Cathy Ladman [Interview]


Welcome back to the Trainwreck’d Society Comedy Showcase! We are kicking off this week with some words from an absolute LEGEND in the world of comedy. She is one of the first comedians I remember truly loving when I was first getting into stand up comedy at a pretty young age. In the 90’s, it seemed absolutely impossible to not catch Cathy at least once a week. Especially if you are a pre-teen to teenage boy obsessed with Comedy Central. From Win Ben Stein’s Money to Dr. Katz, or her stand up specials, she was always around! Not to mention her reoccurring role on the highly underrated sitcom Caroline In the City, which I was oddly very into at a young age.

And as the years moved on, she has continued to absolutely dominate the stage with her stand up comedy and her theatre work. She’s written for shows like The King of Queens, has a reoccurring role on the brilliant Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here, which we will discuss below! And with no sign of slowing down, she has continued to be a force to reckon with in the world of comedy. And one of my absolute favorite comedians of all time. And I am so honored that she was willing to share a few words with us during our Comedy Showcase!

So please enjoy some great words from the legendary comedian, writer, and actress Cathy Ladman!

When did you first discover that you were a hilarious human being and you wanted to make people laugh for living?

I was about five years old or so. I started doing an impression of my elementary school principal, Miss Carroll, which got big laughs. Then I pranced around my parents’ bedroom, wearing my mother’s one-piece strapless bra/girdle. (Foundations!) More big laughs. I knew I was onto something. 

When I was about eight years old, I began listening to my parents’ comedy albums, in particular, Nichols and May Examine Doctors. I memorized the entire album, and, at bedtime, after I said prayers (!!!), I used to do selections off the album for my mother. She didn’t know quite what to make of it. But that was the seed that was planted for me, and it meant the world to me.

You had a wonderful re-occuring role in Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here. Although the series is set a bit before your time, I am curious to know in your expert opinion, what is this show getting right about stand up comedy? What would you consider to be the most accurate substance of the show in regards to stand up comedy?

I think that the show captures the passion and hunger of the comics, how comedy was so all-encompassing. I remember, when I started out, that standup was everything to me. I wrote things down all day, and then I put them onstage at night. It was a very simple, focussed existence. Life was simpler back then! I think that we had more fun than comics on the show. We had a lot more laughter. The show is capturing more of the drama, the dark stuff. Even the lighting is dark on much of the show. Standup takes place in the dark and comes from some very dark sensibilities.

And how have you personally enjoyed working on I’m Dying Up Here? With so many funny people around, what is the set life like on a show like this?

I have loved working on the show. It’s great to cross paths with so many of my colleagues whom I don’t get to see very often these days. Melissa Leo and Brad Garrett were great to work with, and, of course, working with Rick Overton is always a treat. 

I am always excited to ask comedians this one question: What are some of your favorite places to do stand up? What are some cities that people may not instantly think of as comedy towns, but are some “hidden gems” to perform in?

Some of my favorite places to do standup have been (many are defunct now): Catch A Rising Star in Cambridge, MA, The Comedy Store in Las Vegas at The Dunes Hotel, Main Street Comedy in Ann Arbor, MI, BARK! Comedy in Pasadena, CA, The Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, CA, and almost any theatre. I love doing theatres. Everyone is facing forward, and there’s no booze and drink service.

After all of your time in the world of stand up comedy, with the plethora of digital advancements with social media, podcasting, etc., what do you believe has been the biggest change in the scene? Is it better than you remember, or is it becoming oversaturated?

It seems to be all about Twitter followers now. I am not on the scene the way I used to be anymore, so I can’t answer to it being oversaturated. I know that when I was coming up, in the ’80’s and into the ’90’s, those were some of the best days of my life. The community was really tight, and it was home to me. I got to see a lot of the country and the world. I’ve been really lucky.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I’m currently developing and rewriting my solo show, Does This Show Make Me Look Fat?, which is about my journey with anorexia, perfectionism, and standup. I’m about to start rehearsals for a play I’m doing in LA, titled, Jews, Christians, and Screwing Stalin. And Mindy Sterling and I are going to get our podcast back up. We’re reworking it, and we’re really excited about it.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My dog.

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Shane Torres [Interview]

Ohhh great! Here we are again!

Welcome to another amazing interview here at Trainwreck’d Society for our crazy fun Comedy Showcase. We have another interview with an absolutely brilliant stand up comedian who is a treasure of the modern times. His name is Shane Torres, and he is just about as good as it gets in the world of stand up comedy. He is just so damn funny, and honest, and as real as you can get these days. I seriously cannot say enough great things about this cat. His album, Established 1981, was on our list of great comedy albums last tuesday, and I would add to that by saying that it is one of the greatest comedy albums I have ever heard. I seriously love this guy so much. Although, Shane….please get a haircut. For you, for everyone!

