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Entries in Comedian (25)

Friday
Mar172017

Call Redialed: Lucie Pohl: "Apohlcalypse Now!" at Under St. Marks Theater

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Laura RoseLast time comedian/actress Lucie Pohl and I spoke, she was starring in her one-woman show Hi, Hitler, now these two Jews are talking about her new show Apohlcalypse Now! From tyrants to death, we know our herritage! In this new show, Apohlcalypse Now! bangs together stand up, storytelling and character comedy. Expect bad language, bad decisions, a wedding, a break up, dead rats and wake up calls from Stephen Baldwin.

Apohlcalypse Now! will play a very limited run, four performances only, March 20, 21, 27 & 28 at Under St. Marks Theater (94 St. Marks Place). March 20 & 27 are at 8pm. March 21 & 28 are at 7pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Lucie be sure to visit http://www.luciepohl.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

1. It's great to catch up with you! Last we spoke, we did an interview for your one-woman show Hi, Hitler. Now you are back in NYC with your brand new show Apohlcalypse Now! How ironic that your show a few years ago had Hitler in the title and now your show has Apohlcalypse (a funny take on apocalypse) in the title. In the few years between shows, we got a new Hitler leading our country and he's creating an apocalypse. How do you explain this irony? Yes that is creepy and ironic. I'm psychic! Or may be it's that artists have invisible, subconscious feelers which pick things up before they've emerged into daily life.

One way to look at it is also, Hi, Hitler was very much a fish out of water story which went all the way back to my Jewish-German family history of persecution and migration. The whole point of the show was embracing that not fitting in was in my DNA. In this sense, I am not surprised that those of us who are different (for many different reasons) have become a target again. The fight for acceptance against periodic assholes will never end, I think.

The Apohlcalypse theme came out of a period of extremely taxing events in my life that kept piling up relentlessly. I also had been having this feeling of imminent doom for a few years. I never anticipated that history would tie these two shows together in such a frightening way.

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Elmar Lemes2. What can people expect from this new show? What people can expect from Apohlcalypse Now! is a wild roller coaster ride into a year of tragically funny disasters in my life told through storytelling, stand-up and character comedy. It's an intimate, sometimes surreal, hilarious and very honest 60 minutes. And there's a goldfish monologue.

3. Let's play with the title of your show, "Apohlcalypse Now!" for a moment. What is the biggest event to happen in your life that would be as big as an apocalypse? The biggest apocalypse ever to happen in my life is when I realized Nutella is made with palm oil and I can no longer eat it! Game over!

No, ok, I'll be serious: it was the violent shattering of my 12 year relationship. Internally that was something which completely destroyed everything I thought I was, I thought I had and I thought I knew. And then a few other things happened simultaneously which just added more fire and brimstone. But these are all spoilers! That's what the show is about!

But one more thing: In writing the show I spoke to Anbarra Khalidi who is an apocalyptic scholar at Oxford (yes that's a job title) and she told me that the nature of the apocalyptic framework is both horror and clarity - exposing uncomfortable truths, mirroring the notion that we are our truest selves in moments of suffering, trial and judgement. This idea sort of fell into my lap and became what I was most interested in.

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Mindy Tucker4. In this show we can expect bad language, bad decisions, a wedding, a break-up, dead rats, and wake-up calls from Stephen Baldwin. So for the next few questions we are going to break these down. If you could create a sentence using your five favorite bad words, how would that sentence look? Trump is a motherfucking thundercunting asswiping fuck-shit fascist.

5. What is the worst decision you've ever made? What did you learn from this bad decision? The worst decision I ever made was deciding to act on every impulse I had regardless of the consequence. I've made many bad decisions. What I've learned (the hard way) is that decisions matter and they are decisions, not accidents. You control that, it doesn't control you. It's not always about doing the thing which feels best in the moment, it's about knowing what's important and what you want in the long run.

And of course looking at the ingredients list on a Nutella jar.

6. What is one of your most funny break-up stories? When I was a teenager my boyfriend at the time said he was going downstairs real quick to get a Snapple. He came back 10 days later. I tried to punch him and missed. We broke up.

Lucie Pohl7. What is a good wedding tale you can tell? I once went to a wedding in England and woke up in Wales.

