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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dec. 26: No show

What day is it? Sunday? Let me double-check that... Yep, Sunday. I lost track of time. Not only did we hop on a plane on Christmas afternoon, fly 60 minutes and – presto! – white Christmas, but we're stuck in a house with no wi-fi! Can you believe it in this day and age? Barbaric. So I'm lost, basically. Blinded by the snow.

Normally this is show day. But not this week. Nor next. If you tune in, you'll get the second hour of the show that usually precedes ours. We're nowhere to be found. But we deserve a break, don't we? Here's a rundown of all our guests in 2010:
Ian Boothby
Jane Stanton
Sean Proudlove
Peter Kelamis
Paul Provenza
Daniel Packard
Charlie Demers
Ian Bagg
Carter Hortie
Jy Harris
Allyson Smith
Sean Kent
Steve Patterson
Vince Fluek
Sugar Sammy
Lars Callieou
Phil Hanley
Tom Segura
Kevin Foxx
Damonde Tschritter
Graham Clark
Ryan Beil
Dave Shumka
Todd Graham
Doug Stanhope
Neil Hamburger
Tyler Fortin
Shauna Johannesen
Will Davis
Nathan Clark
Toby Berner
Brian Anderson
Dan Quinn
Leena Manro
Munish Sharma
Iliza Shlesinger
Matt Kirshen
Art Factora
Matt Billon
Tetsuro Shigematsu
Michelle Shaughnessy
Shlomo McPeakowitz
Paul F. Tompkins
Andrew Carr
Paul Bae
Not a bad list at all. A big thanks to all of them. And there'll be lots more in 2011.

Oh, and don't forget to tune in to Global tonight at 10 to see the Vancouver comedy festival in action. One night of it, anyway.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Global Comedians

I got a sneak peak at Global Comedians the other night. This is a special that will air across Canada on Boxing Day (check local listings but I'm pretty sure it'll be on at 10 pm). It seems every other comedy festival in the country has a TV special, so it's about time Vancouver's got some air time.

It stands out from the others, too. Not only is it gorgeously shot, but it's also way more intimate. No glossy big stage here. They shot this at the Cultch, which isn't big to begin with, and it looks like it could have been in a tiny little club somewhere. That's not a bad thing. Interspersed between acts are clips of the individual comics on a photo shoot and seated together on a Last Supper-type meal. It's nice seeing them tell each other stories, although that's not why we're watching. Any show featuring stand-up comics rises or falls with the actual stand-up comedy.

Hosted by Dave Foley of Kids in the Hall and Newsradio fame, the special features Britain's Matt Kirshen (and one-time What's So Funny? guest), Australia's James Smith, USA's Maria Bamford, Canada's Mae Martin, and TV's Jon Dore (and one-time What's So Funny? guest). Not a bad line-up at all. Not your usual suspects so a wider audience might get to see a face or two they're not familiar with. It would have been nice to have a Vancouver comic on the show. They're good enough to make the other festivals' TV galas, so why not in their hometown?

But I'm not here to critique what isn't. The show looks fantastic and the comics are funny. That's good enough for me. It's a shame they felt the need to bleep every curse word, though, when I recall the Sopranos airing in prime time on CTV. Hell, I remember the Kids in the Hall getting away with the odd curse word at 8 pm on CBC in the 1980s. But whatever.

I developed quite a crush on Mae Martin when I was at the show. Seeing her on TV had me scratching my head trying to figure out who she reminded me of as she was singing her ode to showers and Alanis Morissette. It was driving me nuts until it hit me – Bob Saget! She doesn't have the rapid-fire stream-of-consciousness that Saget does, but her little asides and quick laughs on her own lyrics remind me totally of him. And in a good way, I should point out.

I don't imagine Boxing Day at 10 pm is the greatest time slot, but it'll probably be repeated at some point I would imagine. Hopefully it'll get enough people watching that they'll get to do it all over again next September. And who knows, maybe a Vancouver comic might get a shot then.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dec. 19: Paul Bae

Boys and girls, class is in session. Tonight, playing the part of Scrooge in our weekly radio show is stand-up comic/TV personality/high school teacher Paul Bae, who will no doubt spread a little Christmas cheer in our last episode of the year. Paul is the answer to the trivia question, Who was the very first guest on What's So Funny? in April of 2004? That was our pilot episode. Because of his good job guesting along with Dana Alexander that night, the show was picked up and we've been going strong(ish) ever since. He came back on his own one year later but that was the last we've seen of him, so we've got lots of catching up to do.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Podcast episode 213ish: Paul F. Tompkins

Who isn't a fan of P. Francis Tompkins? In this interview with the comedic savant and podcast legend, you'll learn many things, among them that's he's used his middle initial most of his life, that he wants to give improv comedy a shot, and that we may already be at the saturation point for podcasts. We're lucky to have gotten him as a guest before the bust. So listen in, won't you? Here, on iTunes or at a podcast server near you. We're everywhere.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dec. 12: Andrew Carr

Tonight's show was a long time in the making. I've been trying to get Andrew Carr as a guest for years. Well, I tried a few years ago then gave up. He's a busy guy, being one of the main writers for Corner Gas and Hiccups. I believe he's even written for Muslim Corner Gas, aka Little Mosque on the Prairie. But I thought I'd give it another shot and damned if he wasn't available! I remember seeing Andrew back when he was a stand-up comic. We'll find out tonight if he has plans to ever return to the stage or if he's happier just writing the jokes other people get credit for. And hopefully I won't hack up a lung. I'm on the tail end of a winter cold so my voice is deep and sexy but the damn cough gives it away. I'll do my best because the show must go on.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dec. 5: Paul F. Tompkins

With the glut of comedy podcasts on the free market, I have one rule of thumb in sorting through the multitudinous ersatz broadcasts: Is Paul F. Tompkins a guest? If so, I'm there. He is without peer as a guest when he sits down with his fellow comics and shoots the breeze. I talked about it a bit in a feature I did on Tompkins for the Georgia Straight a few weeks ago. So without repeating myself, you can follow the link and read all about it.

