Jim Norton is a best-selling author and comedian you've seen in multiple stand-up specials on HBO and EPIX and in recurring roles on Louie and Inside Amy Schumer. But you've likely also heard him for almost two decades now every morning on the radio -- first as the third mic with Opie and Anthony, then second mic with Opie, and now co-hosting his own SiriusXM program weekday mornings with Sam Roberts. Norton's newest stand-up special, his first for Netflix, is called Mouthful of Shame. Jim sat down with me at the Olive Tree Cafe above the Comedy Cellar to talk about how we all can get over our personal shame, how he was three years sober when he finally felt ready to pursue his comedy dreams, how Jim Florentine, Andrew Dice Clay and others helped him along the way, why he chose to work with Jay Leno, how to stay above the fray when comedians attack other comedians, and having gratitude that you can get Robert De Niro to spank your bare ass. There's a lot to get to, so let's get to it!
Gina Yashere first came to the attention of Americans in 2007 when she appeared on season five of Last Comic Standing (the first international season, which also featured finalists Amy Schumer, Doug Benson, Lavell Crawford and winner Jon Reep). But Yashere already had plenty of successful experience with comedy contests in her native England, a finalist for the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year and then on The Big Big Talent Show. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Yashere rose from elevator engineer to sketch comedy player on The Lenny Henry Show, to the first and only British comedian to perform on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam. She now lives in New York City, where she just released her newest stand-up special, Ticking Boxes, on Seeso, and began work at her new job as a correspondent on The Daily Show on Comedy Central. So let’s get to it!
The child of Afghan immigrants, Fahim Anwar grew up in Seattle, went to the University of Washington and got a job at Boeing in aerospace engineering to make his parents proud. But Anwar had a different dream, and no, I don’t mean the dancing machine Lance Cantstopolis. He took a job in Long Beach so he could drive to stand-up open mics in Los Angeles, and he was able to quit the day job once gigs on TV shows such as Chuck and Disaster Date proved he had staying power. He’s also performed on Conan, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Carmichael Show, @midnight, and the movie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. His first one-hour special, There’s No Business Like Show Business, is out now on Seeso. Well, there’s no place to discuss the comedy business quite like the basement of The Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip, where Anwar and I could catch up and make sense of it all, so let’s get to it!
The Umbilical Brothers aren’t actually brothers, but the comedy bond between Australians Shane Dundas and David Collins has lasted for three decades and taken them all over the world with their dynamic duo act that mixes mime, slapstick and stand-up. They’ve performed on late-night for Letterman and Leno, after James Brown at Woodstock ’99, for the Queen of England, and most recently on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The Umbilical Brothers have a monthlong run of Speedmouse (re-squeaked), an updated version of their 2004 show, playing in New York City at Theatre 80, where I caught up with the fellas to find out how they’ve stuck together this long. So let’s get to it!
Kate Berlant and John Early are unique characters in stand-up comedy, and yet you almost always see them together, whether it’s in each other’s half-hour specials for Netflix’s The Characters, in their joint project for Vimeo, 555, or on the bill together on shows from New York City to Los Angeles and stops in between. Berlant was one of Variety magazine’s 10 Comics to Watch in 2015, filmed separate TV pilots for both Comedy Central and truTV, and hosts a monthly show at the UCB theater in Los Angeles. Early co-stars in the TBS series, Search Party, and appears in the Netflix series, Love, HBO’s Girls, and the Netflix series of Wet Hot American Summer. They share their story of making it together their own unique ways, so let’s get to it!