A few weeks ahead of departure for her Master's program in London, I was lucky to get to sit with this week's guest Mary Parker about her 2018 shift from Arcade Board President to stand up comic. Don't worry Improv listeners, there's still plenty of discussion on her teams The Collective and Game Shark.
She shares her take on the favorite rooms and sets she's had the opportunity to do while in town, opportunities she sees for our growing community to include more voices, and some of the wonderful experiences she's had in crafting an act and connecting with audiences.
There is a strength that comes from conversation and confrontation and I've always appreciated Mary's honesty within our friendship and I'm hopeful that our paths will cross again after (or hopefully during) her time across the pond.
While in town for the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival and a slew of other shows like Collegiates and Comedians and Do Not Disturb, I snagged a fun interview with Tennessee's Hunter Roberts. We get into the production of his show, Wealth of Knowledgeman, becoming a professional wrestler, navigating his first sober comedy tour, and mastering when to breath during bits.
Ahead of the launch of the Burning Bridges Comedy Club at Hambone's, I had the chance to connect with Derek Minto. Always a joy to get to spend time with this acclaimed comedian and storyteller. During this long chat we discuss his sketch troop Secondhand Sketch, open mic and showcase strategy, and the wonderful M. Night Shyamalan film, Unbreakable.
I'm excited to have Trey McDonough & Eric Weber here on episode 21. They are half of the roster of the We Got Next podcast which includes Chris Scriva and Joey Welsh. These gentlemen began comedy about a year and a half ago and have established themselves as some of the best independent showcase producers in town. We talk about building up entertainment in Swissvale, their podcast, and of course, the epic card I witnessed at WrestleMania 13.
Makeup and special effects wizard Nick Buck and I met this year through the television program Almost Grownups. I was able to spend 40+ minutes each morning in Nick's chair watching him in his element as he transformed me into the older, mustached, Don.
In this week's chat I learn more about Nick's high profile prop and special effects experience. He's worked on The Walking Dead and will be working on the upcoming RAW Pittsburgh event at Xtaza -- August 29th, 7:00 PM.
Check out some of Nick's work at Raw Artists.
Since our last chat with Kevin Budkey (Episode 36) he's spent time in Los Angeles working alongside Pauly Shore, he launched his own live production brand called Stay Happy, and has spent much of 2018 studying at The Second City in Chicago. While back in the Pittsburgh area for a stint of shows, Kevin and I were able to connect and discuss how things have changed since he first left Pittsburgh, lessons he's learned while away, and how he's utilized his improv and sketch training to help build out material for stand up. Thanks for listening.
As he heads west to tackle a new region of the country, stand-up comedian Matt Stanton stopped by the studio to chat comedy. We talked about starting stand-up in Cincinnati, moving to Chicago and Minneapolis, and setting up shop in Pittsburgh for the last few years. Safe travels road comic - enjoy the cowabunga lifestyle!
Friend and actor Mike Sullivan hopped on the mic for a chat about his upcoming MFA program in New York City, pursuing acting here in Pittsburgh, and collaborating with his best friend, Pat Cannon, on Mulligan last year. Mike and I've become great friends since we shot the film Craig Quits His Day Job. Now that he is moving to NYC he will without a doubt be sorely missed in the Pittsburgh theater/film community. I think you'll enjoy our talk.
What a fun chance to spend an hour with both local music comedian Mike Travers and his wife, Kendyll. The two of them talk about turning comedy shows into date nights, Mike's bathroom meeting with a Beatles hero, and some of their favorite travel destinations.
Nick Miller & Ashley Corts co-owners of Black Forge Coffee House are wrapping up their Kickstarter campaign in the next 5 days with the hope of being able to develop a second larger venue in McKees Rocks. For this episode I was joined in the studio by Nick Miller for a great chat about this current crowdsourcing campaign and their goals for growth into the new location. We also talk about his experiences behind the bar at one of my early comedy open mic homes, The Lava Lounge, and the very successful Epicast podcast network.
Nick and I dig into the punch card controversy that got his shop national attention last year and my dream as an 8-year-old of becoming a Sega video game character.
If you have the chance this week, please check out their Kickstarter campaign and find a reward level that you feel comfotable with. I can't wait for my new mug to arrive once they hit their goal!
