Susie Meister sits down with comedian and podcaster Jenna Kim Jones to talk about her career, comedy, and religion. They discuss Jenna’s work on The Daily Show, and why she made the move to Los Angeles. She discusses her faith and how her conservative life has lost her jobs in Hollywood. We find out whether she will in fact be the next host of America’s Funniest Videos after her petition to do so went viral. She also talks about her podcast, Sorry Not Sorry, and why her husband is a great complement to her zany personality.
In this episode of The Meister Piece, I talk to one of Hollywood’s nicest guys, actor and environmentalist, Ed Begley Jr. I met him at the house of Phil Rosenthal (creator of Everybody Loves Raymond), where instead of bringing wine or food, Ed brought his own line of green cleaning products as a host gift. In the interview, we talk about simple things we all can do to help the environment, his reality show “Living With Ed,” and how his new house, which is completely off-the-grid-is coming along. He describes how he manages his busy acting schedule with his desire to eliminate his carbon footprint. He talks about his famous competition with Bill Nye the Science Guy to live a green lifestyle, and says why Bill has the upper hand. Find out what Ed keeps in his electric car and more. Check out his site here for more on his tips to living green and keep an eye on his new home.
Susie Meister interviews Dr. Kelsy Burke a professor of sociology at St. Norbert College who studies sexuality, gender, and Christianity. They discuss the backlash to Fifty Shades of Grey among evangelicals, and why they are warning Christians to avoid the film. We discuss sexuality among evangelicals, how they navigate their fantasies, and why viewing Fifty Shades of Grey is seen as sinful. We also talk about Kelsy’s research more generally and she describes the websites where Christians go to discuss their concerns, desires, and theology within the framework of their sexuality in an effort to navigate the murky waters of what’s pure/impure for their marital bed.
I will never forget when I saw the notification from Twitter, “Alex Borstein is now following you!” How could this woman, who I have idolized for years, even know who I am. I messaged her and thanked her for following me. SHE SAID SHE THOUGHT I WAS FUNNY. Now I was going to have to tweet knowing that Alex Borstein might see it. I still can’t handle it.
In this episode of The Meister Piece, I interview the hilariously funny actress, who is best known as the voice of Lois Griffin on Family Guy. Borstein, who also appeared on MADtv, is now starring in HBO’s Getting On. She talks with me about comedy, acting, and even religion. She is characteristically hilarious and up for talking about anything.
Susie Meister interviews Rob Fusari, a Grammy Award-winning songwriter, music producer, and performer. He is famous for writing Destiny’s Child hits, “No, No, No” and “Bootylicious,” Will Smith’s “Wild, Wild West,” and Lady Gaga’s “Papparazzi.” He is most famous for discovering Lady Gaga and collaborating with her, and ultimately embroiled in a $30 million lawsuit with the songstress. He now goes by the name 8bit and is taking his talents to the stage as a member of duo, Cary NoKey. Fusari talks about how he wrote his hits singles, how he knew Lady Gaga was a star, and how he stays positive in the midst of lawsuits and negativity.
Host Susie Meister interviews neuroscientist and author of The Psychopath Inside: A Personal Journey Into the Dark Side of the Brain, Dr. James Fallon, who discovered accidentally that he has the brain genetics of a psychopath. Fallon describes what it was like to discover his own genetic predisposition of psychopathy, and why he believes he turned out to be a successful, non-violent, family man instead of a monster. Fallon also discusses how psychopaths operate in and see the world, and why these genes have been useful historically. Meister and Fallon talk about serial killers and the brain makeup that contributes to these behaviors.
I interview Rachel Phelps Hockenbarger a couple of years ago, and found the experience so fascinating I was eager to do it again. I know many people don’t think we should give the Westboro folks any more attention because of their provocative signs and pickets of military funerals, but I see them as an interesting microcosm within American religion that can shed light on the way Americans believe and behave with regard to theology.
Shirley is outspoken about her anti-gay ideology and picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers and other prominent figures. The church’s signs, which say things like, “God Hates Fags,” make headlines for their decidedly unChristian rhetoric and tone. Phelps-Roper opens up about the church, their community, and dwindling congregation. She describes how the church has changed since their founder and patriarch, Fred Phelps Sr. died last year. She also discusses why she believes we are in End Times, and the perils of hell for those who don’t repent.
I am a huge fan of history and comedy, so Christopher Miller’s book, American Cornball: A Laffopedic Guide to the Formerly Funny, was right up my alley. In it, Miller uses an alphabetical or enyclopedic approach to breaking down what has been funny in American history, and places within the context of that time. He also explores the curious notion of how comedy tend to be very culture and context specific, and does not tend to hold up well over time. It’s a fascinating (and hilarious) look at American history through the lens of comedy. Chrisopher Miller is a professor at Bennington College in Vermont and is also the author of Sudden Noises from Inanimate Objects, which won the Seattle Times Best Book of the Year award.
As a The Brady Bunch fanatic, I was thrilled to interview former child actor Robbie Rist, who played Cousin Oliver on that show. He is now a famous voice actor known for parts in Doc McStuffins and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He is also a musician and had a cameo in Sharknado. Above all, Robbie is hilarious, smart, and talented. You’ll love him!
Hope all my Pittsburgh friends (and fans!) will join me for a live taping of my podcast, The Meister Piece, featuring guest comedian, Davon Magwood. We will also have some surprise guests as well. The Arcade Comedy Theatre is BYOB and tickets are only $10. So come down to the theatre this Friday, January 2, at 10pm! Buy tickets here.