Wanda Sykes on Having Kids, Turning 50, and the Problem With Being Too Cool

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Roger Erickson
There aren't many people who sound like Wanda Sykes.

Then again, there aren't many people like Wanda Sykes, period. The longtime comedian who's battled cancer, come out as gay, remarried and had children all while in the spotlight, safely stands in a category all her own.

But it's not just her personal life that has managed to go in all different directions. When it comes to her career, Sykes keeps her plate full as a writer, actor, producer, and first and foremost, a stand-up comedian. Between her many projects, we caught up with Sykes on the phone to discuss motherhood, comics who are too cool for school, and why she doesn't bother with labels.


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Ralphie May on Filthy Comedy and What He Learned From Sam Kinison

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

Courtesy of Ralphie May
Don't let May's size fool you, his comedy is more than just a handful of fat jokes.

Ralphie May didn't take the stereotypical route to comedy stardom. But it doesn't really matter how you get there, because you're going to pay your dues in one way or another.

"There are a lot of different paths to be a stand-up comic," May says. "But there's no easy path to do it; all of them really grind you down."


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Pauly Casillas on Twitter Comedians and Growing Up in South Tucson

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Courtesy of Pauly Casillas
If you go see the national comedy tours that come through Phoenix, odds are good that you've seen Casillas opening for them.

Some people choose to do comedy. Others feel like they were born to do it. For Pauly Casillas, it might be a little of both.

"Well, I've always been fat, so I had to be funny," Casillas says. "I'm a fat comedian, but I'm not a fat comedian. I mean, I don't just make the fat jokes that everyone expects."


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Aidy Bryant's Made It Big on Saturday Night Live, But Phoenix Still Feels Like Home

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC
Aidy Bryant's SNL star is on the rise.

On a warm Wednesday night in June, a hip, young crowd formed a long line along 26th Street in Manhattan. They laughed among themselves, eyed the number of people in front of them, and clutched their blue ticket stubs to AIDY/TAMI/SPO, a sold-out three-woman show at Upright Citizens Brigade.

Billed as a performance by "three improvisers that you will either want to fuck, marry, or kill by the end of the show," AIDY/TAMI/SPO was an hourlong showcase by three improv greats, including Tami Sagher, Shannon O'Neill, and Aidy Bryant.

As the three entered the packed underground theater through two doors on stage, the crowd cheered and an excited (but failed) whisper reached the middle of the crowd: "She's on SNL!"

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Phoenix Comedian Matt Storrs on Intelligent Humor and Baking Cookies

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Josh Chesler
When he's not performing, Storrs enjoys baking, having uncomfortable conversations, and practicing new material on his friends.

When Matt Storrs was asked in middle school about what he wanted to be when he grew up, the teacher probably didn't expect him to answer "comedian."

Growing up, Storrs watched stand-up specials on channels like Comedy Central while other kids were watching cartoons. As a teenager, he'd take drama classes to further his comedic skill set. Early on in college, he was given a chance to take his comedy routine to the next level.

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Kathleen Madigan on Why She Admires Joan Rivers, Doesn't Fight With Lewis Black, and Could've Predicted the Ferguson Tragedy

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Natalie Brasington
Kathleen Madigan is scheduled to perform on Friday, September 19, at Talking Stick Resort.
Stand-up comic Kathleen Madigan has never been shy about skewering herself. In fact, she can be both candid and clever when joking about her drinking habits, gambling habits, lack of ambition in the gym, Irish-Catholic upbringing, or perpetual singlehood while onstage or in her most recent special, the hilarious Netflix special from last year, Madigan Again.

The comedienne also gets especially snarky when riffing on pop culture and topical issues, except when it comes to certain current events of a tragic nature.


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13 Must-See Comedy Shows in Metro Phoenix This Fall

Categories: Comedy, Top Lists

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Photo by Matthias Clamer Courtesy of FX
W. Kamau Bell performs in Phoenix this fall.
Something funny is in the air.

Make that 13 things. This fall we're finding you the best ways to bust a gut with stand-up specials happening all around the Valley. Whether they're old-school-style stand-up artists or up-and-coming comedians, here are performances you oughta mark on your calendar.


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T.J. Miller and Rick Bronson on Stand-Up, Silicon Valley, and Phoenix's Newest Comedy Club

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Josh Chesler
Comedian T.J. Miller, left, and owner Rick Bronson are hoping to create one of the country's top comedy scenes in Phoenix with the freshly opened House of Comedy.

T.J. Miller might be best known as Erlich Bachman from the HBO television show Silicon Valley, or for his movie roles, like his supporting role in She's Out of My League or "getting yelled at by Michael Bay on the set of Transformers," but there's much more to him than being "the guy from Our Idiot Brother." Miller's favorite way to perform is in the form of live stand-up, and it's not something he'll stop doing anytime soon.

"People might come out because they think, 'Oh, that guy's funny as Erlich,' but some of them will hopefully leave thinking that I'm funny as a comedian," says Miller, who's performing at the grand opening of Rick Bronson's House of Comedy in Phoenix all weekend. "Some other people will probably just leave really confused, but that's okay, too. This is like, 'Hey, come and hang out with me,' and you get a whole different experience that you'd never get from watching TV or anything. Whereas that's just a TV show to entertain you."

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Paul Mecurio on Paul McCartney, Wall Street, and Advice for Future Comedians

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Courtesy Stand Up Live
Paul Mecurio performs at Stand Up Live Thursday, September 4, through Sunday, September 7.
Paul Mecurio likes to keep his plate full.

At present, the mergers and acquisitions lawyer turned comedian writes for the Daily Show With Jon Stewart -- a gig he's had for more than a decade that's earned him an Emmy and a Peabody Award. He produces his own podcast, The Paul Mecurio Show, performs his own stand-up, and has at least three potential television shows in development.

We caught up with Mecurio in between his many jobs to talk about Paul McCartney, Wall Street, and his advice for future comedians.


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10 Comedians You Should Know

Categories: Comedy, Top Lists

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Comedy Central
If you don't know this stand up now, he's about to become a household name.
There are a lot of rising stars in the comedy world right now, and it seems stand-up is in something of a golden age. Even sitcoms, for the most part, have done away with the laugh tracks and traded the sexy Hollywood stars and starlets for professionals in the art of being funny. Truthfully, the more great comedians that are out there performing, the harder it is to know whom to follow. We just want to warn you that the following 10 people likely will have you giggling at your desk.


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