Follow GuyMacPherson on Twitter

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 29: Ryan Lachance

Another week, another first-time guest for What's So Funny? Exciting times. Tonight we've got Ryan Lachance. He's one of the only quadriplegic comics in the country. Hell, he may be the only one. I'm not sure. But I know that in ten years doing this show, he's the first guest we've had in a wheelchair. Not the first guest with cerebral palsy, though. That'd be Tyler Fortin. We'll see if there's a heated rivalry between the two tonight. And we'll talk about everything else in the life of Lachance, including his smackdown on a rude comedy patron last week where Lachance wheeled right up to the guy and lit into him. It was perfect timing for that show and ours. So I appreciate it.

The fun starts at 11 pm and goes till midnight. Tune in to 100.5 FM in Vancouver or livestream us at Same difference.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Podcast episode 348ish: Iliza Shlesinger

In a rush? Can't find the time to sit through hour-plus podcasts these days? Have I got the tonic for you! We've got a special 40-minute episode of What's So Funny? this time. Iliza Shlesinger loves Vancouver so much, she could only squeeze in half an hour with us on her visit here. But she loves us so much we managed to coax another eight or nine minutes from her. That's my interpretation anyway and I'm sticking with it. But don't you worry; you're not being cheated because we packed in an hour's worth of subject matter into it. We talked about her dating life, her Judaism, hipsterism, and lots, lots more.

Check it out. You know the deal: here, over at Stitcher, perhaps PodcastLand, possibly iTunes. Your call. We've got you covered.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 22: Graeme Duffy

Duffy (left) with a giant Elf
Our first guest of the summer, and second guest in the new studio, is another first-timer. I've been a fan of Graeme Duffy's improv work at Vancouver TheatreSports League for a while now but we've never actually met. That will come to an end tonight. Can you feel the excitement? I can. Duffy's not just a first-rate improviser, though. You may have seen him on shows or movies like Psych, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Battlestar Gallactica, and Smallville. I haven't, but I don't have to keep on pop culture the way he does. We do, though, share an appreciation for Soviet film maker Lev Vladimirovich Kuleshov. We'll talk about all of the above – and more! – tonight.

We get started at 11 pm on CFRO, 100.5 FM, in Vancouver. Or, if you'd rather, you can livestream us at It's what all the kids are doing. And if it's just too late for you and you don't want to miss it, it'll be released as a podcast soon enough (or eventually, whichever comes first).

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15: Rich Elwood

Happy Father's Day, dads. I'm getting a great gift tonight, and forwarding it to all of you: Rich Elwood is coming on the show after years and years of my pleading. Persistence pays off. I first saw Elwood back in the early '80s at his Gastown club Punchlines. Since getting out of the club business, Rich has been an in-demand corporate comic and producer. I also remember seeing him open for Ray Charles at the Royal Theatre in Victoria. We'll find out if that's a false memory and all about his other exploits plus hear tales from the formative years of comedy in Vancouver tonight at 11.

And to top it all off, Elwood is our very first guest in our new studio! Hope we don't screw it up.

Tune in at 11 pm PST to CFRO, 100.5 FM, in Vancouver. If radios aren't your thing, and computers are, you can always livestream us at or wait for the podcast to drop.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Nice Peter interview

I didn't get a chance to see Nice Peter's show here in Vancouver last week but I enjoy his Epic Rap Battles of History videos on YouTube. They are truly epic. I spoke with him a few weeks ago for a story I did in the Georgia Straight. Nice guy that Nice Peter.

Nice Peter
May 9, 2014
"I was going to be a history teacher. I went to school to major in education and history. It didn't work out but it's fun to be able to learn about people. And I feel like we're tricking kids into learning about Russian history without them knowing about it." 
Nice Peter

Nice Peter: I'm on the beach on this big film set. Please tell me if it's too windy. I'm trying to find a sheltered spot.

GM: What's the film?
NP: That's the thing is I don't know if I'm allowed to put it in print. 

GM: I'll say you're on a film set at the beach. So Nice Peter, you sound nice.
NP: I try.

GM: Is that how you got the name?
NP: The name actually used to be a little bit more ironic. I used to play a little bit of a bawdy, kind of raunchy, humour musical comedy set. And my name is Peter. One day an MC at a hip-hop open mic called me Pete Nice, and then that changed to Nice Pete, and then Nice Peter kinda stuck.

