I Know Their Lips (Drag Queens, The Yankees, Stranger Things 3)

Minority Korner

We're heading into this episode with a little story about James potentially starting a ruckus at a Yankees games. Nnekay felt old in an Urban Outfitters, and the NYPD is at it again with James. In the corner, James is tackling the New York Magazine profile of Powerful Drag Queens, why it's problematic. To combat this list, he is giving you some alternative Drag Queen that are Powerful and not featured on this list. This week we got Nnekay's recommendations for the summer!!

Ross and Carrie and Beth Explore Judeo-Fitness: Low BMI Edition


Ross and Carrie invite Beth Appel to share the secrets of Judeo-Fitness, her spiritual fitness program based on the ancient teachings of the Torah, and the divine inspiration granted to her through holy fasting and rigorous exercise. After a few months in Beth's program, Ross and Carrie have transformed their bodies, minds, and attitudes. Join us for an episode that surprised us as much as it will surprise you!

See the pics by liking us on Facebook at facebook.com/onrac!

Bullseye: Rachel Bloom & Esperanza Spaulding

Rachel Bloom
Esperanza Spalding

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Mark Davis/Getty Images

Rachel Bloom on her love of musical theater and gaining confidence in Hollywood.

Rachel Bloom is a comedian whose humor often involves her bursting into song. She embraces the classic tropes of the Hollywood musical comedy adding her own contemporary twist on her CW show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The show has already earned her a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice Award.

A veteran of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, Bloom has also worked on television shows Allen Gregory and Robot Chicken. But it was her absurdist and hilarious musical videos that first brought her to the industry's attention. The video for her song, Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury went viral and earned Bloom a Hugo Award nomination. She has released two albums including Please Love Me and Suck It, Christmas!!! (A Chanukah Album).

Rachel Bloom sat down with Jesse to talk about her love for musical theater, gaining self-confidence in Hollywood and the logistics involved in being lifted in the air in a giant pretzel.

Episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend can seen on Hulu and at CWTV.com.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Esperanza Spalding on The Song That Changed My Life: “Petrouchka” by Igor Stravinsky

Singer, songwriter, bassist and cellist Esperanza Spalding explains how Petrouchka by Igor Stravinsky introduced her to a world of sound that she hadn’t known existed.

The Grammy Award winning artist’s latest album is Emily’s D+Evolution.

Find Esperanza Spalding online at EsperanzaSpalding.com.

The Outshot: Popstar

Jesse explains why he loves a movie that aspires to be nothing more than silly, goofy and funny.

Popstar is in theaters now.

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 385: Live at the UCB with John Ross Bowie and Jamie Denbo


John Ross Bowie and Jamie Denbo join Jordan and Jesse Live at the UCB Theater in Los Angeles for a discussion of seeing high school plays while high, old timey baseball teams, and euphemistic waterslide names.

Wham Bam Pow Ep. 91 - Total Recall LIVE!

Wham Bam Pow
Lindsay Pavlas

This week, Cameron, Rhea, and Ricky are coming at you LIVE from the UCB Theater in Los Angeles to tell you all about Total Recall! Plus, producer Lindsay shares the movie that made her, and we all wonder why the TMNT are such scumbags.

It's the MaxFunDrive! Become a member or upgrade your existing membership NOW to support Wham Bam Pow and all of your other favorite Maximum Fun shows!

Next week we'll be watching Tank Girl, which is available now on Netflix Watch Instant.

Follow us on Twitter! Cameron is @cameronesposito, Rhea is @rheabutcher and Ricky is @rickycarmona. Discuss the show using the hashtag #WhamBamPow!

Don't forget about our Facebook and Tumblr pages. You can also email us at whambampow@maximumfun.org

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 359: Live at the UCB with Emily Gordon

Emily Gordon

Producer and podcaster Emily V. Gordon joins Jordan and Jesse live on stage at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles for a discussion of dental dams, online dating and STD billboards.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Jim Rash, Bob Saget, Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham

| 1 comment
Jessica St. Clair
Lennon Parham
Jim Rash
Bob Saget
Mark Frauenfelder

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham of Playing House: Improv in the Writers' Room, Showing Real Friendships on TV, and 'Girl Porn'

Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham play best friends on TV, and if their on-screen chemistry seems real, it is. They met doing improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and have been writing partners ever since. They co-created and star in Playing House, a new comedy about female friendship that's more reminiscent of Lucy and Ethel than it is Carrie Bradshaw's gang.

Playing House follows Emma and Maggie, two women who have been friends forever. Maggie stayed in their hometown, got married, and is expecting a baby. Emma has been professionally ambitious, closing business deals in Shanghai, and hasn't been back to visit for what must be years.