Tonight's show features a half-hour phone interview I did with Tompkins prior to his visit here. It's unlike anything you've ever heard from Tompkins before. Because he's not being funny. Probably because 1) he doesn't know me, and b) I'm not a fellow comic. So don't expect laughs. There are a few titters, but it's largely informational. But where else are you going to get his actual take on subjects near and dear to his heart? Nowhere, I tells ya! You'll hear him talk about his last trip here where he riffed a whole set to drunken yahoos at Yuk Yuk's, as well as podcasts in general, his Pod F. Tompcast in specific, his take on alternative comedy, and a few other nuggets. I'll sandwich the interview between some clips from his comedy albums so he will make you laugh at other points during the hour. So tune in. Tonight at 11. All the info for radio and live streaming is over there in the right-hand panel.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Podcast episode 211ish: Shlomo McPeakowitz

I went toe to toe with the great heavyweight chumpion Shlomo McPeakowitz recently. Shlomo revealed his Rocky prophesy which will see him taking on one of the renowned Klitchko brothers in Moscow on Christmas Day. Of 2010. Yeah, I'm thinking it's not going to happen, either, but you gotta dream big, kid. It was a fun episode, I thought. And I think you will think that, too, if you listen. So why don't you? It's right here. And when you're done, you can check out some in our backlog over at the Comedy Couch. Or download them at iTunes. What else are you going to do this holiday season?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Podcast episode 210ish: Michelle Shaughnessy

We get to know Michelle Shaughnessy six months after her big move to the small city. We talked about Vancouver vis a vis Toronto, where she spent the previous ten years. She tells us about her show biz mother, starring in a reality TV show, and tries (in vain) to sell us on the delectability of vegan cuisine.

Listen here, over at the Comedy Couch, where they're housed, or on iTunes (not forgetting, of course, to rate the show and leave a comment).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

VHS Vault: Brent Butt at JFL

For someone as proficient as he is/was as a stand-up comic, there's precious little of Brent Butt online. Go figure. For my money, he was one of the best. I've got some more coming up, but for now, here's a sampler of him at the big annual Just For Laughs festival with some of his classic bits.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Just heard that Louis C.K.'s concert film, "Louis C.K.: Hilarious" is going to be shown in Vancouver at the Empire Theatres Granville 7 Cinemas tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 25, at 5 pm. At least I think that's the show time. It's not listed on the press release, which you can read below, but his New York publicist told me that's where it's playing. And look, there it is on the theatre's website. I haven't seen it, but having seen him live a few times, I'm pretty sure the title is appropriate. If you're somewhere else in Canada, don't fret. It'll be at a theatre near you (if you live in one of the other 15 cities it's playing). Read on:





November 3, 2010 – Just For Laughs is bringing the Canadian premiere of Emmy-winning writer and comedian, Louis C.K.’s highly-anticipated stand-up concert film, Louis C.K.: Hilarious to 16 Canadian cities on Thursday, November 25. A list of theaters, show times and ticket info is available at the end of this release. For more information on Louis visit

In this unique and dynamic live concert film, Louis C.K.’s exploration of life after 40 destroys politically correct images of modern life with thoughts we have all had…but would rarely admit to. Louis C.K.: Hilarious, premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in January as the first stand-up concert film presented at Sundance. Directed by Louis, the film received rave reviews with Variety declaring, “Standup comedy cinema has a new star in Louis C.K.: Hilarious.” Filmed at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee on April 18, 2009 as part of his international theater tour, Louis C.K.: Hilarious confirms why Louis C.K. is the most respected comedic voice of his generation.

Louis is currently touring theaters across North America with his new show, Louis C.K.: Word, including a sold-out night at Carnegie Hall on November 4. He has performed several times at the Just For Laughs festival, and hosted his own Gala at Just For Laughs Toronto this summer. Also this summer, Louis starred in his own critically-acclaimed FX series, Louie, which was picked up for a second season after airing just five episodes. Louis is executive producer, writer, director, editor and star of the series based on his life as a stand-up comic and single father of two living in New York City. Louis starred in the film The Invention of Lying and was seen in a recurring role on the NBC series, Parks & Recreation. In 2009, Louis was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special for his second hour special, Louis C.K.: Chewed Up. Chewed Up, is available on CD & DVD and Louis’ first hour special, Louis C.K.: Shameless, is available on DVD.