GM: You never used Shukoff? Or is it pronounced Shoo-koff?
NP: Exactly for that reason.

GM: But your parents might want some recognition.
NP: I think they like to keep it private.

GM: Take me back to when you got started. The videos are incredible both in terms of numbers of viewers and the production value. But how did it all start?
NP: I was a songwriter for a long time and a comedian. I was doing both. I met a guy named Lloyd on a porch in Chicago about twelve years ago and he hired me to join his touring improv troupe. So I learned a lot in that. We performed in a lot of less than ideal venues. I learned abilities to make a good show out of not much. And then I started to do my own music thing, touring all over the midwest. Same kind of idea. And then I started touring England. And that was great. And then I eventually kind of hit a wall and I moved out to Los Angeles and was trying to do the classic become a standup comedian, become a musician, get a manager, all that kind of stuff, go on auditions. I was failing pretty miserably. And then Lloyd again sent me this notice that a production start-up was looking for writers. And I got hired to be a songwriter. I got hired to write ten songs for about a hundred bucks a pop. I think I was the 25th employee at this very, very small company. And now that company is this giant entertainment enterprise that just got sold to Disney for half-a-billion dollars or whatnot.

GM: That sounds like old Tin Pan Alley, churning out songs.
NP: Yeah. It was quite a journey, man. At the start it was all of us just doing everything. I would write a song, I would record the song myself, and I'd come into the office and fucking vacuum. It was just all of us really in the trenches together trying to make something. It was a lot of people who kind of failed in the conventional – I don't want to say 'failed', but just kind of hit blocks or walls – in the conventional entertainment business that it was easier for us to just do everything ourselves and do it on a smaller scale.

GM: What would happen to the songs? Would other people record them?
NP: No, that was my gig. Literally I got hired to write, produce, record, sing, make music for songs. So I was like this one-man little factory of music, which is not really a good skill set to have in the classic entertainment business because you just have to work with more people. But it worked out perfectly for YouTube, for me to be able to turn around a whole song in two days, or whatever. And then the company would make a music video for it but then after about four of those, they encouraged me to start making my own videos for them and start experimenting with different formats. I started making songs and I started building an audience. I made this song about this family that makes daily videos about their life and they played it on their daily vlog that they make and they have about 200,000-300,000 people watching them every day. So I made this song about them that was pretty touching and all of a sudden there were hundreds of thousands of people checking me out for the first time. And it just started to grow from there. I realized that people watching YouTube videos are all real people and you can kind of connect to them. It's like one big concert but the whole world can watch at the same time. It's kinda weird. That's what it feels like making YouTube videos sometimes.

GM: What was the company you worked for?
NP: It's called Maker Studios. And I joined in when it was just a really, really tiny company doing things a new and different way. It allowed me a lot of freedom to experiment with different theories and ideas. I started writing different songs and started gaining some popularity that way but then I tried out this Epic Rap Battles of History concept and that just performed better than anything else I had ever done. I think I was old enough and had made enough mistakes to realize I should put a lot of attention into this. So we did.

GM: Just before that when you were touring the States and the UK, were you just alone? What did that look like? What were you doing?
NP: Yeah, it was just me. I'd get up and I would do about an hour to an hour-and-a-half of material. I'd say half of that was planned and half of it was just improvised about the moment and about the audience and about the venue. I'd show up in a town and I'd do some research about the town and I'd put together a couple stories and ideas and sing songs about that actual moment. I think that's what really connected with people, was that 'Oh, I think he's making this up right now!' 'Yeah, he's singing about your hat!' It was, I think, a different experience for people.

GM: So they were improvised songs.
NP: Yeah. Almost all the time. I'd say about half the show.

GM: And were you doing standup between the songs? Was half of it music?
NP: No, the whole thing was music. I would do pre-written songs that were kinda funny, sometimes kinda racy, and then just improvise songs and little bits and jokes with the audience. But no standup.

GM: Were you performing with other people? Other British comics?
NP: No, just me. I had a band for a while. A three-piece band that did the same thing but a lot of times it was just me and my manager, Ed.

GM: Did you have a following at that time?
NP: A little bit, yeah. Not a huge one, but enough of one, especially when I went over to the UK. I'd say a couple hundred people if I really dug in. But it took a lot of work. Getting ready for a live show and travelling and all that took a lot of work. When I started focussing all those hours on just making one video that anyone could see anywhere, it was a new direction for my life.

