The Last Laugh
Alan Ruck (‘Succession’)
For the first 30 years of his career, Alan Ruck (2023 Emmy nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series) was sure he would always be remembered as Ferris Bueller’s sad best friend. Then ‘Succession’ came along and changed everything. In this episode, Ruck shares his thoughts on the end of ‘Succession,’ including what lies ahead for Connor and Willa’s marriage, the story behind filming that “virtual dinner” with Brian Cox, and why creator Jesse Armstrong made the right decision to quit while he was ahead. The actor also reveals why he asked for his character to be killed off in Season 2 and how the role he was waiting his entire career for has forever altered his professional legacy.
This episode was originally published on June 6th, 2023.
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231. Rory Scovel Returns: ‘Religion, Sex and a Few Things in Between’26:51Comedian Rory Scovel has never really known what he was going to say when he walked onto the stand-up stage. But that all changed when he decided—20 years into his career—to finally do the “homework” of actually writing a complete and cohesive hour. The result is his new special, ‘Religion, Sex and a Few Things in Between,’ which Scovel describes as the “tightest” set of material he’s ever produced (and is streaming now on Max). In his return to the podcast for this bonus episode, Scovel discusses how this new approach changed his experience on stage, how he still strives to stay ultra-present in his work and why he has decided to lean into politics (with an eye on George Carlin) for his next act. Follow Rory Scovel on Instagram @roryscovelFollow Matt Wilstein on Threads @mattwilsteinFollow The Last Laugh on Instagram @lastlaughpod and Threads @lastlaughpodHighlights from this episode and others at The Daily Beast
230. Jenny Slate: ‘Seasoned Professional’55:06Jenny Slate has never been a traditional stand-up comic. And after a lengthy hiatus that followed her 2019 Netflix special ‘Stage Fright’ and included both a global pandemic and the birth of her daughter, she wasn’t sure she’d ever get up in front of an audience again. “I didn’t have a system in place for how to get back up on stage. I didn’t know how to do that,” she says in this episode. But now, with her new hour ‘Seasoned Professional’ set to premiere this Friday, Feb. 23 on Amazon Prime Video, Slate breaks down how she made her way back in front of the mic and why she decided to get so intimately personal in the special. Slate reflects on how her one unfortunate season as a ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast member has informed the rest of her career, from finding the right kind of community on projects like ‘Kroll Show’ and ‘Bob’s Burgers’ to learning how to make her own unlikely success as ‘Marcel the Shell With Shoes On.’ And she discusses what it was like to pass the torch of her mixed race character on ‘Big Mouth’ to Ayo Edebiri, why she’s not sure ‘Obvious Child,’ her comedy film about abortion, would hit viewers in the same way 10 years later, and a lot more.Follow Jenny Slate on Instagram @jennyslateFollow Matt Wilstein on Threads @mattwilsteinFollow The Last Laugh on Instagram @lastlaughpod and Threads @lastlaughpodHighlights from this episode and others at The Daily Beast
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228. Moshe Kasher: ‘Subculture Vulture’52:59Before Moshe Kasher became a stand-up comedian, his life was defined by his intimate connections to Alcoholics Anonymous, the deaf community, rave culture, Burning Man and Judaism. Each of these distinct communities serve as chapters in his excellent new book, ‘Subculture Vulture: A Memoir in Six Scenes.’ In this episode, Kasher breaks down how these various identities helped make him the person he is both on and off stage today, from early jokes about growing up with two deaf parents to the Emmy-winning documentary about antisemitism that hits very differently in the wake of the October 7th attacks and Israel’s response. He also reads a passage from the book about how he overcame his inherent skepticism about Burning Man, explains why he feels at home on both sides of the comedy world’s woke vs. anti-woke divide and shares his reaction to all of the recent attention his wife, fellow comedian Natasha Leggero, received when she went topless on stage at the Hollywood Improv. But Moshe Kasher’s new book ‘Subculture Vulture: A Memoir in Six Scenes’Follow Moshe Kasher on Twitter @moshekasher and Instagram @moshekasherFollow Matt Wilstein on Threads @mattwilsteinFollow The Last Laugh on Instagram @lastlaughpod and Threads @lastlaughpodHighlights from this episode and others at The Daily Beast
