Second City

Switchblade Sisters Episode 100: 'Get Out' with 'A Black Lady Sketch Show' & 'Full Frontal with Samantha Bee' Writer and Actor Ashley Nicole Black

Ashley Nicole Black

Get Out

This week we are joined by multi-talented writer, actor, and director Ashley Nicole Black. She can most recently be seen as a regular on A Black Lady Sketch Show. And prior to that she was a writer and correspondent on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. The movie she has chosen to discuss also has its origin in the comedy world - Jordan Peele's Get Out. Ashley discusses how efficiently this film works at getting information out quickly, and how those same lessons can be applied to writing sketches. She reveals the origin of her character "The Most Annoying Woman in the World" and how it is based on the worst aspects of her personality. And she elaborates on writing jokes for black and white audiences.

You can watch A Black Lady Sketch Show on HBO.

And if you haven't seen Get Out - what's wrong with you?

With April Wolfe and Ashley Nicole Black.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for

Ep. 44: Go Fact Yourself with Bill Kurtis & Sarah Spain

John Ullinskey, Helen Hong, Bill Kurtis, J. Keith van Straaten, Sarah Spain
Bill Kurtis & Sarah Spain
Jill Sweeney & John Ullinskey

It’s the first episode of Go Fact Yourself from Chicago!

Two-time Peabody Award winner Bill Kurtis is a news anchor with one of the most famous voices in television and radio. You may have heard him as the scorekeeper for the program "Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!", but he’s also known for his narration in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. He’ll explain how that role changed his life forever and share other stories from his extensive career.

Bill will compete with his fellow broadcaster and fellow Peabody Award winner Sarah Spain, host and contributor for ESPN. She’s often seen on the sports debate show "Around the Horn." She’ll tell us how she crafts an effective argument on the show and how she’s battling the negativity that comes with being a woman in the sports industry. Also, doggies!

The guests will answer questions about war veterans, improv comedy characters and the windy city.

What’s the Difference: Cubs & White Sox

What’s the difference between a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout?

What’s the difference between stitching and darning?

Areas of Expertise

Bill Kurtis: Frank Sinatra’s big band music, World War II in Okinawa and the prairie

Sarah Spain: Rescue dogs, 90’s "Saturday Night Live" characters and grammar.

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong

Bill Kurtis & Sarah Spain

Bill Kurtis
Sarah Spain

With guest experts:

Julia Sweeney, actor and comedian who’s appeared in four seasons of "Saturday Night Live."

John Ullinskey & Bill Kurtis

John Ullinskey, WWII veteran who served aboard the USS Arikara and participated in the D-Day Invasion and the Battle of Okinawa

Go Fact Yourself was devised by Jim Newman and J. Keith van Straaten, and produced in collaboration with Maximum Fun. The show was recorded at Sleeping Village in Chicago.

Theme Song by Jonathan Green.
Maximum Fun's Senior Producer is Laura Swisher.
The show is edited by Julian Burrell.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Adam McKay

Adam McKay

Photo: Jesse Thorn

Adam McKay On His Academy Award Nominated Movie Vice and The Joke That Inspired Him To Take Up A Career In Comedy

Adam McKay has had a pretty eclectic career. He started in sketch comedy first as a founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade, then as a writer on Saturday Night Live. He studied at Second City, too, and then he worked in movies.

He collaborated with Will Ferrell to make some stone cold comedy classics: Anchorman, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights. Lately, though, his work has been more serious, topical, and political.

A few years back, he wrote and directed The Big Short, which deconstructed and explained the 2008 financial crisis. He helped create the HBO show Succession - a drama about a family that owns a colossal American media empire.

Now there's Vice, his latest movie, which is the story of former Vice President Dick Cheney. It's playing in theaters now and is up for eight Academy Awards.

The common thread with McKay's work is that it's never boring, never forced. He'll take an extremely dumb joke and frame it in a way that's so clever and compelling that you just lose it. He'll find a way to explain credit default swaps that are so entertaining and engrossing that you forget you're learning about credit default swaps.

In this conversation, Adam tells Jesse how he manages to keep his films fresh, funny and weird, and also shares some of the more reckless tales in improv comedy from his time in Chicago.

Click here to listen to Adam McKay's interview on YouTube.

Episode 31 - Mr. Joyce's Opus written by Brian Gallivan

Mike Kosinski as Chuck Joyce
Kirby Howell Baptiste as Julia McGill
Lauren Lapkus as Gifted Sara
Ginger Gonzaga as Leslie
Aparna Nancherla as Krystal
Mamie Gummer as Adriana
Janina Gavankar as Felicia
Elizabeth Ho as Vanessa
Sam Richardson as Mr. Meadows
Gary Anthony Williams as Principal Flood

Our dead pilot this month was written by Brian Gallivan (The McCarthy’s, Happy Endings). It’s called Mr. Joyce’s Opus and it centers around Chuck Joyce, a Catholic school teacher, who throws out his curriculum to connect with his students despite the fact that they’re all horrible little monsters.