GM: But you miss the direct interaction with fans.
NP: I did, and that's why I'm doing this tour. This isn't a tour really to do anything but just connect with the people who watch my videos and need them. I'm going to do a meet-n-greet pretty much after every show just to meet as many people as I can. Just say hi. I'm really grateful to be able to do what I do and I want to thank the people that helped me get there.

GM: Are the shows you're doing on tour now similar to the shows you did back in the UK?
NP: Yeah, it’s similar as far as the spirit and vibe of it. Probably a little less swear words than I used to use. I'm not sure what to expect with the age demographic but I think it's going to be a mixed bag of people. I just want to make it accessible to everybody, I guess.

GM: You can't do the battles.
NP: Oh, yeah. I'm going to do the battles on stage, yeah. The way I'm going to do that is – Lloyd's not coming with me; he's working on some other projects over the summer – we get an audience volunteer and they come up and they choose what battle they want to do and they play one character and I play the other. Usually they know the words better than I do.

GM: So the fans are so rabid that they know all the lyrics?
NP: I wouldn't even say it's rabid; I think they're just passionate about these videos. I want them to be able to experience performing them up there with me. I think it's fun for everybody.

GM: How did you come up with the idea for the first rap battle of history? What was the inspiration?
NP: That was Lloyd again, honestly. I was a little recording studio in an apartment and I was just looking for new ideas. He was working on a stage show that used an improvised rap battle between two celebrities. And I thought that was pretty cool. And I asked the audience. Audiences have been pretty collaborative along the whole way. I made a little vlog just talking to my camera, talking to the people that I had just recently realized were real, and I said, 'Hey, we're thinking of making this video. We need a suggestion of two different people from history.' And they came back with John Lennon versus Bill O'Reilly and that kind of set the tone. It was like, Okay, it can be anybody. For any reason. Someone who has some kind of ideological beef and we'll settle it.

GM: That's an underlying extra laugh is just seeing who's pitted against who.
NP: Right. And that's 100% from the audience, man. Honestly. I did not think of Bill O'Reilly versus John Lennon nor did I think of Adolph Hitler versus Darth Vader. That was the third party of the audience coming up with that.

GM: Have they come up with all of them?
NP: I'd say they've come up with about 75% of them. Well, they kind of come up with all of them. Some of them are more just like this character is really popular right now, who should we put him up against? We might sometimes lean into more history than the whole audience might but we try to keep it pretty real and organic as much as we can.

GM: How long does it take to do each one?
NP: Anywhere between two weeks to a month of focus and another month of research and reading and talking. A while. We're usually working right up to the last minute, right up to when we upload them.

GM: Was there a regular schedule for the uploads?
NP: Yes, every two weeks for the rest of the summer. From now until the end of July, I think. We uploaded our first one of this set of six on May 5. So it'll be every two weeks from there.

GM: How many have you made in total?
NP: We just made our 40th.

GM: It must be such a blast coming up with the lyrics and researching it.
NP: Yeah, the learning part is really fun. Honestly. You know, I was going to be a history teacher. I went to school to major in education and history. It didn't work out but it's fun to be able to learn about people. And I feel like we're tricking kids into learning about Russian history without them knowing about it.

GM: There's lots of swearing and you're pretty ruthless, too.
NP: You have to be.

GM: It would be pretty hard to get on network TV.
NP: I think we embrace the fact we're not on network TV. Also, that's the way we talk and that's the way our fans talk. We just decided that if it's appropriate for the character then it works. We've got one coming up with Weird Al Yankovic playing Isaac Newton. Just because of his fans and his personality, we kept that one very clean. There's a lot of science education in it, there's a calculus equation. There's that constant thing, we hope, that if we can get ten kids somewhere excited about calculus for the first time, that's a score.

GM: I was thinking about your ruthless ones with Stephen Hawking and Freddie Mercury. They're pretty funny.
NP: Thank you. Yeah, you gotta be a little edgy, you know? It helps things spread.

GM: So at the show on tour, there are going to be these rap battles with somebody from the audience. But are there also just songs of yours? Because I know you have albums out.
NP: Yeah, just songs of mine. It's going to be me on a guitar and a drummer. I'd say it's going to be 50% songs I've written, 25% rap battles, and 25% just making up songs with the audience and just being in the moment.

