About the Show

This week, Wits is at the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas with one of the all-time greats of comedy, actor Fred Willard. He shares some behind-the-scenes stories of those classic Christopher Guest comedies he appeared in like Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman. We also have songs from beloved Austin-based music guests Shinyribs and Carrie Rodriguez. Plus, we find out what inspired Abbott and Costello’s most famous routine.


The Guests

Fred Willard


Five time Emmy nominee Fred Willard, radiates a unique charm that has established him as one of our generation’s most gifted comic actors. For his performance in Best in Show, he won the Boston Film Critics Award, the American Comedy Award, and a tribute from AFI. Some of his other film work includes;  Waiting For Guffman,This Is Spinal TapAnchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration, and as the only human in the Academy Award winning film, WALL-E . He has appeared in over a thousand TV episodes.  He co-starred with Martin Mull in the cult classic, Fernwood 2 Night. Fred garnered three Emmy nominations for his performance on Everybody Loves Raymond.   He received his fourth prime time Emmy nomination for his performance as Phil’s dad on ABC’s Emmy winner, Modern Family. Fred can currently be seen in Anchorman 2 The Legend Continues and heard as the voice The Secretary of The Interior in Disney’s PLANES! Fire and Rescue.



Shinyribs is the continuation of Kevin Russell’s musical journey which began in Beaumont, Texas when, at 14, he found his father’s guitar under his bed, along with a sewing machine, a billy club and a box of comic books. Luckily he chose the guitar. Following his family’s oil boom and bust migratory path he landed in Shreveport,LA where he formed his first band. Picket Line Coyotes were a Husker Du meets Elvis Costello hybrid that lived and died between the “Arklatexabamassippi” borders much like their unfortunate animal namesake. That’s what took him to Austin where The Gourds were born from those Coyote ashes. That storied band of pumpkins came to an end after 18 years of  good times and hard travelin’.  And from that point on Russell has been riding high on the Shinyribs river of country-soul, swamp-funk and tickle. A Shinyribs show is an exaltation of spirit. It’s a hip shaking, belly laughing, soul-singing, song-slinging, down-home house party. He’s Burl Ives meets Al Green, Hank, Jr. meets Teddy Pendergrass. Wendell Berry meets Chuck Berry.  Truly something not to be missed.

Carrie Rodriguez


Austin native Carrie Rodriguez is a classically trained violinist, singer and songwriter. Over the last decade, she has established an impressive roster of touring, recording and co-writing affiliations with noted musicians including John Prine, Chip Taylor, Lucinda Williams, Los Lobos, guitarist Bill Frisell and others.  Her most recent release, "Give Me All You Got," rose to number 1 on the Americana Music charts and received raves from publications such as The Washington Post and The New Yorker. She is currently working on a bilingual album in Spanish and English featuring modern interpretations of Mexican Ranchera music along with her own compositions set to be recorded in Austin next month.