adequately represents where they are existentially, both as a group and as individuals. They have just released SkyMaul2: Where America Buys His Stuff, their second parody of the popular SkyMall airline catalog. I talked to James Reichmuth and Rob Baedecker about the new book, the group's history and the significance of bowling a 298. READ MORE


The Unceasing Honesty of Dan Harmon

harmontownFew people would relish the opportunity to have their lives documented in the midst of a low point peppered with job loss, substance abuse, self-doubt, and relationship woes, but in talking to Dan Harmon, it seems that he would have it no other way. In the recently released documentary Harmontown, director Neil Berkeley takes us along on a 20-date live podcast tour with Harmon and his cohorts after Harmon's dismissal from Community and during a somewhat uncertain time in his career and personal life. It's an entertaining and often uncomfortable look not only at Harmon, but also at the people who surround him in the personal and public worlds. I talked to Dan Harmon about the documentary, his relationship and (very briefly) the next season of Community.

How did you get hooked up with Neil Berkeley?

Neil was a mutual friend through Rob Schrab. I saw Beauty Is Embarrassing and I was quite taken with the cinematography and almost perversive intimacy. When I decided to go on this podcast tour I thought that we should make a movie about doing it so we could recoup the bus costs and Neil popped into my head.

I was reading a quote from Neil where he says, “Spend a minute with Dan and you'll realize that honesty is what he values most and any documentary about him or his work must be completely transparent.” That was pretty evident in the film but I was wondering, is there ever a point for you where you feel you can't be honest?

Yeah, I feel that way all the time. That's one of the most stressful things about achieving your dreams and having a TV show is that you also become kind of an elected figure in a sense. People can hold you to these standards and to me, in my mind, it runs purposefully contrary to the mind of a writer who, at their best, is supposed to be a rare conduit for honesty. I don't know. You shouldn't be a writer and feel like you need to be careful. It's not a smart thing to do. It's like asking a loading dock employee to have no arms. READ MORE


Taking Standup to Netflix with Jim Jefferies

jimjefferies"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. What does a typical day in the life of Jim Jefferies look like?

At the moment I'm trying to tweet and talk about my new special coming out and take a few interviews. The reality is, my kid's about to go down for a nap and I've got to go to a doctor about my hemorrhoid. I could give you the fancy answer that I'm sitting down and trying to write myself a sitcom, or trying to think of some standup comedy over coffee but no, the reality is at two o'clock I have an appointment for a hemorrhoid.

I'll leave the hemorrhoid alone. Lets talk about fatherhood.  Do you feel that hitting a milestone like becoming a father is changing your comedy?  

Of course. Now I'm talking about having a kid. That wasn't a topic in my wheelhouse before. But like, has it changed my attitude towards comedy or whether I believe I should be so offensive? No, not at all. I've probably mellowed a little bit as I've gotten older but that's not had anything to do with having a kid. You can only be the angry young man for so long before it gets a little bit childish. But in saying that, the new special is probably the most confrontational special that I've ever brought out. READ MORE


Joe Zimmerman on His Comedy Central 'Half Hour' and Staying in NYC

joe zimmermanSelf-proclaimed "ambassador of joy" Joe Zimmerman is in a New York state of mind. The comedian is putting down serious roots in what he callsthe place to go if you want to be a standup comic.” And who can blame him? The city is treating him and his career quite well. After making his Comedy Central debut last year on John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show, Zimmerman is now preparing for the release of his Comedy Central Half Hour special this Friday. I talked to him about his comedy roots, the NYC scene and how West Virgina is kind of like Ireland. READ MORE