GM: It's pretty great when you think about you're encompassing all that you love: comedy, music, and history. 
NP: Yes, sir. That's the idea. And meeting people. Sometimes that's half of it, also, afterwards where I just stand around and say hi to folks.

GM: When did you realize you could make money at it from YouTube?
NP: I got hired with the intention of making money. YouTube just opened up, being possible to earn revenue. I learned about it really fast. I learned about what kind of numbers and quotas had to be hit to make some sort of sustainable living and I just kind of dove in.

GM: Do you have any favourites that you've done?
NP: I'd say the Dr. Seuss vs William Shakespeare, Beethoven vs Justin Bieber was a lot of fun. The Russians battle was a real proud moment for us, I think. It was five different characters played by just two of us. We really went through 20th Century Russian history from start to finish. It's pretty cool to be able to put that into a piece, a 2.5-minute viral video.

GM: Who were the five Russians?
NP: Rasputin, Stalin, Lenin, Gorbachev, and Putin. And they all kept one-upping each other.

GM: Are you a big fan of rap?
NP: Yeah, oh yeah. We got to work with Snoop on a rap battle and that was amazing. We get to work with a guy from Jurassic 5 coming up. Our engineer used to work with the Wu-Tang Clan. I am a big fan of rap. I had a couple of albums that I memorized start to finish.

GM: But you can't play the guitar and rap.
NP: Sure, you can. It's not easy. I was a guitar player first and I had to learn how to rap. I'm still learning quite a bit. Every new character's gotta have a slightly different [pitch?] so I've got to learn new ways to do stuff, I guess.

GM: Which ones can we look forward to seeing? Or are they always a big reveal when they come out.
NP: I mean, it's a big reveal but we've got George Washington coming out against William Wallace, two revolutionaries who fought the British. We've got Weird Al playing Isaac Newton and the opponent is a surprise still. We just did Rick Grimes versus Walter White, two television heroes. We've got a big grand finale with a lot of different characters. But we try to keep it a little bit of a surprise. I'll give away the William Wallace versus George Washington.

GM: How long will the series go?
NP: We're in the middle of our third season. We're definitely in for a fourth season next year and it's going to be a matter of seeing whether it's still great. We do it because we really love it and we're lucky enough to make a living at it, also. But if we still really love it, we'll keep doing it. Maybe we'll work on something else. Hard to say. We gotta take it day by day. We're still working on the video for next week. We're on this set all day then we're going to home and edit till one in the morning. It's still pretty real. We really do get our hands on every piece of the process. I'm doing press in the morning and some surfer scene in the afternoon and then editing at night. And then getting ready for the tour. At some point I gotta practice, I guess.

GM: Is there a set number of episodes each season?
NP: We're really figuring it out. I think we're one of the first YouTube-based productions to even do a season. It was just all very new. To say something is a show on YouTube I think is a relatively new idea. And then to have that show be broken into seasons, we don't know how it's supposed to work so we decided to call it a season.

GM: Make it up as you go along. Just like your songs.
NP: It's a great thing. It's the greatest thing about doing what we do – even at Maker, which is now a big company – but no one really tells us what we can or can't do, no one's given us a problem on language or censored us or censored our sense of humour. It's really just between us and the audience. If they don't like it, they'll tell us and we'll listen. But there's no gate-keepers.

GM: I'm a little confused. These videos are made through Maker Studios?
NP: Yeah, it's a partnership. When I first started with them, it was a revolutionary kind of way of working, where we kinda go in 50-50 on work and revenue. Like, Let's partner up and do this, like we were doing it together. It's a very different approach to doing things, I think. We do a lot of stuff ourselves but that's good because we get a lot of freedom. We trade independence for a lot of self-effort. And I like it that way. I think that's what held me back in the mainstream entertainment business. It's an asset when you're doing it for YouTube. You're able to do a lot of things yourself.

GM: How long will your tour show be?
NP: I think it's going to be about an hour to an hour-and-a-half of music. We have an opening band that's in front of us from England. So they'll open it up, get the energy going. Then I'll play for an hour. And then, like I said, I'll probably stay for another hour-and-a-half to two hours afterwards just saying hello to people.

