While I have a long list of favorite comedians, Michael Ian Black easily makes it into my personal top 10. Having missed The State on TV for various reasons, I first noticed him in the VH1 I Love the [insert decade here]... series. His dry delivery had me in stitches, and I’ve been following his career since then. By the way, have you seen Another Period? His character, Mr. Peepers the butler, lights up the screen with his proper bluntness and perfectly preened pencil mustache. I shouldn’t have been surprised that his comedy would fit podcasting really well with projects like Mike and Tom Eat Snacks. But How to Be Amazing is a fantastic in-depth interview series, produced by PRX, in which Black sits down with various artists, celebrities, and newsmakers and asks them various questions about—wait for this—how they became amazing! Sorry, there’s no better way to summarize it. Trust me, it’s Michael Ian Black talking to people. It’s good.
There are so many great episodes here, and almost all of them are my favorites. From Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) to Chris Hardwick (Nerdist Industries, Talking Dead) to David Sedaris, I love all of them. But my recommended episode is actually my absolute bias finally winning out over these posts...
Recommended episode: Lin-Manuel Miranda (composer/lyricist/actor; In the Heights, Hamilton, The Odd Life of Timothy Green)
“You have to see Hamilton.”
This is now a recurring joke on the TV show @midnight. But the mash-up of founding father Alexander Hamilton’s life with theatre and hip hop is a work of brilliance and creativity. Of course, I was a fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda when he brought his passion project, In the Heights, to Broadway and won multiple Tony Awards. (Because I’m a nerd!) Black mentions that he knew Miranda through social media and the latter participated in Black’s short-lived YouTube project called Sad Sad Conversations. The two then discuss Lin-Manuel’s childhood growing up with immigrant parents, his love for both Camelot and early 1990s rap, performing the title song of Hamilton at the White House, and his process as both an actor and a musician. Oh! And the robots in Pacific Rim... which, c’mon. That’s a guy after my own heart right there.
KC Ryan is currently a Level 4 student at DCH. An office worker by day, she spends her nights writing, improvising, recording podcasts, and having existential crises. She’s a co-host of Parsec Award-nominated podcast Anomaly Supplemental about general sci-fi and fantasy topics. Her greatest achievement so far is convincing her husband to watch Project Runway.