The History of Standup...

If you’ve ever watched a standup comedy special on Comedy Central or Netflix and wondered, how we got here — The History of Standup looks back at the evolution of standup from vaudeville to Netflix. Each week, Comedian Wayne Federman teaches Andrew Steven about the history of standup in a casual, conversational history class, looking over some of comedy’s most interesting moments. Listen to our recent episodes below and don't forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Castbox.


Latest Episodes

Season 01

Ep. 06 — Boom 2.0

Social media provides new ways for standups to communicate directly with their fans, comedy content is democratized, Netflix floods the market, and a new comedy boom explodes that is even bigger than the last one.

Season 01

Ep. 05 — Alt Comedy and Def Comedy

As the comedy club boom goes bust, standups adapt to this new reality. A DIY ethic emerges and spreads from coast to coast as more and more comedians take control of their own destines. Meanwhile, FOX helps usher in a golden era for African-American comics, featuring interviews with comedians Margaret Cho, Janeane Garofalo, Tig Notaro, and journalist Julie Seabaugh.

Season 01

Ep. 04 — The 1980’s Comedy Boom

A fast and unexpected proliferation of comedy clubs cover the country. Long Island natives Eddie Murphy and Jerry Seinfeld ascend to legendary status as a growing glut of standup TV programs crowd the airwaves, featuring interviews with comedians Margaret Cho, Tig Notaro, and Ritch Shydner.

Season 01

Ep. 03 — Carson, SNL, and HBO

In the 1970s a successful appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” was the goal of every young standup, as was epitomized one night in 1973 with Freddie Prinze. Then Saturday Night Live and HBO changed the playing field.

Season 01

Ep. 02 — Comedy Albums and Comedy Clubs

The comedy albums of the 1960’s ushered in a new era of standup, eventually leading to the the worlds first comedy clubs opening their doors, helping drive the standup comedy boom of the ’80s. Featuring a look into Judd Apatow’s childhood record collection, plus we speak with Zoe Friedman, daughter of the founder and original proprietor of The Improv Comedy Club, Budd Friedman.

Season 01

Ep. 01 — In One, Television, and the Birth of Standup

Television and standup have been intertwined since their conception. Which is why, when two historic television programs debuted just days apart in 1948, NBC’s Texaco Star Theater and The Ed Sullivan Show, the standup world was forever changed. Featuring interviews with comedy icons including Judd Apatow and historian Kliph Nesteroff.