Asking comedians about the historic lasts and firsts in their lives as their comedy careers have blossomed.
Episode #334: Maronzio Vance
Maronzio Vance has appeared on Wanda Sykes: Wanda Does It, Jamie Foxx’s Laffapolooza, Last Comic Standing, and The Tonight Show, and put out a half-hour special on Comedy Central, back when those credits seemed to mean something. Vance has released a double-album of comedy called 20, out on Blonde Medicine, laced with his understated style and cutting wit. The album’s title refers to the 20 years he has spent in Los Angeles since leaving his native North Carolina. We talk about how the pandemic has changed his hair, as well as his outlook on life and comedy, with words of wisdom from Patrice O’Neal, Katt Williams, Mike Birbiglia, Christopher Titus, Paul Mooney, Daniel Tosh, Arnez J, George Wallace and more — plus the backstory and potential future of his working relationship with basketball star Ron Artest. Or Metta World Peace. Or perhaps both of them? So let’s get to it!
Episode #333: Ester Steinberg
Ester Steinberg started performing stand-up on the lunch tables of her high school in Tampa before attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. While living in Los Angeles before the pandemic, she produced and hosted a regular comedy show in the Kibitz Room of Canter’s Deli, co-starred in the Oxygen reality series Funny Girls, and got New Faces at Just For Laughs Montreal in 2015. She has since appeared in episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Adam Ruins Everything, and released a comedy album, “Hebrew School Dropout.” In 2021, she’s out with her first stand-up special, Burning Bush, filmed outside the Rose Bowl during the pandemic just weeks after she’d given birth to her first child. We talk all about that, how she managed to put together a new hour under quarantine, double standards for sexiness among comedians, and more. All roads lead to Rome, so let’s get to it!
Episode #332: Eric Andre
Eric Andre may just be America’s, if not the world’s greatest prankster (with all due respect to Britain’s Sacha Baron Cohen and Canada’s Nathan Fielder). After first rising on the comedy scene as a stand-up, Andre first made waves in TV with appearances on Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23, 2 Broke Girls, and Man Seeking Woman. But it was his chaotic Adult Swim anti-talk show, The Eric Andre Show, that made his name in the business. Netflix released his debut comedy special, Legalize Everything, in 2020, and has followed up with Andre’s bonkers big-screen achievement, Bad Trip, which co-stars Tiffany Haddish and Lil Rel Howery as the three comedians act crazier than humanly possible in front of unsuspecting Americans up and down the East Coast. It’s both wild and wildly funny. Andre talked to me about the magic of improvising with complete strangers, the importance of showing Black comedians successfully pulling off pranks, and how Lil Rel’s traumatic first day of filming actually convinced Tiffany Haddish to join in on the fun. So let’s get to it!
Episode #331: Danny Jolles
Danny Jolles is a stand-up comedian best known for his role acting and singing as George on The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. His other TV credits include Hulu’s Ramy, Comedy Central’s Corporate, Netflix’s Aunty Donna’s House, and Quibi’s Royalties. As a stand-up, Jolles was a New Face at Montreal’s Just For Laughs in 2017, and followed that up with a performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Jolles filmed his first stand-up comedy special, Six Parts, in a variety of unusual locations, including a surf shop, hair salon, art gallery and a gym. We spoke about the making of that special and putting it out on YouTube for free, his younger days in online sketch comedy with the likes of Jack Quaid and Matt Rogers, the secret to booking national commercials, and the lasting impact of Adam Schlesinger and Kevin Barnett. There’s a lot to get to, so let’s get to it!
Episode #330: Virtual Comedy During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, RushTix provided special ticket offers to subscribers for live events including comedy shows, concerts, and theatrical productions in the San Francisco Bay Area. The lockdowns across America in March 2020 changed everything. Jill Bourque pivoted RushTix to become a provider solely of live-streaming comedy shows centered on allowing fans to interact with their favorite comedians. Other companies have similarly pivoted during the pandemic. Comedians Ben Gleib and Steve Hofstetter tried something different, creating the Nowhere Comedy Club (headquartered in the very specific somewhere of Gleib’s home) to replicate the live comedy club experience for fans anywhere and everywhere. As we mark one year of pandemic lockdowns, I spoke with both Bourque and Gleib about their separate efforts to keep comedy alive online, and where they see the industry going from here. So let’s get to it!
Episode #329: Christina Anthony
Christina Anthony is an East St. Louis native who came up through the Chicago comedy scene. Anthony joined The Second City, where she performed with e.t.c. and the touring company, and co-wrote three award-nominated sketch revues for the legendary comedy institution. But she almost never got the recognition she deserved in Chicago or Los Angeles, and was ready to hang up her acting career before responding to one last audition call. Her perseverance has paid off, as Anthony won the role of Aunt Denise on one episode of ABC’s black-ish, which led to a co-starring role as Dee-Dee on the spin-off sitcom, mixed-ish. Anthony sat down with me to talk about her path, not giving up on your dreams, and speaking up for a better, more inclusive comedy community. So let’s get to it!
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