In 2011, Rafinha Bastos was named the most influential person on Twitter. Not then-President Barack Obama. Not the Pope. Brazilian comedian and TV personality Rafinha Bastos. Bastos has upward of 12 million Twitter followers now. He sat down with me during Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival to talk about how his dreams shifted from journalism to basketball to comedy, how free speech isn’t so free in Brazil, and how he’s following in the footsteps of Gad Elmaleh and Bassem Youssef in making a name for himself as an English-speaking comedian, too. Bastos will have a new Netflix comedy special out in September 2018, while he also hosts Ultimate Beastmaster alongside UFC star Anderson Silva. So let’s get to it!
Paul Mecurio is seen every night by audiences of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, as he warms them up before the CBS cameras turn on for taping. Mecurio graduated from law school and started out on Wall Street, though, before ever discovering his passions for comedy and getting a big break by selling a joke to Jay Leno. Mecurio has known Colbert for more than two decades, as he was one of the original writers hired for The Daily Show with Craig Kilborn back in 1996. Along the way, he has won an Emmy and a Peabody. He also played a role in a notorious live radio stunt by Opie and Anthony. He's now got a new Off-Broadway show a couple of blocks away from his day job on Broadway called Permission to Speak with Paul Mecurio, where he interacts with the audience to engage in their stories. The show opens today and runs through August 15, 2018. But first he gave permission to speak to me and tell some of his own stories. So let's get to it!
Allan Havey is a comedian and actor who hosted a late-night talk show for the Comedy Channel (before it was Comedy Central) called Night After Night with Allan Havey. You might not have heard much from him in the 1990s and much of the 2000s. But he’s certainly enjoying a renaissance in the past decade, since acting in the 2009 Steven Soderbergh film, The Informant! then continuing with appearances in Louie on FX, followed by The Office, Mad Men, W/Bob & David, The Man in the High Castle, Bosch, GLOW and Billions. Havey has continued to perform stand-up comedy all these years, from the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach to The Comedy Cellar in New York City’s Greenwich Village. In the summer of 2018, he’s taking his act across the pond to the UK and a monthlong stint at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. But first he’s talking to me. So let’s get to it!
This is a special edition of Last Things First, recorded live during Clusterfest 2018 in San Francisco. Comedy Central was kind enough to ask me to host a series of Clusterfest panels for the media that they called fireside chats. In this session, I welcomed the Roastmaster himself, Jeff Ross, and two-time Roast Battle runner-up Matt Broussard to talk about the art of roasting, the development of Comedy Central’s Roast Battle series (which tapes its third season this July), and the upcoming Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis. So let’s get to it!
Sam Grittner is one of the best comedians on Twitter. Don’t take my word for it? OK then how about Rolling Stone, Huffington Post and famous comedians such as Weird Al Yankovic, who are among the tens of thousands who follow him and have put him on best of lists in four of the past five years. Grittner also created the parody account @tonightongirls in 2013 and served as lead writer for Internet Action Force, a short-lived comedy video experiment by the New York Post. He hosts a monthly show in Brooklyn that donates all its proceeds to charity. Time to Feel Good, while also talking plainly about mental health and addiction. So let’s get to it!