Empire Guests

 Commentators for The Empire Strikes Back:

Jackie’s comedy is like listening to a really racy episode of All Things Considered. She is comic, writer, and occasional actor… she just did her first late night set on the Conan O’Brien show, has a half hour special on Comedy Central and has recorded an episode of This American Life with Ira Glass, Her latest CD, “It Is Never Going To Be Bread” was one of the top ten comedy albums of the year on Amazon. She hosts a weekly cult fave podcast called “The Dork Forest” where she creates a safe space for people to admit that thing they dork out about more than anyone.
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Josh Flanagan (minutes 11-15) is best known from the iFanboy.com podcast, and has been a Star Wars fanatic for as long as he’s known what a movie is. He will never ever forget the fact that Moff Jerjerrod is played by Michael Pennington, or any number of other useless facts about Star Wars.
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Asterios Kokkinos (minutes 16-20, 111) is a comedian who’s written and performed for The Nerdist, Geek & Sundry, National Lampoon, Screen Junkies & Cracked.com. His web series, “Admiral Ackbar’s Ads” has been praised by The Huffington Post, College Humor and Playboy. He currently edits the critically acclaimed comics and comedy anthology “The Devastator.” He enjoys Babylon 5, yelling at the TV with his father, and naps. Learn more at asterioskokkinos.com.
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Damon Ciarelli (Minutes 21-25) Hi, I’m Damon and like everyone else, Star Wars changed my life in lots of ways but this one I’m going to write about is probably slightly unusual. These days I make a living as a programmer but not so long ago, I was an animator and had only limited knowledge of computers. The reason I became a programmer is….and I’m not lying about this even a bit… this really happened and it’s slightly embarrassing, and Pete, I know you don’t like mentioning the prequels… but back in 1999, I was in the movie theatre watching the Phantom Menace for the first time. After being up for 3 days straight waiting on line for tickets, and during the first 5 minutes of the movie, before much had happened, and it still seemed like maybe, just maybe, it could actually be up to the expectations we all had been building for 20 years…ha. Well anyway, during the first five minutes of The Phantom Menace, this was the first time we had ever gotten to see Jedi in their prime. They weren’t old men or half machine or whiny farm boys… They kicked ass! And I thought to myself… “hmmm, I wish there was a mystical energy field that bound our galaxy together and whose ways I could learn cause I want to be like them!” And it was obvious… The Internet. It surrounds us, it penetrates us… So I decided right then and there… I would quit my job as an animator and master the ways of computers and the internet. This is right before we met the Gungan whose name I won’t mention and our excitement collapsed into a pile of crumpled up gum wrappers… But I still went through with the plan I came up with during those first five minutes.
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is a guy, due to an event involving a Y chromosome over thirty years ago. After spending seven years as a comic book retailer (alongside Pete The Retailer), he decided to try new things, leading to a new non-retail job (again, alongside PTR), as well as his role as the co-host of Nerd Geek Dork, a pop-culture podcast (once again, alongside PTR) and his latest podcasting project Your Favorite Album. He does other stuff too, just feel free to ask him about it.
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Mike Norton (minutes 31-35) is a Chicago-based cartoonist and creator of the award-winning webcomic, BATTLEPUG. Whenever Star Wars is on TV, he HAS to watch it. It’s a sickness.
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Tim Kreider (minute 36-40) is the author of the essay collection We Learn Nothing and the cartoon “The Pain–When Will It End?” He saw Star Wars in its original theatrical release at age 10.
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Dan McCoy (minutes 41-45) is an Emmy-winning writer for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. He created, animated, co-wrote, and co-voiced the webseries 9 AM Meeting which won an MTV development deal at the 2010 New York Television Festival. He’s performed and written for several live comedy shows in New York city including the sketch show “Mr. Whitepants’ Comedy Hour,” and the talk shows “Sara Schaefer is Obsessed With You” (Back Stage Best Bet 2005, ECNY Winner, NY Post Hot List) and “The Primetime Kalan,” hosted by Elliott Kalan. He’s also an (infrequent/reluctant) stand-up comic. Dan was a regular contributor to such quixotically paper-based NY humor magazines as Jest and Whim Quarterly. His sketches have been heard on the Seattle public radio program Rewind, and NPR’s Morning Edition, and his work has appeared online on Slate, Modern Humorist, and Gawker.  He lives in Brooklyn with his cat and his wife, not in that order.