As many of you who follow the in’s and out’s and in’s again of all things TWS, I am a huge fan of the podcast known as All Fantasy Everything. Shane has been a frequent guest on the show, and is a dear friend (or “enemy”) of the show that features our dear friends and past guests Sean Jordan and David Gborie, and frequent guest of the pod, Amy Miller (*cough* Ian, what the fuck? answer my e-mails! Corden won’t care! *fake cough again*). This is actually where I discovered the glory of Shane Torres. And I am so happy that I have. So many of my favorite folks in the world of comedy have had Conan sets, and we have talked with a lot of them in the past including some of aforementioned comedians in this very piece. Hell, we even spoke with current Conan writer, Laurie Kilmartin! But, I will make a stand right now and say that Shane Torres as officially had the greatest nine-ish minutes in Late Night comedy history when he has appeared on two different Conan sets. He’s just so amazing at what he does, and we are so excited to have him on the site today. It’s such a blessing to have him in our digital presence.

Also, it is worth noting that there is currently a large bounty out on Shane’s pony tail by the folks at All Fantasy Everything. And I would like to reiterate what the host and co-host of the show would say….DO NOT DO THIS! Please, do not find a way to sneak up on Shane, cut his pony tail off, and hand deliver it to the Good Vibes Gang at the Roost in L.A. to receive your reward. DO NOT do this. If you are even contemplating do this…please purchase Established 1981 first, go to a his live shows if you can, and decide if you really thing this is a good idea.

Alright, all jokes aside (or are they?), please enjoy some amazing words from one of the finest stand up comedians of this generation, the amazing Shane Torres!!

When did you first realize that you were a hilarious human being, and you wanted to make people laugh for a living? What drew you to the world of stand up comedy?

Thank you, I don’t know if it was the first time I did stand up that I thought I was funny, but I did know after I did it that I wanted to do it for a living. Fell in love with right away.

You will forever been embedded into the legendary Portland comedy royalty alongside our past guests like Matt Braunger, Sean Jordan, and Amy Miller, and (hopefully future guests) Ian Karmel, Ron Funches, & more. What was the PDX scene like at that time? Did you realize at the time that you were a part of something special?

I think what I would say about the Portland scene at the time is that it was drunk and we were all trying so hard and we made it each other better. Just by trying to be good at comedy. It was a really special time in my life for sure and I think we all realized that we had some potential. in those early years though no one was on TV or anything yet so we were just loving it.

The scene was filled with brilliant people that you may not know about Christian Ricketts, Whitney Streed, Phil Schalberger, Gabe Dinger. Andy Wood,  Kristine Levine, Dax Jordan and of course the generation before us Auggie Smith and the rest of them. There were also people who put o shows and produced festivals that helped the scenes a great deal and made opportunities happen.

The aforementioned folks all decided to move down south to LA, you went east to New York. What made you decide that New York was a better fit for you? What was it about that scene that drew you to it?

No one wanted me to move to LA at the time, the industry I mean and I had always wanted to live here in NY.  I missed my friends a great deal and still do, but I knew in New York I could get stage time and do more stand up. Get much better at stand up and try to really learn more about the craft.  Plus its New York fucking City, you don’t really need a reason to want to be here. It’s incredible in so many ways.

 

How has the fan interaction been since becoming the legendary “friend of the podcast” on All Fantasy Everything? How often are you offered sampler platters? Is it about weekly?

It’s usually pretty good, there fans are wonderful, Most of the time they just call me Sampler Platter and come to the show. Hey are sweet but fuck my friends who are on the podcast what a group of assholes. I get about one sampler platter a club weekend maybe a little more, Which is more than enough I don’t think people coming to my show need to send my well fed ass a plate of fried food every show.

You have been performing like crazy all across the land for the last decade. With that, what are some your favorite places to perform comedy? What are the places you go to that you know you are going to do well? And what are the more challenging places?

I really love The Earl in Atlanta for a non club show and Club Cafe in Pittsburgh as well. They have great teams that work hard to push your shows. As far as clubs go, my home club, Helium in Portland, is very special to me. The people there have known me since early shows, so they really root for me. Comedy on State [in Madison, WI] is where I did my album and remains an incredible standard in every facet of how to put on a show and treat people. Acme of course is another gold standard club in Minneapolis.

A challenge can happen anywhere really. So it’s hard to answer that in a way, I don’t want to seem ungrateful in any way for a place that has let me work their room, but I can think of a few that have made it harder than it had to be. Looking at you Myrtle Beach.

What does the future hold for you? Anything else you would like to plug to our readers?

There are a few things in the works. I will have a podcast coming out in a few months that I am excited about and tour dates. Maybe some other stuff.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

This interview?

Tommy McNamara [Interview]

 

When did you first decide that you wanted to make people laugh for a living? What was it that drew you into the world of stand up comedy?

