In the tradition of Shrek, Universal’s Despicable Me is a film for kids, that’s also fun for adults. The Pixar-like 3D animation wows children and the cast list alone is enough to get adults excited. When I saw the first trailer for the film, seeing Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett, and Kristen Wiig all listed together made me mark my calendar for the release date. Continue reading
Get Him to the Greek isn’t exactly a sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but it brings back that film’s most memorable character, Aldous Snow, played brilliantly by Russell Brand. Continue reading
Arj Barker is best known in the USA for his role as Dave on the HBO series Flight of the Conchords, but he has also been doing stand up for over a decade and has a huge following in Australia. He has an animated online series called “Arj and Poopy” that has been described as, “Short and classic. Just what you expect from Arj and Poopy. This one might not be suitable for small children or cops.” Continue reading
Bradley Cooper has fittingly described his new film The Hangover as “Bachelor Party meets Memento” because the comedy takes the familiar storyline of inebriated pre-matrimony adventures and flips it around with the complexity of Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed mystery. Instead of showing the drunken debauchery, the story focuses on the three main characters waking up to a trashed hotel suite and trying to remember what happened the night before. Continue reading
I recently got the chance to sit down with one of the members of the 13th most popular sketch comedy group, Team Tiger Awesome, an L.A.-based troupe made up of Clint Cage, Michael Truly, and interviewee Nick Mundy. Houston natives Mundy and Cage grew up in the same town and went to the same schools growing up. Mundy went to the University of St. Thomas for college and Cage went to Texas Christian Southern University where he met their third main player, Truly. Together they formed Team Tiger Awesome.
Wil: What made you want to start a comedy troupe?
TTA: After a couple of months of drinking and hanging out, we decided to be a little more productive. So then we started writing some shorts and started shooting after the New Year. We launched the site early March of 2006 and it has just taken off since then.
Wil: Where you exposed to sketch comedy before forming TTA, like hearing of any groups on campus or did you have a favorite troupe?
TTA: It was more of a film based sketch comedy because we don’t perform live. We are huge fans of Kids in the Hall and Mr. Show. We just grew up on Saturday Night Live and me and Clint started making short films.
Wil: What’s you inspiration to begin writing a new sketch?
TTA: We like being productive, we all have specialties all the while we can still do everything on our own. We all write and act but like I’m more post production, Clint directs and Michael is like a big-time stage actor. We all just pull are resources together and after honing are skills no that it has taken off it has become a career.
Wil: How much of a career is it?
TTA: We work pretty much part time now since meeting our agent at William Morris then met our manager at Kaplan/Perrone and Entertainment , so that is why we are still doing shorts to this day because it is a full time job now. We have also been working on a film script and even working on a television pilot for a major network that will be a sitcom. It’s actually starting to become the success that we wanted it to be, we just didn’t know how quick it would come.
Wil: Did you guys do any research any other famous internet comedy troupe’s like The Lonely Island or Derrick Comedy?
TTA: We kind of saw The Lonely Island and we thought they were great, it was like oh shit this is what we want to do. They were kicking our ass at the beginning of 2006 but other than that troupe there really is no other comedy troupes we have seen and I’m one of The Lonely Island’s biggest fans because they are really fucking talented.
Wil: Do you know how your following has been so large?
TTA: It started off just word of mouth. Sketch after sketch there was more of a following. Then one day the Maury show contacted us to ask if they can put their shorts on TV and we agreed. Mostly people have heard of us but its so insane all thanks to our agents sending us up and down California.
Wil: How would you describe your group because you guys reference a lot of video games?
TTA: We just like stuff that funny to us so that we have no jetlag. We always use like parodies and more things that reference the early 90’s. So many people have looked to the 60’s and 70’s but we feel like there is an untapped gold mine to the early 90’s material. We are actually complimented for this style of our work.
Wil: If there is anyone you would want to work with that is at your disposal who would it be?
TTA: We have hung out with Johnny from the Karate Kid and hopefully that would work out and of course Steve Guttenberg.
Wil: What is the main goal of Team Tiger Awesome?
TTA: We just want to make something to make an impression on people and make them laugh. (Laugh) That was so gay about what I said but yeah that is what we want.
Team Tiger Awesome is generating a following that can be closely compared to many other greats of the internet like The Lonely Island, The Whitest Kids U Know, and Dax Flame. You can check out Team Tiger Awesome at teamtigerawesome.com or friend them on MySpace at myspace.com/teamtigerawesome.