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Elliott Kalan (minutes 41-45)  is a writer and comedian, currently serving as a three-time Emmy Award winning writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He’s also written for Marvel Comics, Discover Magazine, Metro Newspaper, and has had many pieces rejected by The New Yorker. He performs infrequently as a stand-up, the highlight of which was taking part in a USO Tour of Afghanistan. He’s also performed as one half of the sketch duo The Hypocrites, as co-host of the internet radio show Fist City, and host of no less than three different untelevised talk shows with his name in the title. He graduated from NYU’s Dramatic Writing Program in 2002. And yes, that’s his actual voice.
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Tony Thaxton (minute 46-50) toured the world for 11 years as the drummer of Motion City Soundtrack. He now spends his time teaching drum lessons, occasionally playing drums in The Pride of Erie PA, and frequenting or thinking about Disneyland. 
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Ryan Haupt (minutes 51-55) is an actual scientist and host of the podcast Science… sort of. In episode 26 of the show, they cover the aerodynamics of astromech flight. Whether in the lab or the real world, he often annoys his friends by getting overly excited about the most recent fan conspiracy theory fixing plot holes in his favorite pieces of nerd culture. To get a photo for Pete and Alex, he had to go to a toy store and wait for all the other kids to stop hogging the lightsabers.
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Tony Consiglio (minutes 56-60) is an internationally published cartoonist in addition to his status as podcast guest par excellence. He once sold Samuel L. Jackson a  tennis racquet.
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Mike Dawson (minutes 61-65) In addition to his work as a graphic novelist Mike is a seasoned podcaster, hosting the interview show TCJ talkies .  He denies that his son is named after Ewan MacGregor.
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Stuart Wellington (minutes 71-76) was born in Indiana, USA to Mark and Shelley Wellington. He did poorly in grammar school and went on to an undistinguished career at Earlham College. One day everything changed. He found a magical amulet in an old trunk that was once owned by his great grandfather. It turns out that Stuart is the last remaining member of an ancient royal family of some bullshit fantasy world. Only he can set right what is wrong, and cast the Dark One back into the Abyss. Instead, he is going to spend his time watching shitty movies and eating hamburgers. He is a c0-host of the Flophouse podcast. End?
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Joe Dator (minutes 77-80) is an award-wanting cartoonist whose work appears in The New Yorker magazine with the thumping regularity of a savage drum. Star Wars has never left his bloodstream since he was first exposed to it as a 10 year-old in 1977, so perhaps it is not surprising that Meco’s “Disco Star Wars” is a permanent selection on his mp3 player. What may be surprising is that Steely Dan’s “Peg” is too, primarily because its ubiquity on the AM radio of the era has left it permanently affixed to images of moisture vaporators and holo-chess in his brain. He enjoys coffee, avoiding the beach, public transportation and coffee, and can be found online at joedator.com and at twitter.com/joedator.
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Joseph Scrimshaw (minutes 81-85) is a comedian and writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to his many writing and performing credits he has a comedy podcast about liking things a little too much called OBSESSED (With Joseph Scrimshaw). The podcast has been featured multiple times on iTunes as “New & Noteworthy” and a “Staff Favorite” in comedy.
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Jeff Ayers (Minutes 86-90)is a Bronx, NY native and the Administrator of a facility called Forbidden Planet NYC where he has worked since 1995.
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Klee Wiggins (Minutes 91-95) is a Los Angeles-based writer and comedian.
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Meredith Woerner (Minutes 96-100, 112) is the Senior Reporter at io9. It’s her job to quiz Harrison Ford about the differences between shooting aliens with a blaster versus an Old West shotgun.
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Songe Riddle  (Minutes 101-105) is an illustrator and animator of things.  Once in 1998 he met Dennis Muren at a lecture on the special effects created for the then imminent release of The Phantom Menace (sorry, Pete) and told him with a wistfully romantic cadence that he taught Songe how to dream.  Mr. Muren replied awkwardly that he “hopes they were good dreams”.  Indeed they were!

