Beginnings

As a stand-up, improviser and sketch writer, comedian Nick Vatterott is a triple threat. And a triple treat! His stand-up has been featured on Jimmy Fallon and in the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival. He’s understudied for Second City, and his sketch group HEAVYWEIGHT (including Cloverfield’s TJ Miller) has performed all around the country. Nick’s also performed his one man show No Outlet at the iO Theater, the Chicago Sketchfest and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. A few weeks ago, Nick came over to the Wrestling Team apartment to discuss acting out in class, Jesuits, “Crimson and Clover”, missing milk jugs, pillows as mnemonic devices, boat tours, Sliding Doors, getting out of Chicago, and all-you-can-eat sushi. Plus, we debut our new segment “Creative Rituals”!

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Nick_Vatterott.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:54pm EST

Welcome everyone to the first episode of a new era for Beginnings! This episode’s guest is Pete Holmes. Pete’s a stand-up who has been featured on Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, John Oliver's New York Stand Up Show and his own Comedy Central Presents special. With stand-up Matt McCarthy (episode 12) and Daily Show field producer Oren Brimer, he started Front Page Films, which makes very funny web videos. Pete also is a voice actor on many things including the great cartoon Ugly Americans. He also wrote for NBC’s Outsourced last television season! At the end of June, Pete was in New York for a few days, and we caught up with him at Big Terrific, one of the best stand-up shows in Brooklyn, and recorded an episode with him outside the venue on a bench. We talked about programming with BASIC, summer camp, writing parodies, Mancow, breast milk, offensive comedians, asking for what you need, religious upbringings and the line between being a creepy douche and a guy you’d like to help.

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Pete_Holmes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:20pm EST

Dan McCoy has been writing and performing stand-up, sketch and improv in New York for over a decade. His webseries 9am Meeting, co-written with Matt Koff, placed 1st seven times at Channel 101 NY. The series joined the Writer's Guild of America, East as one of the very first new media signatories and was also awarded a development deal with MTV at the New York Television and Video Festival. Dan also co-hosts a fantastically funny bad movie podcast called The Flophouse. The bad movie conceit is used by the hosts to riff, make jokes and pitch fake films. He also is one of the newest writers on The Daily Show. Not too shabby a resume. A few weeks ago, Dan joined us in the Wrestling Team apartment to discuss working a terrible job in a closet, the existential state of homeless people, giving Lisa Loeb a cheese plate, how not to use the phrase "devil's advocate", being hired on The Daily Show, performing for Felicia Day, President Taft and not being the funny guy at work. Also, we debut our new segment, "Paying Your Dues"!

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Dan_McCoy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:06pm EST

Continuing our pattern of interviewing funny and nice comedians, this episode we talk to Matt Fisher, a hilarious and gracious improviser, actor and writer. His improv team The Law Firm is a house team that performs every week at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York. Matt has also written for ESPN's The Pretty Good Sports Show, and with his former sketch group Sidecar, has produced stage shows and videos, garnering the People’s Choice Award at 2010's New York Television Festival for their pilot Illuminati Brothers. Matt is also an actor and can be seen regularly on 30 Rock as one of the voiceless writers. A few weeks ago, Matt sat down with us in the Wrestling Team apartment to discuss Penn and Teller, almost succeeding, terrible temp jobs, Chopped, having a family, penny candy, Goodnight Moon, Mountain Dew, and the moral failings of being wrong. Plus, the debut of our new segment: "What's your favorite thing that's you've created?"!

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Matt_Fisher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:34pm EST

For our first foray outside the world of comedy, we talked to Ben Katchor, the super-thoughtful, world-weary cartoonist, author of such comics as Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer. Running in publications like The New Yorker and The Village Voice, among many others, his comics have also been collected in books including The Jew of New York and his latest, The Cardboard Valise, and in 2000, he won the MacArthur Genius Award for his work. Ben's work is both surreal and grounded - odd worlds, odd people and often tragicomic narratives exist in a fully-realized universe, one that resembles our own but is just slightly off. Ben also teaches at Parsons, and in May, we sat down in his office to discuss Google's shoddy lecture series, subsidized art, art and business, art as a craft, the weekly deadline, editors and audiences and in-jokes as the ultimate comedy.

