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The Comic's Comic Presents Last Things First

Last Things First asks comedians and funny performers about the historic lasts and firsts in their lives as their comedy careers have blossomed.
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The Comic's Comic Presents Last Things First
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Now displaying: August, 2021
Aug 30, 2021

Tone Bell is an actor, writer, and comedian from Atlanta who began his comedy career in Dallas before going Hollywood. Since winning the NBC Stand Up For Diversity competition in 2011, he has co-starred or starred in multiple sitcoms, starting with Whitney on NBC and including  Bad Judge, Truth Be Told, Disjointed, and Fam. His film credits include Sylvie’s Love, Little, Dog Days, and The Weekend. Bell also has gotten to portray the legendary comedian Richard Pryor in the BET series, American Soul, and recently co-starred in the award-winning movie, The United States vs. Billie Holiday. which he jokes about on his second comedy album, One Night in Austin. Bell caught up with me over Zoom to talk about all of this and more. If you like this conversation, please consider subscribing to my Substack called Piffany at Piffany.Substack.com so you can read bonus commentary on this episode as well as more comedy news and insights. Thanks in advance, and now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it!

Aug 23, 2021

Michael Hartney is an actor, writer and comedian who was the final artistic director for the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre when it shuttered its New York City operations in 2020, and one of the founding members of the nonprofit Squirrel Comedy Theatre. Hartney created the roles of Stanley and Mr. Williams in the original Broadway cast of School of Rock the Musical, and on TV, he has appeared on 30 Rock, The Politician, The Break with Michelle Wolf, and Throwing Shade, where he also served as a staff writer. He has been a Comedy Central Comic to Watch, a New Face at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, and he can be seen every Wednesday night hosting Characters Welcome, a streaming character comedy show. Hartney joined me over Zoom to talk about how he has navigated through the end of the UCB in NYC to the launch of the Squirrel Comedy Theatre, and everything in between. If you like this conversation, please consider subscribing to my Substack called Piffany at Piffany.Substack.com so you can read bonus commentary on this episode as well as more comedy news and insights. Thanks in advance, and now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it!

Aug 16, 2021

Phil Wang was one of only two comedians from outside the United States to be invited to perform as part of Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup series in 2018. Born in England but raised in Malaysia until he returned to the U.K. at age 16, Wang graduated from the University of Cambridge with an engineering degree and the prestige of serving as a president of the Footlights, the legendary campus comedy troupe whose other past presidents have included Peter Cook, Eric Idle, Hugh Laurie and Douglas Adams. For his part, Wang’s credits have focused mostly on stand-up, releasing two previous specials for free on YouTube, making the rounds of the British comedy panel series, and guesting on series seven of Taskmaster. Philly Philly Wang Wang broke ticket-selling records at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and he intended to film it for Netflix in May 2020, but had to put it off for a year due to the pandemic. Wang sat down with me to talk about his career and comedy philosophy. If you like this conversation, please consider subscribing to my Substack called Piffany at Piffany.Substack.com so you can read bonus commentary on this episode as well as more comedy news and insights. Thanks in advance, and now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it!

Aug 9, 2021

What was podcasting like before the iPhone? Jesse Thorn knows. After college radio, Thorn, host of public radio’s Bullseye with Jesse Thorn, broadcast his podcast The Sound of Young America from his home, eventually building his own podcast network, Maximum Fun, which includes Stop Podcasting Yourself; Judge John Hodgman; My Brother, My Brother and Me; and dozens more. Thorn sat down with me to talk about those early years and the struggles that came with it, the power of building your own community, adapting podcasts for TV and streaming, and even some fun stories about the role Thorn played in the launch of Marc Maron’s podcast as well as working with a then-unknown Jonathan Van Ness. If you like this conversation, please consider subscribing to my Substack called Piffany at Piffany.Substack.com so you can read bonus commentary on this episode as well as more comedy news and insights. Thanks in advance, and now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it!

Aug 2, 2021

Rob Barnett has been a radio DJ and program director, pivoted to TV as programming director for MTV and VH1 in the 1990s, pivoted back to radio to launch CBS Radio’s “Free” FM in the wake of Howard Stern’s departure, hiring Adam Carolla to replace Stern on the West Coast stations, then left to do his own damn thing online by founding My Damn Channel, where he funded original projects by Harry Shearer, David Wain and Don Was, and recruited folks such as Grace Helbig, You Suck at Photoshop, and Beth Hoyt, and funded more than 30 other original comedy series working with people such as Josh Gad, Maria Bamford, Illeana Douglas, Gilbert Gottfried and Coolio. Barnett also briefly worked with me and The Comic’s Comic. Fourteen years after launching My Damn Channel, Barnett has translated the life lessons he has learned in hiring and recruiting talent into a new line of work as a headhunter, and just published his first book on the subject, “Next Job, Best Job.” Barnett sat down with me to share stories about how radio, TV and Internet media used to work (or not work), and what he has learned about show business along the way. If you like this conversation, please consider subscribing to my Substack called Piffany at Piffany.Substack.com so you can read bonus commentary on this episode as well as more comedy news and insights. Thanks in advance, and now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it!

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