This week, Wyatt Cenac sits in for Jesse Thorn.
Sam Richardson is an actor, writer, and comic. He was born in Detroit, but he has a Ghanaian mother. His childhood was split between the two places. After college, Sam moved to Chicago to pursue comedy through The Second City improv theater. He then moved to LA where he landed a couple of small roles in TV comedies like The Office and Arrested Development, eventually getting his breakout SAG nominated role as Richard Splett on HBO's Veep. Now, Sam's co-created and starred in the new Comedy Central show Detroiters produced by Lorne Michaels and Jason Sudeikis. It's about two young men (Sam and co-creator Tim Robinson) who acquire an advertising company in Detroit.
Sam talks to Wyatt about creating his new show, what it was like growing up between the United States and Ghana, and what people get wrong about Detroit.
Syd was born and raised in Los Angeles, and has been making music for most of her life. She began her career producing and singing on tracks in the music collective Odd Future when she was still in high school. In 2011, she and producer Matt Martians started an R&B band called The Internet. Six years later, they are signed to Columbia Records, have three albums under their belt, and one Grammy nomination. This year, Syd decided to venture out on her own and released her first solo album Fin to great reviews
Syd sits down with Wyatt to talk about about how she wrote and produced her new album, the influence of her parents on her music, and why she is not in a rush to meet her idols.
This week, Wyatt tells us about the 1972 Blaxploitation film The Thing with Two Heads.
Andrew Noz joins us to provide some recommendations from the world of hip hop. First, he talks to us about Chance the Rapper's self-proclaimed lyrical challenge, as evidenced in Juice, a track off his latest mixtape, Acid Rap. And what if Lil Wayne stayed off the beaten pop music path? It might sound like Young Thug's weirded-out track, Picacho.
It's hard to imagine what American comedy would look like without Mel Brooks. With a sharp eye for parody, a seemingly infinite supply of gags, and enough destruction of the fourth wall to make a postmodern novelist blush, his work has set the tone for countless comedy TV shows and films. It's hard to imagine SNL's relentless TV parodies without Your Show Of Shows (which Brooks wrote for alongside Sid Caesar back in the 50s), The Simpsons without his filmography full of sly pop-culture references, or the careers of Airplane! creators Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker without Brooks' shameless love of (self-admittedly) awful jokes.
A new PBS American Masters documentary, Mel Brooks: Make A Noise, explores the life and career of the EGOT winner and man behind The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and so much more. Brooks talks to us about fighting in World War II (where he managed to even make a few Germans laugh), the genius of Gene Wilder, and that time Sid Caesar dangled Brooks out the window of a Chicago hotel room.
PBS's American Masters documentary Mel Brooks: Make A Noise premieres Monday, May 20. Check with your public television station for local listings. A box set from Shout! Factory with over ten hours of rare and exclusive footage was also released late last year.
The Source Family fit the conventional image of a typical hippie cult in a lot of ways – assuming, of course, that there is such a thing as a typical hippie cult. You could point to the commune, the long hair, the Jesus-y robes...not to mention occasional hits of what they called "sacred herb". Dig deeper, though, and it becomes clear that there was plenty that separated the Source Family from stereotypes.
The group was just as unique as their leader, a man who called himself Father Yod. He was a former Marine, stuntman, jujitsu expert who founded the Source Family alongside a highly successful vegetarian restaurant. Out of the back of that restaurant, the family sold recordings of their regular jam sessions, which became the stuff of psychedelic rock legend. Perhaps most unlike your average cult leader, Father Yod was not particularly attached to any particular ideology – not even his own. In direct violation of his own commandments, Yod married thirteen wives, a move which both alienated a number of family members and caught the LAPD's attention. This caused the Source Family to flee to Hawaii, which ultimately resulted in the group's demise.
We're delving further into LA's most famous hippie cult with the help of Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille, the directors of a new documentary called The Source Family. They discuss the group's run-ins with celebrities (and law enforcement), why Father Yod once told his followers to cut their hair and get jobs, and whether or not they would have joined the group, if given the chance.