As someone that grew up in southwest Ohio but started comedy in Pittsburgh, the allure of becoming a Queen City comedian has always been something I've toyed with. With clubs like Go Bananas and Funny Bone taking the time to invest in the local comedians of Dayton and Cincinnati, along with my family still being based there, a move certainly has its pluses. While Joe Shelby recently relocated to New York City, his roots in the 'Nati brought him into Pittsburgh for a Two Day World Tour with fellow comedian Chris Siemer. I worked with Chris last November during the Stand Up Erika Owen Fundraiser in my hometown of Springboro.
We discuss the different stages of their careers, working in Cincinnati together, Joe's time in Los Angeles and New York City, and when Chris opened for the very special Katt Williams, a story that may go down as one of my all time favorite moments.
In other news, when we reached 100 episodes earlier this year, I've tried to make it a point to ask each guest the same question every episode: "What steps can we take towards improving our mutual experience here on the planet?"
Now moving forward through the second half of this year, that part of the podcast will be referred to as "Always Improving" and it will be brought to us each week by our Western Pennsylvania friends and new sponsors at Greenbriar Treatment Center. If you know someone struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, you can call Greenbriar confidentially at 800-637-HOPE or online a Greenbriar.net. With addiction recovery, detoxification, halfway houses, and both inpatient and outpatient rehab services they are finding ways to restore hope and recover lives throughout the region.
Finally on mic with a fellow Dayton Flyer!
Pittsburgh based, ad man Jeff Swartz, and I were connected through a mutual friend from our college days. It's been great to get to know Jeff off mic and I wanted to bring him on the show to share the story of creating Ethic Advertising. Now 3 years in motion, Jeff's firm was able to build a small ad business that works to maximize a clients advertising budget. We discuss life at UD, his experiences in real estate, what he learned during the 10 years working before founding his own firm, and growing up in Youngstown.
As Pittsburgh Comedy learns to live in the post Ramsey Daniels era (recently moved to New York City) and prepares for life without Isaac Crow (moving to Chicago), I was lucky enough to get these two, along with recently home for the summer delight, Joe Esch for a roundtable conversation about being three of the gay male comedic voices in the scene.
Hopefully you learn some good lessons or at least can gain a new perspective from three people I'm lucky enough to call my friends here in our scene.
Great discussion with my friend from stand-up, Dave Porter, and his grandfather Dr. Curtiss Porter. The two have worked together for the last few years to build The African Library Unburnt - TALUB. Their lecture series on the history and psychology of being positively black has helped them land a TedxPittsburgh appearance. The event is this Saturday, June 18th, 11:30AM, at the Byham Theater. Click HERE for Tickets
Our discussion covers the changes in Pittsburgh neighborhoods, academia, activism and the cinematic growth of black stories in just the past few years.
With a Sadie’s Song EP releasing this Saturday with a concert at Full Pint at 8p I was super lucky to get to spend an hour getting to know Sadie.
We met officially earlier this year when she put together a mixed art show at Hambones with music and comedy. It’s easy to see why people are drawn to her. Coming from an honest place of poetry and songwriting, Sadie finds a way to take incredibly personal stories and turn them into wonderfully moving art.
We spend the full episode dancing around the official list of Top 10 Ways to Treat Yo-self while getting to share a ton of interesting stories.
Stay tuned after our chat and you’ll get to hear a sneak peak of Sadie’s Song ‘Colorado’
Phil Forrence and I sit down for an enlightening and at times emotional exit interview during his final days here in Pittsburgh. After graduating this spring, Phil headed back to his hometown of Philadelphia with the plans for New York City to follow.
With a growing enthusiasm for both comedy and self improvement during his time at the University of Pittsburgh, we discuss his development as both a human being and as a stand up comedian over the last two years.
Having started his stand up career right around the launch of this program, Phil has been one of this podcast's biggest advocates during its early weeks helping me to see the value in what this show could mean to our Pittsburgh comedy community. I'll always have a great affinity for Phil and I'm so thankful for his friendship, love, and support.
Another great actor chat between Almost Grownups co-stars. I had the pleasure of rooming with David during the pilot filming in Altoona a few months ago and it was great to connect just after the screening of the episode at Parkway Theater.
Dave has turned a life changing event into a brand new passion in acting where he is able to invest in the local film community, including this week’s Pittsburgh UNCUT Film Festival (Tonight-Thursday).
We discuss his process for selecting roles, delving into a character and the growth and changes Pittsburgh has seen during his time here.