8. I hate rats. I mean HATE, but I'm going to ask a question about them anyway. What is an interaction you've had with a dead rat? Big, fat spoiler but here it goes: I found a dead rat in my mailbox! Yes, this is a true story and I have the pics to prove it.

9. When did you get a wake-up call from Stephen Baldwin? I got a wake up call from Stephen Baldwin in Istanbul, Turkey when I was in a horror film with him about a cult which impregnates women with demon babies to make an army of super humans. Duh! What else?! (Another spoiler).

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Right now I'm trying to not freak out on subway platforms every day about terrible MTA service. Yesterday I waited for 45 minutes at Union Square and at one point a nice man eating plantain chips told me to "Relax." Gotta work on that. Ommmm.

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Laura RoseMore on Lucie:

Lucie Pohl is a German-born-NYC-raised comedian, actor, writer, solo performer and producer. Her storytelling comedy debut HI, HITLER was nominated for the 2015 New York Innovative Theater Award (Outstanding Solo Performance), received 5 and 4 star reviews and played to sold out houses at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, on London’s West End, 59E59 Theatres NY & Los Angeles.

Thursday
Mar162017

Call Answered: George Bettinger: The Mom and Pop Shop

As the host of "Call Me Adam," I love chatting with other people who conduct interviews, especially when I ask them "What question I haven't asked that they would have liked?" It's so interesting to see how what someone else will think of. When I found out about comedian George Bettinger, who had a friendship with the legendary comic/TV host Joe Franklin and hosts the hit radio show The Mom and Pop Shop, I couldn't wait to interview him. He has interviewed some of entertainment's biggest names such as Madeline Khan, Julie Newmar, Robert Morse, Kathy Garver and so many more.

In this interview, we talk about laughter, fame, Joe Franklin, and get some inside scoop about a few of the celebrities George has interviewed!

For more on George be sure to visit http://www.momandpopshopradio.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

The Mom and Pop Shop airs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4pm EST! Click here to listen!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a comedian? As a child I had nephritis, which kept me indoors a lot. I watched a great deal of television. In the mid 60's there were great comedy films on TV from the silent days on up to the 50's. I loved Charlie Chaplin, The Marx Brothers, Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy, The Bowery Boys, The 3 Stooges and so on. It inspired me to imitate them and later to make little films on 8mm film doing that style of comedy.

George Bettinger and Lucie Arnaz2. You always say "Make sure you laugh a little everyday, it is important and can change the way you feel." Do you remember the first time laughter really changed the way you felt? If so, what was that moment? Has there been a day where you haven't laughed? If so, why didn't you? I can go as far back as being hospitalized for my nephritis, (maybe four years old) grabbing a doctors stethoscope and running down the corridor making the nurses and attendants laugh. There have been multitudes of days I haven't laughed. I suffered severe third degree depression and debilitating panic and anxiety.

3. When did you realize your brand of humor made people laugh and that perhaps this could be something you could do for a living? What feeling did you get the first time someone laughed at your jokes? Around age 12 I was making people laugh, in school, at friend's homes. I didn't think of it as a living then. A living to me was the toil my father worked at being a retailer on New York's Lower East Side, putting in six days a week selling luggage one suitcase at a time. From an early age I too helped out in the store. It was serious work. There was a huge family to feed with many splinter families and friends who came in and out of our home. My parents worked very hard. My mother took care of the home making sure all were fed and then packing food to take to her invalid parents. I accompanied her many times.

George Bettinger4. What was the worst comedy set you ever performed? After that performance, did you think of giving up or did you say, "We all have bad nights, I'm just going to learn from this and do better the next time?" I don't recall performing an actual stand up set that was so bad that I wanted to quit. There were many "on" and "off nights." I do recall attempting one particular bit on LIVE television that fell flat. It embarrassed me and gave me pause and made me realize that I can not do all that I think I could.

