Of all of the characters in Mike Birbiglia’s wonderfully true and funny film, Don’t Think Twice, Chris Gethard’s runs closest to his own. Gethard began taking improv classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade when he was only 20, and quickly became a darling of the UCB community, eventually starting a beloved improv team that saw one of its members — his friend Bobby Moynihan — leave for Saturday Night Live. Unlike both the movie and the title of Gethard’s one-man show, Career Suicide, Chris has continued to flourish. He has a stand-up comedy album, a book, and hosts a hit podcast, Beautfiul/Anonymous. On TV, you’ve seen Chris Gethard in supporting roles on Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, and The Office; and on the big screen in The Heat and The Other Guys. He’s taken The Chris Gerhard Show from the basement of the UCB to Manhattan cable access to two seasons on TV with Fusion. This August, he’s taking his one-man show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. But first he sat with me to talk about his journey.
So let’s get to it!
Christian Finnegan co-stars in a new weekly show on A&E with Sherrod Small called Black and White, where over the course of the first eight episodes, they’ll deconstruct today’s headlines through the prism of race relations. Finnegan and Small cracked wise about less serious matters for years as part of VH1’s Best Week Ever. Christian talks to me about finding his way into stand-up comedy, how Jim Gaffigan provided him with an early break — Finnegan serves as a consultant and frequently guest stars on Gaffigan’s TV land series. Perhaps Christian’s earliest big break came by appearing on Chappelle’s Show, and we also talk about how sometimes the career path we were looking for was right in front of us the whole time. So let’s get to it!
The annual Del Close Marathon brings the founders of the Upright Citizens Brigade together along with thousands of performers from around the world, celebrating their late improv guru Del Close by improvising comedy shows around the clock for a three-day-and-night weekend. In its 18th year, the UCB4 – Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh – opened the proceedings with a legitimate press conference, which allowed me to ask questions not only of them, but also to founding member and Saturday Night Live alum Horatio Sanz, plus actor John Gemberling, TV marathoner and Snapchat wizard Gil Ozeri, and Thank You Del documentary filmmakers Todd Bieber and Julie Gomez. So let’s get to it!
Here’s what I know about Yannis Pappas. He’s a native New Yorker. He’s gotten shot. He’s a sneakerhead. He’s Greek. In fact, so Greek he has performed in character as Mr. Panos, which is not to be confused with when he performs as a Puerto Rican transsexual named Maurica (More-eeesa). Pappas moved to Miami to help launch the Fusion cable network as co-anchor of the TV station’s live primetime news program, then moved back to NYC year later, where he has hosted the AOL original series, 2 Point Lead. He filmed a half-hour for Comedy Central in 2014, and his first stand-up comedy CD, Let Me Be Yannis, is out now. Who is Yannis, though, and how much of Mr. Panos and Maurica is still inside of him? I tried to find out. So let’s get to it!