9:30PM screening at Cineplex Odeon Eglington Town Centre. 22 Lebovic Avenue
Toronto, ON. (416) 752-4494. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 10:00 AM and are available at


9:30PM screening at the SilverCity Mississauga, 3055 Vega Boulevard
Mississauga, ON. (905) 569-3373. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 4:00 PM and are available at


9:30PM screening at Cineplex Odeon South Keys Cinema, 2214 Bank Street
Ottawa ON, (613) 736-6740. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 5:00 PM and are available at


9:30PM screening at Cineplex Odeon Gardiner’s Road, 1636 Gardiners Road, K7M 3X9
Kingston, ON. (613) 634-4197 Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 10:00 AM and are available at


9:30PM screening at Coliseum Scarborough, Scarborough Town Centre, 300 Borough Drive, 300 Borough Drive Scarborough ON, (416) 290-5217. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 10:00 AM and are available at


9:30PM screening at Cineplex Odeon Westmount Cinemas, 755 Wonderland Road South
London ON, (519) 474-2152. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 12:00 PM and are available at


9:30PM screening at Galaxy Cinemas Cambridge, 355 Hespeler Road
Cambridge ON, (519) 740-3456. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 10:00 AM and are available at


9:30PM screening at Cineplex Odeon Southland Mall at 3025 Gordon Road
Regina SK, (306) 585-3383. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 8:00 AM and are available at


9:30PM screening at Galaxies Cinemas Saskatoon at 347-2nd Avenue South
Saskatoon SK, (306) 664-5060. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 8:00 AM and are available at


9:30PM screening at Cineplex Odeon North Edmonton at 14231-137th Avenue
Edmonton AB, (780) 732-2223. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th and are available at


9:30PM screening at SilverCity Cross Iron Mills Cinemas & XSCAPE Entertainment Centre at 261055 CrossIron Boulevard, Rocky View, AB, (403) 274-3261. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 8:00 AM and are available at


9:30PM screening at Odeon Victoria at 780 Yates Street, Victoria BC (250) 383-0513. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 8:00 AM and are available at


9:30PM screening at Colossus Langley at #20090, 91A Avenue
Langley BC, (604) 513-8747. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 8:00 AM and are available at


9:30PM screening at Scotiabank Theatre Montreal at 977 Ste-Catherine West
Montreal, QC (514) 842-0549. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 8:00 AM and are available at


9:30PM screening at Coliseum Kirkland at 3200 Rue Jean Yves
Kirkland, QC (514) 694-8922. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 8:00 AM and are available at


9:30PM screening at Empire Theatres Bayers Lake at 190 Chain Lake Drive, Halifax, NS (902) 876-4805. Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 12th at 8:00 AM and are available at

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

VHS Vault: Mike Wilmot

What can I say about Mike Wilmot? Legendary Canadian comic who spends about half a year each year in England, where he's equally legendary, yet there's very little of him on YouTube. A couple clips, but not much. And not this one. So enjoy.

You also might be interested in the podcast episode I did with Wilmot and another Canadian, Pete Johansson, from Oct. 7, 2007. We recorded it at Yuk Yuk's after a late show while the staff was sitting around us counting their money and Mike was playing to them. Twas a fun episode. It's available on iTunes, or just click below if you're not going anywhere:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Podcast episode 209ish: Tetsuro Shigematsu

I tend to think of CBC national radio hosts as stuffed shirts. Maybe that's why Tetsuro Shigematsu never lasted at the Mother Corp, where he took over from the venerable Bill Richardson to host The Roundup for two years. It's hard to be a stuffed shirt when you don't wear one. I'd interviewed celebrated nudist Watermelon before, but Shiggy became my first guest to do the whole interview topless. I'm still not sure why, but it made for a lively show. (Ball's in your court, Watermelon.) We also talked about Tetsuro's on-again/off-again relationship (literally) with beat poet Allen Ginsberg and his experience as a samurai expert on Deadliest Warrior.

Listen to the episode here in convenient podcast format. Or go download it onto your portable podcast gizmo over at iTunes, where you'll promise to leave a rating and comment.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nov. 21: Brad "Shlomo McPeakowitz" McPeake

You wouldn't expect the world of pugilism to be known for its funnymen. Or would you? Muhammad Ali always had the gift of gab and made sportswriters laugh. The latter-day George Foreman was flat-out hilarious. Tex Cobb was pretty funny, too. And even Mike Tyson, when not biting opponents' ears off or tattooing his face, has shown he's got a funny bone, too, with his appearances in Who's the Boss? and The Hangover and on Jimmy Kimmel Live. But a boxer as a stand-up comic? There might be others out there, but I only know of one: Vancouver's Brad "Shlomo McPeakowitz" McPeake. I first saw Brad, as he was then known, at the old Urban Well, and he killed with a unique old-timey literate style of spoken word comedy. He placed highly in at least one comedy competition that I recall. And then he disappeared from the comedy scene.

Whither Brad McPeake? Well, he came back to comedy as Shlomo McPeakowitz, embracing his Jewish heritage. I believe he even fights under that name. Which brings us to his boxing career. I wouldn't call him a tomato can (to his face, anyway), but let's just say his boxing record is hardly reminiscent of a young Tyson. But he can take a punch, that's for sure. (I can't, which is why I wouldn't say that to his face.)

Shlomo considers himself a real-life Rocky Balboa only minus, you know, the dramatic wins against big-time opponents. But he's a dreamer. He's got some big news to discuss in that area, so you'll want to tune in tonight to hear all about it. He's even bringing along a 4-person documentary film crew to record it for posterity.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Podcast episode 208ish: Matt Billon

I got the chance to talk with Matt Billon a couple weeks ago on the radio show. It was the first time I've ever really spoken with him, except for niceties along the way starting in 2003 when I first saw him at Just For Laughs in Montréal (the first and only time he's played the venerable festival). He's been a bit of an itinerant comic since then, as he discussed on the show. He also talked about partying with Axl Rose, talking shop with George Carlin and explains why he thinks the moon landing was a hoax.

Listen along right here or over at iTunes, where, of course you'll remember to give us a rating and/or review. I know you will. You're good that way.

