Look Around You

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Roy Wood Jr. and Peter Serafinowicz

Roy Wood Jr.
Peter Serafinowicz

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Photo: Rich Polk/Getty Images

Roy Wood Jr. on writing jokes and working on "The Daily Show"

Roy Wood Jr. is a comedian. You've probably seen him as a correspondent on "The Daily Show." He's done comedy pretty much his entire life, but he majored in broadcast journalism and for a while, it was looking like that was gonna be his career. He was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama and first got his start in radio, working at a handful of stations. Sometimes he wrote, sometimes he produced or reported, but at heart, Roy has always been a stand-up, doing his act whenever he found the time.

In 2010, he finished third on NBC's "Last Comic Standing," which is when his career took off - he got his own radio show, got acting roles, started getting booked in bigger venues. Last year, Roy released his stand-up comedy album called "Father Figure," which made it on to many top 10 lists. He also just kicked off a national tour that will continue over the rest of spring and summer.

Roy talks with Jesse about the difficulty of writing original jokes, gang colors, and how being on "The Daily Show" has given him an opportunity to share some of his bolder takes on politics and race.

Click here to listen to Roy Wood Jr.'s interview on YouTube.

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Peter Serafinowicz on his new role on the TV series "The Tick"

Peter Serafinowicz is a British actor and comedian with a varied career in entertainment. He's been on a bunch of British TV shows - "Spaced," "I'm Alan Partridge," and "The IT Crowd." He did voice work as Darth Maul in "The Phantom Menace." He's also a music video director, a brilliant impressionist, and a screenwriter. Together with Robert Popper, he created the comedy series "Look Around You"- a parody of those boring educational documentaries kids watch in school.

Now, he's got a lead role. He's starring in the Amazon series "The Tick" as the Tick. It's a new live-action superhero comedy about a giant muscle man in a blue suit with antennas on his head. He's got super strength. It's almost impossible to hurt him, but he's kind of dumb and bumbling, too. His sidekick, an accountant named Arthur, is the only one who can really keep him grounded.

Peter talks to Jesse about writing dialogue that is essentially meaningful but sounds nonsensical and the most important lessons he learned from great impressionists like Mike Myers and Phil Hartman.

The first season of "The Tick" is available to stream now on Amazon. It just got picked up for a second, which should premiere next year.

Click here to listen to Peter Serafinowicz's interview on YouTube.

Photo: www.uni-watch.com

The Outshot: Uni Watch

If you ever found yourself falling in love with a team because of their goofy logo, Uni Watch is the blog for you. It's a whole website dedicated to all things sports uniforms and where the intersection of athletics and aesthetic is big news.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot on Uni Watch on YouTube.

Robert Popper, British Comedy Writer of "Look Around You" and "Friday Night Dinner": Interview on The Sound of Young America

Robert Popper, L, in character for "Look Around You" with Peter Serafinowicz
Robert Popper

Xeni Jardin steps in as guest host this week! Xeni is a longtime co-editor and blogger at BoingBoing and a tech journalist who's provided commentary or reporting to NPR's Day to Day, PBS's NewsHour, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and ABC World News Tonight among others. She's currently working on a series of stories for PBS about the physical and economic damage and fallout from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan earlier this year.

She'll talk to Robert Popper, a BAFTA-winning comedy writer and producer who is responsible for the very funny BBC mock educational series Look Around You (with collaborator Peter Serafinowicz) and now, the creation and writing of the BBC America series Friday Night Dinner. Every episode follows a different Friday night as adult brothers Jonny and Adam return to the family homestead for a meal with their (slightly off) parents.

In the past, Robert has worked on Peep Show, South Park, and a number of other TV programs. He's also well known as an accomplished prankster. We'll talk to him about regressing to childhood in the company of your siblings and parents, the construction of some of his favorite comedy bits, prank phone calls from his alter ego Robin Cooper, and more.

The final episode of the first season of Friday Night Dinner airs this Saturday at 11:30/10:30c on BBC America. It's also available for download from the iTunes store.

Click here for a full transcript of this interview.
Stream or download this interview now.

XENI JARDIN: Welcome to The Sound of Young America, I'm Xeni Jardin in for Jesse Thorn. Sitting here with me today is the brilliant, the illustrious, the genius funny man, Robert Popper.

ROBERT POPPER: Thank you very much. That's my natural

XENI JARDIN: Robert, I've followed your work for many years.

ROBERT POPPER: And you've literally followed me around.

"Markets of Britain" by Robert Popper and Peter Serafinowicz


From our pals at BoingBoingTV and the minds behind Look Around You, a great new short film to celebrate the release of the US Look Around You DVD. Robert Popper was a guest on The Sound of Young America in 2008, and Peter, who'll be a regular on the new Will Arnett sitcom on FOX, assures us he'll stop by our New York studios soon.

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