Monthly Archives: October 2014

Johanna Stein: Writer, Comedian

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Johanna Stein. momhead video, cbc, will arnett deal

Johanna’s YouTube, GoPro video “Momhead” was an overnight sensation, receiving 2,400,000 views in a few days. We discuss the steps that led to its success. The YouTube, GoPro video was featured on BuzzFeed, and subsequently Johanna was interviewed by major international news organizations.

Shortly after the video went viral Stein landed a deal to write a sitcom pilot for CBS.

The pilot is being produced with Will Arnett, and will be based on Stein’s book “How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane.”

I first met Johanna Stein when we were both performing at the Winnipeg Fringe Fetsival. We talk about how the Fringe was a launch pad for her career.

We also discuss the creative process that led her from doing stand up comedy to motherhood and then writing a book which served as the foundation for the viral video.

Johann Stein’s website
Joahanna’s book “How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane” on Amazon.
The YouTube video that went viral.

Elyse Friedman: Author


Elyse Friedman, author, screenwriter, The Answer to Everything

Elyse Friedman is a Toronto based writer. Her most recent book “The Answer to Everything” received great reviews. She’s won a Gold National Magazine Award and has been short-listed for the Trillium Book Award and the Toronto Book Award.

She’s also participated in Tarragon Theatre’s Playwrights Unit and has written two feature films, one of which premiered at TIFF, the other at the Sundance Film Festival.

The Answer to Everything, Elyse Friedman,

Reviewing “The Answer to Everything” the National Post’s Sofi Papamarko wrote: “Tales about people searching for meaning in an empty culture and confusing universe aren’t new, but Friedman tackles hers in a fiercely funny and original way.”

The Toronto Star’s Safa Jinje wrote: “The Answer to Everything is tragicomedy at its best. The novel is packed with sadness, but readers will mostly laugh.

Among other things we discuss why Elyse dropped out of high school at a time in her life when she was, in her words, “a crazy, hormonal, freaked out teenager.”

In the interview Elyse answers questions submitted by podcast listeners, including one about her favourite dark and funny writers.

Links from the Podcast
The Answer to Everything
Ryeberg Curated Videos
Elyse Friedman, author, screenwriter, The Answer to Everything

Kat Edmonson: Singer, Songwriter

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Kat Edmonson is a singer songwriter from Texas.

I spoke with Kat in 2014, after the release of her third album “The Big Picture.”

Kat is a master songwriter who channels the work of tin pan alley lyricists while adding the contemporary edge of an ambitious, single woman living in the age of social media. Imagine an iPhone user with a touch of Cole Porter and Blossom Dearie. Kat says that while she writes, she endlessly researches the origins of words – and it shows in her playful and poignant lyrics.

Woody Allen recognized her talents and featured one of Kat’s songs in “Café Society,” the rom-com set in 1930s Hollywood.

Kat’s album “Way Down Low,” that features a duet with Lyle Lovett, is one of my all-time favourites, and when I first heard that Kat agreed to do my podcast I was over the moon. How often does anyone get to talk to someone who has created something so meaningful to their lives? That album of hers has coaxed tears from my eyes and helped me to discover joy in places I thought were desolate.

I was anxious.

So I was a bit anxious about meeting her.

Naturally Kat was a charming and willing participant in the interview, immediately putting me at ease.
Kat’s grace and calmness belie the complex path to her achievements, and in speaking with her it became clear that she’s destined to do even greater things.

Kat’s most recent release is “Old Fashioned Gal.” In a review Glide Magazine says “With an adroit feel for classic jazz circa the ‘30s and ‘40s, she emulates the great standards of days gone by. She possesses a gift for composing alluring and engaging songs, all of which are highly evocative, each on its own.”

In the podcast we discuss several songs, I’ve included them all in this Spotify playlist. Consider listening to the playlist prior to listening to the interview. You must have a Spotify account to listen.

Here’s the video to Kat’s song “Rainy Day Woman.”

Links from the podcast
Follow Kat on Instagram