Tue, 8 January 2013
In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with comedian/writer/actress Tess Rafferty. Tess is a hilarious lady that you've probably seen performing in countless sketches on "The Soup" or you may have seen her discussing pop culture on the TV Guide Channel or VH1. Besides writing for and performing on TV, Tess recently wrote her first book, "Recipes for Disaster: A Memoir." We talk about everything from her inspiration for her book to playing a dancing maxi pad on TV to the importance of a beehive.
Also, in honor of the Golden Globes coming up next weekend, Tess was kind enough to allow us to share an excerpt from "Recipes For Disaster: A Memoir" with some great ideas/recipes for throwing an awards show party (which I am pasting below).
TESS RAFFERTY'S BIO
For 7 ½ years Tess Rafferty wrote on the cult comedy show The Soup, where she skewered pop culture, parodied celebrities and helped her co-workers pick out gifts for their wives. She was frequently seen on camera as herself, Posh Spice, a Succubus, a “Guidette” from Jersey Shore, and perhaps most notably The Dancing Maxi Pad. Her first feature film, Thicker Than Water, is scheduled to begin filming in early 2013.
While at Emerson College, Tess started performing stand-up comedy at the clubs and Chinese restaurants around Boston, and, when not holding herself to ridiculous standards at dinner parties or learning to speak Italian, continues to perform stand up in Los Angeles. She is also a regular performer at the storytelling show, Public School, and frequently reads her essays at the Pez show. She can also be seen discussing pop culture on the TV Guide Channel and VH1.
A drinking “enthusiast,” Tess enjoys wine, specifically good wine. She’s tasted wine from the Napa Valley to Long Island to the island of Ischia, and at every airport bar in between. Her travels have led to an appreciation of good food, which she attempts to bring home and recreate for her friends, with varying degrees of success.
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, their three ungrateful cats, a modest wine collection and a pool. So nothing bad can happen here.
FYI: Tess will be participating in a book signing in Santa Clarita on February 7th at 7:00pm at the Santa Clarita Public Library.
EXCERPT FROM "RECIPES FOR DISASTER: A MEMOIR" - AWARDS SHOW PARTIES
Awards show parties are difficult to plan food for and your guests will need to eat The broadcast lasts as long as a flight to Europe and at least there people get 2 meals and a snack. Only it’s not a sit down event and everyone will want to eat at a different time or at least find a distraction from the categories they find particularly uninteresting. We’ve frequently served The Husband’s Chili (Formerly The Boyfriend’s Chili) during the Oscars as you can keep it hot in a crock pot or on the stove top and set up a buffet of cheeses, sour cream, hot sauces, tomatoes, raw onion, jalapenos…whatever you think people might like on their chili. Put out some bowls and spoons and let people help themselves whenever it’s convenient for them.
Likewise, the grilled cheese bar works well for the event.It’s not like you and your guests have to worry about fitting into those dresses.
The Husband’s Chili – The Colonic You Can Drink With
1 large onion
2 lbs ground beef
2 hot sausage links
2 cups water
1 12 oz. beer
4 tsp paprika
2 tablespoons plus 2 tsp cumin
1 cup chili powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
8 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
About 2 inches of pepperoni, cut into small pieces
Salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste
Chopped tomatoes (optional)
The Husband has been making this recipe for years, largely by heart, which means he often changes things up and doesn’t measure accurately, preferring to adjust his spices to taste. So, if you are worried about it being too spicy, use only half or so of the spices at first, adding as you go along to your own desired flavor.
Heat oil in a large stew pot. Dice the onion, then sauté it for five minutes over medium heat in the pot. When the onion starts to brown, add the ground beef. Keep “chopping” the beef with a wooden spoon so the beef breaks up into little pieces, which is how The Husband likes it best, just tiny granules of beef. Once the beef is browned and chopped into the preferred consistency, add water, beer, beans, paprika, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, vinegar and garlic. In a separate pan, sauté the sausage and then add that to the chili pot, as well. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 2 hours, stirring it every so often so it doesn’t stick to the bottom and making sure the liquid isn’t boiling off. If it does, add more beer or water.
At the start of the second hour, dice up the pepperoni into 1/4”-1/2” cubes. “Don’t be anal about it,” says The Husband, “They don’t have to be perfect cubes, Just don’t make them too big.” Sear the pepperoni in a pan with a little oil and add pepperoni to chili. Now’s a good time to start tasting and adjusting the spices, too. If it’s too hot, add more water. If it’s not hot enough, add Tabasco or more cayenne pepper. Continue to simmer for the second hour.
Serve with cheese, sour cream and chopped tomatoes.
