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Jackie Tohn: Powerhouse of Talent

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Jackie Tohn is a powerhouse of talent. An actress, writer, comedienne, and musician, her projects reflect the range she possesses from the pained Melrose in GLOW to creating, producing, and writing music for the children’s show DO RE & MI. She has recently become the host of the new Netflix cooking show Best Leftovers Ever. Learn about the different projects of Tohn and get to know her better as all her grandness and simply a person. 

Being a foodie, I’m so excited for your new show Best Leftovers Ever! Could you give the readers a quick pitch? What can they expect from the show?

Best Leftovers Ever! is a wild cooking competition show. In each episode, three cooks take last night’s Leftovers and turn them into high-end cuisine, competing for the chance to win 10 thousand dollars! It’s like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse meets Chopped. 

People can expect to have (maybe too much) fun watching the show. Also, it’s genuinely funny. I’ve never had the chance to say this about anything I’ve been in before, but it is truly fun for the whole family. You can also expect to learn! In every episode, we share tips and tricks for turning your leftovers at home into totally new dishes. This is also exciting because using what you have in the fridge reduces food waste. Wins across the board! 

I have to say, I picked up GLOW during this quarantine break and I regret not doing so any earlier! Melanie Rosen particularly speaks to me through her Jewish representation which I don’t see all that often in the media. How does it feel knowing that you contribute to a more open discussion as well as a representation for the Jewish community?

This is such an important question to me. After the camping episode of Glow aired (Season 3 Episode 6), the response was overwhelming. So many people came out of the woodwork to tell me how much it meant to them. Our writers created this super powerful episode of television connecting two of the characters through their unfortunate common bond of inherited trauma. Jenny’s family survived the Cambodian Genocide and Melrose’s family survived the Holocaust. What’s wild, is that that storyline was based on our actual histories. Ellen Wong is the daughter of Cambodian Genocide survivors and I am the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. We got to memorialize our family’s history through the characters we played on TV. It was so so special.

Photographed by Sela Shiloni

On that same note, what was it like working with an all-female crew?

It was unreal to work on a show with mostly women. Over the course of my entire career, I had never worked with even CLOSE to that many women. Usually, there’s room for one or two women in the cast. One or two in the writer’s room. Maybe a female director pops in for an episode. And on Glow, our writers were all women but one. Our directors were all women but two. Our cast was 14 hilarious, deep, brilliant women and three (depending on the season) incredible men. And because the show was run by women, they encouraged us to be who we are. They never asked us to change our bodies. They just wanted us strong and safe (because we did all our own wrestling.) I never had a sister growing up, and now I have 13. 

What was it like working on GLOW? How did this experience set you up for your other projects?

I had been acting since I was nine and Glow was my first big break – in my mid-thirties. And for a show, this rare to be my first consistent gig was an absolute dream come true. We did extensive wrestling training for a month before every season under the guidance of multi-Emmy winning stunt coordinator Shauna Duggins and wrestling royalty, Chavo Guerrero. Being on Glow and using my body the way I did really helped me rewrite the stories and false narratives I had been living my whole life – that I wasn’t athletic or strong. Glow changed how I feel about myself and what I now know I’m capable of. 

On the other hand, how was your experience working on The Boys?

The Boys was a blast! I shot for three weeks in Toronto and had no idea what to expect going into it. When you’re a guest star on the first season of a show, you only get to read the episode you’re in and since the show isn’t out yet, you can’t watch it to get a grasp of the tone. So you’re sort of going in blind. I was reading the script thinking, “who is Mothers Milk, and what in the hell is going on here?!” Ha. I had an incredible time on what I now know is an AMAZING show that I am super proud to be a small part of. I’m looking forward to going back for Season three!

I imagine acting is hard enough but creating, executive producing, AND creating music for a show seems impossible. How did you manage on Do Re & Mi?

HA! Quite the opposite of impossible. I’m at my best when I’m doing 100 things at once. My brain pretty much fires on all cylinders at all times, so when I’m not busy it makes up stuff to worry about. Michael Scharf and I created Do Re & Mi way back in 2014! My BFF Kristen Bell came on board in 2015. That’s when my co-songwriter David Schuler and I started working on the music. We partnered with our dream production company, Gaumont in 2016 and started really developing the show. Amazon got on board in 2017 and green-lit us in 2018 with a massive fifty episode first season pickup! At that point, the scripts were coming in once a week and Dave and I were writing our butts off. It wasn’t till 2019 when I started doing all the jobs at once. Voice recording (I play Re the hummingbird) twice a week, songwriting twice a week, producing and giving notes on scripts and art the other days. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to having a full-time job. Do Re & Mi finally comes out in the spring of this year and I truly cannot wait for everyone to see it. 