Ian Bagg, a Vancouver native, has had a prestigious career. He has risen through the ranks and earned the glorious Comedy Central Presents half-hour special. Bagg gained much success in Canada and has also been touring in the American comedy circuit (New York, L.A., Houston, etc.) for 12 years. He has even been a featured MySpace comedian. Having odd connections to Houston, as well as being a genius with words and hecklers, Bagg is a comic that does not leave any stone unturned.
This past Saturday, Bagg gave a brilliant performance in Houston. His style is very playful and interactive with the audience, even nicknaming a pair of girls in the crowd Oprah and Gale. He also brings humorous observations to the table. In one situation a young women came up to show him her tattoo after he invited her up saying, “Come on it’s for Jesus!. Show us your tattoo” (referencing Easter). The revelation was that she had the dumbest tattoo in the world. It was a tattoo on her backside that said, “Exit Only”, which he proceded to joke about. That is Ian Bagg!
Where did you get started?
Ian: I first started stand-up in Vancouver, Canada. Then I went down to New York and I lived there for a while. Now I live in L.A.
Did you go to college?
Ian: Yes, I did go to college. I wanted to go to college because I was going to become a blasting engineer. I used to work in the mines in Vancouver gaining experience, and I just decided to do stand-up.
Do you feel comedians have a role in shaping how Americans feel about national and international events?
Ian: I feel that there are things to be addressed, I try to speak out, but I don’t as much. I have a sense of what’s going on, but I don’t talk about the same things because I’m an immigrant. I don’t touch much in other subjects.
What inspired you to do stand-up and how do you define your act?
Ian: I was inspired to do stand-up ever since I was a kid. My inspiration came from Bill Cosby and Jonathan Winters. Jonathan Winters was Robin Williams‘ inspiration for “Mork” so I respect his stand-up a lot and he is my greatest inspiration. I define my act as just being fun stupidity. I do stand-up ultimately for myself and I want to do this ’til I’m ninety.
With the recent Carlos Mencia vs. Joe Rogan incident as well as the past accusations of Dane Cook stealing jokes from Louis C.K., what is your view on comedians stealing jokes?
Ian: It has always happened and it always will happen. As for Carlos, I feel that he just has a lot of anger in his stand-up. I think that he doesn’t even know that he is stealing jokes. Well, Dane Cook is just like the Nickelback of comedy, they’re good at what they do and that is selling tickets.
How’s Houston and is this the first time you’ve come?
Ian: No, I have been here a lot. I was here when they started constructions on the I-10 freeway. I perform at the Houston Improv and the Houston Laff Stop; those are my favorite places to perform in. I even recorded my record at the Houston Laff Stop. So I’ve been here a lot (laughing). I even used to date a girl who went to U of H.
How is the following on your comedy central presents special, did you gain more fans, more press, etc.?
Ian: Fans? I want them (laughing). It’s weird because I get so much hate mail from MySpace because of the video shorts I make that are on my page. I get these little 15-year-old kids telling me off, but it’s so weird because they think they are so anonymous. They think they can get away with stuff just because they are on a computer.
What is your ultimate goal you have set for yourself as a stand-up comedian?
Ian: I want people to come see Ian Bagg! I don’t want people just to come to any comedy club to see any comedian, I want them to come see me.
You can catch Ian Bagg’s special on Comedy Central, or you can go to comedycentral.com and search for Ian Bagg. You can add also Ian Bagg as your friend on MySpace at myspace.com/ianbagg or visit his website at ianbagg.com. His new CD, Rock Paper Scissors, is available on his website.
Trashwire is growing by leaps and bounds in 2007 and we’re happy to welcome our newest writer, Wil Chinchilla. Wil recently sat down with one of the hottest comedians around, Nick Swardson, to talk about standup, gay robots, and everyone’s favorite roller skating male prostitute. If you want to be cool like Wil and submit stories to Trashwire, click here to go to the submissions page.
Nick Swardson has been doing standup since the age of 19. Since then Swardson has had two half-hour specials on Comedy Central, been a spokesperson for a soft drink, written/co-written three major motion picture scripts, and is currently on a “big standup tour” throughout all improv comedy clubs. On February 17, the very straight (not gay despite certain characters) Swardson performed for a full crowd at the Houston Improv. Walking in with to standing ovation and giving all the fist-pounds he could give, he began the greatest comedy show anyone had ever seen.
Starting off with a verbal newsletter of sorts to all of his fans, Swardson shared some exclusive behind the scenes information of what happened on the set of Grandma’s Boy, and established that real substances were used in depicting druggie video game testers. Later in his act Swardson announced that there will be a sequel with the same characters from Grandma’s Boy and that it is very hard to communicate with Adam Sandler about anything, at all. At the end of an excellent show, with an agreed interview, I proceeded into the greater depths of the Improv to be introduced to my favorite comic, Nicholas Swardson.