When I was a kid I wanted desperately to be Chris Farley. I watched his Best of SNL DVD a million times. I started doing improv at around 12 or 13 years old. It was me and like 6 other kids playing short form games in a Potbelly’s sandwich shop at Old Orchard Mall. I think all the time about what a nightmare it must have been for the people who were just trying to eat a sandwich in peace and had to watch these adolescent hams imitate Whose Line Is It Anyway. I was also into theater at the time, and always played comedic supporting roles and really loved it. In high school, I got way more into music, and played in a lot of bands and recorded a lot of (extremely embarrassing) music in my basement. In college, I started playing cover songs in bars (almost exclusively by 90s female singer songwriters). I loved doing that, but I realized that the entire time I was just trying to be funny, making jokes between songs, etc. I just thought about how much I loved comedy and decided that’s what I really wanted to do. It also didn’t hurt that the first live comedy show I ever saw was: John Mulaney hosting, Janeane Garafolo featuring, and Patton Oswalt headlining. It’d be impossible not to fall in love with the form. 

You have done stand up in several different venues across the country. I am always curious to know what comedians believe are cities that get slept on as terrific comedy towns. So in your personal experience, what are cities that you have worked in that people may not immediately consider to be good for anything, let alone comedy?

Bloomington, Indiana! I’ve been 4 or 5 times in the last few years and I really love it. The Comedy Attic is one of the best clubs in the country and Limestone Comedy Fest is incredible. Also, I love the comedy scene in Boston. So many great shows and I always have an amazing time there. Recently, I’ve really liked going down to Philly as well. There’s also a great show in Manchester, New Hampshire at Shaskeen Pubs Wednesday nights that everyone who lives in the area should check out. All that being said, Chicago will always be my number one city for comedy and life and if you’re there check out the Lincoln Lodge! 

And I am also curious to know what each comedian’s method is for dealing with hecklers? So what is your process? And does it change when you are in different regions of the country?

I feel like the problem that comes up way more often than hecklers for me is drunk people talking to each other or trying to encourage and be positive. It drives me crazy! Especially in New York, my thought is always, “you could literally be in any other bar and talk and not pay a cover and not ruin anything!” But those people always exist. I try to not engage as much as possible. I really just like to tell the jokes I’ve written. If it gets to the point where I have to respond, I always try to be funny but succinct and let them know I’m not interested in a conversation. I’m not out here trying to *own* people I just want everyone to have a fun night. 

Your podcast Stand By Your Band that co-host with our past guest Tom Thakkar is absolutely brilliant, and incredible original. I seriously can’t get enough of it. So how did you and Tom come up with the concept for the podcast? What are your thoughts on what the podcast has become?

Thanks so much, man! Tom gets all the credit for that! I was co-hosting his old podcast Girl’s Night, which was just a super silly show where we would do characters, etc. Then Tom thought of this idea to do a show where people talked about bands they loved that they got made fun of for, stemming from his love of Coldplay. He was going to do that one on his own, and recorded some episodes but then decided to kind of merge the two and bring me in. I’m so happy to be a part of it, it’s been a blast.

What would you consider to be your favorite moment on the show thus far?

Ok, this is an off air moment but it made me really happy. When we were doing the Will Smith episode I had this idea to write a Men In Black/Wild Wild West style Will Smith rap but about Pursuit of Happyness. Then Steven Castillo, the guest that week, showed up and said, “Hey just so you guys know I wrote out this Wild Wild West style rap about Concussion”. I couldn’t believe it! I was so happy we had the same idea. During the episode we did them back to back and it made me laugh really hard. Also, it’s incredibly embarrassing for me, but I think of me asking Patton Oswalt “Is Phil Collins from Los Angeles?” as a definitive moment.  Also talking about Aqua with Liza Treyger was such a blast. And Good Charlotte with Blair Socci when she kept saying “Who among us…”!  It’s hard to pick!!!

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

The next thing I want to do is to record an album! I’ve been talking to my favorite comedy record label and hopefully I’ll be able to record later this year! So definitely be on the lookout for that, and keep listening to Stand By Your Band! 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Detroiters! I watched all three episodes from this season today and I think it’s my favorite show right now. It’s so funny and fun and Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson are perfect together.

Wanna catch Tommy telling jokes near you? Check his website, tommymcnamara.com for tickets and details, and find him at the following spots:

August 4th: Philadelphia, PA @ Big League

August 8th: Manchester, NH @ Shaskeen Pub

August 9th: Portland, ME @ Laughshack

August 10th: Boston, MA @ Hideout Comedy

August 29th: New York, NY @ Caroline’s Comedy Club

September 13th: Brooklyn, NY @ Cherry Tree Bar

December 23rd: Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Lodge

 

New Music Tuesday: A Stream of Comedy! [Albums]

 

Welcome to our first edition of New Music Tuesday in our stand up comedy showcase! And keeping with the theme that we tried to do last Sunday when we shamelessly told you what to watch on Netflix because we are all creatures of habit at time…we want to talk comedy albums! And even more, these are comedy albums that you definitely should purchase, preferably in the lobby of the comedy club in which you just watched them for an hour or so. But, we are not so ignorant to think that this is always going to happen.

So, with that in mind, I decided to search from Apple Music and see if some of my favorite comedy albums happen to be streamable. And I was not surprised to find out that a great deal of them are indeed just out there for either free of charge, or for the monthly subscription you probably already have. And just to throw this note out there, I am only assuming that if an album is available on Apple Music, it’s probably on Spotify, or other music streaming services. I make this assumption with absolutely no knowledge or fact checking whatsoever. I would like to reiterate, as a music blogger for over a decade, that streaming music is all good and fine…but if you do feel oh so compelled to support artists, stream them first and then go out and actually buy their work. Alright, enough preaching about that.

