Ben Kharakh

Mike O’Connell: Figuring out what it’s all about

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photo courtesy Mike O’Connell Mike O’Connell 

Mike O’Connell sees a certain seriousness pervading the world. The sort of thing that might put a damper on your day or ruin your weekend. His advice: Laugh at it. Laughing and getting others to laugh has helped Mike O’Connell tremendously, whether it be making a joke when he didn’t know the answer in class or coming to terms with his own mortality.

Mike’s made a lot of people laugh, which has earned him the title of Rolling Stone’s Hot Comic of 2005, a spot as one of Variety’s Ten Comics to Watch in 2007, made his video What’s It Gonna Be one of the most watched on Funnyordie.com, and earned him a production deal with MTV Studios.

That Other Paper What is your earliest memory of seeing or hearing things that make you laugh?

Mike O’Connell My grandfather was a really big humor inspiration. When I was little he was just a silly, silly man. He kind of didn’t live in the adult world. He was always making me feel that it was okay to be funny; that being funny was a beautiful part of life.

Andrew Gurland: comedy, realism, and moral ambiguity

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photo / © 2004 Dada Films Andrew Gurland (right) in Mail Order Wife 
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Andrew Gurland blends comedy, realism, and moral ambiguity reminiscent of film noir to create films that are funny, memorable, uncomfortable, and surprising. For Gurland, his films aren’t a direct expression of how he views people and their actions, but are often a fantasy that allow him to vicariously explore what he doesn’t have the opportunity to do in reality, such as commit acts of revenge and hang around pretty girls. In this Q-and-A, Gurland reveals some of his influences, what he strives for in his films, and hints at what’s to come.

That Other Paper In Fuck Gramaglia Up, the character you portray says, “I enjoy the human experience and seeing how people react in certain situations.” How does this quote relate to your own motivations for making films?

Andrew Gurland Well, I mean most of the film, performance-wise, is all improvised, so it’s not like I spent a great deal of time on that line. Even though I usually work with a script, I like to keep it pretty loose.

TOP What is your motivation for making films?

AG Well, it’s my job, firstly, and I guess I love the movies. I love all kinds of different movies, and I love being surprised. So, as a result, I’m always trying to surprise people.

Dick Valentine: I want to be your mayor

Ben Kharakh talked to Electric Six frontman Dick Valentine about soccer practice, egging pizza parlors, and dating engineers.

Doug Benson: higher than that new building in Dubai

Doug Benson: higher than that new building in Dubai

The Last Comic Standing finalist is coming to Austin for a four-night run at the Cap City Comedy Club and to screen Doug Benson Presents at the Austin Film Festival.

Andy Kindler: lover of condensed milk

Andy Kindler: lover of condensed milk | That Other Paper

Are you strong enough to resist Andy Kindler’s crushing wit? Probably not. You’re weak. Don’t think so? Then test your mettle when Andy comes to the Cap City Comedy Club on Saturday, August 4.

Maria Bamford: take time to smell the mushrooms

Maria Bamford: take time to smell the mushrooms | That Other Paper

Contributor Ben Kharakh interviews comedian Maria Bamford about selling knives, energy healing, and her headlining performances at the Cap City Comedy Club this July 11–12.

Christian Finnegan: the bravery in useless knowledge

Christian Finnegan: the bravery in useless knowledge

The featured Comedy Central Presents comic is headlining this week, June 19–23, at the Cap City Comedy Club. He promises a “long, lingering awkward hug to anyone who mentions this interview.”

Ryan Stout: Why is this kid being mean?

Ryan Stout: Why is this kid being mean?

That Other Paper contributor Ben Kahrakh interviews comedian Ryan Stout about dropping out of college, never having a real job, and drinking only Fiji water. He’s truly an everyman.

Frank Caliendo, gorilla trainer

Frank Caliendo, gorilla trainer | That Other Paper

People love impersonations — just ask Frank Caliendo. The comedian’s uncanny ability to mimic Robin Williams, George W. Bush, and Al Pacino have landed him roles on MADtv, his own show on TBS (The Frank Show), and has kept him busy touring the nation.

Patton Oswalt: These are mediocre times

Patton Oswalt: These are mediocre times | That Other Paper

Marvel as Patton Oswalt answers every question in under three seconds. Efficient or annoyed? You decide.

Neil Hamburger: Explain the unexplainable pain

Neil Hamburger: Explain the unexplainable pain | That Other Paper

Comedian Neil Hamburger has been performing in pizza parlors, bars, and condemned nightclubs for more than a decade. Now he’s coming to Austin this Saturday, April 28.

Dana Gould: The amazing talking man

After seven years of writing for The Simpsons, Dana Gould has returned to his roots in stand-up comedy. He’ll be headlining this weekend at Cap City Comedy Club.

That Other Paper | Dana Gould: The amazing talking man

Brian Posehn: Save the rocking for the stage

Brian Posehn has appeared in Mr. Show and the documentary Comedians of Comedy. Now Sarah Silverman’s “big, orange” friend is coming to Austin to perform at Mess with Texas.

That Other Paper | Brian Posehn: Save the rocking for the stage

Hard ’n’ Phirm: The Phirman Principle of Comedy

That Other Paper | Hard ’n' Phirm: The Phirman Principle of Comedy

The comedy musical duo Hard ’n’ Phirm (Chris Hardwick and Mike Phirman) discuss MySpace, nards, and the vertebrate with the shortest lifespan

Jonah Ray: Human giant from Hawaii

He has a successful series on Super Deluxe, appears in Adult Swim’s Saul of the Molemen, and just taped a set for Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham. Now he’s coming to Austin to perform during both days of the Mess with Texas party. Not bad for a giant from Hawaii.

That Other Paper | The Jonah Ray: Human giant from Hawaii

The Fun Bunch: Do you believe in inevitabilities!?

BJ Porter and Scott Aukerman are The Fun Bunch. Together they’ve helped write the sketch comedy cult favorite Mr. Show and produced Comedy Death-Ray at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles.

That Other Paper | The Fun Bunch: Do you believe in inevitabilities!?

Andrew W.K.: Good genes and pure fun

Andrew W.K. weighs the philosophical implications of “good,” “bad,” and the “pure fun” that lies somewhere in between. It’s easily one of the weirdest interviews in recorded history.

That Other Paper | Andrew WK: Good genes and pure fun

David Cross: An eye for a tooth and a tooth for an eye

Arrested Development’s Dr. Tobias Fünke is coming to Austin to host the Mess with Texas party, a two-day live comedy and music mini-festival.

That Other Paper | David Cross: An eye for a tooth and a tooth for an eye

Michael Showalter: The state of comedy

Founding member of The State and star of Wet Hot American Summer Michael Showalter will perform in Austin during both days of the Mess with Texas party and comedy festival (Friday and Saturday, March 16–March 17).

That Other Paper | Michael Showalter: The state of comedy

Jon Benjamin: Almost a rabbi

As a child, Jon Benjamin toyed with the thought of becoming a rabbi. Instead, he became the voice of a can of talking vegetables in Wet Hot American Summer.

That Other Paper | Jon Benjamin: Almost a rabbi