When we want to be healthy we substitute dark ground turkey instead of beef. You could use ground white turkey, but it’s dryer and we don’t want to be that healthy. Conversely, when we want to just stop our hearts for an afternoon we use only 1 1/2 lbs of ground meat and 1/2 a pound of stewing beef, which we let cook until it starts to fall apart. Also, you can add an 8 oz can of tomato sauce or tomato paste to thicken your chili, but we don’t since I can’t eat tomatoes.
Setting Up A Grilled Cheese Station or How to Make Your Guests Cook Their Own Food
This is so easy, you’re going to feel guilty. You’re going to feel guilty hell as you merely decant bread from its bag or simply stick a spoon into an open jar of mustard. And if you feel guilty then, you will feel Single-Mom-Leaving-For-Business-Trip guilty when your friends rave about it and ask for seconds and tell you it’s the best thing they’ve ever eaten.
But you know what else you will feel? Relaxed. And probably pleasantly buzzed.
All you need is one or more panini makers and lots of counter or table space for your sandwich station. Then all you have to do is go to the store and use your imagination. Start with your bread and your cheese. Choose some basics: a hearty white or sourdough bread for purists; a neutral cheese like a mild cheddar or provolone. You want something for less adventurous eaters, however that doesn’t mean this is the time for cheese that comes individually wrapped. (It is never the time for individually wrapped slices of cheese!) After that’s out of the way, get some blue cheese, some goat, some sharp cheddar, some Gouda. You can buy this whole and slice or grate yourself or you may be able to find gourmet cheeses such as these already sliced, at places like Trader Joe’s. Get some wheat breads, something a little eccentric like olive bread or cinnamon. Remember to buy the appropriate amount for your guests. There may be six loaves at the store you’re dying to try, but if you’re only serving 12 people that may be overkill. What are you going to do with the leftovers, besides create the biggest flock of foodie pigeons on your block?
Next, if you want, you can always add different meats like prosciutto or salami or braised short ribs. But braised short ribs take work so you may want to skip this. Or do as we do, and next time you braise some short ribs, throw a little meat and gravy into the freezer for days like this.
After that, pick some spreads: mustards, honeys, aiolis, tapenades. The gourmet food section at the grocery story is your oyster! Raid the gift baskets you got last Christmas for those condiments you never thought you’d use. Depending on how much work you personally want to do, you could slice up some tomatoes, fry some bacon or carmelize some onions. Pick up a few things like walnuts or currants or raisins. Put a bowl of potato chips out so that people can crush up potato chips on their sandwich like they’re five again. Remember, if it sounds good to you, it will probably sound good to others as well. And if it doesn’t, it still sounds good to you, so who cares?
Arrange everything in some semblance of easy to get to order and try to have a separate spoon or fork for everything for people who are allergic to half of those things, such as myself. Then just plug in the panini makers and you’re all ready to go! I know, it’s so simple but so delicious, people won’t even mind that you’re making them cook their own food.
Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_23_Tess_Rafferty_FIXED.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 1:00am PST
Tue, 25 December 2012
Happy Holidays! Thanks to everyone who's been listening! I am happy to announce that in honor of the holidays we are having a contest where you can win a copy of Final Draft screenwriting software. I will be posting trivia questions about our first 20 podcasts on our Tumblr site in a few days. All you have to do is answer the trivia questions correctly to be entered to win. Please stay tuned for details.
Mon, 17 December 2012
In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with voiceover artist/actress/director/singer Candi Milo. Her vocal skills have been heard on over 20 animated shows. Candi's credits include: "Dexter’s Laboratory," "Fanboy and Chum Chum," "Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends," "Curious George," "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Cool World," "Cow And Chicken," "Gimme A Break," "Perfect Strangers," "Johnny Bravo," "Days Of Our Lives," "Empty Nest," "My Life As A Teenage Robot," "Tiny Toon Adventures," just to name a few. We talk about everything from crashing all three of her unions to working on a soap opera to what Steven Spielberg and Oprah have in common.
CANDI MILO'S BIO
Two-time Annie Award nominee Candi Milo is one of the hottest female voice talents in Hollywood and the voice to be heard with over twenty animated shows on air.
Currently appearing as five characters on Nickelodeon’s Fanboy and Chum Chum, she also starred as Cheese, Coco and Madame Foster in Cartoon Network’s hit: Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends. Milo created Maya and Tito in Scholastic’s Maya & Miguel and voiced lead roles in Loonatics Unleashed for Kids’ WB, W.I.T.C.H. and Maggie, The Replacements and Emperor’s New Skool for Disney Channel, Juniper Lee, Pet Alien and Curious George for Cartoon Network.