5. You first came to the public's attention as an Eddie Cantor impersonator on The Joe Franklin Show. What was it about Eddie Cantor that made you want to impersonate him? I loved Eddie's energy! I watched him on TV and really enjoyed his delivery and his mannerisms and his singing was unique. I read a great deal about performers. Eddie was one who was quite the humanitarian. He was also Joe Franklin's first friend in show business and I knew it delighted Joe when I impersonated him. As with Groucho Marx, I could do the "young version" and the "old version." Joe particularly got a kick out of when I would talk to him as the "old Eddie." Joe laughed and said "You make him sound like an old man in a rocking chair!"

George Bettinger and Joe Franklin6. What went through your head when you found out you were going to be on Joe Franklin's TV show? How long after your appearance on that show, did things start to change for you? Excitement, fear, adrenalin rush, pounding headaches and a feeling of accomplishment. Things changed relatively quickly. I was already putting together my first cable TV show called Movie Magic and contributing to The Uncle Floyd Show.

7. In a nice turn of events, you got to interview Joe Franklin in 1985. What was it like to interview the man who helped get you your start? Was there anything you wish you got to ask him that you didn't? I was 23. Joee was about 59 at the time. We were already long time friends. It was a delight to interview him. We had chemistry on TV and as personal friends. Joe kept a close circle of real friends. I was honored to be part of that circle. At that time he was extremely on top of this game as the "King Of Nostalgia" and a legendary late night host. He would not do any show. But he did mine. He then had me on his show the next week, sitting beside him, and told the world that "this is a recip (reciprocation)." He said referring to himself; "I did his show and now he is doing my show." I was able to make Joe laugh in private to the point where tears were flowing and he would beg me to stop. I would impersonate people that only he and I knew. We had a bond.

8. You are currently hosting the hugely successful radio show The Mom and Pop Shop on Dreamstream Radio. What do you love about having your own radio show? What made you want to call your show The Mom and Pop Shop? Our main station is Tune In Radio's It's Right Here In Miramar broadcast out of Miramar City Hall in Florida and heard worldwide on the Internet. What I love about The Mom & Pop Shop is that it's one of a kind. Fan's who merely met on the LIVE chat have literally traveled from FL to Italy to meet, from Ireland to The Bronx. That is loyalty and trust. I love that. It is a hybrid of the charm of the golden age of an accessible host combined with the immediacy of the fast paced internet. This is why NBC and ABC network news covered the show.

I decided to call the show The Mom & Pop Shop because of the album I created in 1998 titled George Bettinger's Mom & Pop Variety Shop which is still available of Amazon and CDBaby.

9. Over the years you have gotten to interview so many legends: Madeline Khan, Julie Newmar, Robert Morse, Kathy Garver and so many more. I personally was a big fan of Madeline Khan and Julie Newmar, what was one surprising fact about each of them that you learned from interviewing them? If you don't remember, then you can answer this question...what do you enjoy most about interviewing people? Who do you still want to interview? Madeline Kahn and I clicked as soon as we met in person. It was at an audition. She was a brilliant performer and a genuine person. I was overjoyed to gain her trust. When I reflect back, I realize that this was very important to Maddie. I feel blessed that she was in my life. William V. Madison mentions me in the first authorized biography of Madeline Kahn. I am at the top paragraph of chapter 74. Quoted as "her friend George Bettinger." What struck me most about Julie Newmar was her keen intelligence and wisdom on how to deal with life. I think of the words she said to me everyday. There are many people I wish to interview. I enjoy talking to people.

10. As an interviewer yourself, what is one question I didn't ask you that you wish I did? (and please provide the answer to said question). Here is my question: Where would you like to see yourself in the industry? I would like to have a television show, that would give me the opportunity to be a genuine, charming host sans the popular snarky-ness so prevalent today. I would like to have a program like The Joe Franklin Show where celebrities are interviewed and up and coming talent get their start.

11. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Wisdom. I wish to continue to learn.

George BettingerMore on George:

George Bettinger began producing short comedy films by the age of 12, at a time when Kodachrome Silent 8mm film was the standard. "I began way before VHS tape. We had to purchase each 3 - minute film cartridge individually. It was costly for a kid. Three minutes was 50-feet of film stock and then we would shoot scenes and hope that after waiting a week for the 50-foot roll to be processed, something showed up that was usable!" At the same time, George was appearing regularly in school plays and occasionally showing his 8mm custom made films at school.

