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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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Now displaying: January, 2022
Jan 31, 2022

In the late 1990s, between the comedy booms, perhaps the hottest live stand-up show in Los Angeles happened every week on a Tuesday night. That’s when Guy Torry began hosting Phat Tuesdays at The Comedy Store, introducing black comedy for black audiences into the lily-white-dominated landscape of show business — or as Torry said, he “brought the hood to Hollywood.” This hip-hop comedy show was good for business at The Comedy Store and great timing for TV, what with two brand-new networks in The WB and UPN having a need for new stars. Torry got roles on both networks with The Jamie Foxx Show on The WB, and Good News on UPN. In a new three-part docuseries for Prime Video, director Reginald Hudlin assembled an all-star lineup including Dave Chappelle, Chris Tucker, Snoop Dogg and Tiffany Haddish to dish on the significance of Phat Tuesdays for both stand-up comedy and for Hollywood. And I got Hudlin and Torry to dish with me.

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!

Jan 24, 2022

Ali Vingiano is a writer, actress and filmmaking comedian who has leveled up over the course of the pandemic. She received her first Writer’s Guild Award nomination in 2022 for her work as a writer and executive story editor on Apple TV+s The Morning Show, and also stars in a largely improvised feature film, The End Of Us, which premiered in 2021 at South By SouthWest. After studying film at both Bates College in Maine as well as in Prague, Vingiano graduated from the Columbia Journalism School’s publishing course and soon found herself writing for BuzzFeed. Eventually, she pivoted to video, making short films and viral videos for both BuzzFeed and Glamour magazine. She also previously worked as a field producer for Comedy Central’s The Opposition with Jordan Klepper. She sat down with me to talk about how the arc of her life and career came together, and how she managed to help act and make a pandemic-era rom-com about a couple who breaks up in March 2020, only to find themselves stuck with each other in quarantine.

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!

Jan 17, 2022

Beth Lapides is an actress, writer and comedic performer who has appeared on Will & Grace, Sex & The City, and Politically Incorrect. But she is best known for creating the alternative comedy show UnCabaret, which has been running off and on and mostly on since the late 1980s in Los Angeles. Lapides turned UnCab into a Comedy Central special in 1997, and then four more specials in 2012 for Amazon Prime Video. In between, she shot a talk show pilot for MTV. In 2022, Lapides has delivered her first exclusive audiobook about the power of life-changing decisions called “So You Need to Decide.” In the book, she talks about her own decision to create UnCabaret, and also interviews the likes of Margaret Cho, Isaac Mizrahi, Bob Odenkirk and Phoebe Bridgers.

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!

Jan 10, 2022

Nick Vatterott grew up in St. Louis but discovered his comedy voice in Chicago. You may have seen him perform on Conan, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, or his own half-hour special for Comedy Central. Or you may have heard him on his podcast series, Get Rich Nick, in which he and fellow comedian Nick Turner attempt every get-rich-quick scheme under the sun to teach us and themselves about capitalism in America. Vatterott does have a “day job” writing for HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. But the former winner of the Andy Kaufman Award demonstrates his own out-of-the-box break-the-mold approach to comedy with his latest stand-up special, Disingenuous, released at the end of 2021.

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!

Jan 3, 2022

Justin Spitzer is a television writer and producer who worked as a writing assistant on Queer as Folk and Grounded for Life before breaking into the writers room on The Office, where he worked for seven seasons and received three Emmy nominations. Spitzer went on to create, executive produce and showrun his own beloved NBC sitcom, Superstore. In 2021, he signed a new four-year overall deal with Universal Television — his first big project under that deal is American Auto, which received a sneak preview on NBC and Peacock, and stars Ana Gasteyer as the new CEO of Payne Motors in Detroit, who just so happens to know nothing about cars. Spitzer spoke to me about his love for workplace comedies, his own career trajectory in Hollywood, and how having a wife who’s also in the biz — Jenna Bans, the creator of NBC’s Good Girls — helps them both keep on the right track.

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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