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!
Mike Royce was a stand-up comedian and audience warm-up guy for The Maury Povich Show and Spin City before he broke through as a writer for the Sklar Brothers and their MTV series, Apartment 2F. He later helped his friend Ray Romano on a book and eventually his hit CBS sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond. Since then, Royce has gone on to run the shows for Louis CK’s Lucky Louie, TNT’s Men of a Certain Age, and FOX’s Enlisted. All of those are more heralded now than their ratings ever were, and Royce won the Peabody Award for co-creating Men of a Certain Age. Now he’s co-written and co-showrunning the new version of Norman Lear’s One Day at A Time, which is available exclusively on Netflix. So let’s get to it!
Matt Iseman was a jock when I first knew him as a college classmate of mine at Princeton. After graduation, Matt went to med school to become a doctor, only to diagnosis himself as a comedian. Since then, he has shared an Emmy win for the cable show, Clean House, hosted Sports Soup and Scream Play on E!, and appeared in TV ads and Transformers 2. But you know him best now as the host of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior, and he’s a contestant on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s season of Celebrity Apprentice on NBC. What’s it like to rub shoulders with Ahnold and a bunch of people who were famous when Matt was a kid? I asked him, so let’s get to it!
Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O’Brien and Kathryn Renée Thomas met in various Chicago improvisational theaters, and with a shared name and a dream between them, formed The Katydids. They’ve sold a sitcom to NBC and a feature film screenplay, but none of that might have been possible if their independent web series hadn’t caught viral fire first with the right people at the right time. Teachers led them to a deal with TV Land, an executive producer in Alison Brie, and showrunners in Ian Roberts and Jay Martel. Teachers begins its second season on TV Land in January 2017, and The Katydids met up with me in Viacom’s brand-new Hollywood office complex to share their journey. So let’s get to it!
Colin Quinn is the godfather of contemporary New York city comedy in more ways than one. After his first TV break as the sidekick on the 1980s MTV game show, Remote Control, Quinn helped usher other comedians onto TV as host of Caroline’s Comedy Hour on A&E, then a generation later as host of Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn on Comedy Central. In between, Quinn wrote for In Living Color, co-wrote and produced the movie Celtic Pride, and became one of only a handful of comedians to anchor Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live. More recently, he’s hit Broadway and HBO with his show, Long Story Short, played Amy Schumer’s dad in the movie Trainwreck, ran a coffee shop on the HBO series Girls, starred in his own webseries, Cop Show, written a book, blew up Twitter and created two more critically-acclaimed one-man shows, Unconstitutional and The New York Story, both available on Netflix. He’s just filmed a new TV pilot and is hard at work on his next stage show. So let’s get to it!
Laurie Kilmartin produced one of the best stand-up specials of 2016, “45 Jokes About My Dead Dad,” streaming exclusively on Seeso.com. Kilmartin is a writer on Conan, a former finalist on Last Comic Standing, and the New York Times best-selling author of "Sh*tty Mom." You can hear her on the Nerdist podcast, The Jackie and Laurie Show, with Jackie Kashian, where they talk about their lives as working comedians. But right now, you can hear Laurie talk to me in-depth about working through motherhood, tragedy and everything else. So let’s get to it!