At a young age, George developed a great appreciation of classic comedians from the golden age of silent and early sound films. By 16, he was impersonating Groucho Marx, Eddie Cantor and other legends, when he caught the eye of broadcast legend Joe Franklin, who featured George regularly on The Joe Franklin Show on WOR-TV. He was also writing and appearing in comedy bits on The Uncle Floyd Show.

In 1982, George created an early cable TV series called Movie Magic, which ran for five years. He simultaneously worked at his father’s world famous little luggage store, Bettinger’s Luggage, on Rivington and Allen Streets in NYC’s historic Lower East Side. There George delighted customers with his impersonations as he sold suitcases.

Throughout the late 1980’s and 90’s, George kept busy auditioning and booking numerous radio and television commercials, playing the voice of the animated red M&M on NBC promos for Frasier and Will & Grace, one of the highlights of his commercial career.

Teaming with his mentor Joe Franklin on Saturday nights on WOR radio as Joe’s "Man of 1000 Voices," gave George the opportunity to release his CD, The Mom & Pop Variety Shop on Original Cast Records.

When given the enthusiastic green light to bring a 90-minute radio program to the internet George used the CD as his template and The Mom & Pop Shop was born.

Monday
Jan302017

Call Answered: Josie Long: Something Better

Josie Long, Photo Credit: Idil Sukan @ Draw HQAs a former stand-up comedian myself, I'm always intrigued by other comics. When British comedian Josie Long's show Something Better was presented to me, I had to find out more, especially while living in this post-election apocalypse, I am constantly looking for Something Better to focus on. 

Josie's show, Something Better, will be playing throughout London this February and March. Click here for tickets and locations!

For more on Josie be sure to visit http://www.josielong.com and followe her on Twitter @JosieLong!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a comedian? I was obsessed with TV comedy when I was a child, and I was also a natural show off, so when I found comedy I fell in love with it I think!

2. You have been performing comedy since the age of 14. How do you feel the comedy circuit has changed since then and how have you adapted to the change? When I started out on the comedy circuit in London, it was a lot smaller and I think a little weirder than now. In the past decade stand up comedy has had an incredible surge in popularity in the U.K. And now there are a lot more people pursuing it as a career in quite an intense and ruthless manner. When I started it felt like there were lots of very zany open spots, and lots of people performing comedy for reasons that even they couldn't explain! But then I don't know if that's the hardened veteran performer in me talking, there's still so many delightful weirdoes knocking about.

For me personally, stand up has been a part of my whole life, it's been how I express myself and how I understand the world, I simply can't imagine my life without it.

3. Your new show, Something Better is going on a London tour this February and March. It's a show about optimism, hope, looking for people and things to look up to, and wanting more from life than it might be up for giving out. What made now the right time to premiere this new show? I really love getting to perform. The crowds are energetic and excited in a way that makes me feel glad to be alive. My show is about trying to get back to hope and optimism after a catastrophic election hijacked by the far right, and it became accidentally more relevant after the Trump election.

4. In this post-election climate, how can your show help restore some faith that was lost on that fateful night? I think it's important to get to laugh with other people, even if it's laughing about feeling angry or frightened- it reminds you that you are not alone and that you aren't crazy. I also think that being hopeful is the only way to go, and it is absolutely my dream that my show could help make anyone feel empowered to keep going.

Josie Long, Photo Credit: Idil Sukan @ Draw HQ5. How do you stay optimistic when things don't go your way? It's just always better than the alternative. Nobody ever says "guess who I'm taking on the expedition? This bitter old husk of a person! They shall be ruinous for morale!" So you might as well keep trying. What else are you gonna do? That having been said, I think I'm lucky to be optimistic by nature, which means I'm stuck like this, even when it's stupid!

6. What more do you want out of life than it's giving you? As well as dealing with political loss, I think part of my show was dealing with being newly single at 34 when I want a family, about renting in London during a housing crisis and feeling like my life was lacking in any kind of permanence or security. That's kind of a downer, written down though. It's funnier onstage.

Josie Long, Photo Credit: Idil Sukan @ Draw HQ7. What do you enjoy about performing live for an audience? I just love the playfulness of it. I love the feeling that you're giving people joy and nothing else. That's rare and brilliant.

8. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? I am going to go on Twitter once a day and no more. I swear Twitter used to be fun at some point. I swear it did. But I can't remember that feeling anymore. Good luck with your fitness! I admire that very much!

Josie Long, Photo Credit: Idil Sukan @ Draw HQMore on Josie:

Often described as a unique voice in comedy, Josie Long is one of the most respected comedians of her generation. Having started stand-up at age 14, she went on to win the BBC New Comedy Award and came in second in So You Think You’re Funny at age 17. Josie went on to support Stewart Lee on his national tour, winning Chortle UK’s Best Newcomer (2005) and Breakthrough Act (2007) awards. In 2006, her show Kindness and Exuberance won the Perrier Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe, and since then Josie has racked up three consecutive nominations for the Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Award and performed in Montreal, Melbourne (where she won the 2007 Barry Award), Adelaide and New Zealand. In 2015 she performed her show Cara Josephine in New York and Los Angleles after sold-out shows in Edinburgh and London.

On television, Josie has appeared on the UK programs The News Quiz, Just A Minute, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, The Alternative Comedy Experience, Have I Got News For You and 8 out of 10 Cats, and Drunk History, as well as Australia’s Thank God You’re Here. She also investigated the rise of online comedy for The Culture Show on BBC2. She has written and starred in two short films, Let’s Go Swimming and Romance and Adventure and is currently developing her first feature-length project.

Josie has also written for BBC Radio, including two contributions to The Afternoon Play and her own series based on her show Romance and Adventure. She has been a regular guest on a The Back End Of Next Week, and was the co-host of BBC 6 Music Saturday mornings with Andrew Collins in 2011. Josie became popular with young radio listeners through a weekly feature on the Radio 1 series Switch, where she announced words that children had to immediately put into their homework. Josie currently presents Short Cuts for BBC Radio 4, which has reached #2 in the iTunes podcast download chart.

Josie is also a regular contributor to the Guardian Guide, as a columnist and cartoonist, and she wrote for, and appeared in, the first two series of Skins as well as directed their online content. She is currently developing her charity Arts Emergency, which works to make arts & humanities degrees accessible to all who want to study them.

Sunday
Dec042016

Call Answered: New Year's with Sandra Bernhard: Sandra Monica Blvd: Coast to Coast at Joe's Pub

Sandra BernhardFrom pastrami lox to surprising her fans, I am so thrilled to have taken a trip into Sandyland with the one and only Sandra Berhard. Like Sandra sings on "Who Knew," "She trusted me, I trusted her, and now I trust you too."

My first introduction to Sandra Bernhard came in 1991 both because of Madonna's Truth or Dare and being cast on Roseanne as "Nancy Bartlett," the first openly gay character on a network sitcom. Sandra's talent, the way she spoke, her fashion style all fascinated me. But it was with the release of her album Excuses for Bad Behavior that really made me a fan. I loved that album. It made want to know more. So that lead me to finding Without You I'm Nothing, her groundbreaking one-woman show that captivated me. I loved her performance style of mixing comedy with music. I had never really seen a comedian do that before the way Sandra did. As she premiered news shows like I'm Still Here...Damnit! and Everything Bad and Beautiful, I made sure I was there watching. When I decided to give stand-up comedy a try, Sandra was one of my big influences in figuring out my own style of comedy. I made sure to always include music in my routine too. It was a thrill to meet Sandra in 2006 after a performance of her show Everything Bad and Beautiful at the DR2 Theatre in NYC. I was elated!

After years of being a fan, I'm honored to have the opportunity to interview Sandra about her annual New Year's shows at Joe's Pub, plus her illustrious career including her time on Roseanne! Sandra will be presenting Sandra Monica Blvd: Coast to Coast from December 26-31 at Joe's Pub in NYC (425 Lafayette Street). Click here for tickets!

For more on Sandra be sure to visit http://www.sandrabernhard.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. This December, you are once again returning to Joe's Pub for your annual week long New Year's Eve shows. What do you look forward to about performing these shows every year? The creativity & connection to my audience at a time of year that is rich with all kinds of emotions and needs. I am there to bring everyone up!

