As a 16-year-old, Martin Starr made an indelible impression on television viewers as the sweet, awkward Bill Haverchuck on Freaks & Geeks. Ten years later, he's blossomed into a successful adult actor. He was featured in Knocked Up and Good Dick, among other films, and currently has prominent parts in the Starz series Party Down and the wonderful new film Adventureland. Both roles call on his unique sense of humor, surprising shades of darkness, and his almost palpable sense of decency. We talk with Martin about how he's grown from a teenager overwhelmed by Hollywood to an adult with his own voice.
Dana Gould is a comedian who's widely credited as one of the fathers of "alternative" comedy. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he helped bring comedy out of the funk of the "Evening at the Improv" scene and into the thriving world of alternative culture. He was also a writer and producer on the Simpsons for six years, among his other writing credits.
His new special, Let Me Put My Thoughts In You, is now available on CD and DVD.
John Mulaney has taken the standup comedy world by storm over the past few years, and at the age of 26, he's just starting to reach the top of his profession. His first standup comedy special, Comedy Central Presents John Mulaney, premiers Friday, April 3rd on Comedy Central. His first standup comedy CD, "The Top Part," is in stores now. He also wrote for the Demetri Martin's "Important Things," and is currently a writer for Saturday Night Live.
If you enjoyed this show, try these:
An unusual Sound of Young America podcast: I talk with 43folders.com writer Merlin Mann,
Homestar Runners creators Mike and Matt Chapman (aka The Bros. Chaps), and Jeff Olsen, creative director of adultswim.com, at the Integrated Media Association conference in Atlanta. The (somewhat cheesy) title of the session was "Blow Up Your Brand." We chatted about how to do something on the internet that people will actually give a hoot about.
Steven Berlin Johnson is a writer and entrepreneur who writes on the history of ideas. His books have included Everything Bad is Good for You, which suggested that contemporary popular culture is more challenging to the mind than it's accused of being, and The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World, which tracked the spread of cholera in London in the mid-19th century as a way to understand the networked modern city. His newest book, The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution and the Birth of America tracks the life of the 18th century writer and scientist Joseph Priestley, and how his story can help us learn about the growth and development of ideas. Johnson also created the news discussion site plastic.com and the hyper-local site outside.in.
Bethlehem Shoals, Silverbird 5000 and Big Baby Belafonte are three of the authors of the baskeball blog Free Darko. Their distinctive perspective on the game is reflected not just on the blog, but also in their first book, "The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac." They claim in our interview, among other things, that they started watching basketball because it went so well with their interest in Ornette Colemen records. It's certainly the only basketball guide that features an elaborate visual metaphor based on the Aztec calendar.
Download This Show (MP3)
Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)
The Whitest Kids U Know are a sketch comedy group based in New York City. They won top sketch honors at the 2006 Aspen Comedy Arts Festival, and rode a weekly gig in a NYC club to their own sketch series, which now airs on IFC. Sam Brown, Timmy Williams and Darren Trumeter talk about the trials and travails of professional sketch comedy and what it means to "do whatever you want."
Jeffrey Tambor has spent more than 30 years as an actor. A native of San Francisco, he started in television in the 1970s, and his career has followed a simple track since: he plays important authority figures (doctors, lawyers, judges) and self-important pseudo-authority figures. He portrayed the sweet, sad, hilariously self-centered sidekick Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show in the 1990s, and this decade played the patriarch of the Bluth family on Arrested Development. In addition to his work as an actor, he's also a teacher, having worked for many years alongside late legendary acting teacher Milton Katselas. He teaches regular classes and workshops in Los Angeles, including one March 21st at the American Film Institute.
Miss Piggy is an internationally-celebrated model, actress and now author. Her new book is "The Diva Code." Since her first appearance on television's The Muppet Show, she's appeared in dozens of film and television projects, and she took the time to speak with us about her life, career, and dealing with frogs (and men).
Jenna Fischer is an actress best known for her role as Pam on the hit NBC sitcom The Office. She's also starred in several films, including Blades of Glory and Walk Hard. She talks with us about dreaming of glamour growing up in St. Louis, and getting her big break -- the role of Pam -- by focusing all her ability on being un-glamorous.