Eric Andre may just be America’s, if not the world’s greatest prankster (with all due respect to Britain’s Sacha Baron Cohen and Canada’s Nathan Fielder). After first rising on the comedy scene as a stand-up, Andre first made waves in TV with appearances on Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23, 2 Broke Girls, and Man Seeking Woman. But it was his chaotic Adult Swim anti-talk show, The Eric Andre Show, that made his name in the business. Netflix released his debut comedy special, Legalize Everything, in 2020, and has followed up with Andre’s bonkers big-screen achievement, Bad Trip, which co-stars Tiffany Haddish and Lil Rel Howery as the three comedians act crazier than humanly possible in front of unsuspecting Americans up and down the East Coast. It’s both wild and wildly funny. Andre talked to me about the magic of improvising with complete strangers, the importance of showing Black comedians successfully pulling off pranks, and how Lil Rel’s traumatic first day of filming actually convinced Tiffany Haddish to join in on the fun. So let’s get to it!
Danny Jolles is a stand-up comedian best known for his role acting and singing as George on The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. His other TV credits include Hulu’s Ramy, Comedy Central’s Corporate, Netflix’s Aunty Donna’s House, and Quibi’s Royalties. As a stand-up, Jolles was a New Face at Montreal’s Just For Laughs in 2017, and followed that up with a performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Jolles filmed his first stand-up comedy special, Six Parts, in a variety of unusual locations, including a surf shop, hair salon, art gallery and a gym. We spoke about the making of that special and putting it out on YouTube for free, his younger days in online sketch comedy with the likes of Jack Quaid and Matt Rogers, the secret to booking national commercials, and the lasting impact of Adam Schlesinger and Kevin Barnett. There’s a lot to get to, so let’s get to it!
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, RushTix provided special ticket offers to subscribers for live events including comedy shows, concerts, and theatrical productions in the San Francisco Bay Area. The lockdowns across America in March 2020 changed everything. Jill Bourque pivoted RushTix to become a provider solely of live-streaming comedy shows centered on allowing fans to interact with their favorite comedians. Other companies have similarly pivoted during the pandemic. Comedians Ben Gleib and Steve Hofstetter tried something different, creating the Nowhere Comedy Club (headquartered in the very specific somewhere of Gleib’s home) to replicate the live comedy club experience for fans anywhere and everywhere. As we mark one year of pandemic lockdowns, I spoke with both Bourque and Gleib about their separate efforts to keep comedy alive online, and where they see the industry going from here. So let’s get to it!
Christina Anthony is an East St. Louis native who came up through the Chicago comedy scene. Anthony joined The Second City, where she performed with e.t.c. and the touring company, and co-wrote three award-nominated sketch revues for the legendary comedy institution. But she almost never got the recognition she deserved in Chicago or Los Angeles, and was ready to hang up her acting career before responding to one last audition call. Her perseverance has paid off, as Anthony won the role of Aunt Denise on one episode of ABC’s black-ish, which led to a co-starring role as Dee-Dee on the spin-off sitcom, mixed-ish. Anthony sat down with me to talk about her path, not giving up on your dreams, and speaking up for a better, more inclusive comedy community. So let’s get to it!
Gary Anthony Williams has been improvising since the 1980s, when he was part of an Atlanta troupe called Laughing Matters. You’ve seen Williams on TV shows such as Boston Legal, where he played a crossdressing lawyer, or as Abe on Malcom in the Middle. He also co-starred on The Soul Man on TV Land, and provided voices for animated shows from The Boondocks, American Dad!, Doc McStuffins, and Bless The Harts. He currently co-stars on Netflix’s The Crew with Kevin James as the guy who makes the car go. Williams joined me to talk about his life and career, founding a short film festival during the digital boom, and whether the craziest improv he’s ever seen came while performing on Whose Line Is It Anyway? or while announcing The Eric Andre Show. So let’s get to it!
Dan Ahdoot is a stand-up comedian who has performed on The Tonight Show, and developed TV shows with FOX, CBS, NBC and Freeform. But Ahdoot is enjoying his greatest success now, with recurring roles on not one but two Netflix hit series — as a car salesman for “Karate Kid” Danny LaRusso in Cobra Kai, and as an engineer working for The Crew with Kevin James. That’s not quite what his parents had in mind when he was studying pre-med at Johns Hopkins, but it’s worked out quite OK. Ahdoot joined me to talk about working in the pandemic, his past experiences on series such as Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ and Kickin’ It, how far he’s come since Falafel Phil, and his own podcast, Green Eggs and Dan. So let’s get to it!