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A Video Introduction To Michael Che

In case you missed the big news, standup and SNL writer Michael Che has joined The Daily Show as its newest correspondent and is set to make his first appearance in June. In addition to his writing gig at SNL, Che has appeared on Bunk, John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show, Late Show with David Letterman, Best Week Ever, @midnight, and most recently Late Night with Seth Meyers, where he served as the show's very first featured standup during its premiere episode. He also has a half-hour Comedy Central special set to premiere on June 6th. Ahead of Che's Daily Show debut a little over a [...]

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Talking To Brett Gelman About His New Adult Swim Special

Tomorrow night, Adult Swim is airing Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman and Friends, a new half-hour special starring comedian Brett Gelman and directed by Jason Woliner, who co-wrote the script with Gelman. Beginning as a talk show Gelman hosts over a meal with six Hollywood actors a la Jon Favreau's Dinner for Five, Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman and Friends quickly takes a turn and descends into an evening of psychological torture. Like Eagleheart, the Adult Swim show Gelman acts on and Woliner is a writer, director, and producer on, Dinner with Friends is fast-paced, funny, and unlike anything else on TV.

I recently talked with Brett Gelman [...]

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Talking to Dave Attell About His New Comedy Central Standup Show and Special

You said dirty comics are sort of a rare breed these days. Do you feel like that’s made comedy worse? Do you ever find yourself hesitating on stage, like ‘if I say something, there might be someone recording it and they might put it on a blog?’ Or do you not even give a shit?

Every comic gives a shit. Everything they say in the clubs could offend someone or somebody could take it the wrong way. The days of the late night show of just winging it and having a good time, they’re coming to an end. The crowds are pretty PC. A lot of them are [...]

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Talking To Paul F. Tompkins

2014 has been a busy year for Paul F. Tompkins so far. He's starring in an ABC sitcom pilot opposite Molly Shannon and hosting the web chat series Speakeasy, Fusion's political puppet show No, You Shut Up!, the podcast/live show Dead Authors, and his Largo live show Varietopia. I recently caught up with Tompkins on the set of Speakeasy to talk about the plethora of projects he has going, being hoodwinked by an Ice-T impersonator, and Mr. Show's upcoming 20th anniversary.

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The Beginner's Guide To 'Trailer Park Boys'

Last month, Netflix announced that the Canadian comedy series Trailer Park Boys is returning for an eighth and ninth season on the streaming network after a seven-year hiatus. While the show became a big hit in Canada, it has yet to gain the same level of superfandom down in the States, but that might be about to change with the arrival of new seasons and, as of yesterday, the availability seasons 1-7 on Netflix Instant. Whether you're unfamiliar with the series or a diehard TPB fan, here's a brief guide to Mike Clattenburg's misfit Canadian world of the ex-cons, weed-growers, and kitty lovers of Sunnyvale.

For the uninitiated, [...]

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Talking with Hannibal Buress About 'Broad City,' Preparing for Onscreen Roles, and His New Standup Special

Hannibal Buress has come a long way from being a writer for SNL and 30 Rock and sometimes a crazy homeless man, enjoying a steady rise to success as both a popular standup and hilarious supporting television player on The Eric Andre Show and more recently Comedy Central's Broad City. His newest Comedy Central project, an hourlong standup special Hannibal Buress: Live From Chicago, airs on the network tomorrow night at midnight, so ahead of its premiere I talked to Buress about how his standup has evolved, his experience acting on Broad City and Seth Rogen's Neighbors, his Comedy Central pilot, the power of "Hannibal's Hands," and how [...]

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Matt Walsh Talks 'Veep' And Stuff

One of the founders of the UCB Theatre and a friendly face in the comedy ecosystem, Matt Walsh returns to TV April 6th when Veep premieres its third season on HBO. In addition to Veep, Walsh has a number of other interesting projects up his sleeve including a role in the found-footage tornado film Into the Storm and David Cross’s directorial debut Hits. Most recently, Walsh turned to Indiegogo to crowdfund A Better You, an improvised film (the writer-director’s second, after High Road in 2011) starring co-writer Brian Huskey as a hypnotherapist in the midst [...]

