Mike Sacks is a humor writer and part of the editorial staff of Vanity Fair. He got his start writing for Cracked and Mad Magazine, and since then has written for everyone from GQ to Esquire to The New Yorker, many of those pieces being collected in his book Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason. He co-wrote the book Sex: Our Bodies, Our Junk, and his first book, And Here’s the Kicker is an anthology of his interviews with famous humorists from Paul Feig to Bob Odenkirk. A few weeks ago, Mike sat down with as at an acting studio in Midtown to school us in writing and discuss headshots, Chris Elliott, working in a record store, funny dentists, getting blowjobs in heaven, Blue Jam, the eternal anxiety of the humor writer, XOXOs and jumpin’ electrons.

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Mike_Sacks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:40am EST

Last week on Beginnings we talked to stand-up and Letterman writer Jena Friedman about the creative spark found within the scary children's game Bloody Mary. This week on Beginnings: Field Guide, we have an in-depth discussion on serial killers, as we talk with Jena about her webseries Ted and Gracie, which you can see on our website and at And hey, why not drop us a line at Tell us your favorite smell!

Direct download: Beginnings_Field_Guide_-_Jena_Friedman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:39am EST

Jena Friedman is a comedian and actor based in New York City. As a stand-up, she has performed all around the world, including at The Glasgow International Comedy Festival and SXSW. She was the female lead in the independent film American Florence, and her play The Refugee Girls Revue: A Musical Parody had a successful run off-Broadway. Also, in July, she became one of the newest writers on the Late Show with David Letterman. A few weeks ago, Jena came over to the Wrestling team apartment and chatted with us about stabbing fantasies, saving earthworms, Catholic ninjas, Willy Wonka’s freakout, delivering innovative solutions that endure, pizza cancer, Final Draft firing and Italian vanity projects.

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Jena_Friedman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:10am EST

Last week on Beginnings we talked to UCB founder Matt Besser about how punk rock and Andy Kaufman helped influence his love of pranks and playing with reality. This week on Beginnings Field Guide, we have an in-depth discussion about teaching, as we discuss his recent web series Inside the Master Class, which you can see in its entirety on!

Direct download: Beginnings_Field_Guide_-_Matt_Besser.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:08am EST

Matt Besser is one of the founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade, whose sketch show, along with other programs like Mr. Show, helped define comedy in the 1990s. Since then, the UCB have founded two schools in NY and LA, which are renowned as the training grounds for the next generation of comedians. Since the end of the UCB show, Matt has worked on a number of projects including creating the Comedy Central show Crossballs and writing and directing the forthcoming film Freak Dance, based on a stage show at UCBLA. Matt also hosts a podcast competition show on The Earwolf Network. In mid-August, Matt sat down with us at the UCB Training Center in New York while he was in town for the Del Close Marathon and discussed playing with sticks instead of Legos, "Nazi Punks Fuck Off", accidentally Bobcat, misunderstanding Blue Laws, art pranks, Andy Kaufman, shit dollars, Joey Skaggs, and Andy showing actual emotions. Plus we debut our new segment "The Fun in Failure"!

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Matt_Besser.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:27pm EST