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Monday, October 29, 2012

Podcast episode 295ish: Gerald Gerald Geraldson

Just in time for Halloween, we've got the Gerald Gerald Geraldson episode ready to go for you. Geraldson was in fine form on the evening, creepier than usual. Not thrilled to be there, but he eventually warmed up a bit. In his own sweet way, that is. What comedy podcast is complete without talk of rolling women up in carpets, eating human flesh, and lifting weights with severed heads? Don't be alarmed, it's the horror comic, ladies and germs, boys and ghouls! The show he plugs has come and gone but there's plenty more there for you to sink your teeth into.

 Have at 'er. Listen here or download at iTunes or your favourite podcast depository.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Oct. 28: Myq Kaplan

If you dig far enough back in this blog, you'll find a weekly overview of NBC's Last Comic Standing, where I unleashed my snark. Sitting in the comfort of my living room, talking about comedians a world away, to my teensy reading audience, I figured it would go unnoticed by anyone directly involved.

I was wrong. Turns out the worldwide web is available to anyone.

Last week I visited Myq Kaplan's hotel room while he was in town performing at the Comedy MIX. I'd never met the guy before, or even seen him live. I knew he was in that season of Last Comic Standing, and had seen him on various late night talk shows, but that's about it. I think you can see where this is headed.

Turns out Myq read those blog entries that year. When he told me, I had completely forgotten what I had written. Was it good or bad? I had no idea! Tune in to What's So Funny? tonight at 11 pm PDT to find out. Listen as I squirm in anticipation as he quotes from it. Good times!

But that's not all we talked about. There was talk about his own new podcast, Hang Out With Me, on the CoolSuperCool network. He made a passionate case for free speech vis a vis the Daniel Tosh brouhaha. He shared his experience facing Marc Maron on WTF. And he mustered up the energy to talk about his veganism.

Plus lots more as it ran 1 hour 21 minutes. So tune in to 100.5 FM in Vancouver tonight at 11pm or livestream the show at If you're new to the show, it'll be available as a podcast on iTunes and elsewhere next Sunday. That's how we roll.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oct. 21: Gerald Gerald Geraldson

The nights are getting longer. The days are getting cooler. Halloween is right around the corner, hiding, ready to scare the bejeebers out of you. So who else do we get on our show tonight but the spine-chilling Gerald Gerald Geraldson. Next Saturday (Oct. 27), the horror comic is putting on a show at the Havana: Night of the Laughing Dead. It's billed as a "frightfully funny night of over-the-top GORE-LARIOUS comedy that will horrify you while making you DIE LAUGHING!" His chainsaw will even make an appearance. Hopefully he leaves it at home tonight, though. The guy kinda gives me the creeps. Maybe I'll put him in the studio while I sit in the control room with the door locked.

That's tonight from 11 pm to the witching hour on CFRO, 100.5 FM. Or livestream us at

Podcast episode 294ish: Lynn Shawcroft

It's podcast drop day! It's podcast drop day! And if you're a reader (and you should be), you may have been tipped to this week's episode with Lynn Shawcroft. Sure, if you listened on radio or livestream last week, you've heard it already, but let's not spoil it for those who prefer to do their listening via their iPod devices.

New Jersey-based comedy writer Dylan P. Gadino alerted the world that Shawcroft spoke for the first time about the drug use of herslf and her late husband, Mitch Hedberg. It was a heart-wrenching, but ultimately beautiful, conversation about the situation. The transcrip provided was pretty much verbatim. Shawcroft was stopping and starting, going off here and there. It's such a big and difficult subject for someone directly involved that's it's completely understandable. Still, it makes it a tad challenging to follow. At least on the page. Our ears are more attuned to hearing scattered conversation than our eyes are reading it. So below the audio link, I've provided a clean-up version of the same chunk of dialogue that conveys the exact same message.

Don't get the wrong impression, though. This was but a ten-minute chunk in an hour-long chat. We also talked about Lynn's Canadianness, her getting a deal at Just For Laughs early in her stand-up career, and lots less salacious stuff about Hedberg. The conversation was recorded in the roving What's So Funny? studios, aka my car. I should do more there if the results open people up to such riveting conversation.

Gadino also called What's So Funny? the "best kept comedy podcast secret". So put that in your pipe and smoke it. Sure, it's also code for nobody listens to it, but it's phrased so much nicer.

