Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

Briefs: Tom Papa at City Winery, A&E's 'Intervention" in Georgia, DWTS update, CNBC 'The Profit' casting call

This was originally posted Thursday, April 27, 2017 by Rodney Ho/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Stand-up comic Tom Papa now has three televised comedy specials scattered across the universe. His first from 2011 is on Netflix. His second from 2013 is available on Hulu and Amazon. His most recent "Human Mule" debuted last year on Epix.

Epix? It's the newest pay cable network that debuted in 2009 and has far fewer subscribers than HBO, Showtime and Cinemax at about 14 million, according to SNL Kagen estimates.  But hey, distribution is distribution.

"I have a good relationship with Epix," he said in a recent interview. "They love my comedy. They give me complete freedom."

You can see him live at the City Winery April 27. (Buy tickets here.)

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Papa honestly believes "Human Mule" is better than his first two specials. The concept of the title, he said, came from when his kids were younger and he was always carrying their stuff on his back. "You have flies in your eyes and a cantina is hitting your leg," he said. "You're like a beaten animal. It definitely seemed to fit."

He said he actually likes his kids more now that they're older. (Many parents prefer them tiny.)

"I always looked forward to this stage," Papa said. "I know the little kids are cute and smell nice. But they were just waddling around and couldn't do anything. Now they're at the age where we can share coffee and make fun of people in the next booth. It's a lot more fun!"

But he admits he can easily humiliate his kids when their friends are in the car. "I just have to sing along to the radio to some bluegrass music," he said.

Given his celebrity, he can occasionally up his dad cred by getting them tickets to something they want to see. His youngest loves Olympic gymnast Simone Biles so he was trying to get into the studio to watch "Dancing with the Stars" live. He himself isn't all that interested doing the show. He watched comic and former "SNL" cast member Chris Kattan try to dance this season. Kattan was eliminated the first week this season and later grousing that it was "unfair." "That was rough," Papa said. "This was a guy that as a comedian should be making fun of that show. Now he's on that show. The whole thing made me uncomfortable."

As for doing shows at the City Winery, he prefers them over traditional comedy clubs. "They're really great venues" in multiple cities, he said. "My audience isn't really into comedy clubs where you get served baskets of fries and make out with your girlfriend. I tend to draw more grown ups with families. The City Winery is a classier theater."

His humor, he noted, is more along the lines of Brian Regan or Jerry Seinfeld. (Papa has opened for Seinfeld, including Seinfeld's 2015 visit to the Fox Theatre.).

He hosted Seinfeld's short-lived show "The Marriage Ref" on CBS a few years back where celebrities decide minor marital disputes.

"I think it was helping everyone but myself," he said. "I had to make a lot of jokes about my own situation, sometimes exaggerated. It was a fun show to do. If they had treated it better, it would still be going. Everywhere I go married people say they miss that show."

He readily admits he's famous enough to be recognized though not enough for it to be Seinfeldian annoying. "I'll be out somewhere," he said. "I'll come home. And later on Twitter, someone will write, 'I saw Tom Papa at the diner. I didn't say hi. I didn't want to bother him.' Bother me? Come on! Come on by and let them know you know who I am!' "


Tom Papa

7 p.m. Thursday, April 27


City Winery

Ponce City Market, 650 North Avenue NE #201

Buy tickets here


CNBC's 'The Profit," in which Marcus Lemonis helps small businesses, is holding a casting call on Monday, May 1.

CNBC reporter Kate Rogers will moderate a panel featuring past businesses from the show, along with Julianna Reed, the winner of CNBC’s spin-off competition series “The Partner.”

Here is the info but it's a JPEG so you'll have to RSVP by pressing this link.


A&E's sturdy docuseries about addiction "Intervention" is trying a spin-off idea that is being shot in Georgia, according to the state film office. The network isn't revealing any details but the title is intriguing: "Intervention Epidemic: The Town." My guess is it will hone in on the impacts of the opioid plague in a small town.


Former Atlanta Brave David Ross survived early this week on "Dancing With the Stars" to make the top 7 after the surprise departure of Heather Morris, a far better dancer with far less voting support.

Morris was someone I pinpointed after week one to leave earlier than expected but I thought she'd finish 6th, not 8th and beat both Ross and "Bachelor" Nick Viall, who is also still in the running. Over the years, mediocre male dancers have frequently lasted longer than expected thanks to what we would presume are largely female voters.

Ross is improving and likable, two major factors in his survival. He has the sixth-best average judge score to date, ahead of both Viall and model and professional bull rider Bonner Bolton.  Ross could very well last another couple of weeks and make the top 5.

Morris, best known for her role on "Glee," was especially strong to leave this early, though. She is probably the first celebrity to ever to leave after garnering a perfect score among the judges. Her average judge score to date was third highest among all dancers, behind only Simone Biles and Normani Kordei. But her less-than-engaging personality may have hurt her.

About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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