Wil: Did you go to college?
Nick: I didn’t go to college. I started standup straight out of high school when I was nineteen.
Wil: I thought you did because in one of your jokes you say “Why did I even go to school? All I say are five words.”
Nick: Yeah, I just constantly make up schools. Then people get excited when I go to their schools. I just say, “I went here!” And everyone is like, “Yeah!”
Wil: Is there a reason why you tour at so many colleges?
Nick: College is my favorite ’cause they’re fun. Tthose are kinda my core fans. They’re the ones that watch Comedy Central. It’s a lot of fun–it’s one show. In a club I have to do like six shows in a week, but college is just one night and I always go out afterwards with crowd and party, it’s crazy.
Wil: Do you feel comedians have a role in shaping how Americans feel about national and international events?
Nick: That’s an interesting question, because it’s a fine line. I think that some people just wanna be funny and don’t get political because you’re just supposed to be funny. But like, Janeane Garofalo is a good friend of mine and she got really political, to the point where she almost just changed her career to being just political and going out against Bush and stuff like that. She gets so much flack for it, you know. People like Lenny Bruce, Isaac [a comedy troupe], and Bill Hicks, are really political and really relevant. I think it depends if you can walk the line of being political and still being funny. David Cross is really political, but he can also tell funny drunk stories and mix it up. It’s a really fine line though. I’ve touched on it in the past, but normally I think that if people come to a comedy club, they want to laugh. I feel like I don’t want to push an agenda on them.
Wil: A video has resurfaced on YouTube of your “Barq’s [Root Beer Soda] has Bite” days
Nick: I know! That’s the crazy thing about the internet!
Wil: Was that your first major media job?
Nick: Yes, that was the first big thing I ever did, and I did it for years. I think I did like ten–twelve commercials for them. That was a trip to see those come back. I was like, “Oh My Gosh!”
Wil: When I saw them recently I remembered I seeing them when I was younger.
Nick: It’s so weird, but I owe everything to those commercials because I got them right when I started standup. I was totally broke and they afforded me to be able to go out on the road and struggle and, like, pay for like hotels and stuff, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to go out there. So, I owe Barq’s Root Beer my whole stand-up comedy career.
Wil: How do you feel having been the youngest person on Comedy Central to have two half-hour specials?
Nick: It’s cool! I mean, I really didn’t think about that at the time and then somebody told me, but I guess it’s cool. I mean, I’m not like Hank Aaron or something where I’m like, “That record will never be touched!” But, you know, it’s cool.
Wil: Looking back, can you tell me the five minutes that defined your life?
Nick: Five minutes that defined who I am? I would say, maybe when my dad died, like when I found out my dad was gonna die. I think that like really put everything into perspective. It just changes your whole outlook. It changes the whole way you live your life. It changes how you treat other people. So, I mean, that really changed every single aspect in my life.
Wil: Your future projects seem promising; can you tell me what the latest is on Gay Robot in general? I know the pilot got cancelled, so what’s the next move?
Nick: Well, I think we’re gonna take another step and make it animated on Adult Swim and do like a really wigged out cartoon for it. Then, do a movie just so we can build up a bigger following, because I don’t think the pilot on MySpace built up enough to do a whole movie. Plus, what I want to do is a tv show, so I think we’re going to do it animated because it costs too much to have the actual robot. The same guy that built the Terminator built Gay Robot, and I always thought that was so awesome.
Wil: What is your role in the upcoming movie Chuck and Larry?
Nick: I play Jessica Biel‘s gay brother, it’s another gay role. It’s, like insane, so many gay roles (laughing). Sandler asked me to play a gay brother, and I’m like, “I don’t wanna play another gay role.” But then he’s like, “No play it normal. You don’t have to be effeminate like Reno 911!, just play like a normal guy.” So I’m like, “Ok that’s cool, it’s a regular person, not a stereotype.” It’s fun, I get to play Jessica Biel’s brother. It’s a funny part.
Wil: Two films that you have lined up are Blades of Glory and Reno 911!: Miami. How does it feel having two movies with you in them coming out around the same time?
Nick: It’s really cool! I mean, I’m psyched! They’re not close enough where it’s weird. Like, I remember Chris Rock had two movies coming out on the same day and I thought, “That would stress me out.” But I’m excited about both projects, so its really cool.