Have a listen to the full episode below or download it onto your respective devices the way you usually do such things. If you don't know how, ask a child. They'll most likely direct you to iTunes. We're there. And leave a rating and/or comment there while you're at it. I'd love to hear from you.

WSF?: He got all this money and that had to be a double-edged sword. He was able to do some things…
Lynn Shawcroft: (laughs) Yes.
WSF?: And then also party too much.
LS: Well, here's the thing. The deal wasn't the double-edged sword. Well, it was a little bit. But, you know, compared to the money we made later on - we were making great money on the road because we were working so much. You can afford to indulge in more expensive hotels - and he wasn't a material person - first class flights, and, you know, drugs and fun and living your life.
WSF?: Yeah. Well, the drugs…
LS: (laughs) 
WSF?: That's what I was getting at. I'm not drug savvy, but even I know heroin's probably not such a good thing.
LS: Well, any opiate isn't because you have to end up taking something every day. I think the word 'heroin' is equal to 'we all know it's bad.' The people who've told you heroin is bad have done a good job. But any sort of opiate drug is. It's something you have to have every day after a while. Mentally you don't want it, but physically, you know… 
WSF?: People knew of his problems. I read there was an intervention.
LS: No. It wasn't really like that. Um… I don't know. It wasn't really like that. Mitch wasn't a person you could really do an intervention with because he was like, “I'm doing better than anyone.” Like, he was doing really well but… 
WSF?: He was coping.
LS: Here it is: Mitch would take things like an intervention as being negative. And he didn't like negativity. I'd be like, “Mitch, we're falling apart. We can't do this anymore. We're on the road, we're not healthy.” Endless, you know what I mean? It wasn't doing either of us any favours. And I think his thing was, “We gotta keep rolling, we gotta keep working,” instead of taking a break. It was more like “keep rolling.” And it destroyed us, you know? It ruined everything. But I'm putting it on him but also I was driven to be a little bit like, “Don't let anyone know; we're going to be okay.” It was a lot of mistakes along the way. But neither of us were like, “We're doing the greatest thing. We're cool.” None of that. We knew we were going down a hole. But we couldn't get off the… everything, yeah. A lot of things. I'll have to write about it. Is that making any sense? 
WSF?: Kind of. I mean, I can see getting caught up in it and you're still able to make your gigs and put on a show.
LS: Exactly. What makes it even harder is having to fly all the time. It's so many of these things put together instead of us just going, “Look, we fucked up, let's get off the road and fix this.” It was just a constant never-ending thing. 
WSF?: That would be hard to just get off the road and stop, right?
LS: Well, yeah, you could. People do it all the time. People are like, “I need six months off; let's cancel my gigs.” I think it was so much work. Like, “What if we cancel a gig and then we're in trouble?” It just was this never-ending thing. But you know, it was us and him and me. People were concerned, like his manager and family. Mitch was very much his own person. We're responsible for ourselves. 
WSF?: But also just being caught up in it.
LS: Yeah, and working really hard. 
WSF?: And also if you are a little bit sensitive…
LS: Of course I am! 
WSF?: No, not you. I mean him.
LS: Oh. Oh, oh, yes, both. 
WSF?: But you, too.
LS: It's my life, too. 
WSF?: And stop me if I'm going too far.
LS: No. 
WSF?: If somebody were to bring that up in an intervention, I could see how it would be perceived like an insult. Maybe it's part embarrassment.
LS: Yeah, but he was also probably protecting me. Remember I said earlier I was so concerned? I'm with this great person and I don't want to… It's hard to talk about it. It's emotional. Me so concerned about him and his talent. We were making tons of money, working hard. I didn't want anything to bring it down and then it become this self-fulfilling prophesy. And him pushing me. We both did the same thing. We both did drugs and we both fucked up. It's hard. 
WSF?: And you weren't alone in that.
LS: No, on the planet, no! But I probably felt more ashamed and scared. And I don't think he was as much so I think he protected me. It was like you're in this bubble where you're together. But that wasn't our whole life. We did so many millions of things: we camped, we worked, we built a home, we wrote, we created things. But we were fucked up. We could have stepped back. Easily. We had enough money. It was before the internet and he was like, “We've worked so hard. What if we get off and it stops going?” You know, he spent his whole life to get gigs and then he was like, “Now I have them, I can't…” 