Parham and St. Clair join us to talk about the marathon improv sessions that produce the show's jokes, the designer home "girl porn" that provides contrast to their characters' weirdness, and their real-life friendship.

Playing House airs on the USA network Tuesday nights at 10/9c.

Bonus audio: Parham and St. Clair talk about their beginnings at the UCB.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.

Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder Recommends: Zombie Dice and Hitman Go

Whether you're looking to zombie-fy yourself, or get absorbed into the world of a contract killer, Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder's got just the game for you. He's the host of the Gweek podcast, and he drops by to suggest a couple of his favorite new games. He recommends checking out the multi-player Zombie Dice to collect brains and avoid shotgun blasts to the head. If you prefer a game you can play solo, he suggests the strategy-based (and bloodless) game for iOS, Hitman Go.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.

Mark Davis/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The Part: Bob Saget on 'Full House'

When Bob Saget was in his twenties, he had a lot of plates spinning. He tried film school (and dropped out after just a few days). He performed stand up. He warmed up sitcom audiences. He appeared in a Richard Pryor movie. He even worked for a few months as a morning talk show host, before he was told he was "too hot for TV."

But the part that changed everything wasn't controversial, or crazy. It was playing the straight man, on a sitcom aimed at families.

And despite the schmaltzy moments and broad jokes aimed at kids, Saget is proud of his role as widower and family man Danny Tanner on Full House. He'll tell us why.

Saget's new memoir is Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian. It's very personal and sweet and also sometimes vulgar, which is pretty much exactly what you might expect. He's also touring his new stand up show. You can find details on his website.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Jim Rash on Being "TV Ugly", Awkward Dad Talks, and Writing with Nat Faxon

Jim Rash has a lot of irons in the fire. He's a regular on NBC's Community and hosts the Sundance Channel series The Writers' Room. When Rash isn't on-screen, he's writing and directing. With his writing partner Nat Faxon, he wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for The Descendants. The pair also wrote and directed last year's coming-of-age comedy The Way, Way Back, which drew on some of Rash's childhood experiences.

Rash joins us this week to talk about the awkward-yet-motivational summer talks he had with his dad and stepdad as a teenager, exploring writing techniques with TV showrunners on The Writers' Room, and writing for Community during Dan Harmon's absence.

Community airs Thursday nights at 8/7c on NBC.
The Writers' Room airs Friday nights at 9/8c on on the Sundance Channel.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.

The Outshot: Wet Hot American Summer

Wanna be pals with Jesse? Here's the litmus test.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.

Director Matt Walsh On His New Improv Movie, High Road


Matt Walsh is a longtime MaxFun hero. He was a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade and has performed in a wide range of popular comedy features including The Hangover, Due Date, and Old School. He also has an impressive resume in television comedy including a turn as a correspondent on The Daily Show and stints on many of our favorite shows, including Community, Children's Hospital, Human Giant, Apt. 2F, Reno 911 and, of course, the Upright Citizens Brigade.
As his resume suggests, he is one of the top improvisational talents working today.

Most recently, Walsh made his directorial debut with the movie High Road. The film is composed of largely improvised dialogue and features a cast of top comedic talents including Ed Helms, Joe Lo Truglio, Rob Riggle, Horatio Sanz, Lizzy Caplan, Abby Elliott, and Andrew Daly. It's a very funny and clever coming-of-age road picture that I know our listeners will love. It's available now on DVD and digitally on iTunes.

Last week, Walsh took a few minutes out of his schedule to talk with me about the film.

Matt Walsh (MW): Did we meet at MaxFunCon?

Rebecca O'Malley (RO): I don’t think so. I was there, but I don’t think we met. It was a lovely time, though. I was so glad that you could join us.

MW: It was a tremendous event. Tremendous.

RO: Glad you enjoyed it! I know that High Road is the first film that you directed. How long had you been developing the concept and the script?

MW: It was a screenplay that I had written four years ago with a friend of mine, Josh Weiner. We spent a couple of years working on the screenplay. About a year after we decided that no one was going to make it, I decided that I would direct it myself. Initially, I was willing to do it for free; but we were eventually able to raise some money for the project. And about a year after that, we boiled it down to an outline.

RO: If you have worked on a story for that long, how difficult is it to let your actors take charge of the dialogue. Did the movie start out as fully scripted?

MW: When we wrote it initially, it was completely scripted. All of the dialogue. Then, when I decided to make an improv movie, I borrowed the story from that. I deleted some of the side characters and made it simpler.

RO: Why did you decide to use improvised dialogue?