Andrew interviews Brian regarding his career, the development process for this pilot, and how he handles network notes calls. You’ll also listen to a live table read of Mr. Joyce’s Opus, performed by some of today's funniest comedic actors.  
Come to our next live show at The USC Comedy Festival on November 4th at 4pm. Because we love our fans sooooo much, this show is completely free! We’re reading a pilot called American Alien written by Sierra Teller Ornelas (Superstore, Splitting Up Together).

Reserve seats here:

For more Dead Pilot Society episodes and information about our live shows, please subscribe to the podcast! Make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram @deadpilotspod, on twitter @deadpilotspod, and visit our website at

Minority Korner 62: 2017 #NoDrama W/Special Guest Shantira Jackson!! (Ali Wong, Resolutions, Shemar Moore)

Minority Korner
Shantira Jackson

Happy New Year! We made it to 2017! What are your New Year's Resolutions? Nnekay and James share their goals for 2017, or how to not end up being bedraggled by the end of the year. We also cover what's hot to watch on Netflix. In the first Quizlet Korner of the new year it's a clean slate, as Nnekay starts off a winner to find out where is the truth behind Shemar Moore's sexuality, Lee Daniels potentially having a few more missteps with his latest series Star, a new law for hair dresser/stylists, or a local politician getting new laws in FAVOR to support trans gendered youth. And another gem from Chicago, we have our unreleased full interview with brilliant, talented, hilarious Shantira Jackson of Second City, as well as an activist, comedian extraordinaire is she is going to drop some motivating truth bombs on us. Looks like this new year is off to a GREAT start!

Bullseye With Jesse Thorn: Fred Willard & David Gordon Green

Fred Willard
David Gordon Green
Ian Cohen
Nate DiMeo

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.

Playing The Buffoon: Fred Willard On Improv, Christopher Guest, and Missed Opportunities

For over fifty years, Fred Willard has played ignorant, self-absorbed buffoons that are impossible not to laugh at. He's a master improviser and comedian who started with his comedy duo, Greco and Willard, and moved on to work with the Second City and improv groups The Committee and the Ace Trucking Company. Today, he's probably best known and loved as one of Christopher Guest's troupe in films like Waiting For Guffman and Best In Show. Willard can be seen in Jeff Garlin's new film Dealin' With Idiots.

Willard tells us about drag-performances in his military school, the real life inspiration for his improvised comedy, and being the exact opposite of the happy-go-lucky optimists he plays on screen.

You may also like these interviews:
Catherine O'Hara
Christopher Guest
Jeff Garlin

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

Heavy Rock with Ian Cohen: Forest Swords and Crash Of Rhinos

Ian Cohen, contributing editor at Pitchfork, stops by to recommend some new heavy rock releases, both out in the U.S. this month.

His first recommendation is Engravings, the new record from UK producer Matthew Barnes, aka Forest Swords. The album is out August 26.

Ian also recommends the UK emo/hardcore band Crash of Rhinos' new album Knots, out on August 27.

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

The Memory Palace: Origin Stories

We share a segment from Nate DiMeo's more-than-just-a-history-podcast, The Memory Palace. Nate takes us on a tour of his own family's history, including his grandfather's nightclub act.

Nate DiMeo is a public radio producer and a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor.

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

David Gordon Green, right, with actors Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd

David Gordon Green on Prince Avalanche, Camping Alone, and Clint Eastwood

It's not easy to sum up the booming career of writer and director David Gordon Green. While he's best known for his slacker-comedies such as Pineapple Express and the HBO series Eastbound and Down, he also makes films that are sentimental, cerebral, and poignant, like George Washington and All The Real Girls. His new film, Prince Avalanche, starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch, is somewhere in between.

David talks to Jesse about his love for camping alone in the woods, his affinity for characters like Kenny Powers (who are likeable in spite of everything they say and do), and how it felt to direct a cinema legend like Clint Eastwood.

Prince Avalanche is in select theaters and On Demand August 9th.

You may also like this interview:
Lily Tomlin

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

The Outshot: Robin Thicke's A Beautiful World

Love it or hate it, Robin Thicke's number-1 with a bullet single "Blurred Lines," and its accompanying NSFW music video, have been impossible to avoid these past few months. But Jesse is here to tell you that there is more to Robin Thicke than cowbell laden beats and dancing half-nudes--and it starts way back in 2002 with his neo-soul debut album Cherry Blue Skies (re-released in 2003 as A Beautiful World).

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

Syndicate content