WSF?: He felt he had to keep the momentum going.
LS: Which is so crazy. I mean, God. 
WSF?: Crazy youth.
LS: Yeah, but… (sigh). Yeah. Something was going to happen and it did. 
WSF?: Did I step over any…?
LS: No, no, no. No, obviously I've never really talked much. I haven't talked about it much. I'm going to write a book about it so I don't want to talk too much. But you know that's a mindset that was going on. It was never a “fuck you, fuck you, people!” It's, you know, so many things that you can look back on. 
WSF?: And I don't know if it's a function of the media or the internet…
LS: The internet doesn't really know anything, I don't think. 
WSF?: When something like heavy drug use is out there, that's all you tend to think: well, that's what that person is. And as you say, “No, we do all these other things.” You're complete individuals.
LS: That's what I was saying. I remember when I was 14 or 15 and I had a Blondie poster on my wall. My sister's a bit older. She goes, “Oh, my God. Look how fucking high they are.” I go, “What?!” She goes, “Yeah, look at their eyes. They're on dope.” And I remember being mortified, taking down the poster, and being like, “Oh my God.” And then later you realize, oh no, they're multi-dimensional people. But yeah, that's why I haven't really talked about the drugs very much at all because I want people to understand… Mitch has gained so many fans over the years after he died purely on his material. I haven't really talked too much about it. There isn't a lot out there. I want people to get their own thing. People love him. And I will talk about it more. This is the most I've ever talked about it. 
WSF?: I felt like it was, in stuff that I've read…
LS: People don't know anything. 
WSF?: … that it was sort of the elephant in the room that nobody would bring up and I wasn't sure if I should.
LS: Yeah, people brought it up but also at the time we were partying with tons of people, too, and did tons of things. But yeah, I haven't really talked about it a lot. Because when I'm talking about Mitch's life at that point, I'm talking about my own. So it's hard what you're ready for. It may take some time. I'll write about it for sure. 
WSF?: It'll be cathartic, I bet.
LS: Oh, a hundred percent. Of course, of course. Think about how much guilt and regret and love combined with so many things. Yeah. It's hard being the one who survives and losing someone wonderful. You know what blew my mind is I remember Mitch dying, and I'm like, “Oh my God, I can never talk about him again. What's going to happen? It's always going to be that drug thing.” And I haven't talked about it for years. I've written a few things and I get contacted all the time by people that are so beyond it, that when I do talk about it it's going to be about like how it really was. And how it doesn't define who you are. I used to think that if you did heroin, you were on the ground, like dead. But not talking about it all the time was something that I chose to do because I want his art to speak for itself. And it does. 
WSF?: It totally does.
LS: But I will, yeah, I'm talking about it now but I'll definitely write a bit more about it and really explain it. 
WSF?: It's always the undercurrent. People know about it already. So it doesn't tarnish his art.
L: Oh my God, yes. Mitch's mom passed away last year. She probably emailed so many fans of Mitch's. They emailed her. Right now, I bet if Mitch was here he'd be like, “Mom!” But it was cathartic for her to talk to his fans. They just spoke to her about what they loved about him because of  his material and despite the drugs and all. So yeah. But I might be done on this… I'm good. 
WSF?: It's a cautionary tale.
LS: Oh, of course. 
WSF?: So even bringing it out there could help.
LS: Um, but… Um… No. I think in itself it is. People know. 
WSF?: Right, just in itself. You don't want to hit people over the head.
LS: I don't want to be like, “Write an essay. Kids, don't…” Because it's its own thing.
WSF?: That's the worst. That doesn't help.
LS: And I would never do that. And you know what? If Mitch was here, he'd be like, “Do what you wanna do in life. But also learn." He would hate it if I was walking around telling people not to take drugs.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Podcast episode 293ish: Tim Rykert

