Rachel Dratch Thanksgiving

Old friend (and Thanksgiving bestie) Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live) joins us for this very special 14th Anniversary episode! Rachel shares holiday memories; how she’s navigated her career; and reveals who she always associates with Abba’s “Dancing Queen;” the opportunities she’s had and the ones she’s fought for; how she’s drawn to more comedic roles than dramatic ones; how she’s made peace with the uncertainties of an acting career; the creation (with Paula Pell) of Debbie Downer (left); a shout-out to John Cariani and the late lamented Broadway-bound musical Minsky’s!; obscure silver dishes; a very special holiday meet-cute; doing Love’s Labors Lost with Shakespeare in the Park; and the glorious power of mid-level fame! (Length 22:22)

Here Are Frangela

Frances Callier and Angela V. Shelton, better known as Frangela, host the essential funny political podcast The Final Word and this Saturday night September 26, 2020, are performing as part of Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour, appearing right in your living room (on your computer)! Frances and Angela talk about how they joined comedy forces and share tips about the importance of using your voices; bringing the funny to the people; mutual Second City origins; memories of the TBS pilot The Week Reduced; the myth of world hunger; finding comic angles; possible spoilers to Star Trek: Discovery, the valuable bond of having opinions about everything; the importance of remembering that we have options and things don’t need to be this way; and the cathartic release of breaking crockery. (Length 22:04)

Standup Vs. Improv

Liz Allen is an improviser and teacher who, among other things, coached the improv team in Mike Birbiglia’s film Don’t Think Twice. Liz’s trip to the Mayo Clinic became an existential crisis that caused her to reflect on her work and career, and she shares with us her revelations about angels on earth, comedy with a purpose, misdiagnoses, spontaneous jokes, enriching laughs, weird complications, having a face for comedy, surviving a long night of the soul, embracing life lessons, coaching movie actors, the surprising spiritual element of joke-telling, and best of all: solid endocrine humor! (Length 20:10)

All About Ophelia

The RSC’s 11th stage show, Hamlet’s Big Adventure! (a prequel), is really all about Hamlet’s best friend Ophelia, at least according to Jessica Romero, who originated the role in the workshop production, and Austin Tichenor, who co-wrote the script and will be playing Ophelia this fall in California and Israel. Hear them chat about reconciling the many interpretations of Ophelia, and discuss professional memorization methods, weaponizing feelings, how one person’s comedy can be another’s tragedy, shared inspiration from Taming of the Shrew (both pirate- and commedia-themed), playing bucket-list roles, favorite Shakespeare characters, and the reality of the curse of saying the title of the Scottish Play. (Length 23:09) (Pictured: Jessica Romero as the King (with Peter Downey as Hamlet) and Ophelia (with Chad Yarish as Yorick) in the Shakespeare Napa Valley workshop of Hamlet’s Big Adventure (a prequel). Photos by Julie McClelland.)

Tales Of Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is on and sadly, we’re not there! So we’ve dug into the archives to find some of our favorite Edinburgh moments. Thrill to tales of discovery; amazing performing experiences; reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones; the only (horrible) way to become a Catholic martyr; special appearances by Rachel Parris, Yisrael Campbell, and Tim Fitzhigham; the real-life inspirations for the Red Wedding and Shakespeare’s “The Phoenix and the Turtle”; fun-loving Puritan numpties; new Jews, old Jews, and faux Jews; the joys of both seeing and performing multiple shows during a single Fringe; the dangers of flyering; excerpts from The Complete Millennium Musical (abridged), which performed at the Assembly Rooms exactly twenty years ago; international tour dates for the Fall of 2019; and discovering how the theatre can become your temple and John Malkovich your lord and savior. (Length 25:51)

Episode 628. Very Reduced ‘Christmas’

In honor of the holiday, we present excerpts from a live performance of The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged)! Featuring music and laughter, a traditional English panto, gay apparel, interrupted epiphanies, travel nightmares, decked halls, and warm cockles. ‘Tis the season! Happy Merry Chrismakwanukkahanzukkah! 

Episode 571. The Scary Clown

In this delayed Halloween episode, one scary clown discusses another. Former Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey circus clown Reed Martin (right) reviews the new film adaptation of Stephen King’s It, paying particular attention to the accuracy and creepiness of the infamous Pennywise (played by Bill Skarsgård, left). Featuring apocryphal stories, the possible origins of coulrophobia (the fear of clowns), the difference between successful and unsuccessful adaptations of Stephen King novels, attention to detail, really scary online groups, and the realization that maybe some irrational fears aren’t quite so irrational after all. (Length 16:50)

Episode 557. Potted Potter P’nomenon

Daniel Clarkson is the co-creator of the international (and un-reduced) sensation Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience. Dan talks about that unauthorized aspect and reveals other tidbits about the show’s origins, his (cough) comic heroes, the challenges of compressing seven books and hundreds of characters into a two-man seventy minute Read more…

Episode 551. Ringling Brothers Memories

”Since the 146-year-old institution folded up its tents back in May, Reed Martin (pictured) reminisces about his days touring with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Featuring lost livelihoods, evolving tentpoles, the wild contrast between onstage and offstage antics, outdated economic models, the demise of Clown College and the rise (and possible Read more…

Episode 519. Remembering Sam Williams

”We were devastated to learn our friend Sam Williams of the Flying Karamazov Brothers (right) died last Friday night. We had only recently just spent time with him, recorded a podcast with him, and were looking forward to our next visit. In this episode, we share more of our conversation with Read more…

Episode 517. Flying Karamazov Brothers

”The Flying Karamazov Brothers are the legendary band of jugglers and comedians, founded in 1973 by Paul Magid and Howard Patterson, who started performing at ren faires and busking in Santa Cruz before touring internationally and performing on Broadway, most notably in their seminal Lincoln Center production of The Comedy of Read more…

Episode 494. Austin’s Too Busy

”It’s been a super hectic busy time so on this Memorial Day, we look back to that day three weeks ago when Peter Eramo, Marketing and Publicity Manager at the Folger Shakespeare Library, took over the microphone and interviewed a young playwright and performer named Austin Tichenor, who talks about Read more…