7 Questions with Dan Cummins

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Season 21

By Ryan Meehan

Dan’s unusual observations and unique autobiographical stand-up have earned him numerous television performances on The Tonight Show (both Conan and Leno have invited him over to the couch!), Showtime’s “Live from Amsterdam”, Comedy Central Presents, a one-hour Comedy Central special – “Crazy with A Capital F”, Last Comic Standing, Nickelodeon’s Mom’s Night Out, and on many other late night and cable programs. He was a cast member for the last three seasons of The World’s Dumbest on TruTv, and has appeared on several other pop up commentary series, including VH1’s I Love the 2000’s.  Expanding his resume into behind the camera work, Dan’s also written or helped produce numerous reality shows the past few years, including Duck Dynasty on A&E, Porter Ridge on Discovery, Town of the Living Dead on SyFy and he is currently writing for two upcoming series being produced by Red Bull.  Never taking a break from standup, Dan continues to tour and will be releasing Chinese Affection, his fourth album on Warner Brothers Records, in 2015. This new material was originally recorded for Pandora after the leading internet radio provider chose Dan as their very first comic to spotlight due to his popularity on their stations. Dan will also be recording another special with Warner Brothers in 2015, and, you can now watch him every week, Monday – Thursday, 9-10AM PST on Playboy, as he is the new co-host of The Playboy Morning Show, the network’s most popular and longest running series.  So do you yourself a favor and start listening to him, and check him out as my guest today in 7 questions.   Continue reading

7 Questions with Will Hull-Brown of The Cat Empire  

Cat-Empire-1

by Ryan Meehan

The musical landscape, while certainly a vast and complex one, strewn with pebbles, boulders, monoliths and mountains, is generally a well-ordered place. Bands stay within their borders, and the music matches the hair, and everybody knows what tribe you belong to. But every now and then, a band has to ask themselves, ‘Who am I?’  The Cat Empire have been asking themselves this question for over a decade. But when your whole musical concept is about transcending genre, and when a large portion of your performance is constructed out of pure improvised energy, it can be hard to know what to call the music you are creating.  In the early years, and after their first major release, the band found themselves, more often than not, being reduced to a series of slashes. The jazz/reggae/funk/latin/gypsy/hip hop tag grew longer and longer, but it was an apt description. The band would jump from one genre to the next, many times within a single song, it didn’t matter what it was, as long as people were dancing.  For over a decade now, and through various recordings, The Cat Empire have carved themselves out a unique place in the musical firmament, as a band with no guitars, with no easily definable style and no corresponding haircut, but a band that can step onto any stage in the world and make the crowd move. More than move, in fact. Make the crowd lose themselves in a frenzy.  But the question of what to call their music is as difficult to answer today as it was ten years ago. The long line of slashes just doesn’t cut it anymore, and the music has grown out of its ‘multi-genre’ concept into something wilder, a spontaneous explosion of melody and rhythm that contains many flavours, but is undeniably a new country.  Always changing, always exploring the boundaries of their mutable and uncertain identity, the band seem to have reached some kind of event horizon on their new album. But clearly, as always, this music is for dancing. The rhythm is front and centre, a beat that belongs to no single nation.  Sometimes in music there occurs a raucousness of sound that turns off our thinking brain and leads us into the depths of our dancing body, where forgotten creatures stir in the dark places of the imagination. It is this feeling that The Cat Empire have harnessed so well on their new record, a feeling of beautiful chaos, of ancient ritual and glorious colour, all caught up in the magic of the beat.  There will never be a single word to identify this music, but the essence has been there all along. If you go back to the very beginnings of the band, on an early demo, it is there in the lyrics to The Night That Never End…

Oh how the gods look down and frown
At those who never stood and said
‘My name is no-one’
And went a little mad….

I am delighted to have drummer Will Hull-Brown of The Cat Empire my guest today in 7 questions.   Continue reading

7 Questions with Leah Bonnema

00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000leah

By Ryan Meehan

Leah Bonnema is a Stand-Up Comic based in New York City. Huffington Post named her one of their Favorite Female Comedians and College Candy listed Leah as one the Ten Funniest Female Comics. She has been featured on AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live, VH1’s 100 Greatest Series, IFC’s Comedy Drop, Above Average, Elite Daily, ComedyTimeTV, Patrice O’Neal’s The Black Philip Show and is a regular on Riotcast Radio’s The Hole. Leah has had the honor of performing for the troops in Iraq, toured throughout the Middle East and performed for the US Marines at the famed Friar’s Club. Leah was a finalist in ‘New York’s Funniest’ during the NY Comedy Festival and was featured on ‘The America Stands Up Showcase’ at The Magner’s Glasgow Comedy Festival. She has performed in the Women in Comedy Festival, The 360 Comedy Festival, The Maine Comedy Festival, The NY Underground Comedy Festival, The Reel Recovery Film Festival, The Charleston Comedy Festival and at The Piccolo Fringe. Leah has opened for comedy legends Darrell Hammond, Kevin Nealon, Paul Mooney, Sarah Silverman, Pat Cooper and Gilbert Gottfried. She headlined the Breakout Artist Series at Caroline’s on Broadway, which was rated a “Top Pick” by AM NY. Leah is a regular comedy writer for United Stations and Lizz Winstead’s Lady Parts Justice. Triple J Magazine recently featured Leah as one of Funniest People You Should Know About, The NY Times called her “a promising favorite” and The Scotsman called her stage performance “A force of nature”. Leah hails from the mountains of rural Maine and received her degree in Honors Cultural Studies from McGill University. For more information please check out www.LeahBonnema.com, and enjoy her interview as she’s out guest today in 7 questions. Continue reading

7 Questions with Andrew Norelli

norelli

by Ryan Meehan

Numerous late night appearances including “The Late Show with David Letterman”, “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson”, and “Jimmy Kimmel Live”, where he was booked by Jimmy himself who said “Because of how few slots we have available you have to be an A++ comedian to get booked on my show, and Andrew is.”  Other TV appearances include Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham”, and the nationally syndicated round-table “Comics Unleashed”, where he also worked as a monologue joke writer.  Andrew’s natural charisma and sharp material have charmed audiences at comedy festivals around the world.  He won the first annual Las Vegas World Series of Comedy, which only takes in the U.S. so the use of the phrase “World Series” is a bit murky.  But if it’s good enough for baseball, it’s good enough for him.  He also took second place at the Boston Comedy Festival, and his performance at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal was praised in Time Out New York, and in a gig that pays significantly less money he’s my guest today in 7 questions. Continue reading

NFL Championship Weekend Wrap-Up

00000000000000000000000000000000conf

by Ryan Meehan

The stage is set for Super Bowl XLIX, and Sunday gave us the best and worst of both worlds.  We opened up with a game that started out being pretty boring, but then had probably one of the craziest endings in conference championship game history.  The other game was about as close to unwatchable as you can get, and got out of hand really fast.  Either way we now know who will face-off in Glendale two short weeks from now, so let’s look at how it happened in this week’s conference championship wrap-up.

Continue reading