MW: In my personal experience, the comedies that I have done that have been really fun have allowed for a certain amount of improv time. You’ll shoot the script – and then you get to play with it. And I had long been wanting to direct an improvised film. I had been involved with an improvised television show and I really enjoyed the process. So I felt I had a really good handle on it. And I’ve long been a fan of the genre – Christopher Guest movies, etc. And I’ve had so much exposure to improv during my lifetime that I felt it was something that I wanted to do. I wanted to crack that problem – delve into that challenge. So I’ve wanted to do it for a long time. And the material was very appropriate. As we had written it, I started to think of all the people I knew who could play the specific characters. The screenplay became a 120-page character description.

RO: Was the main character based on any person or persons that you have encountered in your life?

MW: Yes. I did have a friend who was a part-time pot dealer in Chicago. He was very talented – brilliant. But he had become stuck because he took an easy choice and ended up doing it long than he wanted to. And had he stayed there, his life may not have panned out very well. But he did step away from it and now he’s a successful person. But none of the other characters are taken from our lives. Though the game Milky Milky Cakey Cake - which is mentioned in passing - is based on a real thing.

RO: (Laughs).

MW: You’ve seen the film?

RO: Yes! And of all its elements, I never would have predicted that one as having some basis in your actual experience.

MW: A friend of mine was in a band in high school and a father of one of the band members was abusing a substance one night. While doing so, he offered to have the boys stay at home with him one night and play "milky milky cake cake". It’s a game where you get a sheet cake, create a hole in the middle, and pour milk into it and eat it until all of the milk and cake are gone.

RO: That’s weirdly wonderful.

MW: Yes.

RO: One aspect of the film that I really enjoyed was the documentary-style camera work. It made the story feel very intimate. Why did you choose that approach to filming?

MW: First, a documentary crew can capture spontaneity better than others in their field. Anything can happen when you are creating an improv film. So I needed a crew that was experienced with being limber and ready to go. There weren’t many set up shots. They were capturing things as they happened. I had seen a film called Darkon which was a documentary about live action role players. And Hillary Spera is the woman who had shot that. I was lucky enough to get her for this film. The performances in this film are very real and natural. And documentary style helps to capture that feeling.

RO: I also read that you asked your actors to do improv work for character development – including theater work on scenes that were not part of the film. Can you tell me more about that?

MW: We did two weeks of theater camp. We went into the UCB theater and worked with the main characters pretty much every day and ancillary characters only for a few days. We wanted them to understand their back story, their world and their relationships. We also wanted to develop the proper tone for their dialogue. So we did, for example, classic interviews where I would ask them a half hour of questions. And then we would discuss the results to try and discover what was true about each character and what part of our discovery might naturally come up during the course of the film . We also did fun scenes that would never happen in the film. And we put groups together – like the band – so they would have a rapport and their friendships would feel natural and true. Improvising scenes did help their chemistry.

And then Dylan O’Brien, who played the young boy, had had no improv experience. So it was a boot camp for him. I had plugged him into an intensive UCB course in addition to this two week theater camp. All to prepare him for suddenly entering the big leagues of improvisation.

RO: That’s impressive. I’m sure many actors would have found that intimidating.

MW: Yes – and he was great. He was a solid comedy fan – starstruck with everyone he met.

RO: Who wouldn’t be? After you completed camp, how did you go about rehearsing the actual scenes? How does that work in an improvised film? How do you keep the scene fresh?

MW: In the theater rehearsals, we never did any scenes from the film in order to preserve spontaneity. Occasionally, though, there were jokes that we would come up with during rehearsal that we would keep. Or that I would remind the actors about on set. But once we were on the set – it was pretty traditional. I would talk to them about the scene and we would rehearse it in order to familiarize everyone with the blocking and the staging. And then we would shoot the wide. Hopefully, we would get it after a few takes and then everyone would feel comfortable with the rhythm. Then, if there were elements that were popping up that were new and funny, as we went in for singles and closer coverage, we could do multiple takes and multiple variations on it.

RO: Well, the end product is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I want to thank you specifically for including the concept of a White Stripes cover band in the film. Extremely funny.

MW: (Laughs). My friend and co-writer, Josh, is obsessed with them. So he got me hooked on that idea.

Bullseye: Comedian Chris Gethard on P. Diddy, Bipolar Disorder, and Internet Trolls

| 1 comment

Chris Gethard is a comedian and host of The Chris Gethard Show on NYC's public access television. He talks to us about booking megastar P. Diddy at a tiny theater in New York, using both mania and depression to shape his comedy, confronting Internet trolls in person and -- okay, an unusual event in his childhood involving a dwarf. His new book is A Bad Idea I'm About to Do.

Click here for the rest of this episode!

Comedy: Craig Rowin on The Sound of Young America

| 1 comment
Craig Rowin

Craig Rowin has a message for the millionaires out there. Listen closely.

You can find more from him at CraigRowin.com, including information about his shows at the UCB Theatre in NYC.

Syndicate content