No single event influenced Songe’s desire to create than his introduction to Star Wars in 1979.  It is his first memory and will probably occupy his final thoughts.

At some point in the mid-nineties, Songe resolved to weed Star Wars out of his thoughts, by first  trying to go a day without a quote or reference to it.  As of writing this, it has not happened.  We have to take things one day at a time.

He’s sorry he couldn’t do better, but he’s got problems of his own.

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John Skrzypek (Minutes 106-110)
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Kevin Maher  (Minute 111) is an Emmy-nominated comedy writer, whose work has been seen on HBO, AMC, CNN, Comedy Central, VH1, TV One, FEARNet, and Nickelodeon.  His short films have been shown everywhere from MOMA to Troma, with screenings outside of Sundance and Cannes.
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Sean Hutchinson (Minute 112)
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Doug Benson (Minute 114)is a stand-up comedian and host of the popular podcast Doug Loves Movies. He is also the star of Super High Me  and The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled.
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Ron Richards (Minute 115). Hailing from the mean streets of Long Island, NY, Ron Richards has been reading & collecting comics for more than 2/3s of his life, beginning with Uncanny X-Men #269, which led to his co-founding of iFanboy.com in 2001. Since then Ron has been a pioneer in the 21st century comics media, cultivating one of the most popular audio podcast and Internet TV shows about comics, as well as growing the iFanboy community to one of the best in the world. Ron will happily talk you ear off about all things Marvel Comics. If you’re lucky he might even share with you the inspiration for his sideburns. He spends his days wondering “what would Scott Summers do?” while residing in San Francisco amongst the thriving technology start-up and entrepreneurial environment.
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Joel Johnson (Minute 116)
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Ian Doescher (Minute 117is a Portland native, and lives in Portland with his spouse and two children. He’s the author the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars trilogy  and is currently the Creative Director at Pivot Group LLC, a full service marketing, research and web agency in Portland, Oregon.
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John Kovalic  (Minute 118)has drawn over 4,000 cards for the popular game Munchkin and political cartoons for the New York Times but his work on the comic Dork Tower  which earned him many, many awards.
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Chris Eliopoulos (Minute 119)
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Skottie Young (Minute 120) has been an illustrator and cartoonist for over ten years working for entertainment and publishing companies such Marvel, Warner Bros., Image, Upper Deck, Mattel, and many more.  He is currently illustrating the New York Times Best Selling and Eisner Award Nominated adaptions of L. Frank Baum’s OZ novels with writer Eric Shanower.  The series has gained acclaim from both fans and critics.

Skottie currently lives in Illinois with his family, Casey, Baxter and their Saint Bernard, Emma.

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Jason Crane (Minute 121) is the host of The Jazz Session, a long-running jazz interview show, and also a poet who writes at
http://jasoncrane.org. Jason first saw Star Wars in a drive-in in Lanesboro, MA, during the 1978 re-release. He saw Empire in a suburb of
Rochester, NY, and Jedi in Plymouth, MA. Jedi was the first movie he saw on his own. (Thanks, Gramps!) Jason once dated someone with Han Solo sheets, which he thought was a good sign. It was. Jason is the father of two kids, to whom he gave his surviving Star Wars toys, including his AT-AT and his 12-inch Chewie, Boba, Stormtrooper, and Darth figurines. His Death Star, sadly, is lost in the mists of time. Or more likely in Oklahoma City. 
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G. Jesse Martinez (minute 122) is a life long Star Wars fan and New York City based filmmaker. He is the Co-Editor for Hey Bartender produced by 4th Row Films which premiered at the SXSW film festival and is now available on netfilx Currently he is working on a documentary about the National Lampoon. 

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Jonathan Strawn (minute 123)  is that guy who tells you about how awesome some film is and it turns that it is awful and he only enjoys it ironically. He currently develops training materials for the military and is an Air National Guard member who has deployed to many countries far, far away.  As a new father, he can’t wait until his children tell him that Star Wars is boring because it is old.

  • Posted on January 18th, 2014
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