Sunday, December 15, 2013

Show for Dec 15, 2013. Comedian Ron Funches.

Up and coming comic Ron Funches is trying to make it in the big time, and so far, so good. He’s moved to LA, has a part in a new TV comedy series and is writing for another. We talked about Ron’s path from open mics to paying gigs, developing his comic chops, his partiality to women comedians, why he still gets confused for a homeless person and what it’s like to be meeting and working with some of his comic role models.

As a writer for Kroll Show, Ron gets to create sketches for talents like Nick Kroll and Jenny Slate. How cool is that?

Click the Listen arrow at the top of this post to listen to the show, or you can download the MP3 here (if using a Mac, control-click the link and choose “Save Link As…” If using a PC, right-click and choose Save Target As…”)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Show for Dec 2, 2012: Yael Kohen on Women in Comedy

Of the many fields in which gender equality has been a long time coming, comedy might not seem as important as, say, high political office or corporate captaincy or astronaut-hood. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the power and centrality of humor in modern-day America. The fact that comedy – especially stand-up – was until recently considered mostly a guy’s game and the speed with which funny women have closed the gap are matters worth pondering. Why the disparity in the first place? What changed, and why does it matter? I spoke to Yael Kohen, author of the recent oral history We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy.

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You can download the MP3 here (if using a Mac, control-click the link and choose “Save Link As…” If using a PC, right-click and choose Save Target As…”)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Show for Sept. 30, 2012. Global comedian Shazia Mirza.

British comic Shazia Mirza has been taking her act to places where stand-up comedy is virtually unknown, and the spectacle of a woman cracking jokes on stage is almost revolutionary. Some audiences are ready for it, and some aren’t. We talked about the sometimes surprising reactions she’s gotten in Pakistan, India and back home in England.

Click the Play arrow at the top of this post to listen to the show, or you can download the MP3 here (if using a Mac, control-click the link and choose “Save Link As…” If using a PC, right-click and choose Save Target As…”)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Encore, Encore.

Over the past three weeks we’ve been airing what some in radio euphemistically call “encore performances” (reruns). Don’t worry, new material’s coming next week and beyond. Here’s what we’ve featured in the meantime:

June 3, 2012: Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll on the nature of time.

May 27, 2012: Media-watcher Brooke Gladstone on journalism’s checkered history.

May 20, 2012: Comedian Kumail Nanjiani on life and laughs in Pakistan and the U.S.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Show for April 22, 2012: Comedian Michael Ian Black on Not Doing it Right

Michael Ian Black doesn’t usually reveal a lot about himself in his comedy. He’s generally more comfortable playing characters who at most manifest fragments of his personality, like the hilarious solipsism of “Michael Ian Black” in Michael and Michael Have Issues. His new memoir, You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations, is different. It’s bracingly candid, full of unromanticized and unflattering real-life detail. It never seems self-indulgent or confessional, though, and it’s both funny and insightful. Same goes for my conversation with Michael, in which we discussed all of the aforementioned humiliations.

Click the Play arrow above to listen to the show, or you can download the MP3 here (if using a Mac, control-click the link and choose “Save Link As…” If using a PC, right-click and choose Save Target As…”)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

 Show for Apr 1, 2012. The Authoritative John Hodgman.

I thought this might turn into an entirely risible April Fool’s interview with John Hodgman’s mock-pundit character, but after some japery, the conversation got sorta serious. John may lampoon the whole notion of expertise and authority in his TV appearances and  books, but his thoughts on the subject run deep. We talked about his days studying literary theory at Yale, the real-life model for his professorial persona, truth vs. artistic license and his up close and personal view of the Mike Daisey/This American Life debacle. John also made a passionate statement about paying for the things you love—quite timely, since this show aired during KUSP’s Spring Pledge Drive. Last I checked, the station was still short of its fundraising goal, so if you love public radio, or just like it, please consider paying for it.