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Improv As Practical Life Advice

When you ask people to think of reasons why someone took an improv class for the first time you get answers like “I wanted to do something fun” or “I’m a huge comedy fan” or “I wanted to be able to think on my feet more for my job.”

(Side note: people often say “wanted to get better at public speaking” but only when they’re guessing why OTHER people might be taking improv classes.)

Improv classes aren’t as silly as you expect. Yes, they’re fun but they’re more like acting classes.  Many big comedy fans don’t know what long-form improv is, and they take a class because they’ve memorized [...]

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Talking To Chris Gethard

Chris Gethard has an exciting few months coming up. His debut standup album, entitled My Comedy Album, comes out today, his Comedy Central half-hour special is airing this summer, and he'll soon hear back on whether Comedy Central will be ordering his pilot of The Chris Gethard Show to series or not. He also recently returned to doing weekly episodes of the public access version of The Chris Gethard Show, which will soon be ending whether the Comedy Central version gets picked up or not.

I had the chance to talk with Gethard a few weeks ago about how focus groups reacted to The Chris Gethard Show's [...]

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Talking to Nick Frost About Dance, Passion, and 'Cuban Fury'

Nick Frost is putting himself out there. Just as his Cornetto Trilogy collaborators Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg are working on their own individual projects, Frost stars in his first solo lead role in the new romantic comedy Cuban Fury, a warm underdog story emphasizing the importance of passion and the value of challenging oneself.

Frost also lives the movie's message by taking on a technically-demanding role: Cuban Fury is a dance movie, and Frost plays Bruce Garrett, a former child salsa prodigy bullied into giving up his dream now living a safe adult life working for an industrial manufacturing company. Dance is a painful memory pushed firmly out [...]

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Talking To Thomas Middleditch About 'Silicon Valley'

You're about to see a lot more of Thomas Middleditch in movies and TV. Middleditch got his start as an improviser and sketch actor in Chicago, where he performed at iO, Second City, and was a founding member of The Improvised Shakespeare Company, before moving to New York and then Los Angeles, where he's performed frequently at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. This year, he has both his first lead TV role  (Mike Judge's new HBO series Silicon Valley, which premiered last night) and his first lead role in a major movie (the upcoming Search Party, which he stars in alongside T.J. Miller and Adam Pally).

I recently had [...]

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The Science Of How Comedy Works

Writing about comedy has become a cottage industry in recent years as the swelling popularity of live and online humor has birthed a new audience for comedy journalism, whether it's Jason Zinoman's New York Times pieces or Splitsider's own blow-by-blow reporting on the industry.

But outside of the standup, sketch, and podcast worlds, there's also been a larger, centuries-long search to understand the fundamental nature of humor. It's the sort of quest that electrifies certain comedy nerds while making others wince at the idea of slicing open something as mysterious and subjective as laughter. It also begat E.B. White's famous 1941 quote: "Humor can be dissected, as a frog [...]

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Talking With Fred Armisen

Whenever it seems like Fred Armisen has more than enough projects on his plate, he goes ahead and becomes the new Late Night band curator, or he lands another show on IFC, or he decides to release his fake band songs from SNL through a string of 7" singles. But that advanced level of multitasking is really the secret to Armisen's success, as his spontaneous zen-like approach to his work has led to some of his finest comedic creations, from making web videos with Carrie Brownstein under the moniker ThunderAnt to his commitment to even the most inconsequential gigs, such as dressing up as Penny [...]

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Talking to Todd Barry About His New 'Crowd Work' Special

Todd Barry has a new crowd work standup special coming out on Louis C.K.’s website.

That’s the narrative we’ll be hearing over the next few weeks. Louie and Todd are friends, Louie thinks Todd is funny and offered to produce his special, Louie holds a lot of sway in the comedy world.