VHS Vault: Greg Fitzsimmons

Look at this fresh face! Greg Fitzsimmons is a wily vet now with an irascible demeanor. You can see hints of it here when the currently 44-year-old stand-up was but 31. He's gone on to win a daytime Emmy for writing and producing The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He also wrote on Lucky Louie, starring Louis CK. Now I see he has a book out and it looks great: Dear Mrs. Fitzsimmons: Tales of Redemption from an Irish Mailbox. If you're a fan of comedy podcasts, check out Fitzdog Radio on iTunes. It's a good one. But first, here's young innocent(-looking) Greg:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

VHS Vault: Ron White

Again, this one isn't so old, but it's old enough that I have it on VHS. Ron White always stood head and shoulders above his fellow blue collar comics. The only thing he has in common with them is a southern accent. But the guy is a comic's comic: great writer, great delivery. If you've never given him a chance because you just figured red-neck, try him out and let me know what you think:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

VHS Vault: Harland Williams

Let's keep on rolling. This next clip isn't all that vintage. Or at least, Harland Williams' act hasn't changed much in the ensuing years. Not surprising, that. I always thought he was a fairly lazy comic. That is, I think he relies a bit too much on his goofy appearance and whatever goofy thought entered his head at some point. He never goes beyond that. He's essentially a one-liner comic with really stupid one-liners. That being said, he's so damn likable he gets away with it. Who needs to write when the audience is laughing, I guess.

VHS Vault: Richard Lewis

I'm just unloading stuff now, fast and furious. This is Richard Lewis from the late 1980s on Letterman. I've always had a love-hate thing with Lewis. I think the first time you see a comic can forever slant you one way. I first saw him on The Alan Hamel Show, which was recorded here in Vancouver, when I was in high school. I'd never heard of him, but he did a stand-up set and I thought he was really funny. Since then, not so much, but he has a really endearing quality. He's kind of like Rickles in the sense you laugh and then go, "What did that even mean?" It's more in the delivery. And, of course, I'm a sucker for anything reminding me of Woody Allen (I just watched a chunk of Annie Hall tonight and, man, is it good! Still!).

Incidentally, I had the chance to interview Richard Lewis a year or so ago. The show was eventually cancelled so I never bothered transcribing it, but when I come across it, I'll definitely get on it. He's exactly – and I mean exactly – like his onstage persona. It'll be a bitch to transcribe, in other words. One half-expressed thought leads to another one, with hardly a break for a breath.

Anywho, this segment on the old Letterman show is cut off at either end. So take it for what it's worth.

Monday, November 15, 2010

VHS Vault: Jay Leno

Is there a more despised man in comedy right now than Jay Leno? I can't think of one. Maybe Kyle Cease, but he's small time. In both cases, I'm not entirely sure it's fair. Leno lost all comedy cred since taking over from Johnny Carson with his bland version of The Tonight Show, then lost even more respect when he wrestled control of the show back from Conan O'Brien. But did he? It's more like he was offered the job back and he took it. Coco fans seem to believe that if Leno had declined the invitation to return as host, O'Brien would still be there. That's faulty logic, methinks. I think NBC wanted Conan out no matter what due simply to the ratings. It's a numbers game. Had Leno refused to come back, they would have replaced Conan with someone else.

Here's an early clip of Leno on The Tonight Show. There's lots more earlier stuff available. I'm not sure exactly when this is but I believe it's from the late 1980s. Since Leno didn't take over from Carson until 1992, this would have been when he was guest hosting, as he did regularly since 1987. It was a period when he was still liked and respected. Is he that much different? I don't think so. But judge for yourself.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nov. 14: Michelle Shaughnessy

Tonight we've got one ingredient to a bitch salad. Sound crude and offensive? Hey, I'm working on very little information. All I know about tonight's guest, Michelle Shaughnessy, is that she's a former Toronto stand-up comic who moved recently to Vancouver. And that she has done an all-female show in T.O. called Bitch Salad. This shot of her here is a promo pic from said show. Having met her a couple of times now, I do know she's not over six feet tall, like the photo suggests. But that's about it. The rest, we'll find out tonight, I guess. I love it when I know very little about a guest prior to the show. Makes me feel like Larry King.

So tune in tonight at 11. Station and streaming info is over there on the right somewhere. Oh, and do take the time to click on the banner above and vote on the Podcast Awards. Remember, all those famous comics who do great popular podcasts don't need the publicity. Why contribute to their further success when you can help little old us? It's the decent thing to do.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

VHS Vault: Letterman Top Ten/Dial-It Services

How about some vintage Letterman? Here's former Mets pitcher, Bob Ojeda, doing a Top Ten list. He was a current Mets pitcher at the time, but that was long, long ago. Then Dave does a lame desk bit but, like Carson before him, manages to spin straw into gold. Is that the right expression? Good enough. Here you go:

Friday, November 12, 2010

VHS Vault: Fred Stoller

Welcome back to ye olde VHS Vault. It's been a while. But I've had some free time lately to sift through another videotape to see what I recorded back in the day.

Remember Fred Stoller? Probably not. I believe he went on to write a couple of Seinfeld episodes, had a recurring role on Everybody Loves Raymond, and does some voice-over work. But you don't see him doing stand-up anymore. At least I don't. There are a couple clips of him online, but not this appearance of his on Arsenio. I believe it dates back to the late 1980s. Here the milquetoast comic does his best-known bit, The Thrill Seeker. I still laugh when he says, "You can't stop me." (The sound quality isn't great so turn up the volume.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Podcast episode 207ish: Art Factora

Who was slumming it? Me or Art Factora? I thought Art was, because he's worked in commercial radio for years. For him to come down to our dog and pony show at co-op radio was generous. He thought I was slumming it for having a comic who's not yet a headliner on. It's true that most of my guests are headliners, but there have been others. In each case, it's because they had something else on the go. In Art's case, it was his work in radio. See how it all comes around?

