What It’s Like When Comedy Central Buys Your Pilot

Last night, it was announced that Comedy Central has ordered a pilot of the long-running and much-beloved Chris Gethard Show. The pilot will be produced by Funny or Die, with executive producers Zach Galifianakis, Will Ferrell, Owen Burke, and Adam McKay alongside Gethard. Gethard made the announcement on the latest episode of his show, a special edition which was devoted to big announcements. Wearing a homemade t-shirt with the slogan “Find a Way,” Gethard welcomed a parade of recurring cast members and characters, each of whom had their own major announcement to make, ultimately culminating in Gethard’s big news for TCGS.

The Chris Gethard Show began as a stage show in November 2009 at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York. For the last two and half years, it’s aired live on Wednesday nights on Manhattan Neighborhood Network, a public access channel in New York. For the uninitiated, check out our primer on the show from back in 2011 and have a look at some of Gethard’s favorite moments from the first 100 episodes. Because we got the news a little early, I got the chance to talk to Gethard a couple days ago about moving the show onto a real set, potentially being the redheaded stepchild of Comedy Central’s late night, and why he thinks his show will surprise a lot of people.

How are you feeling?

We’re all obviously super thrilled about that. It feels pretty good. It feels like we pulled off something that we weren’t supposed to be able to pull off, or that maybe even we were feeling like the boat had passed us by. So I’m really psyched to see it happen and hopefully it goes well and we can bring this weird thing we’ve been doing to the next level.

Talking to Marc Maron About Getting His Due

Marc Maron, who debuted a book and a TV show this past spring while still maintaining his wildly popular podcast WTF with Marc Maron, has had a more productive year than most. Amazingly, he’s also found the time to tape a new special — called Thinky Pain — released today on Netflix. Thinky Pain, shot at the intimate Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village, is Maron at his storytelling best: Perched atop a stool, he reminisces about performing with Bill Hicks, stresses about discovering Captain Beefheart years too late, and stages a riveting psychodrama in which he counsels “Fat Marc,” his Pee-Wee Little League self, through a humiliating ballgame.

I talked to Maron on the phone last week about his new special, the upcoming second season of Maron, and his hard-earned success. True to form, at the end of the interview, he asked, “Are we good?”

Happy belated birthday, by the way.

Thank you. That’s very nice of you.

How are you coping with turning 50?

The whole 50 thing, it doesn’t seem to be a bad thing. I don’t think I’m freaking out about it. I think some part of me thinks I’ve got to get things in order, but I don’t think I’m freaking out about it. Maybe I haven’t thought about it enough.

Talking to Comedian Barry Rothbart About His Career

The Tonight Show typically isn’t the place where hip, young New York comics make their late-night TV debuts. They tend to go the Conan or Fallon route.

Credit Barry Rothbart for breaking the glass ceiling.

Things have been going pretty well for Rothbart ever since his first Tonight Show set two years ago. He co-directed a documentary, was recently named one of Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch, and has a role in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming The Wolf of Wall Street.

I recently had the chance to catch up with Rothbart at Just For Laughs in Montreal, where he was one of the festival’s stand-out performers. We talked about performing the day after 9/11, working with Martin Scorsese, and pissing off Major League Eating.

A Look Back At John Oliver’s Pre-’Daily Show’ Work

John Oliver has been killing it as the guest host of The Daily Show this summer. He’s tackled major intelligence scandals, game-changing legal decisions, and untimely power outages so perfectly that it’s hard to believe this isn’t his full time job (…yet). Undoubtedly, part of the reason he’s such a natural is his length of time with the show – he joined the cast of The Daily Show in July 2006, and the writing staff the following year. He’s now beloved in the US, hosting his own Comedy Central standup show, recurring on Community, and co-hosting the excellent satirical podcast The Bugle. But when he crossed the pond seven years ago, the British standup was almost unknown in the States.

In many ways, all of Oliver’s career seemed to be setting him up perfectly for a turn at The Daily Show. At a 2001 show at the Edinburgh Fringe, he played the part of an “oleaginous journalist,” a character he has since inhabited frequently as a Daily Show correspondent. Along with his Bugle co-host Andy Zaltzman and The Thick Of It’s Chris Addison, Oliver was often cited as part of the resurrection of political comedy in the UK in the early to mid 2000s. He and Zaltzman performed live as a double act, with elaborately-titled shows like 2004’s “Erm… It’s About The World… I Think You’d Better Sit Down”, and 2005’s “John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman Issue a List of Demands and Await Your Response with Interest,” titles not too far off from the classic run-on names for Daily Show segments.

The Collected Wisdom of Tina Fey

It’s obvious Tina Fey is one of the most talented, hard working, and successful people in comedy history. She was the head writer for Saturday Night Live, host of Weekend Update, eight-time Emmy winner, author of The New York Times best seller Bossypants, writer of Mean Girls, star of films like Baby Mama and Date Night, and the creator and star of 30 Rock, not to mention a mother of two. Although 30 Rock ended its seven season run early this year, Fey is by no means taking a break. She created a new show — tentatively titled Tooken — that stars The Office‘s Ellie Kemper and received an early 13 episode order from NBC, in addition to developing a comedy for Foxanother one at NBC, working on a Mean Girls musical, starring in more movies, and prepping to host the next two Golden Globes with Amy Poehler.

