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DC Improv podcasts

Whenever we chat with a comedian or explore the world of comedy, you can find it (FOR FREE!) right here. If you just want to see our interviews with comedians, check out the page for The Other Side episodes.

Adam Ferrara builds a better joke (11.4.16)

Comedy is a process, and Adam has fascinating perspective on the building of a joke. Plus we're talking "Top Gear," getting tips for traveling, and mentioning Renaissance art. You know, same old same old.


Headliner of State: John Kennedy (October 24, 2016)

John F. Kennedy charmed voters, reporters and just about everyone he met with his quick wit and self-effacing jokes. Author Thomas Maier ("When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys," "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings") shares the humor of a remarkably charismatic president.


Headliner of State: Grover Cleveland (October 20, 2016)

Grover Cleveland must have been fun -- the guy won the popular vote three times. But was he funny? Sharon Farrell, the caretaker of the Cleveland Birthplace in New Jersey, is our special guest. She gives us a tour of both sides of Grover: The hard-working politician and lawyer, and the fun-loving man's man.


Headliner of State: Ronald Reagan (October 10, 2016)

Ronald Reagan was called the "Great Communicator," and a big part of that was humor. Whether he was explaining his philosophy, deflating an opponent or firing up a crowd, Reagan knew that a well-placed joke could make all the difference. Our guest? The great Reagan biographer Lou Cannon.


Headliner of State: John Tyler (October 4, 2016)

John Tyler is the answer to a few trivia questions: The first vice president promoted to the big job, the president with the most kids, and the only president who joined the Confederacy. But was he the funniest president? Professor Edward P. Crapol helps us find out.


Brian McDaniel brings it home (9.16.16)

The PG County native talks to us about his very eclectic and very cool career in the entertainment industry, from "TMZ" to a touring stand-up comedian.


Tony Perkins laughs it up (9.13.16)

You know him as a great newscaster. But did you know that he worked for a decade as a stand-up comedian? He stops into the Improv to tell us about his experiences on the DC comedy scene.


Sean Patton branches out (9.8.16)

The great storyteller tells us about his amazing comedic powers and shares a drinking story.


Headliner of State: Dwight Eisenhower (September 6, 2016)

We know that people liked Ike. But was comedy part of Dwight Eisenhower's appeal? Our guest is Michael Birkner, a history professor at Gettysburg College -- the very place where Eisenhower kept his offices after leaving the White House.


Roy Wood Jr. puts in the work (9.1.16)

People know Roy from "The Daily Show," but that's only the latest phase of his career. He's one of the great working road comics, who spent his 20s driving hundreds of thousands of miles to comedy gigs around the South and Midwest.


Headliner of State: Warren Harding (August 29, 2016)

Warren Harding was amazingly popular in his day. Was he also amazingly funny? We're joined by Sherry Hall, the site manager of the Harding Home Presidential Site in Marion, Ohio.


Headliner of State: Andrew Jackson (August 9, 2016)

Andrew Jackson has a reputation for killing ... but not in a comedic sense. He actually murdered a dude. So if we're looking at the comedy of Jackson, how does that work, exactly? Our guest is Michael Friedman, the composer and lyricist for the hit musical "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson."


Headliner of State: James Buchanan (August 2, 2016)

James Buchanan didn't have much to laugh about as president, what with that whole "Civil War" thing starting on his watch. But how much has that one huge stain warped our view of POTUS No. 15? Patrick Clarke, the director of President James Buchanan's Wheatland, welcomes us into the historic home to talk about Buchanan's personality.


Headliner of State: Millard Fillmore (July 6, 2016)

Some presidents weren't all that funny in life ... but thanks to Twitter, they're cracking people up in death. Yes, there are people out there using Twitter to assume the identity of dead presidents, and we're talking to the guys behind @fillmoremillard.


Headliner of State: Thomas Jefferson (June 30, 2016)

LSU Professor Andrew Burstein, the author of "Democracy's Muse," joins us to talk about Jefferson -- and the ways TJ has been misunderstood over the last 200 years. It's a great discussion that might change the way you think about American history.


Headliner of State: Harry Truman (June 22, 2016)

Harry Truman might be one of the most likable presidents ... but does that mean he's also one of the funniest? Matthew Algeo, the author of "Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure," is our guest.


Headliner of State: George W. Bush (June 17, 2016)

George W. Bush generates a lot of laughter ... whether it's through his good-natured charm, or through jokes at his expense. Does he deserve a shot at the title? We're joined by the great comedian Frank Caliendo, whose Bush impression might be the best in the biz. As a bonus, we also discuss Donald Trump.


Headliner of State: Franklin Pierce (June 6, 2016)

Franklin Pierce loved to party! But he married a woman who hated to party. And he was really charismatic! But he's usually remembered as a failed president. In other words, Pierce was complicated. Biographer Peter A. Wallner helps us unravel the mystery (and the humor) of POTUS 14.


Headliner of State: Benjamin Harrison (May 29, 2016)

Some of Benjamin Harrison's contemporaries ridiculed him as a "human iceberg," and the nickname stuck. This episode, we're thawing him out to see if there's a great sense of humor buried under that reputation. Charlie Hyde, the head honcho at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in Indianapolis, is our guest.


Headliner of State: George Washington (May 23, 2016)

Focusing on laughs can obscure the less-pleasant parts of a president's legacy. For example, lots of the early presidents had slaves. And no one had more than George Washington. So let's get into it! Our guest is Azie Dungey, the creator and star of the "Ask a Slave" web series from 2013. She worked as a costumed interpreter at Mount Vernon, and the series puts a comedic (and thought-provoking) spin on her experiences. Can you use comedy to teach people about slavery? Does the stain of slavery ruin Washington's image? And, oh yeah, was Washington funny?


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