In this podcast episode, you'll hear about Factora's transformation from Arthur to Art, the pros and cons of comedy classes, the size of mangos in the Philippines, how Pearl Jam changed his life, and why Pauly Shore is a douche.

So listen here, or download What's So Funny? at iTunes, where you promise to leave a rating and/or review, right? And don't forget to vote in the Podcast Awards by clicking on the banner above. Do the right thing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Podcast awards

You may have noticed the new Podcast Awards banner above. The idea, as far as I can tell, is that you click on it to vote for your favourite podcast (ahem). There are numerous categories. What's So Funny?, I'm guessing, would fall under the 'comedy' category, although it's not a comedy show per se. Rather it's a show about comedy. But let's not quibble.

When you click, you'll see the rules, followed by the categories. Here are the rules:
You get to submit the nomination form "ONE" time only!. Please fill try nominate as many shows as you can and fill the nomination form out to the best of your ability! Once you hit Submit you are done for 2010! Please do not submit the same show in multiple categories find out what category your favorites shows want to be nominated in. Important: Do not nominate the "same show" for People's Choice and Best Produced, nominate 2 different shows in the top two categories. You can then nominate each show in one additional category each.
Look, I know as well as you that we have zero shot at winning. Not up against the likes of the redoubtable WTF with Marc Maron, the hilarious Pod F. Tompkast, and the silly Doug Loves Movies. I'm not kidding myself. But think of it this way: those shows are going to get thousands and thousands of votes from all over the world. Don't go with the flow. Be a leader. You don't win money if your horse comes in so it really doesn't matter if the show you vote for doesn't win. You'll be doing us a solid. And isn't that what it's really all about?

If nothing else, we've been on the air a lot longer than these more famous podcasts. That counts for something, right?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nov. 7: Tetsuro Shigematsu

I first knew of Tetsuro Shigematsu, tonight's guest, as a stand-up comic. Then as a sketch comic with the now defunct Hot Sauce Posse. Then he fell off the radar, comedically speaking. I guess because he got a job as a national radio host on CBC. Remember SAD GOAT? Yeah, he took over for Bill Richardson on that afternoon show, the name of which escapes me and since this is a blog I'm not going to research it... Wait! It just came to me: The Roundup. That's it. (Because this is a blog, I'm not even going to go back and edit the earlier sentence.)

And then that show ended. The next time I saw Shigematsu was this past summer when he was loitering outside an elementary school. (Sounds creepy, but he had a valid reason.) Turns out he was living down in L.A. for a spell working on Spike TV's Deadliest Warrior (he has samurai roots, doncha know).

So we've got lots and lots to talk about, including his stint on This Hour Has 22 Minutes which I didn't mention above only because I never watch that show. But I'm not above talking about it. So tune in tonight at 11 to CFRO, 102.7 FM in Vancouver or livestream it at

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Podcast episode 206ish: Matt Kirshen

Here we are into the 200's in podcast episodes and we have our first ever British guest. Go figure. We've had countless Canadian comics, about 25 Americans, one Aussie (big shout-out to Marcus Ryan; our episode with Aussie Joe Avati has apparently gone missing) and one Russian (I'm counting Yakov Smirnoff as Russian even though he's an American citizen now).

So what I'm trying to say is this is an historic episode. You'll want to listen and remember where you were when you heard it so you can tell your grandkids. We had a good long chat with the elfin Matt Kirshen. He talks about Dick Van Dyke and British comedy critics all in his charming accent.

Have a listen here or go to iTunes, download, then be the first on your block to leave a review. Something else to tell your grandkids.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Kathy Griffin interview (2010)

Kathy Griffin – October 6, 2010

"I was so enamored with Hollywood that once I moved to California I just thought I was going to get my own TV show within a week. And when I hear about young actresses and actors that have that experience, I want to punch them in the face." – Kathy Griffin

Guy MacPherson: Hello?
Kathy Griffin: Guy?

GM: Yes?
KG: It's Kathy Griffin!

GM: Kathy, how are you?
KG: Good, how are you doing?

GM: Good, thanks.
KG: I'm ready to rock the River Rock.

GM: Again.
KG: Again. I've filmed the D List there, I've played there, the infamous Howard is there, who introduces me. I'm ready to take on Richmond. I come without fear.

GM: Is this your third time?
KG: Yeah.

GM: What's the deal with Howard?
KG: Howard's obsessed with me.

GM: Well, who isn't?
KG: Thank you. Especially in Richmond.

GM: Last we spoke you were coming up early because Lily Tomlin was here the night before you.
KG: Yes. You know what, I haven't looked on their website. Are you in front of a computer?

GM: Yeah. I looked it up.
KG: Who's there?

GM: Nobody I've heard of.
KG: Shit. But I will say, this is called – and by the way, I learned this phrase from Bette Midler, so I'm dropping a very A-list name – what I'm doing is called a 'pod', which is when you're on tour year-round, like I am, but you don't go out 365 days; you go out, like, ten days a month, or whatever. So I'm actually going to be in the middle of a pod, so I'm going to go from Portland to Richmond, BC, to Berkeley to Santa Cruz. So believe it or not, no matter who was at the River Rock prior to me or after me, I wouldn't be able to attend.

GM: It's Streetheart playing the night after you.
KG: Well, you know what? They sound fantastic and I could kick myself but I can't stay. But I'll be very busy moving on to Berkeley to tell Lindsey Lohan stories. And who knows what will have happened by October 16. And you know there's two shows so it's what we call in the business a 'double'. So the 8 pm show and the 10:30 show. I love doing a double because I honestly have so much material that I have this environment where I can get to all of it.