Photographed by Sela Shiloni

Starting stand-up comedy at just fourteen, you prove to be a comedic veteran. How has comedy contributed to your other works, if at all?

More than a contributing factor, I would say that comedy is the major reason I got any of those jobs in the first place. I love standup and musical comedy. I toured the country for years doing schtick and I loved it. Being funny has been my currency my whole life. 

Am I allowed to ask what your favorite project, small or large, has been so far? 

It’s hard to say which has been my favorite because I wished and worked for so long to have ANY job and now I just feel incredibly grateful to be part of all the incredible projects I’m working on.  

Are there any future projects you hope to work on? 

My writing partner and I just finished writing our musical comedy feature film – so I wanna make that! One day I’ll write my Broadway show. I just want to keep creating. I can’t not. 

Any particular people?

I’d love to do some sort of mother-daughter comedy with Bette Midler – maybe that would have a musical element too. Now you got me thinking…

Lastly, I have a quick “favorites” for you to fill out to know you as a fully-fleshed person. Feel free to comment!

Favorite food: hot pretzels or pizza. I eat like a toddler. 

Favorite animal: my dog Glen 

Favorite hobby/past-time: singing, playing the guitar, and writing music. 

Favorite person: (people) My parents. 

Is there any else you would like to include for our readers? Follow me on Instagram @jackietohn

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Read more celebrity articles at Clichemag.com

Stephen Kramer Glickman Keeps Us Laughing Through Hard Times in New Comedy Album “Voices in My Head”

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Stephen Kramer Glickman aka Gustavo aka the guy from that meme has been very busy lately. The actor and stand-up comedian just released his new comedy album, “Voices in My Head,” in which he catalogs the people he encounters on a daily basis. He turned this recent brush with meme stardom into a collaboration with Hot Topic. Giving back to the community is also something that he is deeply passionate about, raising thousands of dollars to support Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Listen to “Voices in My Head” HERE, and check out Stephen’s podcast, The Night Time Show Podcast, HERE. Don’t forget to follow Stephen on twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

Cliché: How did you first become involved with acting?

When I was in the 2nd grade, the teacher told my mom that she should put me in community theater because I kept volunteering to do show and tell and would sing songs in front of my classroom. From the 2nd grade, until I graduated from high school I did four musicals a year and then I went to college and majored in acting and musical theater at the American Musical Dramatic Academy in New York. I got my first big break in 2006, when I got cast as Shrek in the Broadway workshop of Shrek the Musical for DreamWorks. I was cast alongside Sarah Hyland ( pre-Modern Family), Sutton Foster (pre-Younger) and Dean Edwards (Saturday Night Live).

You’re most recognized as Gustavo on Big Time Rush. What does that role mean to you?

That role changed my entire life. Every day, young people from around the world reach out to me through social media to say how happy they are that I was a part of their childhood. I think about all the TV stars that were a part of my childhood and it really makes me happy. I learned so much from that role.

How do you feel about being the star of recent memes?

I absolutely love it. I turned those memes into t-shirts with the help of Hot Topic. Those memes are for sale right now at Hot Topic which is absolute madness. Check them out on the Hot Topic website. 

Talk about your brand new comedy album, “Voices in My Head.”

My album is out now and it’s so much fun hearing all the responses and reviews. It’s literally a collection of stories and impressions of people I have to deal with or people that have to deal with me. It’s my first album released by a big record label which has been a very big honor for me.

What motivated you to want to do stand up?

 I was on tour with one of the worst musicals ever written and we ended up in Canoga Park, staying at a Best Western which was connected to a bowling alley, and in the bar they had stand up once a week. The theatre we were supposed to perform our musical at got flooded so we had a month to sit around and I thought, I can either get very good at bowling or I can try stand up for the first time. When the tour continued, I stayed behind in LA and moved on to a comedian’s couch. I’ve been doing stand up ever since. 

Do you have any funny stories from your early comedy gigs?

 The first time I ever did stand up, I got on stage and as I was starting my set, an old man at the bar heckled me. I froze for a moment and then responded “Every time my father comes to see me do stand-up, he gets drunk.”  That got a big laugh and the old man shut up and let me keep performing.

You’re also heavily involved in the community and have a very special relationship with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Why is it so important to you to give back to the kids?