GM: Is your opening band a straight music group or are they comedic?
NP: They're a music group. It's two brothers. They're called the Jackpot Golden Boys. They're really nice guys. I've been playing with them since I was in England for the very first time. I think I met them then. I was just kind of lost and didn't know what I was doing and they were there. I was not a big deal and they were awesome to me so now that I have the opportunity to share a stage with them, it's really special. It's just going to be a cool crew. It's five of us on the road. It's my manager, who I've known for ten years, lives in England and just been one of my best friends; Dante, who writes songs with me and helps with the Rap Battles and is on set every time we film, he's going to be on drums; and then these two brothers that I've known for years. It's very close to how it is in our business, too. It's a close circle of friends just working together.

GM: Have you ever performed live with Lloyd?
NP: I have. And we've talked about doing a Rap Battles tour also, maybe down the line. He's amazing. We used to perform comedy together for years. He's a great performer. This was just something to do, just kind of a personal journey before I come back and get back to work on the Rap Battles in August.

GM: That thing can go on for as long as you want because there's no shortage of characters from history, real or fictional.
NP: Yeah. That's the fun thing is that when something pops in the news, that could be a rap battle. There's a lot of science going on right now. Science is coming back and that inspired us to bring Isaac Newton into the fold. It's like something could happen in modern times that brings back a character from history.

GM: Did Weird Al approach you guys because he was a fan, or did you reach out to him?
NP: We met at a YouTube comedy event and he was such a wonderful man. Obviously that's kind of always been a dream of ours to do a rap battle with somebody like Weird Al. And I think it just came up and I grew the guts to send him an email and ask him and invite him to do it and he said yes. He's got a new album coming out. These videos reach a lot of people. Something about them. I've never questioned it; I've just tried to keep doing it. The one we put up on Monday is at 7.5 million views already and what is it, Friday? They move fast and they reach young people. Hopefully it's mutually beneficial that people find out Al's got a new album coming and we get a great piece of content. Everybody wins.

GM: Do you remember the first video that started getting big numbers of viewers? I'd imagine you were probably excited at 5,000 views at one time.
NP: It was actually a song. The first video that I really hit with on my own was a song that I wrote called Superman Socks. It's kind of a funny song about a video I did with another comedian and it hit the front page of YouTube and I got a million views in a couple of days. I remember definitely, like, 'Oh wow, this is a million people! You know how to do this now. If you did it this time, you can do it again.' And then I took that kind of energy and that focus and started putting it into the Rap Battles.

GM: And never looked back.
NP: Never looked back. I try to make something I really like and we make each other laugh. And if it works for us, hopefully it'll work for other people. If they like it, great; if they don't, they can move onto the next thing. But so far a lot of people like it.

GM: Is there a video component to your live show?
NP: Right now there isn't. I've tried to keep it as minimal and real as possible. I spend so much time in front of the computer, and I think my audience does, too. We all gotta get out and move our bodies a little bit. And this'll be a chance to do that. There's plenty of time to watch videos. So we'll see. I used to do these things called picture songs where I would scour the internet for funny pictures and then just improvise a song about them. That was another early viral success I had. Those got up to seven or eight million views, too. But I forget myself sometimes. It's weird when 5 million views is low. It's a weird perspective. That's because the Rap Battles have done such absurd numbers. I put out some other videos that are more personal and if they get 100,000 views, I'm very happy. If they get 10,000 views, I'm happy. That's still 10,000 people you're connecting with. It's pretty cool. The internet's pretty cool, man. It's a really cool way to make music and make art. I like to think of this as this kind of artistic middle class. They don't become super rich or super famous; they just connect to a group of people that sustain them and their art and they thrive in it. I think that's what's happening to the internet. It's pretty cool.

GM: Were you trained in music?
NP: No. I just practiced a lot. I was a sucker for attention and music was a good way to get it and share it with people.

GM: Were you ever in bands?
NP: No. No, I took piano lessons. I was an Irish dancer. I was 8-years-old dancing in a kilt at my elementary school, prancing around in a skirt in front of a bunch of third-graders. You don't really have any stage fright any more. I think that was a big asset for me.

GM: How old are you?
NP: I'm 34 years old. When I turned 30, I remember I was not homeless but I didn't really have an apartment, I didn't have a job, I was thinking about valet parking cars. It's been an interesting few years. I didn't give up and then sure enough it eventually cracked open. I'm really grateful for it. I think that's the main point of the tour is I want to give back to the [fans?] that kept me going all those years. That energy of performing for people, singing, seeing those smiles, and having that moment, it's something I really miss. And I'm eager to get it back.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Podcast episode 347ish: Kyle Bottom

Remember when Kyle Bottom was a mainstay on the Vancouver comedy scene? Ah, those were the days. But he's gone now. Off living the good life in Toronto. He spent part of his last Sunday in town in the What's So Funny? studios. In fact, he was our very last guest in our old studio. Fitting. In this episode, the Villain (as he likes to refer to himself) talks about anime and his role in it as well as his love of movie soundtracks.