Tim Rykert came out of semi-retirement last week to join us in studio. The beach bum long-boarded his way to us and we talked about playing to drunks on cruise ships, and fainting in heart-throb Michael Bublé's arms. Never short on opinions, he also made a case for getting rid of government funding of the arts and opined on comedy competitions. There's lots more, too, so give it a listen.

Click below to stream the episode, or go download it at iTunes or wherever fine podcasts are dispensed. I just saw we got a new comment on iTunes. Glad to see it. Hope to see even more in the future.

Oct. 14: Lynn Shawcroft

Lynn Shawcroft was in town last week for Thanksgiving. Maybe you didn't know she's Canadian. Well, now you know. Maybe you don't know who she is. Well, tonight you will. Here are the basic facts: she's an Ontario-born comedian who was married to the late, great Mitch Hedberg for the last six years of his life. Last Tuesday night, we sat in the mobile What's So Funny? studios (my car) down at English Bay and talked about her career and Mitch. She opened up about Hedberg more than she ever has publicly before, she told me. While you wait for the show to air (tonight at 11 pm PDT on 100.5 FM or livestream at, why not visit the website she started to help keep the Hedberg name alive. There's lots of great stuff there, including video, audio, writings and photos.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Podcast shout-outs

Man, the comedy podcast world is thriving. The only downside is that there are so many great ones to choose from, life gets in the way of listening to most of them. If you're wondering where to begin (after going through the What's So Funny? archives first, of course!), here are some recommendations with a local angle:

WTF with Marc Maron
Episode 314 (released on Sept. 13): Vancouver's own Kliph Nesteroff is the guest. The former comic is a big deal now. His in-depth articles on WFMU's blog, and his own site, are a portal into the early stand-up comedy, from the 1940s through to the 1970s, give or take. The depth of his research is impressive and the 32-year-old, who never watched these legends in real time, can teach even oldsters like me and Maron a thing or two about comics we grew up watching – guys like Jack Carter and Milton Berle. Kliph (who's been on What's So Funny? half a dozen times) killed it on the much more popular WTF. While he's hugely respected among certain old-timers and show business history buffs, his appearance with Maron will no doubt get his name and work out to many more. I understand he recently signed a big book deal with a major US publisher.

Who Charted? with Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack
Episode 95 (released on Sept. 26): Vancouver gets a big shout-out from guest Zach Galifianakis. Zach has spent a good chunk of time in our fair city over the years. He's even got in-laws here. Hell, he got married here this past August. He used to be a regular in the local comedy rooms while filming whatever horrible TV show he was starring in at the time. He was such a regular – and still under the radar – that a big-wig like JP Buck, who's now the comedy booker on Conan, thought Zach was a local Vancouverite. But everyone knows the guy now, thanks to Hollywood. And he hasn't forgotten about us. Not only does he laud the local comedy scene in this episode of Who Charted?, he singles out Graham Clark as a comedian more people should know about. So listen for that. If you're unfamiliar with Who Charted?, give it a try. It's one of my favourites. Kremer is spaced out and hilarious while Vilaysack keeps things on track and supplies the most awesome laugh in podcasts. The show is centred around, you guessed it, charts. They play snippets of top 5 songs, movies, you name it. Anything with a list. They're jumping off points for discussion and laughs. Fun times.

Stop Podcasting Yourself with Graham Clark and Dave Shumka
Speaking of Graham Clark, he and Dave Shumka co-host the best podcast in Canada (according to the Canadian Comedy Awards last August). They get all manner of funny people as guests, from locals to international, and they have amassed a following all over the world. There isn't one particular episode to highlight here, although episode 55 is probably the best one they've ever done.

Doug Loves Movies with Doug Benson
The local angle here is that this hilariously silly live podcast, which is a film-based comedy game show, is recording here in Vancouver at the Comedy MIX on Saturday, November 17. Tickets on sale now for a mere $20 (+ HST). It won't be a surprise to you that the start time for this show hosted by the star of Super High Me is 4:20 pm. Doors open at 3:15. Last time he was here he sold out, so put down your bong and get on this.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oct. 7: Tim Rykert

Tonight on What's So Funny? we're thankful for Tim Rykert, who either had no Thanksgiving dinner to go to or left one early to be with us. He lives on the island now and is here for work so maybe he's going turkey-less. Tim is a guy with strong opinions and I love hearing them, whether we agree or not. Tonight we'll talk about Canadian TV, cruise ship gigs, comedy competitions and, of course, find out about his gig writing for Michael Bublé's, uh, Canadian TV special.

When you wake up from your post-meal tryptophan nap, you can loosen your belt and tune in to 100.5 FM here in Vancouver at 11 pm, or livestream the show at

Podcast episode 292ish: Iliza Shlesinger

Iliza Shlesinger isn't a relationship expert, but she plays one on TV. Well, sort of. She's the host of the dating show Excused where she dishes out her special brand of snark to potential suitors (or wannabe actors pretending to be suitors). We talked about the show, being hit on by contestants, peeping-toms, what she wants and expects from a guy, and whether she'll always been known for being a winner on NBC's Last Comic Standing.

Have a listen right here or go download the podcast episode at iTunes or your favourite podcast depository to play it on the go.