Tag Archives: Saturday Night Live

Ep. #274: Hari Kondabolu

Hari Kondabolu is a very funny and incisive stand-up comedian who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He has written for shows like Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, he’s appeared on the many late night talk shows, and he co-hosts the Politically Re-Active podcast with Bell. In 2014, Kill Rock Stars released his highly acclaimed and hilarious stand-up album, Waiting for 2042 and they have just released his excellent, uncompromising follow-up, Mainstream American Comic, which is a wonderful mix of absurd observational stories and socio-political commentary. He’s just about to kick off an extensive American tour in Detroit on July 29 with more dates up the end of September and here, we discuss the many mistakes I made in the intro, peaking personally as the world is falling apart, the RNC and DNC conventions and what they say about the future of America, the Mickey Mouse candidate is a maniac, rewarding the asshole and how people like a heel, the ‘Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase and Virgil and a bunch of questionable WWF comparisons, mocking the mockery and the media, people who mistrust facts and the truth because of how they view the messengers, less coverage and media monsters, Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign and his recent support of Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama’s acknowledgement of Sanders in his speech at the DNC, Bernie’s heroic effort, Obama’s presidency and legacy, when Obama dumbs down his rhetoric, placating people and Jimmy Carter, Hari’s hilarious mom and talking about his parents, being a brown man in pop culture and living in the word today, no Asians on Saturday Night Live, more immigrants need to be represented in culture, things Aziz Ansari obsesses about, how to start addressing and breaking down our differences, white people don’t like games, Uncle Raj, why Hari hasn’t toured Canada yet and is avoiding Toronto, The Problem with Apu film, co-hosting the Politically Re-Active and Bugle podcasts, starting a series, why Apu is offensive and the weirdly benign yet insidious depictions of Indians, Peter Sellers in The Party, the bit “My Mom (Accent Not Included),” and that was another nice chat with Hari.

Related links: harikondabolu.com killrockstars.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #252: Bob Mehr on The Replacements

Bob Mehr is an award-winning music critic who currently resides in Memphis, Tennessee. He’s the chief music critic for The Commercial Appeal and has written for MOJO and the Chicago Reader among others and he has composed essays and liner notes for several album reissues, including the Grammy Award-winning Big Star box set, Keep An Eye on the Sky. His new book presents an illuminating and often harrowing look at one of the greatest American rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time. It’s called Trouble Boys – The True Story of The Replacements, it’s out now via Da Capo Press and here, Bob and I discuss the historical and contemporary music scene in Memphis, Sam Phillips and Sun Studios and Sam Phillips Recording Service, labels like Stax, Goldwax, and XL, Fat Possum and Style Wooten, Peter Guralnick and his recent book Sam Phillips – The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll, the close-knit Memphis music community, reflecting on Trouble Boys now that it’s out, the first time he heard about the Replacements, their infamous Saturday Night Live appearance in January 1986, discovering Pleased to Meet Me and becoming a hardcore ‘Mats fan, getting to interview Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson and the band’s associates over the years, the real story behind the band’s SNL experience, how their indifference to success gave them power among unsettled music industry people, demystifying the legends and myths surrounding the Replacements, wondering why they behaved the way they did, the horror of Bob Stinson’s life, how Bob saved Tommy Stinson, Chris Mars and Paul Westerberg’s own respective family struggles, framing this book around Bob Stinson’s funeral and the role Bob played as the soul of the band, the first Replacements’ reunion, their strengths and weaknesses after Bob left the band, a clearer sense of Bob’s and the band’s mental health and substance abuse issues, heavy history, damaged American families, brotherhoods and lovable losers, myth and romance, good times and dark humour, dickishness and insularity and the Replacements against the world, the lyrical communication of pain, R.E.M., Peter Jesperson, literally burning up money with fire, Slim Dunlap snarls, the true and strange story of the making of the Don’t Tell a Soul LP, lost in the woods, ‘dodgeknife’ and scaring Metallica, Chris Mars moves on, bringing Bob to life, not necessarily an authorized biography, how Paul and Tommy might relate to their band’s reputation and legacy, what Trouble Boys contributes to the story of the band, the obstacles the Replacements overcame, how they won, the band’s first reconstitution show at Riot Fest in Toronto in 2013, the crowd’s unusual collective joy at those shows, whether or not the Replacements actually broke up for good on-stage in Portugal in 2015, his book tour plans, feedback and reception from readers and people involved in this story, approval from the Stinsons, a 3 AM call from Paul about the book, being a kind of intermediary between people who don’t always communicate with each other very well, learning a lot as he went along, what’s next, the song “Bastards of Young” from the album Tim, my four year old son’s deep passion for the Replacements, and then it was time for decisions to be made.

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Related links: replacementsbook.com thereplacementsofficial.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #107: Friendly Rich

Friendly Rich is a strange but great man who originally hails from Brampton just outside of Toronto, Ontario. He is a singer, songwriter, educator, impresario, and instigator who has released 10 albums to date, including his latest, Bountiful, which is out on June 24 via the Pumpkin Pie Corporation. Friendly Rich and his band will celebrate its release with a show at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on July 24, which follows a sojourn across Europe in June and July. Friendly Rich recently visited me at my home where we had a spirited chat about prepping for a walk down to the Guelph Farmer’s Market, the joys of Eric the Baker, how my son doesn’t want to be on the show, how my wife and I don’t like carrying our son anymore, Goldie Hawn, John Cage, and Silence Guelph, living in Oakville, petunia spotting, the impact of the provincial election on Guelph, Rich gets self-conscious meeting the general public on our interview stroll, a firetruck at a crosswalk, the Regent Park School of Music and Saturday Night Live’s Hal Willner and Kevin Drew and Daniel Lanois, the Brampton Indie Arts Festival was a visionary thing, pranking bad mayors, my son the difficult interview subject, Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo and Marc Ribot, when the BIAF got different, slaughtering lambs in Brampton garages and filling blue boxes full of red blood, why is Friendly Rich so weird, Nudetella, infiltrating the system with subversive performance art, running into Charlie Cares busking, Raynaud’s syndrome, Rich drops a fiver inside Charlie’s case, Charlie sings us “Wildwood Flower,” locking things up, running into musician/NDP candidate/Hillside Festival founder James Gordon and peppering him with the tough questions, Arthur MacInnes has a nice shirt and is an old, Fugazi road-trip buddy, Meral the Turkish food chef whom I still owe a dollar, delicious böreks, the “Sausage Samba” saga, regulation sausage in Germany, combining the worlds of Star Trek: The Next Generation and sausage auditing for a music video that has been championed by Funny or Die and Team Coco, running into visual artist Gillian Wilson who should not be a stranger, my wife needs money, Gregory Pepper is cleaning out the eavestroughs, Art on the Street, goat’s milk, Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s death train, “Penis Suitcase” and the super strange funeral ritual of the king of Zambia, my son eats peppers like they’re apples, darkness and childlike innocence, running into Matt Collins formerly of Ninja High School and currently in the band Dutch, my former linemate Bruce Lynn, still clamouring for Eric the Baker, getting Rich a Guelph apple and talking to farmers about the apple-splitting trick, making our way to Eric the Baker, Friendly Rich is prolific, purple juice interruption, Adrian Celentano, sausage rolls and blueberry tarts, my guestlist, arriving at Eric’s, Rich buys a chocolate weiner, my son tries to steal some madeleine cookies, meeting Eric the Baker, the song “Penis Suitcase,” et en fin.

Related links: friendlyrich.com vishkhanna.com

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