Here you go. Click below or go download it at PodcastLand or iTunes. Or wherever fine podcasts are distributed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Iliza Shlesinger interview 2014

Iliza Shlesinger came to town a couple weeks ago. I did a story on her for the Georgia Straight based on the following phone interview. It was a quickie because she was on her way to an afternoon date. (While she was in town, we also did another quickie chat for the radio show. That episode will drop soon.)

Iliza Shlesinger
May 2, 2014
"I like the chance to show people repeatedly – and you have to keep proving this – I'm just funny. I'm just as funny as all the other guys up here so it almost doesn't matter that I'm a girl." 
Iliza Shlesinger

Guy MacPherson: Miss Shlesinger.
Iliza Shlesinger: How are you?

GM: I'm good, how are you?
IL: I'm good. I have to have you on speaker phone because I'm driving so I hope we can hear each other.

GM: I have you on speaker, too, because I'm recording. Where are you?
IL: I'm in very warm and very sunny Los Angeles going to the park for a second time today. So that is my life.

GM: Just for a walk?
IL: First one was for a hike and now I'm going to go meet a boy.

GM: Oh, congratulations! Is this a new fella?
IL: I don't know. It's our first date but I don't want to go on a date. I wanted to do it in the daylight with animals so it couldn't be misconstrued as anything in case he's the worst.

GM: He must be cute because I know physical attraction is a big part of your criteria.
IL: That's so funny. A lot of people say that. Yeah.

GM: Well you say that!
IL: Yeah. Yeah. So we'll see. We'll see how this works.

GM: I heard that you don't like hikes. You don't like nature.
IL: The bit that I did, which is where this all comes from, is how girls always – and I pretty much named War Paint after this bit, my last special – girls always say they like hiking. And we say it because it makes us sound healthy and outdoorsy and it's something we do to attract guys. But the truth is no one really, if you live in a city, we're not really hiking. Like today I went on a hike but what really happened was I brought my dog, I went with a friend, Blanche got over-heated ten minutes in, and my friend had to hold her and walk us back to the car. That's not a hike. That was just a schlep in shorts and I was sweaty. There were no trail sites, there were no walking sticks, there were no snacks, there were no lesbian mountain rangers. It was not a hike.

GM: You're kind of proving your own bit there. You probably told the guy, 'Hike! Great!'
IL: Well, the hike was just with a friend. It was our LA way of trying to get some sun and some exercise, but really it was too fucking hot.

GM: It's been hot up here this week in Vancouver.
IL: Good! You guys need some heat.

GM: Congratulations on War Paint.
IL: Thank you.

GM: That came out within the last year, right?
IL: Yeah, it came out in December. Or November, I think. So yeah, it hasn't even been out a year yet.

GM: It made it to a lot of people's Top Comedy Specials of the Year lists.
IL: It did. I was very proud of it. I really put a lot of heart and soul into it. It made iTunes top 10 albums for editors pick last year. So I kinda got in right under the gun. That kinda made me happy.

GM: Did you feel validated, not that you didn't before?
IL: Yeah, you are right. I mean, as a comic, I don't think we ever feel validated. But I definitely... Like, I know that's a good special. And I think that it really resonated with a lot of people. And I think for comedy it was very important for me to do it on my terms. I wanted to do the cover my way for specific reasons, my jokes, my point of view. I put out albums before but this one was a wide release and I really feel like I came out of the gate being like, 'I'm a girl, this is what I feel, I'm not afraid to say it, and I don't have to do filthy, horrible, low-hanging-fruit jokes to get the point across.' And I think we got the authenticity of it regardless of how popular it was. I think that's what really resonated with people. And I'm topless on the cover.

GM: And bottomless.
IL: And bottomless. Let's not forget the bottom.

GM: Apart from that exposure – literal exposure – has it given you a lot more exposure just for work?
IL: Yup. I mean, clubs fill up a lot quicker. People have watched it. And then just even on a day-to-day level, just having fans be able to go like, 'Oh, I've seen your hour.' People that are like, 'I didn't know who you were and then I was watching Friday Night Standup and I found you.' It was huge. Netflix is a great outlet and they really took a chance. It's just great to be able to share your art with people on that great of a scale – I know it sounds so hippyish. It's a very special thing.