I also need to reiterate….THIS IS NOT A BEST OF LIST!!! There is no order here, this is simply a list of some extremely hilarious stand up comedy albums that I personally (Ron Trembath) enjoy so damn much. Again, the collection listed below does not reflect even the opinion of anyone who has contributed to Trainwreck’d Society in any way. This is just me. I like to think I know about good comedy, but I am not confident enough to state that this is the definitive list of hilarious comedy albums. I do feel confident enough to tell you that each and every one of these are so fucking funny, and you should at the very least…give them a stream.

You may also notice that some of these albums have been out for a while. The artist mentioned may even have a more recent album out, but I for whatever reason feel attracted to the release that was featured. But, as we all know comedians are always progressing (hopefully) in their craft, and may have gotten even better. So please be sure to give these a listen, and then follow up with more recent releases! Furthermore, some of these albums may simply be the audio of a live special you can also use your eyeholes to enjoy as well. So find that too!

So here we go Folks! If you logged in to our Netflix Is A Joke feature, you’re probably going to see some repeats, but there are also some new faces up in here! I have also included the label that the album was released on, and a link to where you can purchase the album after giving it a stream. Which is how this should work. Enjoy!

 

Amy Miller: Solid Gold (2016)

Label: Kill Rockstars

Website: amymillercomedy.com

 

Dave Anthony: Hot Head (2017)

Label: All Things Comedy

Website: daveanthonycomedy.com

 

 

 

Cameron Esposito & Rhea Butcher: Back To Back (2017)

Label: Aspecialthing

Website: rheabutcher.com  /  cameronesposite.com

 

 

Solomon Georgio: Homonegro Superior (2017)

Label: Comedy Central

Website: solomongeorgio.com

 

 

Sean Patton: Standard Operating Procedure (2012)

Label: Aspecialthing

Website: meseanpatton.com

 

 

Matt Braunger: Shovel Fighter (2012)

Label: Comedy Central

Website: mattbraunger.com

 

 

Liza Trigger: Glitter Cheese (2015)

Label: Comedy Central

Website: glittercheese.com

 

 

Laurie Kilmartin: 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad (2017)

Label: Aspecialthing

Website: kilmartin.com

 

 

 

Emma Arnold: Shut Up Calvin (2017)

Label: Rooftop Comedy

Website: emmarnold.com

 

 

Sklar Brothers: Hipster Ghosts (2018)

Label: Rooftop Comedy

Website: superstars.com

 

 

Shane Torres: Established 1981 (2017)

Label: Comedy Central

Website: shaneisacomedian.com

 

 

Lachlan Patterson: Jokes To Make Love To (2010)

Label: Rooftop Comedy

Website: lachlanpatterson.com

 

 

Pat Brown: The Pat Brown Sex Tape (2016)

Label: Self-Released

Website: comedianpatbrown.com

 

 

 

Joe List: Are You Mad At Me? (2016)

Label: Comedy Central

Website: comedianjoelist.com

 

 

Ian Karmel: 9.2 On Pitchfork (2015)

Label: Kill Rockstars

Website: iankarmel.com

 

 

Geoff Tate: People Are What People Make ‘Em (2018)

Label: Blonde Medicine

Website: geofftate.com

 

 

Ron Funches: The Funches of Us (2015)

Label: Comedy Dynamics

Website: ronfunches.com

 

 

Mark Normand: Don’t Be Yourself (2017)

Label: Comedy Central

Website: marknormandcomedy.com

Matt Braunger [Interview]

Welcome to our first interview in our showcase for the wonderful world of stand up comedy. We are kicking things off in a major way by sharing some words with the absolute legend in the world of comedy, the pride of Portland Oregon, the amazing Matt Braunger! This is a guy who has been entertaining audiences in so many different formats. Whether he is headlining clubs across the country, or just being all around hilarious on television, Braunger is an absolute legend!

And to know that Matt hails from my own backyard in the Pacific Northwest is such a damn good feeling. In fact, coincidently most of my favorite comedians are either from the Northwest, or have spent years working in the Portland comedy scene specifically. Some of them have already been mentioned in this showcase, and will most likely be mentioned again! But even these young cats in the game that I love so much would be the first to tell you that Matt is a wonderful influence on the world of comedy for very obvious reasons.

Also as just a side note, Matt was the key subject to one of the greatest episodes of Getting Doug With High that I have ever seen! Seriously folks, he gets high almost INSTANTLY alongside a skeptical Jim Jefferies. I can not recommend it enough. Also, he is another TWS guest who appeared on an amazing TV show that was taken off the air far too early! That show was Up All Night, and we will definitely discuss that below.

So Folks! Please enjoy some great words from the brilliant Matt Braunger!

When did you first discover you that you wanted make people laugh for a living? What drew you to the world of comedy?