GM: So if somebody were to go to both shows--
KG: They wouldn't see two completely different shows, but believe me, every time I do a show I say, "Oh, I forgot to make fun of Elizabeth Hasselbeck as much as I should have."

GM: What's the deal with Elizabeth Hasselbeck? Do you get along?
KG: I don't get along with her, no.

GM: Because you've done The View numerous times and you have to be civil to a certain extent.
KG: Not anymore. I don't feel that I do have to be civil to her.

GM: So it's just cold backstage?
KG: If you YouTube my appearance on The View, you'll see that she was so rude that I no longer have to be civil to her. Prior to that, I was civil and she was civil to me. But you know what? I think she's just looking to make a name for herself on Fox News. Do you guys have Fox News there?

GM: We do. I don't know anyone who pays for it. It's on a pay channel.
KG: Oh, perfect. That's how it should be.

GM: But we certainly all know about it and know what it stands for and we see the clips. We watch The Daily Show and they make fun of it a lot.
KG: Oh, well that's how you get the real news.

GM: So how's your show going?
KG: The show is going fine. The touring is better because, you know, that's really where the fur flies. So I have to give the disclaimer, and even though it's a casino I do want to say leave the kids at home. Leave the kids in daycare or just leave them at a slot machine. But there will be far too much swearing and negativity for anyone with a weak stomach to come to my shows.

GM: Do people actually bring kids to your shows?
KG: You know, when I started out I used to have people who would yell from the audience, maybe after I had said the f-word or something even worse for the 17th time, "There's kids here." And I would just say, "What the hell are your kids doing here? This is not the place for them. This isn't Chuck E. Cheese." Which I also don't know if you have there.

GM: Yes, we do.
KG: It's a children-themed pizza restaurant with plastic balls that children run in and apparently probably spread viruses. Anyway, so no, it happens rarely. But every so often I do get walk-outs, which are fun. And I might get some walk-outs at the River Rock because you know when you do a casino it's a little different. A lot of the people in the audience are what's called 'casino comps'. They're people who have lost money at the tables or they're friends of the casino and often they just come to whatever show happens to be there the night that they're there. So at the River Rock it's possible I'll have audience members that really think that they're going to see Air Supply or Helen Reddy or one of your other Canadian jewels.

GM: (laughs) Hey, wait a second. Helen Reddy is Australian.
KG: She is?

GM: Yeah!
KG: Oh. Who's a Canadian person I can make fun of?

GM: Uh... well, there's Celine Dion, of course...
KG: No, no, no. River Rock level.

GM: Loverboy?
KG: Well, Air Supply is almost always on the video screen when I'm there.

GM: Yeah, you're right. I'm just looking at the schedule. Kris Kristofferson is coming but he's not Canadian.
KG: He's not Canadian.

GM: I don't think Air Supply is Canadian, either.
KG: Well, that's what's great about the River Rock is it's a combination of me, Canadian superstars and legends. And while I will never be a Canadian superstar, some day I can hope to be a legend. And that's of course my goal, to just be the new Kris Kristofferson but with dick jokes.

GM: One day.
KG: Here's hoping!

GM: Back to your show for a minute, you're in the sixth season now?
KG: Season six, yes.

GM: You joke about being on the D-list. Where do you really see yourself?
KG: It depends where I am. So for example, on my birthday I'm going to go to Gloria Vanderbilt's apartment so I will have an A-list moment. So I have A-list moments. If I go to the Prime Time Emmys, and I win, I feel I'm on the A-list. But if I go to the Emmys and I lose, I feel that I'm on more the C- or the D-list. I guess I would have to be on the B- or the C-list because to be on the D-list would mean you couldn't even go to the Emmys. So it's ever-changing.

GM: You're going to Gloria Vanderbilt's because of your relationship with Anderson Cooper?
KG: Yeah, that's how I met her.

GM: Oh, so you've met her before.
KG: Yes. And she's fascinating. A friend of mine said she finds her to be the most fascinating woman of the last century.

GM: What kind of conversations do you have?
KG: We talk about whatever she wants. But she thinks I'm naughty and funny and she is very accepting of my naughty and funny ways and I appreciate that.

GM: Do you feel you have to be 'on'?
KG: You know, it's more like I'm interested in her story because she's so fascinating and she's led such an incredible life, so I'm kind of trying to get the dish out of her. But I try to amuse her. It's the least I can do for what she's done for the world as an icon. I like icons.

GM: Were you always starstruck as a kid?
KG: Always. I was always starstruck. Grew up loving Judy Garland, wanting to be Liza. Then, of course, met Liza at the River Rock.

GM: That's where you meet all the greats.
KG: They really do go there. That's what's kind of great about that place. And I'm always looking for the comedy in everything. There's so much happening right now between Paris Hilton and her powdery bubblegum that was in her purse... allegedly. Now, are you guys getting Jersey Shore?

GM: I hear it referenced but I have no idea.
KG: What does that mean? You don't know it's on or you don't watch it?

GM: I don't know if it's on but people talk about it.
KG: Yeah, well we'll probably be talking about The Jersey Shore. Of course, I will be making fun of any Canadian superstars I can think of, starting with Celine and working my way down.

