Beginnings

On today's show we talk to New York-based writer and performer Elna Baker. Raised internationally, Elna moved to New York to study performance at NYU and soon became enmeshed in the stand-up and improv scene. Since then, she's co-founded the variety show The Talent Show and become a sought-after storyteller, contributing to places like This American Life. Her first book, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance, which chronicles her dating life as a Mormon in New York City, was published in 2009.

A few weeks ago, Elna came over to the Wrestling Team apartment to discuss her painful childhood shyness, faith and creativity, and her father's meat-cleaver wielding attacker.

Subscribe on iTunes and see us live at UCB East on Jan. 8th at 8pm with artist Molly Crabapple (Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School) and more or at the NYC Podfest with Halley Feiffer (The Squid and the Whale, Bored to Death), Julieanne Smolinski (Rolling Stone's 25 Funniest People on Twitter) and musical guest Mike Pace (Oxford Collapse, Worst Gig Ever podcast)!

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Elna_Baker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:33am EST

On today's show we talk to writer and performer Peter Grosz. Based in New York, Pete got his start in sketch and improv in Chicago with Second City and later in Amsterdam with Boom Chicago. Since then, he's written for Dave "Gruber" Allen and David Koechner's Naked Trucker show, wrote for The Colbert Report and most recently played reporter Sidney Purcell on HBO's Veep.

A few weeks ago, Pete stopped by the Wrestling Team apartment to talk with us about ripping off Stephen Wright, following your own path in comedy and the continual search for your voice. It's a hot one folks with an amazingly smart and funny guy, so blast those ear buds!

Subscribe on iTunes and see us live at UCB East on Jan. 8th at 8pm or at the NYC Podfest with Halley Feiffer (The Squid and the Whale, Bored to Death), Julieanne Smolinski (Rolling Stone's 25 Funniest People on Twitter) and musical guest Mike Pace (Oxford Collapse, Worst Gig Ever podcast)!

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Peter_Grosz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:04pm EST

Holy heck. This may be one of our favorite episodes ever. Mystery Science Theater 3000's Frank Conniff, author of the NYT bestseller How to Be Black Baratunde Thurston and hip-hop superstar Jean Grae joined us on a funseasonably warm December night at UCB East for a completely amazing live show where we talked about being forced into creative activities by our parents, berating people during phone sex and a Minneapolis Arby's that's afraid of a homeless man. CHECK THIS OUT!

Subscribe in iTunes, and follow Andy on Twitter @WrestlingTeam!

Direct download: begin12-4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am EST

On today's show we talk to Yael Kohen, a contributing editor to Marie Claire and author of the book We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy. Starting with Phyllis Diller, Elaine May and Joan Rivers, We Killed goes back through the last 60 years of comedy history and restores the forgotten and minimized stories of women in comedy.

A few weeks ago, Yael came over to the Manhattan Wrestling Team apartment to discuss her book, as well as some larger questions dealing with gender and comedy. Also, marvel at Mark and Andy's pure male privilege-induced stupidity!

Subscribe in iTunes, and follow Andy on Twitter @WrestlingTeam!

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Yael_Kohen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:54pm EST

Yow! We got a hot one for you this week. Due to a scheduling snafu, our monthly live episode at UCB East had to be pre-empted, so instead, we decided to put on one in Andy’s apartment with some of our favorite people: Ethan Berlin, co-creator of Bunk and writer on Billy on the Street and the new Best Week Ever, as well as neo-folk group Prairie Empire, who played two amazing tunes, and has a record out on Trailer Fire Records. It was a super fun time, and we even debut a BRAND NEW SEGMENT: From the Drawer!

Subscribe on iTunes and come see Beginnings: Live at UCB East on 12/4 at 8pm. Featuring MST3K’s Frank Conniff, author of How to Be Black Baratunde Thurston and and hip-hop superstar Jean Grae!

