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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: February, 2024
Feb 28, 2024

Bill O'Neill is an actor and clown from Los Angeles whom you may recognize most readily from his frequent appearances in commercials as a Wendy’s employee. But O’Neill’s career goes back to his early teen years, when he scored a major speaking role in the 2008 film, Drillbit Taylor. A member of L.A.’s burgeoning clown community, he co-starred with his fellow clowns in the 2019 late-night FX series, Two Pink Doors. Last year, one of those clowns, Natalie Palamides, helped direct O’Neill’s latest project, The Amazing Banana Brothers, which took the Edinburgh Fringe by storm and earned him a nomination for Best Newcomer of 2023. O’Neill spoke to me over Zoom as he prepared to take the show to New York City for a limited off-Broadway run in March 2024. There’s a lot to get to, so let’s get to it!

Feb 21, 2024

Zach Zucker is a clown-based comedian and actor who splits his time between Los Angeles and London, where he has become known as the ringmaster for Stamptown, a variety show and production company he created that has helped develop and bring other shows from the United States, the U.K. and Europe to the Edinburgh Fringe and beyond. He also teaches clown workshops around Los Angeles. Born in New York and raised in Chicago, Zucker talked to me about his own path, which began with classes at Second City while still in high school, then moving to LA at 18, where he parlayed an internship at the UCB Theatre into an internship for Sacha Baron Cohen. But it was his next step, spending two years studying at École Philippe Gaulier in France, that set Zucker on his current path. It’s where he met his comedy partner, Britain’s Got Talent winner Viggo Venn, which led them to the Fringe, where he created his alter-ego, New York’s greatest bad comedian, Jack Tucker. Jack Tucker is getting his first solo run off-Broadway this winter at the SoHo Playhouse in New York City, and Zucker talked me about how it’s going so far trying to introduce “Jack” to American comedy club audiences, plus he offers some advice for Americans thinking about making their way to the Edinburgh Fringe now. There’s a lot to get to, so let’s get to it!

Feb 14, 2024

Jason Sáenz is a comedian who grew up in Virginia, began performing improv in D.C., and became a fixture in New York City’s comedy scene — where he wrote for a house sketch team at the Upright Citizens Brigade, performed stand-up, and went viral for his “Saenz Signs” —  which eventually got him New Faces at Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival, and a ticket to Los Angeles to work on the MTV show, Ridiculousness. But that was just the tip of the ridiculous iceberg for Saenz, who got a job handling the personal social media accounts of Steve Harvey, met a young woman, fell in love, and then fell through a skylight on the roof of his apartment building, leaving him a paraplegic. As they used to say in the intro to MTV’s The Real World: True story! And true to his story, Jason is now ready to talk about all of it. Both onstage, where his new show “The Wheel World” enjoyed two sold-out performances at the Lyric Hyperion in January 2024, and right here on my podcast. There’s a lot to get to, so let’s get to it!

Feb 7, 2024

Chris Grace is an actor who grew up in Texas, went to school in North Carolina and started his comedy career in earnest in New York City through The People’s Improv Theater. Grace has appeared on TV in many shows, including This Is Us, Broad City, and he enjoyed a recurring role as Jerry on NBC’s Superstore. He starred as Christian Gray in the off-Broadway touring production of 50 Shades! The Musical: The Original Parody, and is a longtime cast member of heralded musical improv troupe Baby Wants Candy. Grace has joined Baby Wants Candy and its offshoot Shamilton at the Edinburgh Fringe for the past decade, and last year wrote and starred in his own one-man hit show, Chris Grace: As Scarlett Johansson. Grace joined me over Zoom to talk about his comedic superpowers, why he chose The PIT over UCB, how it’s possible to perform six shows in one day and not lose your mind, why AI might actually help make live comedy more valued, and what comes next for Grace as a stand-up comedian and an actor. There’s a lot to get to, so let’s get to it!

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