GM: Alan Thicke.
KG: I just saw Alan Thicke so of course I'll be making fun of him. I saw him at the Bill Maher Hollywood Walk of Fame star-giving ceremony, or whatever you call it. Bill Maher had the oddest group of people. He had O.J. Simpson housemate Kato Kaelin, he had Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, he had Larry King, he had Alan Thicke and me. It was a really weird group of people. It's perfect for my act. It's a great, crazy mix of people.

GM: I saw you on Larry King recently. When was that?
KG: Well, I was on Larry King two nights ago as well, so I'm not sure which one you mean.

GM: Yes, that one, about the teen suicides.
KG: Yeah, the teen suicides. Very serious. But don't worry, the shows at River Rock will be offensive and inappropriate as always. It's not like I'm doing shows about teen suicide. I'm just doing my side work about that.

GM: Understood. Do you like having to delve into the serious?
KG: I feel compelled to; it's not like I like having to. It's just that when I'm doing interviews like this one I just have to be very, very clear. And my stand-up agents are always on me to say, "Make sure people know that you might go on TV and help these various causes but they shouldn't think they're going to a show where they're going to hear about these serious topics. Make sure that they know you're just going to be offending people and telling dick jokes as always." I believe that's my best way to help the community. And by that I mean the Canadian community.

GM: I saw the clip on an online queer magazine, and they wrote that Larry King had on all these gay guests, and they mentioned you. And I thought, "Kathy's not gay."
KG: I'm not gay, although people think I'm gay. So I like to call myself gay-adjacent or gay-friendly. But I do enjoy vaginal sex with a penis. I don't know how much clearer I can be about that.

GM: You're so popular with "the gays", as you call them.
KG: Right. Maybe straight guys think I'm a lesbian.

GM: You told me why you love them as a crowd. Why do they love you?
KG: You'd have to ask them. I don't know. But I've certainly got many, many positive twats on my Twitter from members of the gay community regarding the Larry King appearance and donations to the Trevor Project, etc., etc. You know, I kind of feel like we're there for each other.

GM: But you don't hold back when you're making fun of somebody, or, you know, calling Ryan Seacrest a 'she'.
KG: Right. I don't hold back calling Elizabeth Hasselbeck a moron, either. I don't hold back whether it's gay, straight, LGBT or otherwise.

GM: And so they just appreciate, like anyone else, your honesty.
KG: I hope so. I know I keep mentioning the live shows, but in particular that's really where I get to do that. Because on TV, you know – I just taped one of my latest specials – you have to edit certain things out or they bleep the swear words. But at the River Rock, nothing will be edited, nothing will be bleeped. Come with an open mind. And buy a t-shirt.

GM: What's the t-shirt?
KG: Oh, I have merchandise now. And I have t-shirts and I have maglets, which are like Snuggies but for people who drink, like my mother. They have pockets for a little individual box of wine. I have eco-bags because I'm going green. Who knew? People love eco-bags. I have pens that say "Holy fuck balls."

GM: So you say you were always starstruck. Can you remember your first brush with greatness?
KG: Um... I've had many brushes with greatness. I was in a movie that wasn't received well but it was called Shakes the Clown and it had a cameo with Robin Williams so I got to see him in the make-up room and see him in rehearsal. And that was really exciting to not just see a celebrity in a restaurant across the room but to actually see somebody work and the process. It was very exciting. And I remember it fondly because my dad was still alive and he and my mom visited me on the set and they brought folding chairs because they thought it was okay to just go to a set and just put up folding chairs and drink wine and watch everything. But Robin Williams kind of put on a little show for them and it was really sweet and I always will think of him fondly for that.

GM: Did you meet anyone or get autographs before you got into the business?
KG: I got some pictures but I wasn't that big into autographs. But I was looking through some old photos when I was writing my book, my New York Times number one bestseller, Kathy Griffin, Official Book Club Selection, now available in paperback, and I found some old pictures. I think I have a picture with Jack Lemmon, which is pretty phenomenal. Yeah, I was always starstruck and always trying to sneak into celebrity events or sneak onto sets or sneak onto the lot at Fox and stuff like that. I was a little rascal.

GM: You grew up in that area?
KG: No, I grew up in Oak Park, Illinois. But I was so enamored with Hollywood that once I moved to California I just thought I was going to get my own TV show within a week. And when I hear about young actresses and actors that have that experience, I want to punch them in the face. When I hear about actresses that say, "You know, I moved out to L.A. from Kansas and I didn't get my first job till I was here for a week," I want to then punch them in the face.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Podcast episode 205ish: Iliza Shlesinger

Listen as Iliza Shlesinger talks about developing under a watchful eye after winning NBC's Last Comic Standing in only her third year doing stand-up. Listen as she talks about what her alternate career would be. Listen as she tells us about her proud papa. Listen as she talks about her Canadian hockey-playing boyfriend. Listen as she discusses the alternative comedy scene. Listen. Right here or download at iTunes. You know the drill.

(If you happen to have heard it on radio a few weeks ago, you'll know I didn't have a lot of luck with equipment. But through the miracle of editing, all snafus have magically disappeared for the podcast.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Oct. 31: Matt Billon

It's Halloween so we've lined up the very spooky Matt Billon as our guest...

Actually, Matt's not all that spooky. Just a regular guy (if regular guys are hilarious). We're glad to have him, though. He's a BC boy who's hard to track down. He started his career, if I'm not mistaken, in Alberta. Then lived for years in Toronto. I've seen him more around town more recently but who knows where he calls home these days. I guess we'll find out tonight.