Add to that her ratings-winning Dexter on Cartoon Network’s infamous Dexter’s Laboratory, Astro Boy (Japan’s Mickey Mouse), the Flea on Mucha Lucha, Nick on Academy Award Nominated Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, as well as Snap and Bullnerd in Nickelodeon’s Chalk Zone, and Mrs. Wakeman on My Life As A Teenage Robot. Candi has contributed her talents to over eighty other animated shows, features and games. Her work on the Final Fantasy franchise is a big draw for her fans.
Steven Spielberg was the first to hire Candi on Tiny Toon Adventures and she joined Warner Bros’ expert stable of actors. She went on to voice twelve characters in Ralph Bakshi’s Cool World with Brad Pitt and Gabriel Byrne also throwing them lines on set, creating the reactions used. She has worked with countless celebrities and directed Selena Gomez in a Disney animated pilot.
Candi began her career as a singer working for Disney theme parks in shows created especially for her and then settled in Los Angeles as a stand-up and singer for Princess cruise lines; one of their youngest-ever solo performers. Stints as a comic led her to open for Joan Rivers and Howie Mandel and spots on TV including Evening at the Improv, and a sketch-comedy show created by NBC. She has acted in over 200 on-camera commercials.
Candi starred in Reaching for the Stars, television’s first reality MOW and went on to play recurring characters on such hit shows as Gimme a Break, Perfect Strangers, Days of Our Lives and Empty Nest. Many more TV shows followed, as did films including Last At Bat, a short made for Funny or Die. Features include Bad Medicine, Almost An Angel, Dead Women In Lingerie and I Don’t Buy Kisses Anymore. In theater, she performed in Los Angeles with Chris Kardashian in a benefit of Cabaret and starred The Drowsy Chaperone, as the Chaperone, to high acclaim. Her theater resume is also extensive. She was discovered at age 20 by the late Michael Bennett at an open audition for the first national tour of Dreamgirls, directed by Bennett, choreographed by Michael Peters (Thriller, Beat It) and starring Jennifer Holiday.
Candi lectures extensively on harnessing personal power and VO acting across the United States and Europe and is also an accomplished VO director. She judges for The Annie Awards and The Emmys. She has written a memoir entitled Surviving The Odd, her true story of growing up in one of the first half way houses and written and performed for sell out crowds a stand-up/pop show called; Hip Is A Relative Term. Her other shows, Life’s Too Short…And So Am I (produced by Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin) Playing Well With Others and I Am Absolutely Exhausted, were also sold out evenings mounted in Los Angeles. Milo currently lives in Los Angeles and is active on BlogSpot, Twitter, FaceBook and her website candimilo.com.
Mon, 10 December 2012
In this episode, I laugh my ass off and learn a lot chatting with writer/comedians Cheryl Holliday and Laurie Kilmartin. They are two of the funniest ladies you will meet. Cheryl and Laurie first met working as road comics together and both have now made the transition to successful TV writer. Cheryl is an Emmy winning writer whose TV credits include: "King Of The Hill," "Herman's Head," "Martin," "Mike And Molly," "Kung Fu Panda," and "Norm," just to name a few. Laurie is an Emmy nominated writer whose TV credits include: "Conan," "The Bonnie Hunt Show," "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" and "Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn." She was also a finalist on "Last Comic Standing" and her book “Sh*tty Mom” was on the NYT bestsellers list. We talk about everything from a Tribble Run to doing voices for "King Of The Hill" to performing standup in a mining town.
CHERYL HOLLIDAY'S BIO
Cheryl Holliday is a writer who has lived a life of constant regret, ladled over self-loathing, and sauteed in tears of bitterness. Like the appendix, she serves no real purpose. Bios are bullshit. I like ginger snaps. Is anyone still reading this?
LAURIE KILMARTIN'S BIO
Laurie Kilmartin is an Emmy-nominated writer for CONAN on TBS. As a standup, she was a Top Ten finalist on Last Comic Standing, and has appeared on "Conan," "Jimmy Kimmel," Showtime and Comedy Central.
She is the co-author of “Sh*tty Mom” a New York Times and LA Times bestseller.
Direct download: 2_Degrees_ep_19_Conan_Writer_Laurie_and_King_of_the_Hill_Cheryl.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 11:39pm PST
Tue, 4 December 2012
In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with showrunner/writer/producer Jonathan Groff, a very smart and funny guy whose credits include: "Happy Endings," "How I Met Your Mother," "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," "Andy Barker P.I.," and "Scrubs," to name a few. Jonathan was recently included in Hollywood Reporter's 2012 list of the top 50 showrunners. He also happens to be a five-time "Jeopardy!" winner. We talk about everything from working with Carl Reiner to what it's like developing for television to Siegfried and Roy's personal party string quartet.