2. What will surprise fans most about this year's show? The fact that I will have driven all the way across country to get here.

Sandra Bernhard at Joe's Pub, Photo Credit: Kevin Thomas Garcia3. When you look back over your career, what are you most proud of? What do you wish you did differently, if anything? What do you still hope to accomplish? I am most proud of the continuity of my point of view that I care about my audience and the varying turbulent times in which we all live. Well, if I did everything differently we might not be doing this interview. I have a lot of projects in the works and have been forging new relationships in the business, so a lot is happening and I want to do my own line of oils too.

4. Excuses for Bad Behavior (Part 1) is one of my favorite albums of yours. I love "(I'm Waiting)," "Lonely Town," & "Manhattan." So, my questions are...what are you still waiting for? When are you or were you at your loneliest? What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan? I am waiting on every corner for the light to change and see things from a new perspective. I was at my loneliest before I had my daughter and met my girlfriend and adopted our dog George. My favorite thing to do in Manhattan is walk down to Russ & Daughters for the pastrami lox.

Sandra Bernhard and Morgan Fairchild on "Roseanne"5. You made history when you appeared on Roseanne as "Nancy Bartlett," the first openly gay character on a network sitcom. Looking back, how do you feel that helped open industry doors for future gay/lesbian characters/shows? What was your favorite part about being on the show & working with the cast of Roseanne? Well yes, I think "Nancy" inspired and entertained many viewers and opened them up to new ways of looking at sexuality. I loved the cast of Roseanne: Roseanne, Laurie Metcalf, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, everyone was open and brilliant and did their thing without a lot of fan fare.

6. On "Call Me Adam," I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their life by one percent better everyday. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better everyday? Meditation. I am really trying to meditate more and more and clear the confusion and chaos that only hampers my happiness and creativity.

Sandra BernhardMore on Sandra:

New improved Sandy....a compelling performer who loves to engage her audience with personal, provocative, and deeply emotional content. Sandra is a sports fanatic Detroit Lions & Tigers. Venus and Serena Williams inspire her to take it to the limit. Her dog, George, a rescue from Tennessee, is a constant source of joy. Travel abroad, Morocco, Paris, London Rome inspiring. Delicious food, free range, sustainable, farm to table is a passion. The word that best describes her lifestyle is Schawazee! On the move, a fastidious housekeeper, folder of laundry and organizer keeps her on point. Fashion comes into play but does not rule her in any way. Short car trips up the California coast clear her mind. But she keeps a New York state most of all. Up late, up early. Humming, whistling, and on the move.

Sandra Bernhard began her career at L.A.’s famed Comedy Store in the ‘70s, and since then has written and starred in numerous one-woman shows, acted in movies and on television, recorded albums and authored books.

Sandra BernhardHer first one-woman show, the groundbreaking Without You I’m Nothing, ran for 6 months off-Broadway in 1988 and served as inspiration for the film and Grammy-nominated album of the same name. The critically acclaimed I’m Still Here…Dammit! opened off-Broadway in 1997, moved to Broadway a year later, and was filmed for an HBO special. The New York Times described Bernhard as a "Living, breathing bonfire" and applauded the show, calling it "an angst driven, foul-mouthed, poison-laced joy ride that banks and careens frenetically through the worlds of fashion, celebrity, rock, and religion." In 2006, Sandra’s Everything Bad and Beautiful also opened to raves. "Give the dame her due, it’s invigorating to be in the presence of a true original." (New York Times, 6/06) Her most recent show, I Love Being Me, Don’t You? played to sold-out crowds for an extended run last summer in Los Angeles. The album version of the show was released on Rooftop Records last fall, and she has been touring it with since. "She has chutzpah to spare, but it’s her articulate intelligence that earns our attention…It’s [her] combination of glamour and accessibility that accounts for Bernhard’s enduring appeal," wrote the Los Angeles Times.

Sandra Bernhard in her dressing room at Joe's Pub, Photo Credit; Kevin Thomas GarciaFrom 1991-1996 Bernhard played "Nancy Bartlett"—the first openly gay character on a network sitcom—on Roseanne. And she has had guest starring or recurring roles on numerous other shows, among them: Good Christian Belles, Hot in Cleveland, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Crossing Jordan, Law & Order: SVU, Will & Grace, The Sopranos, The L Word, Ally McBeal, The Larry Sanders Show, and The Richard Pryor Show. She has appeared more than 30 times on Late Night with David Letterman and has been a regular guest of Howard Stern’s since the early ‘80s.