I first saw Matt when he was a baby comic at the Just For Laughs festival in Montréal and had a bit of a buzz surrounding his Homegrown Competition show. That was about seven years ago. Since then he's gone on to be one of the funniest dudes in the country. He just finished a 21-city, 21-show tour of BC with the legendary Mike Macdonald and headlines the Comedy Mix next week, Nov. 4-6. So tune in tonight and get to know the real Matt, then head down to the Mix next weekend to hear him do his thing.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Podcast episode 204ish: Leena Manro & Munish Sharma

We had a bit of a Bollywood bash a few weeks ago when Leena Manro and Munish Sharma dropped by to talk about their sketch troupe I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Chicken. I learned the correct pronunciation of New Delhi, what it's like growing up brown in Canada, and what a Shakespearean soliloquy sounds like with an Indian accent.

As always, listen here or download at iTunes. And thanks for the couple extra ratings we got. Still no reviews yet, though. That's okay, but if you have something to say – yay or nay – feel free to add it at iTunes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Podcast episode 203ish: Dan Quinn

When Dan Quinn first did the show, I double-booked. Myself, that is. I forgot I was going on holidays. But, trouper that he is, he did it anyway with a guest host. That was five years ago. I finally got the chance to talk to Dan a few weeks ago and it was worth the wait. He had stories and opinions. What more could you ask for? Have a listen. As always right here or download it at iTunes, where you'll remember to leave a rating and a review, right?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Podcast episode 202ish: Brian Anderson, Nathan Clark & Toby Berner

I had a fun time talking to improvisers extraordinaire Brian Anderson, Nathan Clark and Toby Berner a few weeks ago. We didn't talk much about improvising, though. They were in studio to plug Gutenberg! The Musical!, which Brian directed and Nathan and Toby starred in. But that's over and done with. If you missed it, too bad for you. It was loads of fun. But I do recall we talked about other matters, such as high school reunions, geeks, and... well, musicals and Johannes Gutenberg (no relation to Steve). If you missed the original airing, I think you'll enjoy the podcast. Check it out here or download it over at iTunes. (And hey, feel free to give us a rating or review while you're at it.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Oct. 24: Art Factora

It's cold and flu season and I've got a doozy of a cold. But fret not, dear listeners, I'll be there tonight hopped up on Dristan and cough medicine. The show must go on.

We've got a first-timer to the program tonight. Art Factora, owner of one of the best names in the biz, is no first-timer to radio, though. He's been working behind the scenes for years at various commercial stations. It's always a little intimidating when professional radio people are guests, but he seems like a nice enough guy. Art has been doing stand-up for about six years. I most recently saw him on an all-Asian bill (Factora is the son of Filipino immigrants) at Lafflines and was impressed. I don't know yet what we'll talk about but I do want him to explain to me why the Ph in Philippines becomes an F and the two P's become one in Filipino. I've never understood that. Yes, I could look it up but then I'd have to fill an extra minute on tonight's show. And we'll also discuss what Lady Gaga's naked midsection is like in person (that's Art on the left in the photo).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oct. 17: Matt Kirshen

During the recent Global ComedyFest I saw the boyish British comic Matt Kirshen for the first time. And second. And third. Probably five or six times in total. That's not unusual seeing someone at so many shows. What is unusual is seeing him do five or six different sets. Sure, there was some crossover, but in each set Kirshen did something new. As a comedy consumer, I appreciate that.

So I decided to talk with him. If he has that much to say on stage, I figured (correctly, as it turned out) he'd have lots to say off stage. Tonight you'll hear our conversation. We talked about British comedy, the subtle difference between American and British stand-up styles, comedy criticism in the UK, and unironic unintentional racist heckles. Plus lots more. So tune in tonight. You know the drill.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Episode 201ish: Will Davis

There's nothing I look forward to each year more than our annual visit from Global ComedyFest guru Will Davis. That's actually not true at all, but I still love having Will on. I've gotten along with Davis ever since I pointed out in print his propensity to utter a perfunctory "huh?" after almost every sentence back when he was a practicing comic. Since then he's hung up the mic and gone on to bigger and better things running the festival.

Whenever he's on, there are fireworks. I love calling him on the comedy decisions he makes and he loves belittling me. On this episode, which aired on the radio on Sept. 12, he also reveals his newly formed comedic equation. Get out your pencils and notebooks and have a listen:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Oct. 10: Iliza Shlesinger

A few weeks ago I had the chance to sit down and talk to Last Comic Standing champ (from two seasons ago) Iliza Shlesinger. Well, I was standing in a cramped office at Lafflines, but it felt like a sit-down interview. She was seated anyway. That's a photo I snapped of her and her travelling companion, Blanche. She was funny, quick and opinionated (Iliza, not Blanche). What more could you want from a guest? That chat will get its world premiere tonight at 11 p.m. PST. (I figure if I use a high-falutin' phrase like 'world premiere' it might get a few more listeners.) I'll also play a clip or two from Iliza's stand-up act. That's my Thanksgiving Day present to you (if you're Canadian; if you're from somewhere else, that's my Oct. 10 present to you). If you're in Vancouver, tune in to CFRO, 102.7 FM. If you're not, listen to the online stream at

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Episode 200ish: Shauna Johannesen

Two hundred podcast episodes already? Could it be? It sure could. And is. And that's being conservative because, frankly, after all these years (six and counting) who can count? We've certainly done more shows on the radio side that, for whatever reason, have been lost forever. This isn't one of them.

Actor/playwright Shauna Johannesen visited the studio recently to plug her upcoming Fringe show, Deadley: A Ridiculous Medley of Scenes About Death. Well, that's over with but you can still enjoy the banter and get to know Shauna and all her neuroses and poor spelling. Warning: Things get philosophical.

Go download the podcast over at iTunes or listen right here on your computing machine.