The Source Family is in limited nationwide theatrical release. For information about screenings at a theater near you, check out the film's website.
This week, find out why Jesse's been spending a lot of time with Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson, a home-tome that gracefully runs the housekeeping gamut from sections titled "Administering Insurance Policies" to "Privacy, Sex, and the Constitution".
Episode 70 of Dave Hill's Podcasting Incident is gonna give you a rash or something it's so incredible. This time around, I visit with comedian, writer (Colbert Report, Wanda Sykes Show, and more!), actress and so much more Laura Krafft, whom I once went to prison with (It's true!), in scenic Los Angeles. Loosen your pants as Laura and I talk about topics including but not limited to cookies, the time she talked to Lou Reed on the street, how smoking probably won't kill you, Los Angeles, a major head injury she sustained, what it's like sharing a bathroom at the Chelsea Hotel, and much, much more. I also debut a hot new track from the new Valley Lodge Album, answer important listener questions, check in with Shaina Feinberg, and Ian Ball delivers the Hot Jamz from London. For more information on this podcast and other important Dave-related topics, please visit my website at www.davehillonline.com and follow me on Twitter at @mrdavehill. And, hey, be careful out there.
Harry and Dan are best friends who grew up together in New York state. After college Harry took a chance and moved to LA – a move he thinks Dan should make now. Their mutual friend Sammy insists there are plenty of reasons for Harry to stay put, and Dan sees wisdom in both positions. Is the west coast the best coast for Dan, or would he do better sticking to New York? Only one man can decide.
Ice Cube presents a defense of Los Angeles architectural aesthetics and an appreciation of Charles & Ray Eames.
Yes, Ice Cube.
Also of note: he declares traffic on the 110 freeway to be "gangsta traffic." Good to know.
I've come to believe that we'll never successfully book Tina Fey on The Sound, but this will have to do. Tina Fey in conversation with Steve Martin, from earlier this year in Los Angeles.
This video, made by Bill Burr with our pals from LAist, is a real gem. It's half an hour of Burr driving around and offering his committed opinions about crap in Los Angeles. Bill has such a remarkable energy - so much anger, so much passion, but a real sweetness, too. He's also funny as shit.
Flying Lotus is a critically acclaimed music producer. His sound lies somewhere between progressive hip-hop and dance music. This year he's released an LP, Cosmogramma, and an EP, Pattern+Grid World.
FlyLo talks with Jesse Thorn about how he found his aesthetic, about his Aunt, Alice Coltrane, about how his mother convinced him to submit music to Cartoon Network's [adult swim], about the influence of the late hip-hop producer Jay Dilla and more.
I just returned from five days in New York. I was sad I didn't get to see my pal Charlie Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere (he had late rehearsals), I was delighted when I came home and saw IE's latest mission. They used chalk (the kind that marks playing fields) to denote a local lane and a tourist lane on the NYC sidewalk.
I don't understand why sidewalk etiquette isn't taught in schools. I think it is the number one problem that faces our nation today. The basics are simple. Walk with purpose, keep to the right, don't spread out when in groups, pass on the left, step out of the moving traffic if you're going to stop. I am not above dropping a shoulder when these basics are ignored.
Of course, New York's incredible tourist population and hyper-crowded sidewalks make this all the more important, but I grew up with the same problems in downtown San Francisco. Little did I know that I would one day move to a new city - Los Angeles, where no one has any idea how to walk on a sidewalk at all.
Anyway: great job, IE. Glad to see you working on social justice issues.
Walter Mosley is the author of more than 30 books in a broad variety of genres, but he's best known for his detective fiction. His Easy Rawlins series began with 1989's best-selling Devil in a Blue Dress. His latest series features a new hero, the pugnacious, middle-aged Leonid McGill. He just released the second novel featuring McGill, Known to Evil.
Before he was a novelist, Mosley was a computer programmer. Originally born in Los Angeles, Mosley spent time in the Bay Area before moving to New York City, where the McGill novels are set.