John Semley is a prolific journalist and cultural critic based in Toronto who regularly contributes to the Globe and Mail and Macleans magazine. His obsession with comedy led him to fall in love with true originals in the innovative Canadian troupe, the Kids in the Hall. ECW Press has just published This is a Book About The Kids in the Hall, Semley’s exhaustive and engaging overview of the life and times of Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson, otherwise known, as the Kids in the Hall. Semley and I recently met at his home to discuss Bloordale and a toxic gas event, Scharpling & Wurster at the Mod Club in Toronto, SCTV, phone comedy and radio shows, oblivious characters, The Kids in the Hall and The Simpsons and Mr. Show, adults comedies getting syndicated and then running at like four in the afternoon when kids get home from school, obsession and fandom, being a metal guy, comedy and classic rock, the Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers, metal and hardcore scenes and Alexisonfire in St. Catharines, Constellation Records and Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Neurosis, generalism in a post-taste era, sardonic, contemptuous comedy, surrealism, humour and coping with life, the Kids in the Hall were outcasts, seeing Brain Candy at a movie theatre when he was nine years old, dad issues among the Kids, Mr. Show and irony versus The Kids in the Hall and sincere rage, psychological studies and post-Freudian critical theory, skewering authority figures and conceptions of manhood, cross dressing and female characters, queerness, dad types, rebelling via The Kids in the Hall, idiocy, his 2013 oral history about the Kids for NOW Magazine and its surprising popularity, Toronto the cool, Queen Street West in the mid-1980s, comedy club intimacy and the Rivoli, love comedy discomfort, comedian smugness and aloofness, the interviewer who thinks they’re as funny as the comedian they’re talking to, his entertaining prose in this book, when trying to relate to someone leads to alienation, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet and Lorne Michaels’ pride for the Kids in the Hall, Janeane Garofalo, Dave Foley’s show Spun Out and the Kids’ unique chemistry, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert reviewing Brain Candy, negative reviews of Death Comes to Town, nothing like the Kids in the Hall, “Screw You, Taxpayer!,” an unauthorized biography, a second book proposal, interviewing ‘Dylanologist’ AJ Weberman, @johnsemley3000, and then John when to hang out with these guys who smoke!
Mary Lynn Rajskub is a talented comedien and actress who originally hails from Detroit, Michigan. Though she’s likely best known for her portrayal of data analyst Chloe O’Brian on the hit Fox drama 24, for comedy fans she’s well-regarded for her work on groundbreaking efforts like Mr. Show, The Larry Sanders Show, and as a character actress in numerous films. She’s currently touring behind a one-woman comedy show called 24 Hours with Mary Lynn Rajskub, which has been staged at Just for Laughs in Montreal, including upcoming performances on the evenings of July 26, 27, and 28 at the Mainline Theatre. Here, Mary Lynn and I discuss just getting off-stage in Montreal at JFL with her new one-woman show, talking about her family and being known for her role on 24, the yoga teacher and the miniature horse, Chloe as Jack Bauer’s comedic foil and when that dynamic turned, Czech mate, royalty city, the state of the States, a therapeutic performance, current news and politics within her show, the Republican National Convention and fear mongering, the difficulty of mocking the mocker making a mockery of everything, real time social media reactions, Drumpf the performer and character, word salads, a Canadian invasion, her work on The Larry Sanders Show, her relationship with Garry Shandling, his generosity and emotional awareness, Janeane Garofalo and David Cross and how their friendship led to her auditioning for Shandling, Peter Tolan and Judd Apatow and Peter Smokler, inside Hollywood, love and hate, taking her show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and then the day was done.
Related links: marylynnstandup.com hahaha.com vishkhanna.com
David Cross is a gifted comedian, actor, author, and writer who originally hails from Atlanta, Georgia. For almost 30 years now, he’s been at the vanguard of comedy, writing and/or performing on influential and hilarious TV programs such as The Ben Stiller Show, Mr. Show, Arrested Development, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, W/Bob & David, and many more. He’s appeared in dozens of feature films, published a book of essays called I Drink for a Reason, and he’s well-known for his three incisive stand-up records: Shut Up You Fucking Baby!, It’s Not Funny, and Bigger and Blackerer. He’s on a world tour right now for a stand-up show he’s calling Making America Great Again!!, which includes July Canadian stops in Calgary on the 22nd, Edmonton on the 23rd, Toronto on the 24th and 25th , Ottawa on the 26th, and Montreal on the 27th. During a phone call while he was in Stockholm this past Monday, David and I discussed the mood in Europe post-Brexit, immigration and misinformation, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, how his current show actually relates to”Make America Great Again,” the state of satire, plans to work with Bob Odenkirk again, what’s happening with Arrested Development, “Flying on a Mexican Plane,” and that was it.
Related links: davidcrosstour2016.com vishkhanna.com