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Ben_Katchor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:18pm EST

Opus Moreschi is a tall, pale son of Italy and an improviser, formerly a house performer at Improv Olympic West and currently at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York. He’s also written for shows such as Lil’ Bush and The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. Opus is an inspiring figure, for his talent, of course, but especially for his determination. When it was announced that Stephen Colbert was getting his own show, Opus knew he immediately wanted to write for him. Five writing packets and a number of near misses later, he was hired on as a writer at The Colbert Report, where he currently spends his days on what is easily one of the best shows on TV. A few weeks ago Opus sat down with us at The Wrestling Team apartment to discuss divorce, improv, pyramid schemes, over-achieving at temp jobs, Edward G. Robinson impersonations, production by Andy Dick, writing political material and The Comedy Awards. We also debut a BRAND NEW comedy term that is sure to set the jargon community on fire!

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Opus_Moreschi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:04pm EST

Kevin Allison is the funny and kind founder of the Risk! podcast and member of the sketch group The State, who tore through comedy in the mid-90s, becoming a seminal humor moment for many teenagers of the day. When The State ended, Kevin was unsure of his direction, and spent a number of years pursuing different paths. Some problematic performing experiences eventually led him into dropping his fictional facade on stage, and he began true storytelling, starting The Risk! podcast and live show. Unlike a lot of other storytelling shows, Risk! encourages real, un-coached tales - some polished, some raw, some funny, others heart-wrenching. Kevin recently began building the show into a true business, and late in April, he sat down to talk with us about that, as well as being "special", colluding with your therapist, Grinder, being yourself on stage, childhood, the power of an 11-member sketch group, the future of podcasting and pitching Party Down.

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Kevin_Allison.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:23am EST

Mike Lawrence is a good example of what to do if you are serious about having a career in comedy and in working on your craft. Dedicated, thoughtful, opinionated and above all funny, he has spent the last five and half years, first in Florida, and then here in New York, going up night after night and working his material. Mike puts the responsibility for comedy solely in the hands of the performer, and it is that person's job to make the audience laugh. There is no other excuse. And this approach has led him to a spot on the New Faces showcase at the 2010 Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival as well as one on John Oliver's New York Stand-up Show this year. Earlier this month, Mike sat down with us to discuss Stan Lee, wrestling metaphors, the job of the comedian, class warfare and comedy, improv in New York and the attendant social scene, scams and flams, and soul children.

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Mike_Lawrence.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:01am EST

Eddie Brill is an incredibly friendly and thoughtful guy, in addition to being a beloved veteran of the stand-up stage in America and abroad. We met Eddie briefly at this year's ECNY awards, and even with the frenzied pace of the red carpet he managed to draw us in and make us feel like old pals having a liesurely conversation. For the last thirteen years, Eddie has been the warm-up comedian and talent coordinator, as well as a frequent guest on The Late Show with David Letterman. In 2008, he received the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from ECNY. He founded the Emerson Comedy Workshop at Emerson College, and he booked the legendary Paper Moon comedy club in New York City. Earlier this month, Eddie welcomed us into his home to discuss booking comics, vulnerability and truth, collaborative environments, parental expectations, religion, Black Sabbath and giraffe comedians.

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Eddie_Brill.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:45am EST

Listing all of Greg Proops' credits would be a Herculean task. As the closest Wrestling Team gets to a Greek demigod is Stinkor from He-Man, we shall just list a few: Greg is one of the stars of the British and American Whose Line Is It Anyway?, he's an incredible stand-up with an album on AST Records, and he hosts of his own podcast The Smartest Man in the World, where he speaks extemporaneously and jocularly on any subject put before him. In mid-March, Greg was nice enough to sit down with us in-between sets at Carolines, which is located around Times Square across from that highly-regarded haute cuisine slophouse Mars 2112. Sitting in Greg's dressing room with Greg, host Dan Soder and stand-ups Pete Holmes and Bill Santiago, we discussed dealing with audiences, Marxism, finding the right medium for an idea, Bill Hicks, the TSA and authority, Donald Rumsfeld and a crow named Dostoevsky.

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Greg_Proops.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:28am EST