To celebrate Fey’s impressive career, intelligence, and wit, here’s a collection of her wisest and funniest quotes.

Megan Ganz on Leaving One TV Writing Job For Another

Longtime Community writer Megan Ganz, who joined Modern Family‘s writing staff midway through last season, is growing up. Gone are the all-nighters spent staring at the newly-reinstated Dan Harmon’s famed story circles. At her new job, Ganz can clock out at 6pm. She has a social life, side projects, and sleep. And bit by bit, she’s learning to write for ABC’s Emmy darling, which (to no one’s surprise) took home its fourth consecutive Outstanding Comedy Series award Sunday.

I recently caught up with Ganz for a long chat about moving from meta-humor to mockumentary, balancing work with everything else, and why she’ll never stop adoring Community from afar.

Moshe Kasher on His New Album and Dealing with Jerks on the Internet

There’s a lot of ground to cover with Moshe Kasher. He fancies himself a renaissance man (of sorts): “Comedian. Child Genius. Jew. Jew Comedian. OBGYN. Pleasure Center. Good tipper. Guiding light,” and “Beefcake.”

It takes a big cardigan to cloak all that invisible brawn; and Mr. Kasher isn’t hurting for erudite-looking garb. The religious studies major is perhaps comedy’s preeminent intellectual; and, if it pleases, religious crusader.

His two full-length standup albums, 2009’s Everyone You Know Is Going to Die, and Then You Are! and this year’s Live From Oakland boil with irate, zippy intellectualism and scathing spoken word invectives torching the wide-world of bigotry and persecution.

Kasher’s acclaimed 2012 memoir, Kasher In the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16 was lauded by WTF’s Marc Maron as “thoughtful, touching, a bit harrowing and hilarious.”

Moshe was gracious enough to field my questions about his new album, his writing process, and more.

Schomp Family History, by Blythe Roberson

The Schomp family is the most affluent of the Boston Brahmins. The Cushings? Peasants. The Parkmans? Hippie street dwellers. The Lawrences? Don’t get distracted, we’re talking about the Schomps.

It all started in 1640 when John Schomp woke up with a light bulb over his head: get a bunch of free land in America and make cash. First he put the whole light bulb invention in a time capsule — you’re welcome, future. Next he created an Italian alter ego, so no one would figure out he moved to the colonies and steal his idea. Decades later people figured out “Giovanni Schompero” was just a pumpkin and some pillows under a blanket the entire time. An emergency election had to be held to fill his seat in Parliament.

What It’s Like to Write For a Late Night Talk Show

Comedy is an industry. For every performer on stage, there are hundreds of people working behind-the-scenes. These creative and business jobs, which exist in all disciplines and levels of comedy, collectively make up the comedy scene. In this column, we’re looking a comedy jobs that are less visible than that of a performer, and talking to the people who do those jobs about what they do, how they got there, and how that job has affected their perspective on comedy.

The past year has brought a crop of new late night talk shows to television, and that means more opportunities for late night writers. One of the most sought after comedy writing jobs in the industry, there’s no set route to becoming a late night writer. Many develop their voices in standup, sketch, and acting, while others hone their skills in online videos. The Daily Show’s Elliot Kalan began as an intern at the show, serving as a production assistant before applying for his writing job, while Jimmy Kimmel Live head writer Molly McNearney began as an assistant to the show’s executive producer.

Glenn Howerton Talks About Working on ‘It’s Always Sunny’

Dennis “Golden God” Reynolds, America’s favorite maybe-sociopath, returns tonight on the ninth season premiere of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He’s played to perfection by Glenn Howerton, who promises even more vanity, sadism and darkness in the coming season.

Howerton and the rest of “The Gang” (Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito) have big things in store: They’re now the anchor for FX’s brand-new sister channel FXX (which boasts “More X”), and will play host this season to some illustrious new guest writers (Game of Thrones’ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss) and guest stars (Josh Groban, Seann William Scott and WWE veteran “Rowdy” Roddy Piper). I had a chance to talk to Howerton earlier this week about season 9, keeping Sunny fresh, and the dream episode he has yet to write.

Talking to Ron Funches About His Career

It’s hard to find a more likeable person than comedian Ron Funches. Jolly with a soft-spoken sincerity about him, it is Funches’ optimism that makes him eccentric in the comedy world. He is the guy that other comics are actually happy for each time he gets something. He also has one of the top five best laughs in the universe — if you haven’t heard it, it’s a treat.

After leaving Portland for L.A. in search of more opportunity last year, Funches is achieving more and more success. He’ll appear in the upcoming Bill Lawrence sitcom, Undateable, and is fresh off of “the best week ever” at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal where he opened for Dave Chappelle. I caught up with Ron to find out about his writing process, his sleeping habits, and his transition into acting.