Just keep in mind Barry’s special isn’t some run-of-the-mill comedy special C.K. is producing as a favor.

A standup special consisting entirely of audience interactions hasn’t been done before, and Barry is definitely a master of the skill. This is going to be worth checking out.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Barry briefly about [...]

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Inside The Most Popular Local TV Comedy In America

The seeds of the most popular local TV comedy in the country were planted 25 years ago, outside a Seattle restaurant when two strangers walked up to Chris Cashman’s dad, Pat, and thanked him for his work on Almost Live, a local sketch comedy show similar to Saturday Night Live.

“They didn't even know him,” Chris, now 36, recalls. "That was the neatest thing I'd ever heard of, and I thought, if I could just do that some day…”

But Almost Live was cancelled in 1999, just as Chris became old enough to join it. The show didn’t generate enough profits for the Texas company that bought the station and the [...]

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Maya Rudolph's Finest Musical Moments

NBC announced that The Maya Rudolph Show, a new variety show special from the comedic actress of the same name, will premiere on May 19th. The Lorne Michaels-produced one-off special, which features guests like Craig Robinson, Andy Samberg, and Janelle Monáe, will serve as a pilot for a Rudolph-fronted variety show for the network.

Rudolph hosting a variety show is no surprise as she's had dual passions for music and comedy for decades now. The daughter of soul singer Minnie Ripperton, Rudolph worked as a keyboardist and backup singer for the band The Rentals before landing at SNL. On SNL and Up All Night, Rudolph sang frequently, goofing on [...]

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Talking To W. Kamau Bell

Long established on the San Francisco comedy scene, W. Kamau Bell was relatively unknown nationally when he began hosting Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell on FX in 2012. But following the internet outrage over the show’s cancellation this past November, Bell and Totally Biased received more critical attention, posthumously praising the show for its unique blend of humor and socio-political commentary.

Now, Bell is full steam ahead with his "Oh Everything!" tour, which will include doing standup at the second Atlantic Ocean Comedy Festival July 25-28, a comedy cruise put on by Jesse Thorn’s podcast and radio organization Maximum Fun. Before that, he’ll be in New [...]

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Talking To Amy Schumer About Season Two Of 'Inside Amy Schumer'

There were a lot of changes on the writing staff this year. How did that influence the upcoming season? 

We lost two and we gained three and a half-ish. So we still have the same head writer and we did have a bunch of returning writers so it’s one of those things that we have the same energy but with new brains in the room. But everything has to pass through through my sensibility and what makes sense for our show. I don’t think that anyone will notice a drastic shift but I think it’s really strong.

I’ve seen the first three episodes that were screened for critics, [...]

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Talking To Rachael Harris About The Space Between Comedy And Drama

Rachael Harris's most recent appearance in Jason Bateman’s first foray into directing, Bad Words, was brief. Nevertheless, her time on screen occupied some of the funniest moments of the movie. She is largely known for her acerbic, caustic roles in comedy (like as Ed Helms's mean girlfriend in The Hangover) , yet she has also proven herself to be a talented actress in a wide range of roles (like earning awards attention and acclaim as the lead in 2011's Natural Selection, where she played a soon-to-be widowed, sheltered, Christian housewife, whose life is rocked by the news that her dying husband had an illegitimate son living in Florida).

Harris [...]

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Talking to Billy Eichner About the New Season of 'Billy on the Street'

The groundbreaking comedy game show, Funny or Die's Billy on the Street, recently made its bombastic return to Fuse TV and Season 3 is set to be the most memorable yet. The show's growing popularity has allowed its host, Billy Eichner, to recruit celebrity guests like Lena Dunham, Seth Meyers and Lindsay Lohan as participants in his frantic pop-culture challenges, like "Cash Cow," where the loser has to milk a live cow in the middle of downtown New York City. I recently talked to Billy about his Billy on the Street persona, the return of Elena, and, of course, Meryl Streep and Madonna.