Being an old child class clown as a child. And later, in Chicago, I just found I was good at it and that it was something people did. I tended to think of it as this esoteric thing, even though I was an actor at the time.

I’ve come to learn that you are one of the folks responsible for the incredible Bridgetown Comedy Festival in Portland, Oregon. I’ve only heard wonderful things about this festival and some of my favorite comics have been there. So, what inspired you to start this festival? And what was it like getting it together that first year?

It was a labor of love with a lot of great people. Andy Wood (the co-founder) used to open for me back in the early aughts. One night he just asked if he should start a festival and I said, “Yep, and I’ll help all I can.” That first year was just so grass roots and nobody in the city paid it much mind. Now, though it’s currently on hold, it’s the comedy event of the year there.

I always like to ask comedians a little bit about their life on the road. So, when it comes to cities you have worked in, what are some amazing cities to do comedy in that might surprise people?

Fort Wayne, Indiana has a great little scene and some cool folks putting on shows. And Madison, Wisconsin has one of the top five comedy clubs in America.

 

Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC

 

Your performance on the far too short-lived series Up All Night was absolutely phenomenal. I loved the show, right to end when I was holding back happy tears when that montage with The Weepies song. And then I was so sad when it didn’t come back. But, for when it was happening, how was your experience working on this project? Was it as fun to work on as it was for me to watch?

Thanks, Man. It was a dream, especially because Jean (who played my wife Terri) and I were only supposed to do one episode. The writers liked us so much that they wrote us in again and again. I loved playing with Christina, Will, Maya, and everybody else. Honestly, I just think it wasn’t promoted correctly, because ‘parents who still want to party’ (which is what the show was) is a huge demographic.

After all of your years in the world of comedy, I am curious to know what your thoughts are on all of the changes that have occurred within your business since you first began doing stand up?

Jeez, where to begin. I’ll just speak on stand-up. There are more platforms to watch stand-up than ever before, and that’s a good thing, but thankfully you can never fully recreate the live experience. That’s where stand-up lives and breathes. Some comics think the stand-up bubble’s going to burst, but people still come to shows, still need that release of being in the room when it happens. So I don’t think it’s going anywhere.

And also after all of these years, what is it that you still love about the world of stand up comedy? What keeps you motivated beyond monetary compensation?

I love that it even exists, and that I get to be a part of it. I’m grateful every day of my life that I’m a comedian. Even though I never tell lyft drivers why I’m going to the airport.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

My podcast Advice from a Dipshit with Matt Braunger is a thing I’m really proud of right now. People call 323-763-0228 and leave a message, my producer Amanda picks the calls, and I listen to them during the podcast recording and answer them as best I can. It’s kind of a Dear Abby for Millennials (and everybody else) from a guy who’s made a ton of mistakes. It’s funny, but I’m honestly trying to help. Also, my new special Finally Live From Portland will come out later this year.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

A photo of a wiener dog in a beekeeper’s outfit.

Matt is always moving around the country making people laugh and smile, which we have established is a good thing. Check out some dates below, and be sure to check in at mattbraunger.com for updates and other cool stuff he has done.

Dates:

September 25th – 26th in Ontario, Canda @ Just For Laughs Comedy Festival

November 1st – 3rd in Appelton, WI @ Skyline Comedy Club

December 28th – 31st in Burlington, VT @ Vermont Comedy Club

Check out this absolutely hilarious promo for Matt’s special Big Dumb Animal that is just fucking perfect:


Sunday Matinee: Netflix Is A Joke [Stand Up Comedy]

Hello Dear Readers! Welcome to the first ever Stand Up Comedy showcase here at Trainwreck’d Society.  Over the last couple of years, we have had the privilege of sharing some pretty amazing interviews with some of our favorite folks in the world of stand up comedy. As regular readers would notice, we tend to grab onto certain themes or genres or niche ideas, and just run wild with them. And I am personally so happy to say that stand up comedy has been one form of artistic expression that we have truly embraced as one of the best to have ever existed. And we hope to keep having these amazing performers on the site for foreseeable future.

We also understand that the world of stand up comedy is a vast and ever-expanding world to say the least. There are just SO MANY talented folks out there with their own personal styles of comedy. And for the average viewer/listener/show goer out there, it can be hard as shit to keep up. And in the end, being creatures of habit, we tend to just stick to what we know. The idea of searching out certain comedy specials or albums to hear something for the very first time can seem mentally taxing, I get it. That is why I created this list for today’s Sunday Matinee that truly makes it easy to see some absolutely hilarious comedy without leaving your comfort zone.

Now, full disclosure: Being obsessed with stand up comedy, I am one of those people who will definitely seek out different avenues to watch hilarious people. There are still so many options out there to watch stand up comedy (the best being live and in person, but some of us live in places like Mitchell, South Dakota or the East Anglian farmlands of the UK, so that can be troublesome). Whether they are finding themselves on cable networks like Showtime, Comedy Central, Amazon Prime, HBO, etc. or simply taping specials and releasing them via their own websites (i.e.: Emma Arnold, of the best out there!) or just giving them away directly to YouTube….I do recommend digging deeper into the vast “underworld” of stand up comedy.