Sandra’s film credits include Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy, for which she was awarded Best Supporting Actress by the National Society of Film Critics, Nicholas Roeg’s Track 29Hudson Hawk, Dinner Rush, and Dare.

Sandra’s music albums include: I’m Your Woman (Polygram, 1986), Excuses for Bad Behavior (Epic, 1994) and the world music album Whatever It Takes (Mi5). She has also sung with or opened for various musical acts, including: The Pretenders, Cyndi Lauper, and the Scissor Sisters. Other notable performances include her participation in the Stormy Weather Benefit, the Rainforest Benefit, and The Elton John Tribute for Broadway Cares. "She has musicality to die for," the L.A. Times wrote recently, "a voice that swoops from the bluesy basement to a top-floor falsetto and a campy soulfulness that can compellingly reinterpret the Isley Brothers’ "That Lady" or just go nuts with "Lady Marmalade."

Sandra has also written three books: Confessions of a Pretty Lady (Harper&Row, 1988), Love, Love and Love (HarperCollins, 1994), and May I Kiss You on the Lips, Miss Sandra? (William Morrow,1998). Her work has also been published in numerous magazines, including, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Conde Nast Traveler, Rolling Stone, Interview, and Spy.

Sandra Bernhard"A performer of stunning originality. Funny but foxy, super smart and slightly mad!" (WCBS) Bernhard’s live performances are a thrilling hybrid of stand-up comedy and rock ‘n roll, a raucous mix of political satire, pop culture commentary and cabaret. "The experience is like hanging out with a hip and funny friend who never fails to lift you up with her outrageous freedom." (Los Angeles Times, 8/11)

Monday
Sep192016

Call Redialed: Wendy Liebman: America's Got Talent + "Locally Grown Comedy" at The E Spot Lounge

Wendy LiebmanFor over 20 years I have been a fan of comedian Wendy Liebman, NBC's Season 9 America's Got Talent semi-finalist. She has been making me laugh over and over again whether it be at a comedy club, during one of her many appearances on Late Night TV or while watching one of her comedy specials on HBO, Comedy Central, or Showtime. I have grown-up with her comedy and consider her one of my comedic influences.

Now Wendy has taken on the role of producer with her Tuesday night monthly comedy showcase Locally Grown Comedy at The E Spot Lounge in Studio City, CA. Every month features 6-8 acts per show. Wendy's next installment of Locally Grown Comedy is tomorrow, Tuesday, September 20 at 8pm! $10 cover + 2 item minimum.

For more on Wendy be sure to visit http://www.wendyliebman.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. You have been performing stand-up comedy for over 30 years now. How do you continue to find the funny, especially during these trying times we live in? I only get funnier. Thank the lords of humor. (My husband tells me I get prettier. His eyes are going). Seriously though, I feel funnier. And happier. I'm a very lucky person (except in Vegas). Regarding these trying times, I listen to John Oliver, Bill Maher, and all the jokes on Late Night, because these hosts perfectly frame current issues and shine light on the absurd.

2. In 2015 you started producing a monthly evening of comedy in Los Angeles at The E Spot Lounge, called Locally Grown Comedy. What made you want to produce an evening of comedy? Why did you decide to call it locally grown? I lived in Studio City and I was walking home from lunch and I passed Vitello's Restaurant and remembered I had once done comedy in the lounge upstairs. I contacted one of the owner's, Brad Roen, and asked if I could start a show there. It was good timing, until we moved 20 miles away. But anyway, since June 2015 I've hosted 15 shows with 6-8 acts per show, amazing comics, including George Lopez, Tig Notaro, John Mulaney, Carol Leifer and Arsenio Hall.

I had just heard about a Farm to Table restaurant where all the food was locally grown. I liked that idea. I'm finding comedians who live in LA or are visiting who want to work in town on a Tuesday night. Right now everyone who performs gets $20 and pizza, pasta and salad. The comedians hang out over dinner, and friendships are sown.