It is our responsibility to take care of our community so that it not only survives but it thrives. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is one of the greatest hospitals in the world for kids and teens and is constantly in need of donations and help. If you have the connections and the means to help people in crisis and you don’t, then you’re part of the problem. 

How are you handling quarantine and self-isolation? Do you have any advice for those of us who are bored? Other than listening to your new album!

Don’t feel like you need to write the next great American novel during this time period. Just do some self-care and work on things that make you happy. Sell your art on Ebay, do a few Instagram livestreams, watch movies and call people you care about. Do arts and crafts and hug a dog. Personally, I have good days and bad but mostly I just try to appreciate my health and live things day by day.

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Stephen Kramer Glickman Keeps Us Laughing Through Hard Times in New Comedy Album “Voices in My Head.” Photo Credit: Stephen Farnsworth.

5 Women That Could Have Hosted the 2019 Oscars

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With the 2019 Oscars just a little over a month away, it was announced that the show will go on without a host. Kevin Hart was originally appointed to host this year’s telecast. However, after old tweets from the comedian resurfaced, which were explicitly homophobic in nature, Hart decided to step down from his hosting duties. He explained on Twitter that he “did not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past”. Fellow comedian, Ellen DeGeneres revealed on her show during an interview with Hart about the controversy that she pleaded to the Academy to rehire Hart as host of the award show because she felt that he has “grown and apologized and has apologized again.” Ultimately, however, Hart stuck to his initial decision and not host the show. This prompted the Academy to announce that the show will not have a host, and instead, will feature high profile names to announce and present each category.

If Kevin Hart had gone through with hosting the Oscars, it would have been the fifth year in a row that a man has hosted. The last time a woman was named host was back in 2014 when Ellen DeGeneres was given the honor. In a time when the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements are flourishing in our society, and rightfully so, it is rather peculiar that the Academy did not think to designate a woman as host of the show. Unfortunately, it is not happening this year. However, here is a list of 5 powerful women that could have hosted the 2019 Oscars. Hey, there’s always next year!

 

Wanda Sykes

Can anybody think of a better apology to the LGBT community than to have another openly gay comedian, Wanda Sykes, host the 2019 Oscars? She’s lovable, funny, and would have brought something different to the Oscars than what we have seen before. Maybe one day, Wanda will have the honor.

 

Tracee Ellis Ross

Black-ish star, Tracee Ellis Ross has no shortage of hosting experience. This daughter of a musical legend has hosted several music award shows, among others. She is also beloved, hilarious and relatable to so many. She would have been an amazing host!

 

Maya Rudolph

When you think of Saturday Night Live, you can’t help but think of Maya Rudolph. Also the daughter of a music icon, Rudolph made viewers laugh for seven years on SNL, with her many famous impersonations such as Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand, and Beyonce. Like Ross and Sykes, there is not a bad thing to say about Maya Rudolph. She would have made an excellent host for the 2019 Oscars.

 

Leslie Jones

Following in the footsteps of Maya Rudolph, Leslie Jones has been a standout on Saturday Night Live since 2014. She is also known for her impersonation of Oprah Winfrey, in addition to Whoopi Goldberg and Omarosa. In 2016, following the release of Ghostbusters, Jones became the target of Twitter users making racially charged attacks. This forced her to leave social media. Not long after, she was targeted again after several private photos were released on her personal website, which had been hacked. After these two unfortunate incidents, she gained an overwhelming amount of support from her Hollywood peers, as well as fans alike. Hosting the 2019 Oscars would have been a big “F U” to her attackers and haters.

 

Whoopi Goldberg

On the December 11, 2018 episode of The View, Whoopi Goldberg seemed to offer her services to host the 2019 Oscars. “I realize I may not be anybody’s first choice. But…” Whoopi has hosted the Oscars four times in the past: 1993, 1995, 1998, and 2001, and she never disappointed! She has the experience, she’s a legend, she’s honest, and she genuinely loves the movies. How about a fifth time, Whoopi?

The 2019 Oscars will air on February 24 on ABC.

 

Read more entertainment articles at Cliché Magazine

5 Women That Could Have Hosted the 2019 Oscars: Featured Image Credit: SpilledNews

Comedian Jen Kirkman Gets Personal About Her Newest Book

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Comedian Jen Kirkman tells it like it is. If you’ve ever watched her Netflix special or actually witnessed her perform live, she’s not one to sugarcoat things. With her new book out in April, I Know What I’m Doingand Other Lies I Tell Myself, she continues to give us a reality check that life doesn’t have to be figured out right away. Don’t believe me? Grab a copy this spring and read about her experiences with marriage, divorce, turning 40, and more.

