Norman Lear is a Hollywood legend who is responsible for cultivating an entire genre of television: the American Sitcom. After serving time in the U.S. Army during WWII, Lear began a career in Public Relations, eventually turning his sights to television production. During the 1970’s, he had some of the most successful TV shows running, including All In The Family, Maude, and The Jeffersons. After his tenure creating sitcoms, he went on to work on movies and writing.
You can find the upcoming PBS documentary about his life, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You here.
Riz Ahmed is a British actor who has been in many notable films including Chris Morris'
Swet Shop Boy’s new album Cashmere can found here.
This week, Jesse talks about why if you like strange, weird, yet insightful TV, Starz’s Blunt Talk is the show for you.
Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher are Los Angeles based comedians, actors, and producers. Both hailing from the Midwest, Rhea is from Akron, Ohio and Cameron Chicago, Illinois, which is actually where they met 5 years ago. Cameron and Rhea have since moved to Los Angeles, gotten married, and have made a name for themselves in the LA comedy scene, hostin a weekly stand-up show called Put Your Hands Together .
Cameron, who has been in the business about 10 years longer than Rhea has released 3 comedy albums and has appeared on a number of late night talk shows. Rhea released her debut comedy album this year and has since made her first appearance on Conan .
This week, Jesse sits down with Cameron and Rhea to discuss their new show Take My Wife , working together, and LGBTQ rights.
You can find their new show Take My Wife on the SeeSo network
Comedian Jeff Garlin tells us about the worst night of his entire career.
Jesse tells us why The Taking of Pelham 123 is just too much fun to pass up.
Hasan Minhaj is a Senior Correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and is currently touring with his one man show Homecoming King. A native of the Sacramento area, his comedy is characterized by a mix of political and satirical comedy.
This week, he and Jesse sit down to discuss his one man show, stand up comedy in other countries, and the current political climate in the United States. Plus, Hasan knows a lot about sneakers.
Hasan is currently on tour with his show Homecoming King.
Margaret Wappler is journalist, columnist, pop culture critic, short story writer, podcast host , teacher, and now a novelist.
Margaret and Jesse talk about her new novel Neon Green, how she took care of her ill father as a teenager, the writing process, and the 1990’s.
You can find Margaret’s book here.
This week, Jesse talks about non-people of color still not getting the plight of people of color’s everyday reality.
John Mulaney and Nick Kroll are well seasoned comedians who have made a name for themselves in many different forms of media. The two met at Georgetown University where they became friends and began creating sketch characters together.
Mulaney was a writer on Saturday Night Live for 6 seasons, where he helped developed many of the shows most recognizable characters. He has also worked as a stand-up comedian, leading to the release of three stand-up specials. He created, wrote, and starred in a semi-autobiographical sitcom called Mulaney which ran on the Fox network.
Kroll is best known for his work on FXX’s The League where he plays the character Rodney Ruxin. He began his career as a stand-up comedian, which led to his work as a writer on Chappelle’s Show and Human Giant. He created and starred in Kroll Show, which ran on Comedy Central for two years.
Jesse sits down with Mulaney and Kroll to discuss their new broadway play, Oh, Hello, the downfall of Mulaney, and how they created their favorite alter ego’s, Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland.
Mulaney and Kroll star as George St. Geegland and Gil Faizon respectively in their new show on Broadway called, Oh, Hello.
Airto Moreira is a Brazilian born Jazz percussionist and drummer. He has worked as a professional musician since the age of 13, moving to New York in the late 1960’s where he helped develop the “Jazz Fusion” genre of music.
He sits down with Jesse to talk about Brazilian percussion methods, his move to America, and his experience playing with Miles Davis and other great Jazz legends.
Jesse talks about Brooklyn based rapper Desiigner’s newest single “Tiimmy Turner.” The track combines melody, rapping, and auto-tune to create a very unique Southern Trap record.
John C. Reilly has shown off his talent for comedy in movies like Talladega Nights and Step Brothers. He's also played a number of dramatic roles in movies like Magnolia and Gangs of New York, and was nominated for an Oscar for playing the cuckolded husband in the movie version of Chicago.
For the past few years, Reilly has also produced and starred in a bizarre show called Check it Out with Dr Steve Brule. So why does a movie star have a faux cable-access show that runs in the middle of the night on adult swim?
John C. Reilly tells Jesse why he chose to take on the goofy, open-hearted and blustery Dr. Steve Brule with comedy duo Tim and Eric, his summer of fun working on the set of Boogie Nights, and what he thinks his duties are as an actor.
Check it Out with Dr Steve Brule is currently airing on Adult Swim. Reilly's new movie The Lobster is in theatres now.
Shamir is a musician who is really hard to pin down. His countertenor voice adds a distinctive flair to his infectious, sometimes poignant dance music but it’s a quality that’s also led to confrontations with classmates who were unaware of his Taekwondo training.
With his debut LP, Ratchet, Shamir drew inspiration from his life in Las Vegas. Shamir's Vegas had nothing to do with The Strip and instead was dominated by tumbleweeds and the distinctive odor of a hog farm.
