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Fred Willard

The Comic's Comic Presents Last Things First

Release Date: 05/17/2020

2020 Comedy MVPs with Jason Zinoman show art 2020 Comedy MVPs with Jason Zinoman

The Comic's Comic Presents Last Things First

How are we supposed to make any sense out of this year in comedy, 2020? There’s only one way I know how…that’s by reuniting with Jason Zinoman of The New York Times, the Siskel to my Ebert in comedy criticism, to hash out 2020 and give some shout outs to the most valuable players in comedy…so let’s get to it! Among those shouted out: Dave Chappelle, Conan O'Brien, Eddie Pepitone, Beth Stelling, Mike Birbiglia, Amber Ruffin, Amy Schumer, and Sarah Cooper and all of the other selfie stars who made us laugh on social media this year.

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Michael Kosta show art Michael Kosta

The Comic's Comic Presents Last Things First

Michael Kosta is a Senior Correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Prior to The Daily Show, Michael co-created, produced and starred in the E! network’s The Comment Section, guest-hosted G4’s Attack of the Show and co-hosted Crowd Goes Wild on FOX Sports with Regis Philbin. He also served as a correspondent on The Soup spinoff series The Soup Investigates. Kosta has made the late-night rounds over the years from NBC to TBS and back to Comedy Central, and at the end of 2020 has released his first one-hour stand-up special for...

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Jeremiah Watkins   show art Jeremiah Watkins

The Comic's Comic Presents Last Things First

Kansas native Jeremiah Watkins trained at both The Second City and The Groundlings, and has become a fixture at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles as part of several trademark shows; among them, he was one-third of “The Wave” for Roast Battle as it developed and grew from late-night Tuesdays to multiple seasons on Comedy Central. He’s still the bandleader for Monday’s Kill Tony. And for more than a decade, Watkins has hosted an improvised riffing showcase there called Stand-Up On The Spot. You also may have seen and heard Watkins as the the saxophone-playing roadie for The Goddamn Comedy...

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Colin Quinn Talks 2020 show art Colin Quinn Talks 2020

The Comic's Comic Presents Last Things First

Colin Quinn seems to have his finger on the pulse of stand-up comedy and America just about as well, if not better, than almost any other comedian in America these days. His most recent solo stand-up special, 2019’s Red State Blue State, poked holes in how united Americans could be in this digital era where everyone’s opinions can carry equal weight, no matter how outlandishly crazy or off-base they might be. Quinn’s special even premiered on CNN, although it’s now on Netflix along with his previous two shows (Unconstitutional, and The New York Story). He followed that up with a book,...

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CollegeHumor's Sam Reich show art CollegeHumor's Sam Reich

The Comic's Comic Presents Last Things First

Sam Reich was 21 when CollegeHumor hired him as its first Director of Original Content in 2006. In a few short years, the success of in-house webseries such as “Hardly Working” and “Jake and Amir” got Reich and CollegeHumor a sketch comedy show on MTV. While that show didn’t last, Reich helped executive produce, write or direct several others. Among them: Adam Ruins Everything for truTV, Hot Date for POP, and "Rhett and Link's Buddy System" on YouTube Red. In 2020, Reich acquired CollegeHumor from IAC, where he continues to oversee the making of original comedy videos for the...

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Negin Farsad show art Negin Farsad

The Comic's Comic Presents Last Things First

Negin Farsad began her comedy career while advising campaign finance policies for the city of New York, and over the course of the 2010s, she has mixed social justice and comedy on stage and on the road. She made and performed in a road-trip documentary across America in 2012 called “The Muslims Are Coming!” She has delivered multiple TED Talks, one based on that documentary, and another on her book, “How To Make White People Laugh.” Since 2016, she has hosted a weekly podcast on the Earwolf network called “Fake the Nation,” and has become a regular on the NPR comedy quiz show,...

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Melinda Hill show art Melinda Hill

The Comic's Comic Presents Last Things First

Melinda Hill moved 27 times as a kid before making her biggest move from Kansas to Los Angeles to make it as an actress. She studied with The Groundlings, where she performed as a tooth fairy alongside Kristin Wiig. She starred in a Creed music video. She competed on America’s Got Talent. She performed on Adventure Time, Lady Dynamite, The Late Late Show, and Reno 911! She made a webseries for Funny or Die with Maria Bamford, and another one for My Damn Channel called Romantic Encounters. And for 10 years, she helped run a popular Monday night stand-up showcase in Hollywood called...

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J-L Cauvin show art J-L Cauvin

The Comic's Comic Presents Last Things First

J-L Cauvin is a native New Yorker who started his stand-up comedy career in Washington, D.C., while going to law school at Georgetown. His first big break came in 2007 when he performed on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, but J-L has found many more fans and followers thanks to his uncanny impersonations, whether they’re of people he has been told he looks like, which includes Barack Obama, Adam Sandler, or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, or by lampooning other comedians such as Louis CK, JB Smoove, George Lopez, Gary Gulman, or Adam Carolla. J-L’s Carolla impersonation got the...

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Lewis Black talks 2020 show art Lewis Black talks 2020

The Comic's Comic Presents Last Things First

So much has changed in the world since the last time I caught up with Lewis Black in September of 2016. But last things first, obviously: Black managed to film his last live show before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down live stand-up comedy, recording his March 13, 2020, performance at Four Winds Casino in Michigan and releasing it in October 2020. It’s called, appropriately enough: “Thanks For Risking Your Life.” Black spoke with me over Zoom about the special, about his longtime support for the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY, and about America’s seeming lack of community in...

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Adam Conover show art Adam Conover

The Comic's Comic Presents Last Things First

Adam Conover is a comedian and writer best known for the truTV series Adam Ruins Everything, which  he created and hosted from 2015-2019. Conover’s comedy career began while still a student at Bard College, where he was part of the sketch comedy group, Olde English, along with future Bojack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg. Olde English performed at the HBO Aspen comedy festival in 2007, and in 2012, wrote and released the feature film, The Exquisite Corpse Project. Conover also began writing and making videos for College Humor, where his 2012 parody Mitt Romney Style has earned...

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When I sat down with Fred Willard in February 2020 inside his home in Southern California, he was noticeably weak — I held his microphone for him throughout our conversation — but his mind and his sense of humor was quite intact, and he was still working. In fact, Fred received a phone call during our interview inviting him to the Modern Family wrap party, and talked to me about being ready and willing to drive into Hollywood with only a morning’s notice to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Willard was a deadpan king of comedy and an improvisational genius in all sorts of supporting roles in television and movies from the 1960s until his final days. We spoke about all of it over the course of an hour, from how he got involved with The Second City and Ace Trucking Company, to Fernwood 2 Night and Real People, hosting Saturday Night Live in 1978, meeting Christopher Guest and his memorable roles in This Is Spinal Tap, For Your Consideration, and of course, Best in Show. He had a funny story about how he scored a role in Everybody Loves Raymond. Willard also talked about what would be his last venture, playing Steve Carell’s father in the new Netflix farce, Space Force. Willard died peacefully at home on May 15, 2020. He was 86. He was the only live-action actor in a Pixar animated movie in WALL-E, perhaps because he always animated every project he worked on. Fred Willard most certainly will be missed. But let him tell you why in his own words, so let’s get to it!