About the Show

On the Wits podcast extra: Hail To the Chief(s)! Chieves? America celebrated its presidents this week. Wits celebrates those same presidents with a look back at the Commanders-in-Chief, Founding Fathers, and First Ladies that we have had on the show over the years. Or at least guests we made pretend that they were those people. And there have been a lot: James K. Polk, others. With special guests Andy Richter, Neil Gaiman, Paul F. Tompkins, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, Paget Brewster, Joseph Scrimshaw, Josh Ritter, Chris Koza, Amy Sedaris, Eugene Mirman, Nellie McKay and Margaret Cho.

The Guests

Andy Richter


Andy Richter has been on television for 20 years, and he can currently be seen every weeknight on "Conan" on TBS.  In addition to numerous primetime guest-starring roles, Richter starred in the series "Andy Barker, P.I.," and the Emmy-nominated, "Andy Richter Controls the Universe." His feature film work includes Robert Altman's "Dr. T and the Women," "Elf," "Talladega Nights," and the animated "Madagascar" movies.

Amy Sedaris


Amy Sedaris is a five-foot Grecian spitfire from North Carolina who studied and performed with Chicago's Second City, an improv and sketch comedy theater. She's a best-selling author and starred in Comedy Central's Strangers with Candy. She has guest-starred on many popular television shows, including Sex & The City, Raising Hope and Hot in Cleveland. She most recently appeared in a several-episode arc on The Good Wife. She has been in several films including Elf, Snow Angels, Puss in Boots and The Best and the Brightest.

Paget Brewster


Paget Brewster can be found on Comedy Central’s “Drunk History”, as Special Agent Emily Prentiss on the CBS crime drama “Criminal Minds”, and various voices on “American Dad”, “The Venture Bros.” and “Dan Vs.". Brewster first came to attention in her recurring role as Kathy, Joey’s girlfriend (and later Chandler’s) on NBC’s “Friends.” She was a regular on “Andy Richter Controls The Universe” and starred as Beth Huffstodt in the Showtime series “Huff."  Paul and Paget are Thrilling Adventure Hour's Frank and Sadie Doyle.

Paul F. Tompkins


Paul F. Tompkins is one of the most charming, quick-witted and popular comedians on the scene. Tompkins has recorded four stand-up specials for Comedy Central, and hosts the "Speakeasy" web series. Tompkins is an Emmy-nominated writer for “Mr. Show with Bob and David,” and has appeared in movies including “There Will Be Blood” and “the Informant!” His most recent comedy albums include “Freak Wharf” and “Laboring Under Delusions.”

Chris Koza


Chris Koza is a singer-songwriter-composer living and working in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the climate, the mighty Mississippi River and the balance of large city and rural communities offer continued inspiration. Since 2005, Koza performs solo, with his band Rogue Valley, and in various other ensembles.

Eugene Mirman


Brooklyn resident Eugene Mirman is known for playing comedian/mobster Yvgeny Mirminsky on Adult Swim’s Delocated and doing the voice of “Gene” on FOX’s hit animated series Bob’s Burgers. In the streets he’s sometimes recognized as Eugene, the landlord, from Flight of the Conchords. On Aqua Teen Hunger Force he’s Dr. Eugene Mirman and on Home Movies he was Eugene, the Russian foreign exchange student. His hour-long Comedy Central special Eugene Mirman: An Evening of Comedy in a Fake Underground Laboratory premiered in December 2012. Eugene was named Best New York City Comedian by the Village Voice and one of the 10 best comedians of the last decade by Paste Magazine. He has released three comedy albums (the last two on Sub Pop records) and an incredibly funny parody-ish self-help book, The Will to Whatevs. Named by Roling Stone as a “Hot Twitterer,” Eugene also keeps his nearly 300k followers entertained daily.

Margaret Cho


Margaret Cho could be called “Queen of all Media,” conquering film, television, books and theatre, with Grammy nominations, sold-out tours, and off-Broadway and TV shows under her belt. Equally as important are the causes she is passionate about. Margaret is widely-recognized for her charitable work with gay rights and anti-bullying campaigns.

Nellie McKay


Hailed by the New Yorker as “funny and touching, ceaselessly clever and scarily talented,” Nellie McKay just finished an extended run in the off-Broadway award-winning hit Old Hats, and has written two acclaimed musical biographies, "Silent Spring: It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature" and "I Want to Live!" Nellie produced her critically acclaimed, debut double album Get Away From Me with Beatles' engineer Geoff Emerick, followed by Pretty Little Head, Obligatory Villagers, Normal as Blueberry Pie:  A Tribute to Doris Day, ("among the killer overhauls of American standards” - The New York Times), and her latest, Home Sweet Mobile Home.  Her music has also been heard on the TV shows Mad Men, Weeds, Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Privileged and Nurse Jackie, and Nellie has appeared on numerous TV shows including Late Show with David Letterman (with the Brooklyn Philharmonic), The View, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Live with Regis & Kelly and CBS Saturday Morning.

Kevin Murphy


For ten years Kevin Murphy co-wrote and directed the Peabody Award-winning series Mystery Science Theater 3000, and starred as the plucky red robot Tom Servo. He is a part of the RiffTrax team that makes MP3 tracks you can play in-sync with your favorite movies. He writes for and performs at Wits.

Josh Ritter


Josh Ritter is from Moscow, Idaho. The son of two neuroscientists, he was on his way to follow in their footsteps when he discovered Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan's "Girl from the North Country" in high school. He has since released seven studio albums and has been named one of the 100 greatest living songwriters by Paste Magazine. His debut novel, Bright’s Passage, was a national bestseller. His most recent album is called The Beast in Its Tracks.

Joseph Scrimshaw


Joseph Scrimshaw is a comedian and writer. He's performed at the San Francisco SketchFest, Chicago Improv Festival, CONvergence, Jonathan Coulton's JoCoCruiseCrazy, and more, and he's currently working with John Kovalic's Dork Storm Press developing multiple properties for movies and television. Joseph has written for RiffTrax, the national sketch comedy TV show M@dAbout, and he operates a theater company in the Twin Cities called Joking Envelope. His plays, ADVENTURES IN MATING, AN INCONVENIENT SQUIRREL,THE WORST SHOW IN THE FRINGE, and MY MONSTER (written with Bill Corbett) have played in New York, Seattle, Orlando, Dallas, Las Vegas, the UK, Bulgaria, Peru, as well as bars and theaters across the entire expanse of South Minneapolis.

Neil Gaiman


Neil Gaiman is the bestselling author of books for adults and children.  The recipient of many awards, his works have been adapted for film, television, stage and radio. Some of Neil’s most notable titles include The Graveyard Book (the first book to ever win both the Newbery and Carnegie medals), American Gods and 2013's UK National Book Award's Book of the Year, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. 2 million people follow him on Twitter.  Born in the UK, he now lives in the US with his wife, the musician and writer, Amanda Palmer.