227. Jacqueline Novak: ‘Get on Your Knees’44:15Jacqueline Novak spent six long years developing her “90 minute meditation on the blow job.” Now that “Get on Your Knees” is streaming on Netflix—and garnering rave reviews—the comedian sits down with The Last Laugh podcast to talk about what it’s like to give up control as viewers around the world are welcomed into her most intimate thoughts and ideas. In this episode, Novak breaks down how she decided to take her career into her own hands and create something that felt worthy of her talents after years of five-minute sets on pizza and french fries, opens up about the double-edged sword of being a female comic who talks about sex on stage and shares what she wants to do next now that her star-making project is finally finished.Follow Jacqueline Novak on Instagram @jacnovFollow Matt Wilstein on Threads @mattwilsteinFollow The Last Laugh on Instagram @lastlaughpod and Threads @lastlaughpodHighlights from this episode and others at The Daily Beast
226. Zach Woods: ‘The Office,’ ‘Silicon Valley’ and ‘In the Know’52:38When Zach Woods was first cast as Gabe on Season 6 of ‘The Office,’ he found a comment online where someone described his face as a “combination of sadness and food poisoning.” And that was before he had even appeared in an episode. “I was like, buckle up, here we go!” he recalls thinking at the time. In this episode, Woods breaks down how he went from the “abject terror” of joining one of his favorite comedy shows to channeling some of the tech world’s biggest weirdos as Jared on HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ to co-creating and starring as the deeply awkward fictional NPR host Lauren Caspian in his new stop-motion animated Peacock show ‘In the Know’ opposite live-action celebrities like Mike Tyson, Hugh Laurie, Nicole Byer and others. Follow Zach Woods on TikTok @zachwoods and Instagram @mrzachwoodsFollow Matt Wilstein on Threads @mattwilsteinFollow The Last Laugh on Instagram @lastlaughpod and Threads @lastlaughpodHighlights from this episode and others at The Daily Beast
225. Paul F. Tompkins: The Best Comedy Podcast Guest53:55Paul F. Tompkins is widely considered to be among the best comedy podcast guests of all time. But as he tells me in this episode, he doesn’t let that pressure get to him, because he offers up humbly, “I don’t believe it.” Tompkins has done it all in his nearly four decades of comedy, from sketch to stand-up to voicing animated characters on shows like ‘Bojack Horseman’ and ‘Bob’s Burgers.’ But among his greatest comedic achievements are the hundreds of hours he’s spent improvising in character with Scott Aukerman and others on the ‘Comedy Bang! Bang!’ podcast. In this episode, Tompkins discusses how that experience has helped to shape his comic sensibility and bring him the ideal level of fame and respect within the comedy world. He also opens up about starting his career alongside alleged insurrectionist Jake Johnston, why he never wants to work with Bill Maher again and the problem with comedians who believe their only job is to offend. Stream ‘Varietopia with Paul F. Tompkins’ on February 2ndFollow Paul F. Tompkins on Threads @pftompkins and Instagram @pftompkinsFollow Matt Wilstein on Threads @mattwilsteinFollow The Last Laugh on Instagram @lastlaughpod and Threads @lastlaughpodHighlights from this episode and others at The Daily Beast
224. Joe Pera: ‘Slow & Steady’43:52Is Joe Pera for real? That’s the inevitable question you start asking yourself after seeing him perform soft-spoken stand-up jokes, listening to his deliberately sleep-inducing podcast or watching his exquisitely serene Adult Swim series ‘Joe Pera Talks With You.’ In this episode, Pera goes deep on how he developed his very unique comedy style and responds directly to those who think his entire comic persona might be some sort of elaborate ruse. He also reflects on the end of his beloved and deeply personal show, reveals how Taylor Swift helped inspire his upcoming stand-up tour and tells the full story behind securing the rights to The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” Get tickets for The Peras Tour at joepera.comFollow Joe Pera on Twitter @JosephPera and Instagram @joeperaFollow Matt Wilstein on Threads @mattwilsteinFollow The Last Laugh on Instagram @lastlaughpod and Threads @lastlaughpodHighlights from this episode and others at The Daily Beast