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comedy

Courtesy of The Hachette Book Group

It’s still a little hard to believe, but 17 years ago a comedian famous for his contributions to Saturday Night Live ran to become a U.S. Senator from Minnesota, and won, barely. At first it appeared he had lost, but after a recount and a protracted legal dispute, Senator Al Franken went to Washington. And not because he’s such a funny guy.

Photo courtesy of The Fung Bros

The Fung Bros, Andrew and David Fung, have more than a million followers on their YouTube channel. (And yes, they're real biological brothers.) 

Photos courtesy of John Nowak/CNN

W. Kamau Bell remembers the first time he encountered blatant racism — which until then seemed like an outdated concept his mom talked about. He was 15 years old and shopping at Rose Records in Chicago when a store security officer threw him (literally) out into the street.

They chat, they joke, they drive a classic 1963 Corvette. When President Obama appears on Jerry Seinfeld's online show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, their conversation topics range from nothing to the sanity of world leaders and the merits of profanity.

Much of the talk also centers on what it's like for a guy to live in the Oval Office, the White House and a position of extreme power. A recurring theme: how a regular person adjusts to both the privilege and the stress that come with the presidency.

Courtesy Paul Currington

The thing about depression is that it magnifies the bad and diminishes the good. And the worst part is the loneliness you feel when you're caught up in it.

Carol was the only one who could take that loneliness away, which is why it was so hard when we broke up after seven years. But what kept me from going over the edge was that we actually kept sleeping together.

We were about a year and a half into this new cutting edge therapy when I went to a coffee shop to see a friend of mine play guitar. I was standing in line before the show to get coffee and I felt someone touch my elbow behind me. It was Carol, and she smiled at me and went to sit over with some mutual friends of ours.

Louis C.K. has made a career in comedy by going places others won't. He can be shockingly crude and deeply insightful in the same sentence.

In his Emmy-award winning TV show called Louie, the comedian basically plays himself — a divorced standup comic in New York with two kids. Season 4 of the show kicked off last week.

Louie is "right where I started him, really," he tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "Some stuff happened, but he ended up back where he was, which sort of is the way things work. It's a zero-sum game, at times."

Flickr Photo/92YTribeca (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with comedian Hari Kondabolu about race in America, the coming white minority and his new album, "Waiting For 2042." Kondabolu will be performing at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle on Saturday, March 29.

'The Samaritans:' When 'The Office' Meets International Aid

Mar 25, 2014

Steve Scher speaks with Hussein Kurji, creator of the new comedy TV series "The Samaritans," a mockumentary set in Nairobi, Kenya. Kurji talks about the fictional NGO that "does nothing."

AP Photo/Mitchell Zachs

Steve Scher talks with humorist Dave Barry about his new book, "You Can Date Boys When You're Forty: Dave Barry On Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About."

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ross Reynolds sits down with actor, stand-up comedian and screenwriter B.J. Novak. The 34-year-old Harvard grad, known for his role in the TV show "The Office," has also appeared in movies like Quentin Tarantino’s "Inglourious Basterds" and most recently, "Saving Mr. Banks." Now Novak has published a volume of short stories, short paragraphs and some jokes in his new book, “One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories."

Mike Lavoie

Steve Scher talks with comedian Colin Quinn about what he learned when he decided to sit down and read the entire US Constitution. Quinn's solo show about the Founding Fathers is "Unconstitutional."

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Comedian John Hodgman and songwriter John Roderick came by KUOW’s studios to promote their show at 8 p.m. on Friday at the Neptune Theatre in the University District. What followed, however, was a wonderfully meandering conversation that focused on ribbing our dear host Steve Scher.  

Highlights are below, but honestly, you should listen, because you will laugh out loud.  

Before He Was President: Senator Barack Obama

President Barack Obama is currently in his fifth year in the White House. Before he was president, then-Senator Barack Obama visited KUOW. Steve Scher talked with Obama about the war in Iraq, US-Russia relations and the Democratic Party.