Click the Play arrow above to listen to the show, or you can download the MP3 here (if using a Mac, control-click the link and choose “Save Link As…” If using a PC, right-click and choose Save Target As…”)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Show for Feb 6, 2010: Comedian and Storyteller Kumail Nanjiani

Kumail Nanjiani’s stand-up performances and his one-man show (“Unpronounceable”) have earned him great reviews and a widening fan base. His success is especially impressive given his relatively recent plunge into comedy. He wasn’t exposed to US-style stand-up before he moved here from Pakistan at the age of 18, and he didn’t try it himself until a few years later. We talked about life and laughs in Pakistan and the US, learning American English from the movies, pushing back against South Asian stereotypes, his creative work ethic (he tries to write new material every day) and more.

Click the “play” arrow above to listen to the interview, or download the MP3 here.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Show for Jan 30, 2011: Comedian and Podcaster Marc Maron

Marc Maron was at a low point in his life in late 2009 when he took up a new sideline: interviewing fellow comedians in a podcast he calls What the Fuck. Marc’s funny, raw and often revelatory heart-to-hearts with the likes of Louie C.K., Judd Apatow, Carlos Mencia, Robin Williams, Janeane Garofalo, Sarah Silverman and many others have made WTF one of the most listened-to podcasts on the web—and won him glowing write-ups in Rolling Stone and the NY Times. Marc and I talked about the impact of WTF on his life, his sometimes uneasy relationships with other comics, his on-mic persona and the differences between conventional radio (Marc was a host on Air America) and the freer world of podcasting.

Click the “play” arrow above to listen to the interview, or download the MP3 here.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Show for Jan 2, 2011. Comedy from the Inside: Paul Provenza

Comedian and humor maven Paul Provenza returns to the 7th Ave Project. We discuss the recent history of comedy and Paul’s Showtime series The Green Room, in which he and fellow comics engage in freewheeling conversation, riff off of each other and occasionally argue (in a very entertaining way). The Green Room enters its second season in 2011. Here’s the website. And here’s a link to our previous show with Paul and photographer Dan Dion, discussing their book Satiristas.

Click the “play” arrow above to listen to the interview, or download the MP3 here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Show for Dec 19, 2010: Crafting with Amy Sedaris

We first had Amy on the show a couple of years ago, when she was touring with her book I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. She recently paid us a return visit with her latest book of demented domesticity: Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People. Also, a brief excerpt from our Christmas 2005 interview with John Waters.

Click the “play” arrow above to listen, or download the MP3 here.

Amy Sedaris On Today’s Show

We had the enchanting Amy Sedaris on today, talkin’ up her latest book, Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People. We also chatted about her career, her family and other fun stuff. We’ll post the audio soon. In the meantime here’s the Dolly Parton video Amy mentioned, with Amy as a carnival barker:

And here’s a clip from the short-lived mid-’90s sketch comedy show Exit 57 featuring Amy, Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert, just before the three of them went on to create Strangers with Candy. Apparently, Amy’s thing for squirrels goes way back:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oct 3, 2010: Firesign Forever

Beginning in the late ’60s, the four members of the Firesign Theatre produced a string of brilliant comedy albums that tapped into the zeitgeist, and helped define it. Surreal, subversive, psychedelic, postmodern: all the usual terms used to describe their sonic tableaus are accurate, up to a point. But I prefer Whitmanesque, or maybe Whitmaniacal, which suggests the sweep of their American census-taking. So what if the Firesigners heard hokum where Walt heard democracy singing? Their clamoring BS artists, barkers and bozos are at least as true to our time as Whitman’s doughty blacksmiths and ploughmen were to his.

As the fab four ready themselves for a reunion tour, I talked to two of them—Phil Austin and Phil Proctor—about their upcoming performances, their classic recordings, their methods and madness.

We featured parts of this interview on our Oct. 3 pledge drive show, but here it is in its entirety. Click the “play” arrow above to listen, or download the MP3 here.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Show for May 30, 2010. Satiristas and the Art of Comedy: Interview with Dan Dion and Paul Provenza

Photographer Dan Dion and comic/actor Paul Provenza (director of The Aristocrats) take a searching look at the craft of contemporary comedy in their new book Satiristas. It features photos of and interviews with many of the leading satirists today—including comics, comedy writers and songwriters.  Judd Apatow, George Carlin, Stephen Colbert, Randy Newman, Mike Nichols, Bob Odenkirk, Trey Parker and many, many more…

Click the arrow above to listen. If you don’t have Flash player or have other playback problems, click this link for the MP3.