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We all know the stories of how creative people get into the business of creating for a living, but how did they start using their imaginations in the first place? On the Beginnings podcast, writer and performer Andy Beckerman asks well-known comedians, musicians, writers and artists about their earliest creative acts and about other formative childhood experiences. Situated halfway between the light breeziness of Who Charted? and the neurotic psychoanalysis of WTF, Beginnings is fun, weird and informative!




Episode 327: Miles Kahn

On today's episode I talk to Peabody Award–winning writer-director-producer Miles Kahn. Miles got his start in entertainment as a writer and director, and in 2008 joined The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He worked his way up to Senior Producer, and during his time there, also produced a number of specials for stand-ups like Wyatt Cenac and D.L. Hughley. In 2015, Miles left the Daily Show to serve as executive producer for Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, where he's been since. This is the...

Duration: 01:11:06

Episode 326: Matt Lubchansky

On today's episode I talk to Queens-based cartoonist and illustrator Matt Lubchansky. Matt is the Associate Editor of the Nib, a daily political comics site under the First Look Media umbrella, which also houses the brilliant left-wing news site The Intercept. Matt's work has appeared in VICE, Eater, Mad Magazine, Gothamist, The Toast, The Hairpin, Brooklyn Magazine, as well as his long-running webcomic Please Listen to Me. Additionally, he is the co-author with his wife of the book Dad...

Duration: 01:25:54

Episode 325: Jeremy Pikser

On today's episode I talk to screenwriter and activist Jeremy Pikser. Originally on his way to be a teacher, Jeremy instead became a screenwriter after a series of events led him to be a "special consultant" and uncredited writer on the film Reds, which was nominated for an Academy Award for screenplay. He's written a number of other films as well, including The Lemon Sisters with Diane Keaton and Elliott Gould, War, Inc. with John Cusack and Bulworth with Warren Beatty. The screenplay for...

Duration: 01:30:02

Episode 324: Sam Sinyangwe

On today's episode I talk to policy analyst and data scientist Sam Sinyangwe. Sam grew up in Orlando, FL, and has been involved in organizing and advocacy since he was in high school. He's worked at PolicyLink helping to support a national network of 61 "Promise Neighborhoods" with the goal of building cradle-to-career systems of support for low-income families. He created the "Mapping Police Violence" project, which collects and uses data as a tool for fighting police violence. And most...

Duration: 01:28:56

Episode 323: Isaac Oliver

On today's episode I talk to award-winning playwright, author, and performer Isaac Oliver. His debut collection of essays, Intimacy Idiot, was named one of NPR's Best Books of 2015. His plays include Electra in a One-Piece, and the ten-minute plays “3, 2, 1,” “Film Forum,” and “Come Here”, which won the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Original Short Script. Additionally, he's written for The New York Times, W Magazine, Time Out New York, Out, and HBO's High...

Duration: 01:34:47

Episode 322: Aye Nako's Jade Payne and Mars Ganito

On today's episode I talk to Jade Payne and Mars Ganito of the indie rock band Aye Nako. Formed in 2010, Aye Nako is a New York-based queer punk band who make dissonant and melodic punk music. In 2013, they self-released their first album Unleash Yourself, and in 2015, Don Giovanni Records released their EP THe Blackest Eye. The album saw the band explore personal themes such as abuse and racism, and it garnered a great deal of critical acclaim, ending up on several "best of" lists...

Duration: 01:23:23

Bonus Episode 35: A Beginnings Live Music Mixtape

I'm moving to LA this week, so I wanted to take a break from producing an episode to settle into the new digs and recover from having to take two cats on a cross-country flight. And while I was getting ready for the move, I was cleaning up my hard drive and found some of the music from when Beginnings was a monthly live show at UCB East (every month we'd have a musical guest perform and then be interviewed). These performances are really fantastic, and I don't know how many people have...

Duration: 01:04:39

Episode 321: Jen Goma of A Sunny Day in Glasgow

On today's episode I talk to musician Jen Goma. Based in New York City, Jen writes and produces music, comedy and videos. She is a member of the bands A Sunny Day in Glasgow and Roman à Clef and has collaborated with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Jherek Bischoff. Her first solo album Smiley Face, recorded under the name Showtime Goma was just released, and it's great! This is the website for Beginnings, subscribe on iTunes, follow me on Twitter.

Duration: 01:34:26

Episode 320: Joseph Kertes

On today's episode I talk to writer Joseph Kertes. Joe was born in Hungary but escaped with his family to Canada after the revolution of 1956. He studied English at York University and the University of Toronto and founded Humber College's distinguished creative writing and comedy programs. As an author, he's written a number of books including Winter Tulips and Boardwalk. His third book Gratitude won the Canadian National Jewish Book Award and the U.S. National Jewish Book Award for...

Duration: 01:19:24

Episode 319: Bill Scheft

On today's episode I talk to novelist, columnist, and Emmy-nominated television writer Bill Scheft. Bill started his career as a sportswriter and as a stand-up. After twelve years touring, he was hired as a monologue writer for Late Night with David Letterman where he remained for 24 years until the show's conclusion in 2015. In addition to writing for Letterman, Bill also wrote for the Oscars, ESPYs and almost every other major awards show, and he also contributed a popular weekly humor...

