Hasan Minhaj is a talented comedian and writer currently based in New York City. Having gained acclaim for his web series The Truth with Hasan Minhaj, and his work as a stand-up comedian and actor, Minhaj earned a spot as a senior correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where he continues to appear with Stewart’s replacement, host Trevor Noah. Between September 23 and 25, Minhaj will appear at Toronto’s Royal Theatre, as part of the JFL42 comedy festival with his highly successful off-Broadway show, Homecoming King. Here, Hasan and I discuss what it’s like in Minneapolis, his cool coffee order fix, knowing you’re a weirdo, half an ice cream and smart consuming, interviewing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on The Daily Show, a political crush and Hogwart’s, embracing Justin, losing Obama, the POTUS and FLOTUS and swag, releasing the socio-political Kraken, America’s publicly annotated downfall, temporal confusion, Canada’s short election cycle, a harried nation divided, belittling a belittlers, dumb and racist, E.Q. not I.Q., a no-lose situation, the voices of Jon Stewart and Trevor Noah, correspondent freedom, new bosses don’t have easy jobs, after the DNC and RNC, pop-ins by Stew Beef, Homecoming King and growing up in the agricultural town of Davis, California, a love story, acceptance and whiteness, Bethany Reed and secret interracial love, log kya sochenge, a special New Year’s announcement, when he address Congress about gun control, and that was it.
Geoff Berner is a tremendously gifted songwriter and musician known for his outspoken work and 100% belief in the klezmer tradition. Based in Vancouver, he received a scholarship for being the top student in the University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing program and has gone on to pen scripts for Sesame Street, make several acclaimed recordings, write a book about How to Be an Accordion Player, as well as the acclaimed novel, Festival Man. His latest album is called We Are Going to Bremen to Be Musicians, it’s out now via Oriente Musik and Coax Records, and so Geoff is touring the world. We recently caught up with each other in Guelph at CFRU’s studios where he performed three songs live and discussed things like his performance of the song “We Are On Our Way to Bremen,” finding hope in darkness, the Brothers Grimm, don’t be a chicken turn musician, making a living as a musician and whether or not that’s possible, motherhood and sexism in the cultural industry, taking some joy in the deaths of people like Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and other demented old people who seemed to relish destroying poor and disadvantaged people, recalling his politically charged song, “Probably NDP,” which sort of encouraged people to vote for the NDP in the last federal election, Tom Lehrer and Jon Stewart, when satirists burn out, affecting change and laughing ideas out of the room, Joey Shithead and the origin of the Vancouver-inspired song “Condos,” which he performs live on the show, the real estate fiasco and housing crisis in Vancouver, how displaced people are ending up in Surrey, the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games and their impact on the city, the cycle of nonsense that is the housing market, the media collapse and how songs are the new newspapers, the rise of fascism, his Vancouver background and its impact on his artistic perspectives, getting into punk, Billy Bragg, acoustic D.O.A., the Vancouver Folk Festival and its leftist leanings, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Justin Trudeau smokescreen, his romantic side, a live performance of “I Don’t Feel So Mad At God When I See You in Your Summer Dress,” mixed messages, his novel Festival Man and his next novel, which is a continuation of the aforementioned story of sorts, upcoming shows, the time Geoff and I ran into each other in Oslo, the long talk, Coax and not Kochs, Socalled is a genius, a Yiddish rendition of David Bowie’s “Always Crashing in the Same Car,” the song “Ich Krakh Tomid Arayn In Der Zelber Mashin,” and then it was thank you, no thank you.
Related links: geoffberner.com vishkhanna.com
Cameron Esposito is a gifted and hilarious comedian and actress who originally hails from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a beloved figure who reveals much about her personal life in her stand-up, often discussing the fact that she’s a lesbian and covering various aspects and concerns pertaining to the LGBTQ community. In fact, her 2014 stand-up record Same Sex Symbol delved deeply into such topics and was acclaimed as one of the best and smartest comedy albums of the year. Now based in Los Angeles, Esposito is an in-demand performer who has appeared on TV shows like @midnight, Conan, Maron, Drunk History, and she will soon be voicing a character on the Cartoon Network’s We Bare Bears. This December Esposito is marrying Rhea Butcher and taping her first special, a mere two days apart. She’s touring North America in the next while, including shows at the
Comedy Bar in Toronto between September 10th and 12th and Comedy Mix in Vancouver between October 1st and 3rd. Here, Cameron and I discuss being prepared and winging it, the new multi-faceted face of comedy, Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, career longevity, stand-up is the end and not a means to an end, Jay Leno’s stand-up, villainy and heroism, the Late Night wars, David Letterman’s likability, Costco, taping a special and getting married only days apart, a wedding planner, collective memory banks, how ‘merica’s doing, regionalism, Sick Kids Hospital, bullying, Donald Trump and immigration and the LGBTQ, Mexicans, alienating America’s fastest growing voting demographic, distracting the world from racism against black people by being racist towards Mexicans, figuring Trump out, women’s roles in this upcoming election, why we think Jon Stewart left The Daily Show, social media, topical humour, talking about yourself without feeling pigeonholed, inspiring others, Hari Kondabolu, the book of autobiographical essays she’s working on, the “Fighter Pilot” bit, and that was that.
Related links: cameronesposito.com vishkhanna.com