Emmy-nominated actor and comedian Billy Gardell starred in the hit CBS sitcom, Mike & Molly as Officer Mike Biggs for six seasons, and you can see him still in syndication there, as well as in his other previous recurring roles on Lucky; Yes, Dear; and My Name Is Earl. He now co-stars as the colorful Col. Tom Parker in the CMT series, Sun Records. But it almost didn’t happen for the journeyman stand-up comedian and Pittsburgh native, and Gardell tells me all about that and more. So let’s get to it!
Ritch Shydner had quite a run during the comedy boom of the 1980s, making multiple appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Night with David Letterman, playing Al Bundy’s co-worker on Married With Children, appearing in small roles in big movies such as Roxanne and Beverly Hills Cop II, and writing for Roseanne, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, and The Mind of the Married Man. He’s also written jokes for Foxworthy, Ron White and Jay Leno. In 2006, he co-authored a book of outrageously true road stories from stand-up comedians, “I Killed,” and later performed in the great documentary on stand-up, “I Am Comic.” He’s got a new book out now, recounting not just his life in the 80s comedy boom, but everyone else’s, too. It’s called “Kicking Through the Ashes.” So let’s get to it!
Jo Firestone can be seen on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Chris Gethard Show, and heard on WFMU. Jo was recently named a New Face at the 2016 Just For Laughs Festival. And if you like puns, check out Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers, based on the live show she started with her father that’s been written up in The New Yorker. Jo has carved out her own charming niche in comedy, and frequently does so by mounting her own shows around New York City – among them, the NYC Annual Inner Beauty Pageant, the Unexpectashow, and The Incredible Game Show Showcase. You also can see her wonderfully weird web videos with Aparna Nancherla on RIOT’s YouTube channel. So let’s get to it!
Scott Aukerman got his first big break as a writer/performer on the HBO cult classic, Mr. Show with Bob and David. But he’s responsible for many more big breaks, not only as host of the Comedy Death Ray and Comedy Bang Bang live shows at M Bar and the UCB Theatre, but also as host of the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast and TV series on IFC, as well as the co-founder of the first major comedy podcasting network, Earwolf. He has won two Emmy Awards for making Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis, one for an episode which starred President Barack Obama, the other for an episode with Brad Pitt. He’s also met U2 thanks to his podcast with actor Adam Scott, and now makes Seeso streaming shows Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ and Take My Wife. His newest venture is Michael Bolton’s Big Sexy Valentine’s Day Special for Netflix. Aukerman spoke to me from his home with wife Kulap Vilaysack in the Hollywood Hills to explain the long and winding road his career has taken him on, so let’s get to it!