comedy

Andy Richter Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Andy Richter

Andy Richter is best known as sidekick to Conan O'Brien, on both Late Night and The Tonight Show. He's also a successful comic writer and actor. His acclaimed series Andy Barker, PI and Andy Richter Controls the Universe are both available on DVD. He's also headed out on tour with Conan O'Brien's "Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television" tour, which begins April 12th in Eugene, Oregon.

Andy talked with us about his early days, touring with The Real Brady Bunch and eventually falling into the sidekick's chair on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. He talks about why he left that show, and why he rejoined Conan for The Tonight Show, and about what it was like to man a sinking ship after the staff of Tonight found out they were being pulled from the air.

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Tracy Morgan on Tina Fey

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Above is a clip of Oprah Winfrey interviewing Tracy Morgan. Morgan says something here that I found exceptionally powerful.

Oprah asks him what Tina Fey has meant to his career. She tries to lead into "she writes for my voice." Which is true - the staff of 30 Rock do write for Morgan's voice in a way that the staff of, say, The Tracy Morgan Show didn't especially well. They are, after all, the best in the business. They also write for Jack McBrayer's voice and Scott Adsit's voice and Jane Krakowski's voice. That's their job, and they're great at it.

So Oprah's headed towards some well worn territory with her question. Morgan's response, though, is so incisive. What he says is that Fey recognized he was making choices.

What he's saying is that despite his incredible success and remarkable talent, what was special about Tina Fey was that she recognized, simply, that Morgan had agency.

In a way, that's the opposite of what Oprah was driving at (and what people often seem to say about Morgan). People want to attribute Morgan's comic talent to writers. It robs Morgan of not just the credit for being as hilarious as he is (and he is hilarious), but of credit for creating at all.

Oprah's a great interviewer, and she catches herself and refocuses, recontextualizes her question. This isn't anti-Oprah.

What it's really about is something that it seems Morgan gets completely. When you suggest that a person doing creative work has no agency, that they are not making choices, you don't just hurt their reputation. It's closer in my mind to taking away their humanity. A person's actions can be judged for good or ill; a puppet is benign but it can never be human.

There are sharper race critics than I, but there's no doubt in my mind that race is part of this. My gut tells me that this kind of other-ization through a weird kind of infantilization that borders on taking someone's humanity is something that wouldn't happen to a white performer. I haven't sorted out all the implications in my mind, but I wanted to take a second to give Morgan credit for this insight. I know as an interviewer that I'm lucky if my subject thinks so sharply about themselves and their own experience.

(Video via The Vulture)

Podcast: Coyle & Sharpe Episode 83: Tooth Decay Dramatization

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Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: Coyle & Sharpe figure out the logistics of a dramatic performance of tooth decay.

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Moshe Kasher on Late Night

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Our pal Moshe Kasher made it onto Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and had a great set.

American: The Bill Hicks Story: Interview with Steve Hicks and Matt Harlock on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Steve Hicks
Guests: 
Matt Harlock

Matt Harlock and Steve Hicks on The Sound of Young America from Jesse Thorn on Vimeo.

Matt Harlock is one of the directors of American: The Bill Hicks Story, a documentary about the legendary rebel comic which screened at South by Southwest. Harlock talked with us about the film in Austin, along with Hicks' brother Steve.

The film tells the story of Bill Hicks, one of the most influential and incendiary comics of the last 25 years. Hicks started performing comedy as a teenager, but found his voice in his mid-20s. Inspired by a group of comics working out of the Comedy Workshop in Houston, Texas, Hicks was fiercely personal and fiercely political, as well. He struggled against drug and alcohol addiction, getting sober in the early 1990s. He became a major star in the UK (Harlock and his co-director Paul Thomas are English), but never achieved the national impact he'd like to have achieved in the United States. In late 1993, Hicks was diagnosed with cancer. He kept the diagnosis secret from all but his closest family. He passed in early 1994 at the age of 32.

Vimeo is having some trouble at the moment - video of this episode will be up as soon as possible.

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Podcast: Coyle & Sharpe Episode 82: Elevator Repairman

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Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: Coyle & Sharpe try to solicit the assistance of an elevator repairman.

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Jordan Meets the Cast of Hot Tub Time Machine

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Jordan meets John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke and Craig Robinson, but the meeting suffers from a fundamental misunderstanding of "the '80s."

Lemmy

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Lemmy is on The Sound of Young America next week. We decided to put this clip from Airheads in the radio show.

David Gordon Green, Director: Interview on The Sound of Young America at South by Southwest

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
David Gordon Green

David Gordon Green from Jesse Thorn on Vimeo.

David Gordon Green is a director. His films have ranged from the touching indie drama George Washington (his debut) to his most recent, the stoner action-comedy Pineapple Express. He's also worked with college friends Jody Hill, Danny McBride and Ben Best on the HBO series Eastbound and Down, and on the upcoming fantasy comedy Your Highness.

He talked with us while visiting South by Southwest for a panel on Eastbound & Down. He discussed the parallels between his more dramatic and more comedic work, how he became a director of Big Movies, and about testing "Your Highness" and "Pineapple Express" for audiences.

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"Weird", the Weird Al Story

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Weird Al finally gets the biopic he deserves, courtesy of Eric Appel.

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