News Podcast

Ep. #166: Tom McCaffrey

Tom McCaffrey is a renowned comedian, writer, director, and performer based in New York City. Over the last two decades, McCaffrey’s work has appeared on Comedy Central, VH1, Funny or Die and he’s written for the Onion and Huffington Post among others. He’s acted in and directed films as well and his latest venture is a documentary about his life and work called Adventures in Comedy, which features insights from Jim Gaffigan, Janeane Garafolo, Aisha Tyler, Michael Che and more. Adventures in Comedy will be available on most streaming sites beginning February 20 via Comedy Dynamics and here, Tom and I talk about snow mountains in Manhattan and Guelph, the climate of civil and authoritarian unrest in Bill de Blasio’s NYC, mock and doc, Larry David and the first Curb Your Enthusiasm special, weird small shows, big-talk entertainment managers, starting with Dave Chappelle, explaining the film’s concept to comedians who speak earnestly about comedy, everyone knows a Larry David, how stand-up and comedy has come into vogue, the live album Adventures in Comedy, the rap album Streets Aren’t Watching that Tom made as well, Nas, Eminem is too fast, people like us rapping in public, Morgan Freeman’s influence on Adventures in Comedy, inspiring stories, the Last Exit to Brooklyn podcast that Tom hosts, the star-studded TMC song “I’m a Headliner” and then the adventure is over.

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I hop on the “I liked Arcade Fire first” bandwagon late… was quoted in a Guelph Mercury article today about the association between Guelph and Arcade Fire. In the wake of their Grammy win this past Sunday night, there’s been plenty of discussion about this band that “stole” a major award from Eminem and Lady Gaga. There are some people who don’t even know who they are when really, they’ve been hugely popular for close to six years now (i.e. they’ve played SNL twice, debuted at #1 on Billboard, have played sold out shows at Madison Square Garden, been on Letterman and Conan, opened for U2, performed publicly with David Byrne, David Bowie, and Bruce Springsteen, collaborated with major filmmakers, and been nominated for Grammys before, etc.). Any way, it’s also sparked a weird ownership discussion about the band among their fans and some media outlets–a kind of entitled, “We knew about them before they were huge and won a Grammy” line of thought I suppose. It’s all a bunch of noise really but now I’ve got myself caught up in it.

This morning, because of the Merc piece,  I began to reflect on my own association with the band and found some links to some of the earliest pieces I wrote about them. I’m sharing them below, not because I feel I’m owed anything or want any kinda cred for my efforts (which include paying attention to things and trying to articulate my feelings about them, and aren’t all that astounding, I realize). It’s just a kinda scrapbooking exercise I suppose. When I first saw Arcade Fire open for Broken Social Scene and Royal City at La Sala Rossa in Montreal in December 2002, it was a fluke that I was even there (RC often brought me on tour with them) but still, I knew they were something else. And now I’m feeling nostalgic about that era for the band and myself too, sure.

I’m nothing but ecstatic and pleased by all of this band’s success, not because I know them vaguely or was lucky enough to share stages with them when they first played Ontario or that I was able to write about their music when few others had the chance to. The fact is, they’re really one of the best bands in the world and they’ve been remarkably poised, composed, and grounded in the face of what I can only imagine is a freakish amount of pressure and scrutiny. They’re really great people making amazing music and I’m proud to have gotten to know them over the years.

So yeah, here are some links to things I’ve written about Arcade Fire since 2003. Enjoy.

A Nathan Lawr article that references AF’s first Guelph show in July 2003, which I organized.

A September 2003 review I wrote about their first EP.

A Unicorns/Arcade Fire combo piece for their first Hillside appearance in July 2004.

Funeral review, 2004.

And a preview piece on their 2005 appearance at Hillside.

And interview/reviews of Neon Bible and The Suburbs for Exclaim!