But, hey, I get it. You can guess by the title of this post that we are discussing comedy that revolves around Netflix. The whole world has Netflix, and the whole world loves the convenience. And there seems to be a new comedy special coming out on Netflix each week, so it’s almost just too easy. I will admit, there are long stretches of time where I really almost exclusively on this subscription service to get visual laughs. And part of that is because they sometimes do it SO well! They do put out some amazing specials. Some damn fine comics have had some specials on Netflix, and I am excited to talk about them specifically with you all today.

And as a final note: I want to strongly state that THIS IS NOT A BEST OF LIST!!! I am under the firm belief that comedy is very subjective to the viewer or listener. What is funny to some may not be funny to others. While I can’t stand the recent debates about “What is a comedy special?”, I always try to keep it in my mind, that there are different comedians for different people. While I may stare blankly at any member of The Blue Collar Comedy Tour, others truly enjoy them, and it makes them happy. So what the hell is wrong with that? So, just to reiterate: THIS IS NOT A BEST OF LIST!!! This list does not even reflect the opinions of the entire cast of weirdos who have contributed to Trainwreck’d Society in one form or another. This my (Ron Trembath) collection of some of my favorite stand up specials that are available on Netflix as of this date, August 5th, 2018. It’s also worth noting that some of these specials have been around for a while. And some of the artists we mention in this collection have even had more recent specials come out (some of them on Netflix!). But, I went with my heart on this one, folks. I simply found a few specials that I tend to go back to from time to time because I know they are going to make me smile when I need it the most. Also, I throw in an honorable mention at the end because it’s more of a “production” than a comedy special, but it is available on Netflix, and I like to talk about it whenever possible.

Also quick note: When I have been watching these specials, it has been exclusively out of the U.S. I’m not quite sure how much it matters, but viewing has taken place with IP addresses in both Spain and the United Kingdom. So, if so if you can’t find some of these any more, my apologies. Also, please don’t come at me with the “What about (insert special) here”. It’s possible that I have not been privy to such hilarity, and in the end, it’s all subjective.

So Folks, please enjoy this quick list of some of my personal favorite specials available on the subscription service known as Netflix. And after you have check them all out, watch MORE! And if you are geographically able, go see some live comedy! It’s an experience you won’t soon forget! So here we go…..

 

ALI WONG: BABY COBRA

 

As I prefaced before, this is not a particularly “new” special. Ali Wong has had a more recent comedy special on Netflix since Baby Cobra was released. In fact, this isn’t even Ali’s only comedy special on Netflix where she is very pregnant! This is only the first one! I love her new one, but I over the last two years, I have gone back and watched Baby Cobra just so many damn times. Ali is brutally honest and is simply one of the best in the game!

 

NATASHA LEGGERO & MOSHE KASHER: THE HONEYMOON STAND UP SPECIAL

 

I promise you that pregnancy is not a theme here, it’s honestly a coincidence. There just happens to be two truly original and hilarious human beings who had specials on Netflix who were in the process of creating life. And plus, this very different. The partnership between Moshe & Natasha is a well known and beloved one in the world of comedy, and it was so amazing to see them on stage together. This is technically three specials: a solo set each, and then one together with some wonderful crowd work. I love both of these comics separately, and I strongly suggest you check them out individually. But, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t extremely excited to see them working together!

 

ARI SHAFFIR: DOUBLE NEGATIVE

 

There is no denying that sometimes Ari Shaffir can be a very controversial figure on the world of comedy. For folks who are more into the “PC friendly” era of comedy, he is definitely a figure who may not enjoy. But, you simply cannot deny is unfathomable ability to write a wonderful set of comedy. Or two of them even! While he sounds mild mannered and low energy (probably the shrooms), he is also a wildly unpredictable comic who is just so damn funny. Double Negative is a wonderful experiment in comedy as well. It’s a two-parter, which literally means it has double the laughs! And who doesn’t love that!

THE COMEDY LINE UP: IAN KARMEL

 

As Netflix continues to experiment with the world of comedy and putting out a plethora of different options for comedy viewing, they are, at times, hitting metaphorical home runs. They definitely did so when they included one of the best stand up comedians of our time, Ian Karmel, in their original series The Comedy Line Up. I came into this brilliant 15 minute special already a huge fan of Ian Karmel. In fact, this special is the only one on this list in which I have actually seen portions of it performed in real time! It is an absolutely perfect 15 minutes of comedy that you can go back to over, and over again. Also you are NEVER going to watch The Lion King without remembering this delightful person. I also recommend each and every comedian featured on The Comedy Line Up while you are at it. And then go back and watch Ian’s again!

NICK THUNE: FOLK HERO

 

This one falls into the category of not being very new, and definitely not the latest from a truly genius comic. Nick Thune actually had an amazing special come out in 2018 that wasn’t on Netflix. But, again, this is for all of you creatures of habit out there! Folk Hero is without a doubt my go to special when I just want to smile. I honestly couldn’t tell you how many times I have gone back and watched Thune’s brilliant execution of puns and truly original take on storytelling. If Buzzfeed or Now This or something like that, were to do a short list of “Nice Guys of Comedy”, I have a strong feeling that Nick would be right near the top.