Duration: 01:32:44

Episode 318: Stephen Falk

On today's episode I talk to writer and showrunner Stephen Falk. Born in Berkeley, CA, Stephen has been working in television for a number of years, starting off on the Showtime series Weeds. He then created the NBC show Next Caller, and went on to write for Orange is the New Black. In 2014, he created the wonderful FX series You're the Worst, whose 4th season will air sometime later this year. This is the website for Beginnings, subscribe on iTunes, follow me on Twitter.

Duration: 01:02:31

Episode 317: Joel Church-Cooper

On today's episode I talk to writer and showrunner Joel Church-Cooper. Born in Sacramento, Joel grew up in Santa Cruz, and eventually made his way down to LA where he started taking classes and performing at UCB and IO West. As a TV writer, he started on shows like The Onion SportsDome, as well as Up All Night, Ground Floor and Undateable, among many others. Most recently, he created and showruns Brockmire on IFC, which is based on a Funny or Die webseries he made. This is the website...

Duration: 01:27:43

Episode 316: Damon Lindelof

On today's episode I talk to writer and showrunner Damon Lindelof. Originally from Teaneck, NJ, Damon has been a successful television and screenwriter for almost two decades. He started on shows like MTV's Undressed and Nash Bridges, and in 2004 co-created Lost, the show that revitalized the possibility that network TV could be weird and labyrinthine. He's written many of the best studio sci-fi films of the last decade including World War Z, Prometheus and Star Trek Into Darkness, and...

Duration: 01:18:16

Episode 315: Patrick Adams

On today's episode I talk to songwriter, arranger and record producer Patrick Adams. Originally from Harlem, Patrick has applied his magic touch to more than four decades of music, earning thousands of credits for contributions to disco, boogie, soul and hip-hop releases both genre-defining and criminally underrated. In addition to mentoring Leroy Burgess and his seminal soul group Black Ivory, Patrick was a key contributor to innumerable disco LPs and hits like Musique’s “In The Bush,”...

Duration: 01:39:00

Episode 314: Chris Leo of The Van Pelt

On today's episode I talk to musician Chris Leo. Originally from New Jersey, Chris started playing music in the early 1990s with his brother Danny in the groundbreaking hardcore band Native Nod. When they broke up, Chris formed the post-rock band The Van Pelt, whose two albums - Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves and Sultans Of Sentiment - were released by NJ indie record label Gern Blandsten. Chris then formed The Lapse with Van Pelt member Toko Yasuda (also of Enon and Blonde Redhead)...

Duration: 01:22:08

Episode 313: Ronny Chieng

On today's episode I talk to comedian Ronny Chieng. Born in Malaysia, Ronny was raised in New Hampshire and Singapore and graduated from the University of Melbourne in Australia with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce. That same year, he started performing stand-up, and since then he has toured four sold out global stand up comedy theater tours in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, Canada and London and recorded four award winning comedy specials. In...

Duration: 01:24:49

Episode 312: Nathan Lee Graham

On today's episode I talk to Grammy Award winning cabaret artist and actor Nathan Lee Graham. Originally from St. Louis, Nathan's notable film roles include Todd in Zoolander and Zoolander 2, Frederick Montana in Sweet Home Alabama and Geoff in Hitch and on TV has appeared as Peter in The Comeback, and had guest starring roles on Scrubs, Absolutely Fabulous and Law & Order SVU. His stage appearances include Phil D'Armano in the original Broadway cast of the Tony and Grammy Award nominated...

Duration: 01:20:11

Episode 311: Negin Farsad

On today's episode I talk to writer, comedian and podcast host Negin Farsad. Originally from Palm Springs by-way-of Virginia, Negin is highly accomplished in many domains. She's the director, writer and star of the romantic comedy 3rd Street Blackout, which starred Janeane Garofalo, Ed Weeks, and John Hodgman, as well as the director and producer of the feature film The Muslims Are Coming! which starred Jon Stewart and David Cross. Negin is also the host of a political comedy round-table...

Duration: 01:33:24

Episode 310: Caissie St. Onge

On today's episode I talk to Emmy nominated comedy writer Caissie St. Onge. Originally from Fitchberg, MA, Caissie is a prolific comedy writer. She’s worked for The Late Show with David Letterman, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, VH1’s Best Week Ever with Paul F. Tompkins, The Grammy Awards, The Tony Awards, and regularly wrote material for Joan Rivers. She's also a YA author having penned the novel Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. and is currently a Supervising Producer on Bravo's Watch What...

Duration: 01:15:16

Episode 309: Amy Hoggart

On today's episode I talk to actor and comedian Amy Hoggart. Amy grew up in the suburbs of London, and though she received an advanced degree in clinical psychology, she ended up pursuing a career in comedy. She started in the famous Cambridge sketch group The Footlights and the London stand-up scene, and in 2014 was cast in the BBC America show Almost Royal. And in 2016, Amy became a correspondent on the weekly late night show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. This is the website for...

Duration: 01:19:26

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