Wil: Everyone seeing you tonight at the Improv is here because of two characters that you’ve made us love, Terry! and Jeff. Which one is your favorite?
Nick: That’s hard. I mean, Jeff was great because I got to write it, but Terry is all improvised so that’s fun too. It’s hard to say. I gues I would say Terry because it’s so silly and I’ve been doing it for so long. I’m more married to that character, which is fun. I’ve done it for five years now. Jeff was a one-time deal, which was a blast, but Terry I’ve done for so long and he just makes me laugh.
Wil: On the subject of Terry: can you define what it is like portraying a gay, roller-skating, male prostitute on Reno 911!?
Nick: The funny thing about it is that it’s such a crazy character. I love it! I have a blast, because you can say the craziest stuff. To me I really don’t dwell on the gay thing with Terry. For me, it’s more just, him trying to get out of situations and lying. Being so naïve is the fun part about Terry. It’s like, “Terry what where you doing?” “What, Im just allergic to roofs.” He just says the craziest stuff so it’s just fun lying.
Wil: Will we see [Showbiz Show with David Spade character] Scotty Kangaroojus ever again?
Nick: Maybe. David Spade wants me to come back, but it’s just another gay character, and it’s kinda similar to Terry, so I don’t feel like I’m doing anything different. It is fun though because David is one of my best friends, so we try to make each other laugh. I might try to come up with something else.
Wil: Do you practice your facial expressions?
Nick: I don’t. I’m just in the moment; I go by whatever they throw at me.
Wil: Grandma’s Boy has mainly been considered by critics as a “cult-classic for stoners and video game fan boys”. What is your view on Grandma’s Boy?
Nick: I would disagree. I love Grandma’s Boy and I think it’s definitely a cult-classic, but the critics were horrible to us. Most of the critics said that it was the biggest piece of shit ever made, the worst movie ever made, Adam Sandler did a favor for his friends to make it, they just trashed us. I got into a big fight with the critics and emailed guys back and told them to fuck off. I mean, we got into a whole big thing. But, you know, it is what it is. We made it, the fans love it, and critics are such assholes. The DVD is blowing up and people really respond to it. That’s all I really care about.
Wil: What do you prefer, acting, writing, or stand-up?
Nick: I like them all. I think they all like feed each other. I really don’t like one better than the other. I mean, I like doing movies, and I like going to do stand-up and people loving the movies and knowing my stand-up.
Wil: Has there ever been a comedian you have considered a bully?
Nick: No. There have been famous comics where I thought they have done things that were kinda lame, but no one has ever fucked with me. I’ve seen some things, but most people are really cool.
Wil: Do you feel you’re in the loop of success with comics such as Jim Gaffigan and David Cross?
Nick: I mean, as far as stand up, I’ve known these guys for years, so it’s not like, “Finally I know all these guys.” I’ve known these guys literally for years, I’ve started with all these guys, I’ve known Jim Gaffigan, I started with Dane Cook, and I’ve known all those guys. For me it’s almost like a high school, where I’ve grown up with people and now that you see them at different levels of success it’s cool and exciting. I’m happy for Dane and Gaffigan and those guys. I mean, acting wise, I’m getting more into branching out, meeting people like Will Farrell and knowing guys like that, so it’s cool being in another circle that way. But as far as standup, I’ve known these retards my whole life.
Wil: Is there anyone you would like to work with in the future that you haven’t already?
Nick: Umm, I don’t know, I mean I’ve worked with Adam Sandler, David Spade, all those guys. I would like to do something with [Ben] Stiller. Stiller and I might do something this year. I would like to work with him; I think Ben’s really funny. With the Will Farrell movie, I didn’t have any scenes with Will, so I would actually like to do something with Will.
Wil: We all know the comedy greats of history are Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Bill Hicks, etc. Are there any others that are more obscure that you really like?
Nick: There’s a guy, Dana Gould, who I think is really underrated. He was kind of one of my inspirations. He’s a producer for The Simpsons now, and he’s a brilliant stand up. He’s had a bunch of specials and he is just really great. I think people should know Woody Allen‘s old stand up is brilliant. Also Brian Regan is really great. He’s really funny.
Wil: If you could bring one person from history back to life, who would it be and why?
Nick: Anna Nicole Smith…just…cause.
You can pick up Grandma’s Boy on DVD now or catch Nick Swardson in Blades of Glory, Chuck and Larry, and Reno 911!: Miami in theaters. You can also see him as Terry in the new season of Reno 911! on Comedy Central. Nick Swardson is definitely a comic for our generation and his distinctive style is loved an adored by many, and hopefully many more in the future.