For the last three years, comedian John Oliver has been telling some serious jokes as "Senior British Correspondent" on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. He won an Emmy for his work on the show in 2009, but his comedic career is not confined to the fake newsroom. On January 8, 2009, Oliver debuts his newest act: John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show. The title, as he explains to Fresh Air host Terry Gross, pretty much says it all.
He went from performing in an empty San Francisco coffee house to hosting the Oscars. In his memoir Born Standing Up, out now in paperback, comedian Steve Martin talks about his early days as a stand-up comic — and why he quit.
After soaring to fame with Saturday Night Live, Dan Aykroyd built a solid film career. But he's still capitalizing on his early hit, The Blues Brothers (now available in a 25th-anniversary DVD). He serves on the board of the "House of Blues" restaurant and concert-venue franchise, and last year he published a book as his Blues Brothers alter-ego, Elwood, interviewing blues greats. (This interview was first broadcast on Nov. 22, 2004.)
Now the host of The Tonight Show, Leno talks about his struggling years as a stand-up comic (with other comics like Robin Williams, Andy Kaufman, and Steve Martin). He also talks about taking over The Tonight Show. He is author of the book Leading with my Chin. Leno appears in Comedian, the Jerry Seinfeld documentary in theaters now.
Arab-American stand-up comics Ahmed Ahmed and Maz Jobrani. They've changed their routines since Sept. 11, cracking jokes about attending flight school and the like. Both have had small parts as terrorists in action films. Jobrani was in a Chuck Norris film and Ahmed was Terrorist #4 in Executive Decision. They live in Los Angeles.
Actress, writer, comic Ellen Degeneres is soon to begin a stand-up tour. Her five-year sitcom Ellen won an Emmy for her much-anticipated coming-out episode. At the same time Degeneres' character realized she was gay, the entertainer revealed her own sexual orientation. Degeneres talks about coming out, her former relationship with actress Anne Heche, and why she resists becoming a lesbian role model. Degeneres is the author of the book, My Point... And I Do Have One.
Actor, comic, writer, director Albert Brooks. He stars in the new movie My First Mister. He's appeared in such films as The Muse, Taxi Driver, Broadcast News, and I'll Do Anything and Mother. He wrote, directed and acted in Real Life, Modern Romance, Lost in America, and Defending Your Life.
Bob Newhart's been a part of the American comedy landscape since 1961 when his debut comedy album "The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart" became a surprise hit. Since then he's starred in three TV shows, including the Peabody award winning original "The Bob Newhart Show." And appeared in numerous films. There's a new Rhino anthology of his classic routines, "Something Like This. . .The Bob Newhart Anthology." Recently Newhart was honored at the Aspen Comedy Festival. This Fall Newhart is scheduled to co-star in a pilot for a new TV show.
Critic-at-Large Laurie Stone reviews the work of four black women comics who recently shared the bill at New York City's New Professional Theater. They are: P.J. Jones, Kim Coles, Robin Montague, and Beverly Mickens.