JONATHAN GROFF'S BIO
Jonathan Groff was the head writer for Late Night with Conan O'Brien. He also created the shows Andy Barker, P.I. and The Jake Effect and was a consulting producer for How I Met Your Mother. He is currently working as an executive producer on the ABC comedy Happy Endings.
Tue, 27 November 2012
In this episode, I have lot of fun chatting with actor J Kristopher. J has appeared on TV ("Numbers," "Outlaw," "Conan," "Days Of Our Lives") and in feature films ("Seven Pounds," "Janky Promoters," "10-20"), just to name a few. J has worked with stars such as Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Mindless Behavior. We talk about everything from what it was like working with Jimmy Smits to J's fundraising campaign for his SAG card to what inspired his dancing when he played the character of Porn Andy on "Conan."
Fun fact: he and I recently appeared together as cops in the skit "Cop Hospital" on "Conan."
J KRISTOPHER'S BIO
“IT” is a term used in show business to describe true talent and/or pizzazz. Simply stated – J Kristopher has “IT”. From award winning feature films to co-starring roles on primetime television, even recurring late night appearances with Conan O’ Brien on NBC and TBS, J Kristopher is on a buzz worthy path to ultimate success.
Tue, 20 November 2012
In this episode, I am lucky enough to get to chat with the very talented director/producer Jason Ensler. As a kid, Jason thought about becoming a rabbi or a dentist, but luckily for those of us who are big fans of his work, he found his way into entertainment. Jason has an impressive roster of credits:"The West Wing," "Franklin and Bash," Hart of Dixie," "Gossip Girl," "Chuck," "Andy Barker PI," "Scrubs," "My Name Is Earl," "Martha Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart," just to name a few. We talk about everything from his extensive knowledge of "Three's Company" to working with Donald Sutherland to how "The Conformist" inspired his work on "Gossip Girl."
JASON ENSLER'S BIO
He also directed the NBC television films "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Three's Company" and "Martha, Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart" starring Cybill Shepherd as Martha Stewart.
Tue, 13 November 2012
In this episode, I have the pleasure of sitting down with TV writer/producer Joe Henderson whose credits include "White Collar" and "Graceland." Joe shares a lot of great stories about starting out in Hollywood and the many paths he took before landing his first writing gig. We talk about everything from being a dirty dancing, light saber wielding extra on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" to going through the WB Writers Workshop to what you can learn about story from "Duck Tales."
JOE HENDERSON'S BIO
Joe Henderson is a writer/producer on "White Collar" and is also writing for "Graceland," a new show on USA. He's from Chicago and went to the University of Iowa. His first writing gig was an episode of "Kick Buttowski" that never aired, and if that ain't the beginning of an esteemed career, nothing is.
Tue, 6 November 2012
In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with comedian Matt Besser. Matt is one of the founding members of Upright Citizens Brigade and a hilarious guy to talk to. His credits include: “Children’s Hospital,” “Happy Endings,” “This Show Will Get You High,” “Undead Or Alive,” “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” “Raising Hope,” “Modern Family,” and “Parks and Recreation,” just to name a few. Matt is forever a member of “Asssscat” the longest running and greatest improv show in the history of the world. And he also has a fully improvised weekly podcast called “Improv 4 Humans.” We talk about everything from Little Donny’s appearance on the “Today Show” to the beginnings of UCB to wearing zombie makeup in the hot desert to what petting zoo has a “Hot Chicks Room” sign.
MATT BESSER’S BIO
Raised a proud Razorback in Little Rock, Arkansas, Matt Besser attended Amherst College where he learned how to collect CDs. After graduating, Matt toured the Midwest doing stand-up, while taking improvisation direction from Del Close at Chicago’s Improv Olympic Theater.
Mon, 29 October 2012
In this episode, writer/producer Kristin Newman makes me giggle even more than usual and shares some great advice on writing for television. Kristin's credits include: "That's 70's Show," "How I Met Your Mother," "Single With Parents," "Chuck" and most recently, "The Neighbors." She also has a book coming out in the near future that I can NOT wait to read: "What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir of Sex on Vacation." We talk about everything from what a McGuffin is to hanging out with Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and a chimpanzee to writing a pilot about one's family.
KRISTIN NEWMAN'S BIO
Kristin Newman has been writing for American television for thirteen years, on shows such as "That '70s Show," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Chuck." She also wrote and produced a half-hour pilot for ABC starring Alyssa MIlano and Beau Bridges called "Single with Parents" and has also written and sold pilots to CBS, NBC and the CW networks. She is currently a writer/producer on ABC's "The Neighbors," and just sold her first book to Three Rivers Press, a memoir called "What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir of Sex on Vacation."