Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele each have a white mother and black father, and a lot of the jokes on their Comedy Central show are about race. Peele tells Fresh Air that their backgrounds allow them to do characters others would feel uncomfortable doing.
Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen and rock veteran Carrie Brownstein are the team behind the IFC show Portlandia. "All of the stuff that makes people different, that's the stuff that's celebrated" on the show, says Brownstein. "If you're normal ... it's no fun."
Fallon is thankful for slow walkers, people named Lloyd and the word "moist." The comedian and host of Late Night collects more than 100 nuggets of gratitude in his book Thank You Notes. He talks with Terry Gross about giving thanks and doing impressions.
From 1950 until he died in an auto accident in 1962, Ernie Kovacs created some of the most inventive and unusual television ever made. A new box set collects more than 13 hours of the TV pioneer's best and rarest programs. TV critic David Bianculli says it's "a mandatory purchase for anyone who loves TV."
Tina Fey's new memoir Bossypants contains her thoughts on juggling motherhood, acting, writing and executive producing 30 Rock. Fey joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross for a wide-ranging conversation about her years in comedy, her childhood and her 2008 portrayal of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live.
MTV's new Thursday-night sketch-comedy series Human Giant got its start as a collection of Web shorts, and the rise of MySpace and the viral-video explosion helped it develop a big following online. Terry talks with Aziz Ansari, Rob Heubel and Paul Scheer, three of the comics who power the show's alterna-comedy antics.
Stand-up comic David Cross co-created the 1995 HBO cult hit Mr. Show (an amalgam of live sketch video pieces and occasional animation). He also wrote for the short-lived Ben Stiller Show. One reviewer writes of his act, "foul mouthed and razor sharp, doesn't shy away from vicious social criticism and outright political dissent."
Al Franken is a writer and actor on "Saturday Night Live." His characters have included the one-man mobile uplink unit, Pat Robertson, Paul Tsongas, and Stuart Smalley, host of "Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley." In 1992, Franken published a book under Stuart's name; Stuart's new project is an upcoming movie called "Stuart Saves His Family."
Palin is best known for his comedy work with England's legendary Monty Python troupe. But his new movie, "American Friends," is a romance based on the life of his great-grandfather. Edward Palin was a 35 year-old tutor at Oxford University when he met 17-year-old Brita, an American girl touring Europe. Oxford tutors in the Victorian era were sworn to chastity, so Edward Palin left his job to marry Brita. Michael Palin found the story in his great-grandfather's journal.
O'Hara is one of the co-founders of the comedy series, "SCTV," and started her acting career with Toronto's Second City comedy troupe. She's best known for her role as the distraught mom in "Home Alone." There's now a sequel, "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," in which O'Hara reprises her roles as the mother.
The comedian plays the sensitive twelve-stepper Stuart Smalley on "Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley" -- a Saturday Night Live skit based on Franken's own experience with a 12-step group. Franken is a co-producer of SNL and works on the cable network "Comedy Central," where he anchored the Democratic and Republican Conventions for "Indecision '92." He has a new book (written by Stuart Smalley) called "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me."
Stiller is the son of the comedy team of Jerry Stiller & Anne Meara. He's acted in the Lincoln Center's revival of "House of Blue Leaves," and appeared in the films, "Fresh Horses," "Stella," and "Empire of the Son." He's got a new comedy show "The Ben Stiller Show," which grew out of his work as a writer-performer with "Saturday Night Live."
Comedian Jon Lovitz. He played the pathological liar on Saturday Night Live, among many other characters, such as Annoying Man and Harry Chanukah. Now he's got a comedy special coming up on May 17th on the Fox Television Network (right after "Married With Children").
Actor Rowan Atkinson. Atkinson's one of England's best-known comic actors. He starred in the TV series, "Black Adder," and co-starred in the 1990 comedy, "The Tall Guy." Atkinson stars in his own H-B-O Comedy hour special throughout March. (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)