GM: Guys like seeing nude women. But did you get flack for doing that cover?
IL: I really didn't. One, because I don't think I'm famous enough for anyone to care. And it isn't like I'm Gloria Steinem doing it. But if anybody decided to challenge me, if anybody cared enough to wage that battle, which is a blessing and a curse if they don't, my answer is this: Look, I took that picture for two reasons. One, because I could. I feel like our society wants women to be ashamed of their bodies and be insecure, and I was like, 'What? Society told me to be in shape so I'm in shape. And now I can't show it off?' So I did it because I could. But I did it also for marketing. Simply that I don't have a billion fans and I don't have a huge TV show behind me and I don't have a PR team so if you're a guy sitting on an airplane with your iPad and two comedy specials come up and one's a dude holding a microphone and one's me like that, you're gonna click on mine 99% of the time for nothing else out of curiosity. And I like that the material's strong enough to once you click on it and you're mildly disappointed that I'm in fact clothed, you'll stick around because the content is great.

GM: Or maybe in the hopes that by the end you'll have them all off.
IL: Yeah, maybe, but that'd be dumb.

GM: Sex sells but you have to have the content to back it up otherwise people are going to be shutting off pretty quick.
IL: And I think that's where people get annoyed when girls are sexy or showy or something. You know, a lot of female comics do, like, the sexy thing but then their comedy is whatever. Men don't rely on it as much. But people like to look at women's bodies. We like looking at men's bodies but women are the fairer sex, women are the more beautiful sex. I think it's a double standard where society objectifies women, wants to see your boobs, wants to see your body, wants to see all this, but when you do it on your own terms, all of a sudden it's not okay. Well, fuck that. I'll walk around topless if I want, when I want.

GM: Did you enjoy the process of posing? You didn't show anything but in I always wonder about the other people in the room.
IL: They were all women. One male writing guy who I made turn around. But I've heard Playmates say this, by the end of the shoot you're not even thinking about it. And I had my hair covering my boobs. But even without that, it was a room full of women. At first I was really uncomfortable but by the end I didn't care. I mean, I'm not going to let anyone tell me that I have anything to be ashamed of. I have enough insecurities and my body doesn't get to be one of them.

GM: I just watched your Grantland piece. When was that filmed?
IL: We did it a couple months ago. I'm good friends with the guys over there. We've got a project that's kind of in development. They'd done a couple of these Inside Joke pieces. They asked me so I suggested a typical night for me does include doing all three clubs, very harried and running around and hanging out. So I'm like that should be the theme of my piece is doing these three clubs. It was cool and I really respect Grantland as a website and an entity. So I was excited to be part of that.

GM: Yeah, they're great. They started out mostly sports and some pop culture. Just because of the quality of the work they do, that's gotta help comedy in general.
IL: Definitely. Comics love sports, and sports are fun to make fun of, and they do good work. And it's a legit site. It's not a horribly-run site by like one nerd that's like an Angelfire-built website. It's good and the writing's good. Like you were saying about the special, the content backed it up. So I was proud to do it with them. I probably wouldn't have done it with another website, like or something.

GM: You said you like being the only girl in a comedy lineup. Is that usually the case? When you're on the road, you're the headliner.
IL: Right. I've had female features and I've brought women to feature for me. If I bring someone, it's because I trust them. On the road, I don't care if a girl's on a lineup. My thing is this: There are plenty of horrible male comics that have opened for me that I've worked with that are just bad, but I get a special kind of cringe when I hear the typical female 'I'm a whore' kind of joke, which so many women do. So many women go blue so fast without even giving themselves a chance. But I'm an upperclassman now, I'm not a baby that just won Last Comic Standing. I like the chance to show people repeatedly – and you have to keep proving this – I'm just funny. I'm just as funny as all the other guys up here so it almost doesn't matter that I'm a girl. I take it as a compliment when it's me and a bunch of heavy-hitters or comics that are more successful than me. Would I like to share a lineup with Sarah Silverman? Absolutely. She's great.

GM: You like Lori Gibbs in Calgary.
IL: Lori who?... Yeah, I love Lori. When I'm in LA and it's like a Saturday night and they have all headliners, I usually am the only girl because there aren't a lot of female touring headliners. And that's the God's honest truth.