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Live_with_Ethan_and_P_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:31pm EST

On today's show, we talk to LA-based comedian Jerrod Carmichael. Jerrod started stand-up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina when he was 20, and through a great deal of hard-work has quickly become a notable stand-up, landing on Variety's Top 10 Comics to Watch list in 2011. While continuing to perform at places like Meltdown and the Laugh Factory, he's also branched out into TV, having contributed to Odd Future's Adult Swim show and landing a supporting role on the Fox sitcom The Goodwin Games.

Last week, at the tail-end of the New York Comedy Festival, Jerrod stopped by the Manhattan Wrestling Team apartment for a late-night Beginnings episode; we talked about being conscious and present in the moment, cats, car services, and Jerrod gives us one of the best answers ever for Dream Project!

Subscribe on iTunes and come see Beginnings: Live at UCB East on 12/4 at 8pm. Featuring MST3K’s Frank Conniff, author of How to Be Black Baratunde Thurston and and hip-hop superstar Jean Grae!

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Jerrod_Carmichael.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:09am EST

On today's show we talk to Jessie Stein of the Montreal-based multi-instrumental indie rock band The Luyas. Previously in the band SS Cardiacs, Jessie began playing music as a teenager, and formed the Luyas in 2006 with a number of other Canadian musicians. Since then, the band has released three albums, Faker Death, Too Beautiful to Work and their latest Animator, which was just released in October.

A few weeks ago, The Luyas were in town in the direct aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. After they performed at the Cake Shop, we met for a quick interview nearby in a Lower East Side coffeeshop and talked about Jessie's Wes Anderson-y past and inspiration-based vs. workmanlike creativity.

Subscribe on iTunes and come see Beginnings: Live at UCB East on 12/4 at 8pm. Featuring MST3K's Frank Conniff, author of How to Be Black Baratunde Thurston and and hip-hop superstar Jean Grae!

Direct download: Beginnings_The_Luyas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:37am EST

On today's show, we talk to writer Sam Lipsyte. Based in New York City, Sam has written for numerous publications including The New Yorker, Open City, The New York Times Book Review, Esquire and The Paris Review. In 2000, a book of Sam's short stories was published, and since then, he has released three novels - The Subject Steve, Home Land, and The Ask. In 2008, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and Sam's latest novel, The Fun Parts, will be released by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on March 13th of next year.

Last week during a snap blizzard, Sam was nice enough to trek over from Columbia to the Manhattan Wrestling Team apartment for an amazing conversation in which he tells us about the delayed gratification of writing and how to recognize when you are bullshitting yourself.

Subscribe on iTunes and come see Beginnings: Live at UCB East on 12/4 at 8pm. Featuring MST3K's Frank Conniff and hip-hop superstar Jean Grae (plus more!)!

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Sam_Lipsyte.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:17am EST

On today's episode we talk to Gavin Spieller and Geoff Garlock about the concept of game and the way the Upright Citizens Brigade school teaches it. Two of the best improv and sketch teachers at the UCB, Geoff wrote for years on the house sketch teams iBadger, The Skuntz and Slow Burn, and Gavin has been a long-standing member of the improv team Death by Roo Roo, which performs at the theatre every Saturday night.

Subscribe on iTunes and come see Beginnings: Live on December 4th at UCB East!

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Game.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00pm EST

On today's show, we talk to Greg Barris. Greg is a stand-up, musician and artist based in New York City. For the last eleven years, Greg has been performing and for the last two, he has helmed a bicoastal comedy event called Heart of Darkness, a communal show featuring music, stand-up and more. Recently, he released his first comedy album Shame Wave on AST Records. A few weeks ago, Greg came over to the Manhattan Wrestling Team apartment for an amazing talk about consensual creepiness, experimenting with your life, and transitional periods. This is one for the ages, friends!

Subscribe on iTunes and follow Andy on Twitter!

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Greg_Barris.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:53am EST