WYATT CENAC: BROOKLYN

 

Overall, Wyatt Cenac’s Brooklyn is simply hilarious in its own right. But what really intrigued me about this awesome special was how Wyatt used his genius writing ability to put a truly original spin on a topic that has been discussed a million times over in the world of comedy. And that topic would be New York City. Everyone knows that NYC is the epicenter of stand up comedy. So many comics have touched on it, and have done will in doing so. But, Wyatt Cenac’s just does something to the topic that is actually sort of hard to explain. it’s just original in its own way. Which I would hope would come off as a testament to Cenac’s amazing ability as a joke writer and stand up. He manages to take fairly common thoughts and ideas and still make you reevaluate what you originally thought. It’s pure genius!

THE STANDUPS: JOE LIST

 

In another great attempt bring the world even more stand up comedy, Netflix has created The StandUps, and absolutely nailed it in their choices of comics! Not the least of which is one of my favorite comedians out there today, the wonderful Joe List. Self-deprication has always been a reoccurring theme in the world of comedy, and I truly believe that Joe List is an expert at it. In this half hour special, he strangely shits on himself a lot, but tends to do it in such a strong and confident manner. As an outsider looking into the world of comedy, I simply can’t understand how Joe manages to pull it off. But, I am so happy that he does!

CHRISTINA P: MOTHER INFERIOR

 

Christina Pazsitzky has built an enormous cult following in the world of comedy. A following that I am very happy to be a part of actually. So, when Mother Inferior dropped, I was just so damn stoked. And of course, she crushed it for the “Mommies” out there. But what made it so great was that she managed to appeal not only to those of us who enjoy listening to her talk about her browns and vag blasting, but to everyone. And, at least in my own world, it sparked a lot of conversations with people who were first learning about Christina from this special, which would then convert them into the Cult of Jeans that is the Your Mom’s House Podcast that she hosts with some other dude who may or may not be on Netflix as well, but is 100% fatter than Bert Kreischer.

 

HANNAH GADSBY: NANETTE

 

I’m going to preface this by paraphrasing something said by my favorite comedian, Amy Miller, and hopefully I don’t misquote her too much: You don’t get to decide “what is” a comedy special. I agree 100% with this statement (if I got it right). I’m not entirely sure why this is a real debate. I feel like Hannah Gadsby should be commended for adding to a conversation that needs to happen, and used a wonderful setting like a comedy special to get her message out there. And plus, she is REALLY funny in it, when it was time to do so. Being somewhat reasonable, I can understand some people’s chief arguments, but I mean, c’mon? What does that do for anyone? Why can’t we just enjoy the amazing work that Hannah Gadsby has given the world without trying to be snarky about it? And if you don’t want to watch, don’t! I highly recommend that you do, but nobody should force you! Just enjoy Nanette for what it is…a wonderful experience that you can also learn a bit from!

 

MICHAEL CHE MATTERS

 

I seriously cannot get enough of Michael Che. It is with good reason that he has become of the most celebrate comedians of this day and age. And watching the evolution of his television work has been some phenomenal. I clearly remember his first appearance on The Daily Show, and his last that would be just a month later. And I was actually pretty damn bummed! But, then he went on to be the best Weekend Update host since Norm McDonald, so there you go. And Michael Che Matters is a wonderful and some what light hearted look at the world today that I can still go back to at any given time. And while it is very topical, the most important part is that it is so damn hilarious!

 

HONORABLE MENTION: OH HELLO! ON BROADWAY

 

As I mentioned before, this is not actually a comedy special. And I don’t mean that in the bullshit Nanette conversation we discussed earlier…I mean this is an actually production. It’s a scripted Broadway performance, that just happens to feature two of the most hilarious people on the planet playing such hilarious characters. John Mulaney has, with good reason, become one of the most beloved comedians around. For the sake of brevity, he’s not listed above but most likely should have been. Watch is own specials after delving into Oh Hello! And Nick Kroll, well, he’s another god damned genius in the world of comedy that everyone knows and loves. He may not technically be a stand up comedian, I will be god damned if he doesn’t light up a stage and bring on the funny in Oh Hello!, and in just about everything he ever does. This satirical take on old timers living it up in the Big Apple is seriously one of the best things you are going to find on Netflix. Hand’s down, no questions.

Haviland Stillwell [Interview]


 

Hello Dear Readers! We have an amazing interview for you fine folks today. We are not only once again diving into the absolutely incredible Fallout 4 voice over cast list, but we are making a new friend with an amazing and talented human being. That person is Haviland Stillwell! I will be the first to admit that I was mainly aware of her work as Mariner on the Far Harbor DLC for Fallout 4, but would soon realize that she has always been around, doing amazing work, and I’ve been a fan of hers for quite a while.