GM: You make fun of women in your act. Does that hit in the heartland? Or is it a typical Hollywood-type vapid woman you're making fun of?
IL: No, it hits. I'm sitting up there talking about LA stuff, because that's a huge mistake of a comic, talking about your hometown. My things are universal truths. Male-female interaction, the way women think. It doesn't matter what kind of woman you are. I try to tap into what makes us women versus an LA woman vs a Vancouverian woman or something. And I think that's why girls like it so much because I'm letting them know all those crazy thoughts you thought were just in your head, they're in my head, too. It's okay. Let's all take a breath.

GM: In the Grantland piece, you say if you do poorly on a given show, everyone will think that the winner of Last Comic Standing did poorly. And you use it as a motivator to bring your A-game. Is that problematic if you can't try out new things and fail?
IL: Truthfully, I don't think about it anymore. Had I won it last week and they saw me... I think I've accomplished enough. You're always proving yourself. I can't not grow because I'm worried about making sure everybody just needs the best bits that I can do over and over. At a certain point you gotta be like this set on a Tuesday night at 8 pm, this one's for me. But then on a Saturday night at 9 pm, that one's for the crowd. And you gotta just take it when you can and when people don't get it, that's fine. I'm probably never going to go up there and just absolutely eat shit. We're all professional comics. As a funny person, you'll dig yourself out of it. I've definitely had sets that weren't that great but I think we make a mistake as comics of thinking it means so much to the crowd. These people will laugh. They might remember you, might not. Might take a picture. But in a week, it's not something they're still thinking about. Once you've wrapped your head around that – that your set actually doesn't matter; they're going home and their lives don't revolve around it like they do for us – it kind of makes it easier to take your punches and move on and grow. That's all you can do.

GM: Totally. And an audience member can like somebody and still not like everything they did in that set.
IL: Absolutely. I've had fans come and they're so excited to see me and I'm working out stuff. And they're just kind of quiet. But then afterwards they want to buy everything and take pictures and they freak out. So you never know how somebody's going to appreciate your set.

GM: You're not going to lose sleep over a less than sterling set at this point.
IL: I learned that lesson a long time ago. It so doesn't matter. Not unless you go up there and have a Michael Richards meltdown does it actually matter.

GM: I read you're doing a pilot for a talk show, is that correct?
IL: Um... that was a while ago. We're always doing pilots. I think the thing that people don't get about comedy and entertainment in general is that you're always doing stuff. And if it doesn't come to fruition, they're like, 'Oh, where have you been?' It's like, 'I made four pilots this year!' I have to wrap this up because I have to get out of the car. Is that okay?

GM: I guess that's okay if that's all you got time for.
IL: I'm meeting someone and they're here and I feel bad now. Hold on one second. (to her date) I just need one minute. (to me) Okay, we can keep talking.

GM: About that talk show thing, that was a pilot you did. I know you've hosted a similar show online and the dating show on TV. Is hosting something that really interests you?
IL: I've got my eyes set on a late-night spot. The people that work with me, we have our teeth and they're slowly sinking into a very specific late-night spot. This has been the goal. I've made four late-night talk show pilots with major networks, had my own webshow, so you have to involve yourself in the conversation with these networks. And it's a goal we work toward. And in the meantime I've got my standup and I've got my special and the objective is to just keep doing what I love and growing your fan base and keep making these pilots. People think that all your celebrities that you love come out of nowhere and they don't. It's years in the trenches. Say something hits and it's like, 'Oh, where did that person come from?' They've been working.

GM: Craig Ferguson's leaving.
IL: Um, yes. These are all conversations that are had behind closed doors. But fingers crossed.

GM: They need a woman on there.
IL: I agree. We have room in the late-night landscape for two men with brown hair named Jimmy but women aren't allowed. Got it. Okay.

GM: I'll let you go on your date. Good luck with that. Hope he's nice.
IL: I do, too. He seems very tall so fingers crossed. I'll be in Vancouver in a couple weeks. Am I going to see you?

GM: Yes, you will see me. Maybe you'll do my show again.
IL: I would love to. I had such a good time last time and I love Canadians and I love that you always want to interview me. That makes me happy.

GM: And this is the first time for print.
IL: Cool. I like that. Well, I'm sorry I rushed.

GM: Tell me all about your date when I see you.

IL: Okay cool. Thanks, Guy.