The Daily Show's Senior Black Correspondent: Larry Wilmore

Larry Wilmore is The Daily Show’s Senior Black Correspondent. He’s the author of "I'd Rather We Got Casinos and Other Black Thoughts," and he’s also written for “The Bernie Mac Show,” “The Office” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Steve Scher talked with Larry Wilmore in 2009 about the election of President Obama, the line between satire and compassion and more.

The Story Behind The Shia-Sunni Split

You've likely heard of the Shia-Sunni split in the Middle East but what caused the split? British journalist Lesley Hazleton explores the stories behind the schism: from assassinations, to a favored wife, to bloody battlefields. Marcie Sillman talks with Lesley Hazleton about the roots of this centuries-old divide.

Flickr Photo/Heath Alseike

Stephen Tobolowsky: From “Groudhog Day” To “Heroes”       

You might not recognize his name but you've seen Stephen Tobolowsky in countless Hollywood movies and television shows, from "Groundhog Day" to "Heroes." The character actor is also a popular storyteller, weaving tales for radio and podcast listeners on The Tobolowsky Files. Steve Scher talked with  Tobolowsky in 2011 live on stage at the Neptune Theater.  

Radio Retrospective: Making The First Sound Effects

It's often assumed that sound effects during radio's Golden Age were all made by a person, but that's a bit of a myth. Many were played from records to save time and space. Steve Scher talks with Producer Katy Sewall about how early sound effects were created and tips on making your own at home.

The History Of Guitars

Guitars are a powerful symbol. When lashed onto someone like Keith Richards or Jimi Hendrix, they epitomize hard-sounding, hard-living, loud rock. When plucked by a flamenco player, they can evoke sultry nights and romance. Where did the guitar come from, how has it evolved and are there any changes that we can expect to see in the future? Steve Scher talks with classical guitarist Steven Novacek; Ron Reed, instrument maker and manager of Dusty Strings Guitar Shop; Gene Nygaard, guitarist and maker of Zero Guitars; and Jay Boone, owner of Emerald City Guitars.

Alan Alda, Natural Birth And Paula Poundstone

Aug 28, 2013
Flickr Photo/Frank de Kleine

Alan Alda On Making The Most Of Life

Our time here on Earth is limited. One day we will all be gone, passing into history. It is something we consciously know, but frequently ignore. Award-winning actor Alan Alda doesn't forget anymore — not after nearly dying on a mountaintop in Chile. You might know Alda from “M*A*S*H” or “The West Wing.” Alda is also the author of “Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself.”  Marcie Sillman talked with Alda in 2007 about life, work and not wasting time.

 A Story Of Natural Birth

Giving birth in American comes with many options: doctors, doulas, midwives, induction, cesarean. Only very few opt for natural births, a birth with no drugs and little to no intervention. Producer Katy Sewall brings an intimate look at one couple’s decision to go that way.

Paula Poundstone: On Writing, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder And TV

Paula Poundstone is known for improvising with the audience so well it seems planned. She’s a stand up comedian, winner of an Emmy Award and author of the book “There is Nothing in this Book that I Meant to Say.” In addition to comedy, Poundstone is a mother to three, a regular on television and radio, and a writer. Steve Scher talked with Poundstone back in 2007 about writing her book. Poundstone also answered listener calls.

Ron Chernow's biography "Alexander Hamilton."

Big Americans: From Comfortable Products To Confidence

     

Americans are bigger than ever, and many are finding the need for products, such as seat belt extenders, to make their lives more comfortable. In 2004, Steve Scher talked with Susan V. James, founder of Abundance Northwest, and Bill Fabrey, then president of Amplestuff.com, about fat acceptance and how products can help build confidence.

A Conversation With Comedian George Carlin

American comedian, actor and writer George Carlin was known for his black humor. His comedy routine “Seven Dirty Words” remains to this day the same list of words deemed unsuitable for broadcast programming. Carlin passed away in June, 2008. Steve Scher talked with George Carlin back in 1997 about his life, pet peeves and politically correct language.

The Life Of Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton spent his childhood in the Caribbean. He left to become an architect of modern American government. Historian Ron Chernow chronicled Hamilton’s life in the biography, "Alexander Hamilton." Steve Scher talked with Ron Chernow in 2004 about Hamilton’s time in war, his education and the perhaps misplaced bad rap Hamilton often receives.

