FROM Jim Rash
The Groundlings There’s a good chance you’ve encountered the work of Jim Rash and Michaela Watkins. Maybe at the movies or maybe on TV or maybe in a web series. Rash won an Oscar for co-writing the George Clooney movie The Descendants with Nat Faxon and Alexander Payne. He also co-wrote and appeared in last summer’s The Way, Way Back. And Rash plays Dean Pelton on the TV show Community. Watkins has appeared on TV shows like Trophy Wife, Enlightened and Saturday Night Live. She’s also the co-creator of a new comedy, Benched, coming to the USA Network. Something they have in common? They’re both veterans of the Groundlings. The improv and sketch comedy troupe recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. Rash and Watkins tell Kim Masters how the Groundlings opened the door for them to find work in LA, even after both occasionally bombing on stage. The Groundlings and their school are a Los Angeles institution. Students have to auditions for the chance to work their way through classes, hoping to join the team that performs on Sunday nights. From there, you might be voted into the main company, or you could be cut. The competition is fierce, but the potential payoff is big. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Will Forte, Maya Rudolph and Will Ferrell are Groundlings alumni. The troupe often feeds talent to Saturday Night Live. Montage of Jim Rash as Dean Pelton in Community Michaela Watkins in Funny Or Die sketch
Previewing James Comey's blockbuster testimony Former FBI director James Comey testifies Thursday in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, but his opening statement has been released. In it, he says he felt pressured by Donald Trump to declare loyalty to him and publicly clear him of any wrongdoing in the Russia investigation.
Shaking up the USDA, 'The Beef Cookbook' and 'Tartine All Day' Peggy Lowe explains why Trump’s pick for USDA Secretary is rattling rural America. Dario Cecchini talks future plans for Chianti ramen, and Richard Turner shares cuts from “PRIME: The Beef Cookbook.” Writer Matthew Sedacca looks at the controversy behind liquid smoke. Jonathan Gold tries Chengdu-style dishes, and Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine fills us in on the latest. Plus, chef Michael Beckman shares a recipe for cactus confit.
Securing Public Spaces, Super Wealthy Asians Vehicles are increasingly being used as weapons, as seen in the London Bridge attack over the weekend and in New York’s Times Square last month. The Compton-based company Calpipe is designing security bollards to help make public spaces safer. And novelist Kevin Kwan satirizes the “crazy rich” Asian jet set and their luxurious tastes in his latest book, “Rich People Problems.”
Industry insights and lessons learned from memorable guests We have interesting guests on The Business, and sometimes our conversations are too long to fit into one show. This week we give you stories that were too good to leave on the cutting room floor, including some sharp insights on making it in the industry from David Mandel, David Simon, Shawn Levy and Matt Reeves.