Cliché: With your two books, I Can Barely Take Care of Myself and I Know What I’m Doingand Other Lies I Tell Myself, there seems to be a reoccurring theme. Even with all the bumps here and there or a bunch of faking it ‘til you make it, what’s been your favorite part about being an adult so far?
Jen Kirkman: My favorite part of being an adult is just being an adult. It’s so much better than being a kid. You get to live where you want, make more than fifty cents a day, drive… It’s a never-ending amount of fun. Even just sitting at home on my couch, I can have fun just thinking, “I don’t have homework tonight and I never have to use a locker ever again.”
When you’re writing a book, how do you go about deciding what you’ll use for your live act or what you’ll save for the book? Or, does that even matter?
It doesn’t matter. I may explore similar stories in my book, but it’s like dressing, I think. Not Ranch Dressing—I mean clothing dressing.  Sometimes you wear jeans and sometimes it’s not appropriate and you have to wear a nice outfit, like a dress or a suit. It wouldn’t be appropriate in stand-up to tell a long story that might not have many punchlines, but I may use a joke that I’ve done on stage as a little button on the end of a chapter in my book. Since both mediums are autobiographical to me, there is crossover in themes.
Did you run into any difficulties putting this book together compared to your last book?
No! Except for the usual difficulties like procrastination; knowing what I want to say, but when it shows up on the page, it doesn’t look like I pictured the words to look in my head; and wanting to just move back in with my parents, get my old job at Baskin Robbins back, and never bother trying to write again. Other than that, this book was a book I had in mind while writing the first one, and I was brimming with stories I wanted to tell. Knowing what I would write about was not tough. I even took some time to live a little so that I could finish the book after I did some traveling and had turned 40. I was hoping I would get some stories out of those experiences, and I did.
As a performer, it takes a lot of confidence to get up on stage every night and tell awkward or embarrassing stories about yourself. Was confidence something that was instilled in you or did it take you a while to open up to an audience?
It doesn’t take confidence for me because it’s what I want to do. I think people think it does, but those are people who don’t have the calling to perform. Comics are wonderful people, but the other side of that can be narcissism, an odd lack of self-consciousness, or just a masochism or a delusion that they make sense and deserve to be up there. Nobody is a nice person backstage, all nervous waiting to go on, and then musters up confidence. We’re insane. We want to be up there. We are the closest thing to those people who chase tornadoes. It seems courageous, but anyone who wants to do that is probably born without something in their brain that tells them to just relax and stay home. I only lose my confidence on stage if I am bombing and can’t figure out why or if something is going terribly wrong and someone of importance is watching. This doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, I’m already fine with it as it’s happening and I can’t wait to go tell my horrible bombing story to my friends.
With so many shows a year, how do you go about figuring out what you’ll be talking about during the night of the show?
I have a set act. I do my act every night—which is why every year when I go to a city I was in the year before, I need a new hour—but I do an act, like anyone else really.
There are so many pros and cons to social media, which you are very vocal on. What have you learned most about social media and what’s something you wish would change?
Isn’t everyone who is on social media vocal on it? Otherwise, the other option would be someone who doesn’t have an account. What else are people on social media if not vocal? I’m not different. I’ve learned that—especially with Twitter—things move REALLY FAST and people miss things, so if you think you can just advertise a show with one tweet, maybe 2% of your followers will see it. And don’t ever answer direct messages from dudes you don’t know. In fact, never read them. It’s never not going to be something creepy and gross.
Some people tend to shy away from certain topics, but you don’t seem to mind speaking about relevant topics. Why is that?
I think you’re beating around the bush and asking me about feminism? I am not sure what other relevant topics I am known for—except maybe how I think being a vegan or vegetarian is important for the environment, but no one ever asks me about that. So, I’m not shy about women’s equality worldwide because lives are at stake and anyone who doesn’t care is probably insane. Sorry. I don’t have a funny answer for that one. People can read the vegan sentence again if they want to laugh.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who’s accepting his or her life as an adult, what would it be?
I’d give them the advice my one-time surf instructor gave me (the story is in the book): “You can’t stop the ocean, but you can learn to surf it.” What does that mean? I don’t know either. Basically, don’t obsess over what you can’t control, but don’t make that your excuse to be lazy either.
With two books and a comedy special on Netflix, what can we expect in the near future?
I’ll probably start my own plumbing business OR hopefully write more books over the years. I have another comedy special I’ll be doing later this year and touring, touring, touring, and writing, writing, writing.
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Photographed by Robyn Von Swank