As Shamir describes it, “I kind of decided to make my music more danceable and lighthearted to take away from the heaviness of the lyrics. Because why not, why does your music also have to be heavy if your lyrics are?”
Shamir tells Jesse about constructing a creative identity in a city known for producing more entertainers than artists; how his love for country music inspired him; and how his mother’s proclivity for earth magic isn't quite his thing.
Jesse recommends Steven Soderbergh's The Limey, a revenge movie that’s really about the way we all fight with our own past.
Long before he was busy in the sound studio making music, Joe Bataan was a young man getting into trouble on the streets of East Harlem. But after a stint in juvenile detention, he left his life as a gang leader behind and became a band leader instead. Joe Bataan and the Latin Swingers helped bring Boogaloo music into the mainstream.
As well as releasing popular songs in the genre including Gypsy Woman, Bataan also helped to create and coin the term SalsaSoul. Later in his career, he wrote and performed an early hip-hop hit, Rap-O Clap-O. Bataan is featured in a new documentary, We Like It Like That: The Story of Latin Boogaloo.
Bataan sat down with Jesse to talk about his life as a juvenile delinquent in the streets of New York, how he dealt with the backlash against his musical innovations and how he came to create one of the earliest hits in hip-hop.
There are many comedians who use their family life as inspiration for their comedy, but Ali Wong took it a step further when she recorded her latest comedy special while seven and a half months pregnant.
Wong’s comedy is rooted in her willingness to be incredibly frank and honest about her personal life including her relationships, her Asian heritage and the challenges of pregnancy while working as a writer on the hit television show, Fresh Off the Boat.
Ali Wong joined Jesse to talk about being a breadwinner, performing while pregnant and how it feels to talk about painful and personal things like miscarriage in front of a comedy audience.
Ali Wong’s new comedy special, Baby Cobra is available now on Netflix.
While many rappers are content to explore the harshness of street life in their lyrics, Chance The Rapper is a performer who isn’t afraid to explore the soft and warm memories of childhood. In his new album, Coloring Book, Chance combines beautiful melodies with an open and warm heart.
DJ Quik is one of the most prolific figures in West Coast hip hop. He's a great rapper, but first and foremost, he's always considered himself a producer. He's produced some of the most inventive samples and beats of the genre. And even though he geeks out about latest and greatest studio equipment, he's always used whatever it takes to capture the sound he wants -- even if it means recording a music sample with a VCR.
Quik first made a name for himself in the hip hop scene in the late 80's and early 90's, handing out homemade mix tapes and deejaying around Los Angeles. He's since released ten albums, and produced records for everyone from Tupac, Snoop Dogg and Xzibit to Tony! Toni! Toné!.
He'll talk about why a leaked record and a couple of guns made him realize he needed a new circle of friends, why he never wants to stop making pretty beats for his records and his inspiration for his awesome, awesome hairstyles over the years.
DJ Quik's new EP is calledRosecrans. It's available now.
Michael Ian Black is an actor, comedian and author perhaps best known from his work with the sketch comedy troupe The State, or from his subsequent collaborations with State-mates both on television (Stella, Michael & Michael Have Issues) and film (Wet Hot American Summer). His disarmingly charming smarm made him a perfect fit for the talking-head format of VH1, but it also makes him a terrific author, as evidenced in latest book Navel Gazing: True Tales of Bodies, Mostly Mine (but also my mom’s, which I know sounds weird).
Michael Ian Black performed live at MaxFunCon East in 2012.
Have you ever picked up and actually flipped through one of those in-flight catalogs? Well, the sketch comedy group Kasper Hauser takes all of the grotesque and excessive product offerings of Skymall, and brings them to another level in Skymaul 2: Where America Buys His Stuff.
This week, comedian Baron Vaughn and MaxFun impresario Jesse Thorn join Rhea Butcher to swap Comic Con news and anecdotes. Plus, a review of Thief!
You can follow Jesse on Twitter @jessethorn, and you can hear him on Bullseye and Jordan, Jesse, Go. Baron's on Twitter @barvonblaq, and you can see him on Grace and Frankie on Netflix and hear his movie podcast Maltin on Movies on Wolfpop.
We're off next week, but we'll be back on July 30th with a review of Terminator Genisys, which is in theaters now!
Jesse Thorn guests on an episode in which we decide which celebs will narrate our autobiographies, call out the elements of pop culture we think have jumped the shark and discover which member of the team is secretly into pool porn.
That’s My Jam:
Wynter Mitchell - Can't Feel My Face by The Weeknd
Oliver Wang - No Sleep by Janet Jackson
Margaret Wappler - Go by The Chemical Brothers Feat. Q-Tip
Jesse Thorn - Let Your Hair Down by The Temptations
Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.
MaxFun boss Jesse Thorn drops by for a #ThatCism update focussing on the lack of diversity in computer games characters. Plus the team share their favorite movies, TV shows or songs about their hometowns.
That’s My Jam:
Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.
Other useful links this week…
Colorblind: On Witcher 3, Rust, and gaming's race problem by Tauriq Moosa
On The Witcher 3, Race, and Historicity by Austin Walker