Comedian Aisha Tyler On Talk Shows, Comedy And More!

Jun 14, 2013

Many people dream of having one successful career, but it’s not enough for comedian Aisha Tyler! She’s an actor, comedian, writer and co-host of the hit CBS daytime talk show "The Talk." Aisha also voices superspy Lana Kane on FX’s edgy hit comedy "Archer." She is the creator, producer and host of the hit podcast “Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler,” a show about stuff guys love. Aisha talks to David Hyde about her new book and her ongoing stand-up career.

Seattle's New Interim Police Chief, And Comedian Don Rickles

Apr 26, 2013
AP Photo/Charles Sykes

A Conversation With The Interim Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel
Last year, there was extensive property damage during the May Day protests. A recent report cited a lack of a clear communication structure at the Seattle Police Department. Interim Chief Jim Pugel says this year there will be one commander in charge with very clear lines of communication.

Comedian Don Rickles
Don Rickles has been a stand-up comedian for more than 60 years. He’s worked with Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks. He was a regular fixture on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and he still appears on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. He ribs Democrats and Republicans. He roasted Ronald Reagan at his inauguration. With Don Rickles, no one is safe.

Climate Change Could Bring More Vineyards To Washington
A recent analysis on the impacts of climate change had good news for prospective grape growers in Washington. Climatologist Nick Bond says there should be an overall increase in suitable habitat in western North America at higher elevations. That is as long as the forests and animals currently living there don’t mind.

Greg Proops, The Smartest Man In The World

Apr 5, 2013
Greg Proops
Courtesy/Wikipedia

Greg Proops is a comedian who is best known for his appearances on the improv comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway? In addition to his stand-up and improv work, he’s acted in film and television and has done voice work for such projects as "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and Bob the Builder. Greg is currently the host of the weekly podcast The Smartest Man In The World, a podcast he records live around the US and parts of Europe. 

A Conversation With Comedian Marc Maron

Mar 1, 2013
Marc Maron
Flickr Photo/nickmickolas

Marc Maron is a writer, actor and 25-year veteran of stand-up comedy. These days he’s host of the incredibly popular podcast WTF with Marc Maron, where he interviews other comedians and entertainers about their lives and careers. He just posted his 365th episode. Marc Maron joins us to talk about his career and the art of podcasting ahead of his performance at Seattle's Neptune Theatre.

Rob McKenna
AP Photo/Stephen Brashear

After eight years as Washington state attorney general and an unsuccessful bid for governor, Rob McKenna is leaving public life. As the state’s top lawyer, the two-term Republican worked to crack down on sex trafficking, gang violence, identity theft and methamphetamine production. In 2010, McKenna joined a challenge to President Obama’s healthcare overhaul. The US Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act last summer. In November, McKenna was defeated by Democrat Jay Inslee in the 2012 gubernatorial race. Rob McKenna joins us to talk about his time in public office and what lies ahead.

"Almost Live!" Alums Have Seattle's Number

Jan 4, 2013
The 206
Facebook/The 206 TV

Seattle has grown since KING 5's sketch comedy show Almost Live! left the air in 1999. Now some of the team that brought "The Lame List" and "COPS in Wallingford" to TV is back with a new show of modern-day Seattle-centric funny. The 206, starring Pat Cashman, John Keister and Chris Cashman, premieres tomorrow night. They join us in studio with a preview.

Parents tell their children a lot of things, but how much of it is actually true? Jeopardy! champ and author Ken Jennings peels back the curtain on parental warnings and advice in his new book, "Because I Said So! The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to its Kids." Join us, and wait at least 30 minutes after listening before going swimming.

The Week's Other Leadership Contest: China

Nov 6, 2012
Hu Jintao
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

The US presidential election is not the only major leadership contest happening in the world this week. On Thursday, China's Communist Party convenes to pick a successor to President Hu Jintao. Vice President Xi Jinping is expected to succeed him as all but leader of the country's military. University of Washington China scholar David Bachman joins us to discuss the changing Chinese government.