3. One locally grown person performing on this regularly is your step-son Alex Sherman. What is it like to work with Alex on a professional basis? How does this collaboration strengthen your relationship? Alex Sherman is a phenomenal musician, singer-songwriter type, compared to Jackson Browne, Elliot Smith, James Taylor, Neil Young, The Beatles. I had had ideas that he and I should do a step-mother/son act, but it never happened. But when I started producing the show I had Alex on stage playing before the show and between acts. It slowly morphed into him just playing for 15 minutes prior to the show. Alex appreciates the stage time and now he has new fans. But it's only a matter of time before he'll be on the road :)

Alex Sherman and Wendy Liebman4. What has been the best part about this monthly series? What is the most challenging part about producing a monthly series? What do you get from producing that you don't get from performing? The best part of Locally Grown is the Cheers-like feeling at the show. It's a supper club room, seating 100 or so, and so many people come every month that it feels more and more like family! The most challenging part...all equally challenging. I want to treat the acts how I want to be treated. I love producing -the day after the show! But honestly I love introducing the comedians -- the fact that I got THIS TALENT to perform for YOU makes me so happy. When I'm performing I always feel a little embarrassed, but when I know I've organized the show, I'm full of joy.

5. We are both locally grown Long Islanders. Where were some of your favorite places to go growing up? I hung out at The Bryant Library and duck pond a lot. I went to Fern's and My Father's Place, Roosevelt Field and my friend's Beth's house. But I mostly hung out at school in the drama club, The Royal Crown Players.

Wendy Liebman performing6. In 2014, you and your husband, Jeffrey Sherman, were struck by a drunk driver. The accident resulted in damage to seven cars and one fatality. In the moments right after the accident, what went through your head? Why didn't I eat dessert? But for real, life can be over in a flash. I better start making many more people laugh. Then I decided to audition for America's Got Talent.

7. After an experience like that, how long was it until you first laughed again for yourself and what was it that made you laugh? Then, when did you say, "Okay, I'm ready to make others laugh again"? Do you feel your routine changed after the accident? Do you find humor in different things now than before the accident? Even though we weren't hurt physically, I was in shock and stayed in bed for a few days. And even though I wasn't driving it took me a couple of weeks before getting behind the wheel. My act didn't change, but I did, in that way that you change when mortality rears its head.

Wendy Liebman on "America's Got Talent" Season 9 on NBC8. You were on Season 9 of America's Got Talent, making it all the way to the semi-finals. You've had such a successful career already, what made you want to be on the show? What did you take away from your experience on it? Would you do it again? I had seen a few comedians on the show and I thought I want to do that! Then there was the car accident and that tipped the scale. People wondered why I did the show after having been in the business for 30 years. But you have to make opportunities for yourself! And I met the most talented people (Mat Franco, Emily West, Rachel Butera) and got my favorite pair of shoes ever (Gucci).

9. What's yet to come for Wendy Liebman? What do you still want to accomplish that you haven't? Well, I said I wouldn't talk about it until I finish it, but I'm writing a musical about three stand up comedians in Las Vegas over Valentine's Day weekend called Home on Tuesday. (My dream cast is Kristin Chenoweth, Josh Gad, Bruno Mars and Adam Lambert). I'm also writing a novel and I'm studying acting with Shari Shaw because I'm an actress at heart.

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? First of all, I follow you on social media and the pictures of your fitness program are 100% inspirational. Your transformation makes me want to get 1 % more fit every day. Love you Adam!

Wendy LiebmanMore on Wendy:

Wendy Liebman took a class "How to be a Stand-Up Comedian" at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education in 1985. Since then she has performed on Carson, Letterman, Leno, Fallon, Kimmel, Ferguson, and Hollywood Squares, in comedy clubs and events throughout North America. Wendy has starred in specials for HBO, Comedy Central, and Showtime, and was a semi-finalist on Season 9 of NBC's America's Got Talent

She lives in Los Angeles with her funny family and dogs, and produces Locally Grown Comedy at The E Spot Lounge in Studio City, a monthly show featuring the best stand-up comedians around. Check out her DVD "Taller on TV" on Amazon!