Obviously we delve into the FO4 world a little bit, but we learn so much more about Haviland, and I am so excited to share some amazing answers from her right now! She’s an brilliant singer, on screen performer, voice over actor….there really isn’t anything that she can not do! She will soon be appearing in a brand new SyFy film and has a lot to share. So let’s get into it! Please enjoy some amazing words from the brilliant Haviland Stillwell!

When did you discover you had a passion for the world of performance? Was it a deep-rooted yearning you have always had since a youth?

Absolutely. I think I always knew, but it especially sunk in when I saw Bette Midler in Big Business, the classic zany 80’s comedy. I thought “I’m like THAT.” And then, on my first set, Fried Green Tomatoes, I knew the world of entertainment and art was my life forever. Never have questioned that decision – bc it was more of an acknowledgement. Like, yes, this is me. And I just kept going.

What was your very first paid gig you can remember working on? Was it a nerve racking experience? And do you have any sort of lesson learned from this experience that you still incorporate into your work today?

My first paid gig was a workshop of a play in the Southeastern Theatre conference called Low Country Boil. It was amazing and fun and I was SO young, maybe 5 or 6 years old? I was just obsessed with every part of it. To this day, each time I book something, I make it a point to get excited and be grateful for it. It’s such an amazing thing to be able to get to do the thing you love so much, and that you know in your heart you’re supposed to do.

In the voice over world, you have appeared in a one particular video game that we greatly adore, and have actually spoken with about a dozen folks who have also worked on it, which would be the brilliant Fallout 4. You appeared as Mariner, a crucial citizen of the town of Far Harbor, in the DLC of the same name. So how was your experience working within this legendary franchise? Was there anything about it that sets it apart from other work you have done?

The Mariner is similar to all my characters in that she is a very strong woman. What sets her apart is that she is torn about her illness, and so I tried to layer her voice with the many layers of whats happening for her internally. She’s also a lot more reserved than most of the characters I play. There are a lot of women who hold a lot of their feelings inside, and I wanted to be truthful to that, while also making sure to give her the vocal complexity she deserved. It was so much fun and I’m honored when people approach me and say they are touched by her story and my performance.

 

And have you had any fan experiences since Mariner was introduced to the world? Have you encountered any Fallout fanatics out there?

Oh yes. People LOVE Fallout! A guy helping me at a store recognized my voice and was fully fanboying. I think thats really fun and love when people like what I’m doing. At the end of the day, you want to reach people, entertain them, and hopefully make them feel more connected, so I always love talking to people about projects they love that I’ve worked on.

Beyond just acting, you are also an accomplished pop singer, with an album available now. Although it seems like a reasonable transition, it’s actually not that common. So what inspired you join the world of pop music? And why this genre specifically?

I love singing. I am a trained classical singer and have a degree from NYU in vocal performance. I used to sing opera, and I have done two Broadway shows (Fiddler on the Roof and Fantine in Les Miserables), but I’ve always loved all types of music. My favorite album right now is Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae, and I grew up listening to everything from rap, R&B, old school disco, 80’s pop, 90’s alternative…I like a lot of music, and I like to sing all kinds of things. It’s like if I were a visual artist – I wouldn’t just be a painter. I would sculpt and paint and use markers! (As a side note, maybe my only hobby is collaging, but thats beside the point!)

You have worked in just about every type of performance possible, from voice over work to the Broadway stage. So with that being known, I am curious to know what you would call your favorite method to perform would be? Should you be destined to only work in one field for the rest of your career, what would it be?

It would be television, no doubt. TV is such an expanding frontier, with all the new streaming opportunties. The rule book has been thrown out, so the opportunities are endless. I want to play a superhero, and the president, Madonna and Gloria Steinem. And if I’m playing them, they can all sing. Who doesn’t love a TV musical?!


You appear to be wearing so many proverbial hats in the world of entertainment, it seems like you are just consistently working! But, what about the occasional downtime? What would we find Haviland Stillwell doing for a little bit of me time?

I’m very politically active, so I spend a lot of time reading news, current events, analysis and history, and watching sources I trust. (Shout out to Rachel Maddow!) I also love writing, researching style and coming up with new ideas for characters, voices and costumes and things like that. I watch a ton of TV for fun and for work! I also really love the beach and my family, so the combo of those two is key for my calm.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to share with our readers?

My movie Santa Jaws comes out August 14th at 9 p.m. on the Syfy Channel. I play “Georgia” and she is absolutely hilarious. I’ll be live tweeting during the premiere, so definitely check out my Twitter, @MissHaviland, and my Instagram @haviland for more info on that.

Also, a new anime show I’m in Screechers Wild is out now, and there are many more episodes coming. I play Ann, who is sort of a modern day Lucy from Peanuts! I have two films out now on the festival circuit: Freelancers Anonymous and Brannan and the Monosexuals and a big announcement coming very soon for the show I did a few years ago, Unicorn Plan-it. ALSO…a couple of things that I can’t talk about yet but please do follow me and I’ll make sure you’re in the know. I love connecting with fans.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Honestly, my 4 lb. maltese, Fanny, is curled up next to me right now, and I’m kind of living for her low key slay!

Check out this amazing music video for her single “Muse” from her album Sparks: