February 27, 2018
Hollywood isn’t exactly teeming with Chinese-American writers. So Jessica Gao makes up for it by doing the work of several people: writing on shows like HBO’s Silicon Valley and Comedy Central’s new sitcom Corporate, doing feature rewrite work, and co-hosting the Whiting Wongs podcast alongside Community creator Dan Harmon. While helping us drink Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir, Jessica tells us about the time her parents sent her back to China on a plane by herself as a child to learn the language, when she quit her job as a marketing temp because they offered her a full-time job with benefits, and the inside-the-room genesis of Silicon Valley’s infamous “middle-out compression” joke.
February 13, 2018
Having played Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys for a record eight years and more than 2,000 shows, Broadway star Joseph Leo Bwarie amazingly said he never got tired of playing the legendary singer and performing his iconic songs. With this impressive stamina in mind, the guys put him through the Hollywood Uncorked ringer, forcing him to drink three wines from Sicily and to tell numerous stories from his long career in movies, recording, and theater. As a result, Joseph describes his first TV role on Highway to Heaven at age 9, his Jersey Boys audition in front of Frankie Valli himself, as well as this week’s two-show “My Funny Valentine” stint singing standards at the Garry Marshall Theater.
January 30, 2018
On a "very special" episode of Hollywood Uncorked, we get an unforgettable visit from hip-hop provocateur, Rude Jude Angelini. After finding fame as the in-house insult comic on the Jenny Jones show in the ‘90s, Rude Jude eventually caught the attention of Eminem, who hired him to host the “All Out Show” for his Sirius XM channel, Shade 45. While Scott, Tom and Ben spend the episode sampling 2015 Saint-Joseph, Rude Jude samples his own chemical of choice as he spins yarns from inside and outside his new book of essays, Hummingbird. They include his drug-laced dalliance with a married Instagram follower, how he overcame “performance problems” with a porn star at Hedonism, and the time he heard his first shout-out from Eminem as a bathroom attendant at a gay nightclub.
January 16, 2018
How did Ashley Berns go from a desk job in London to becoming a Hollywood manager at management powerhouse Circle of Confusion? In this episode, Ashley tells the whole sordid tale—which began with a simple plan to drive across the country with a friend. While discussing with the panel how Disney’s purchase of Fox will affect the entertainment industry and the spec script market, he also helps sample two lesser-known Italian wines: Valpolicella and Amarone. Meanwhile, we learn how Tom’s New Year’s Eve involved guns, snow, and something called finger steaks.
December 26, 2017
Where does reality sit in the entertainment landscape—as its crowd-pleasing future or in its sordid past? We sit down with prolific reality producer Craig Armstrong (The Hero, Fashion Star, King of the Nerds) to talk about how the genre is hard to classify, as it’s got as many tiers and categories as movies and scripted TV. As guest host Gren Wells helps the panel drink three cheap(ish) bottles of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon, they discuss the ingredients of a successful reality series, how Armstrong got his start in Hollywood producing videos for “Weird Al” Yankovic, and how a moment with his toddler son in the kitchen led to a popular international reality show still airing today.
December 12, 2017
With its notorious instability at an all-time high, is Hollywood worth a full-time effort anymore? For actress Cristen Coppen and many others working in the entertainment industry, the answer, increasingly, is no. Despite regular work and appearances on countless TV shows and movies including “Road Trip” and Hulu’s “Casual”, Cristen set out from the beginning to complement her entertainment career with outside endeavors like her handmade jewelry company and investments in several John Deere dealerships. While drinking cabernet franc, she discusses her many professional and personal passions—like her female mentoring program I Am Now Me—that allow her to pursue acting from a healthy emotional and financial perspective. Also, sitcom writer Pete Tibbals fills in for the night for Scott, who was blocked by wildfires from making the trip into town for the episode. Or he’s just lazy.
November 28, 2017
Nothing looms larger on Hollywood’s horizon than China—how to appeal to its audiences, attract its investment dollars, and navigate its rules and customs along the way. In this episode, we talk about the intricacies of Chinese funding with two American producers who have done plenty of it: Resonate Entertainment’s Brent Emery and Nick D’Angelo of China-backed Cristal Pictures. Over three bottles of wine from Spain’s Lopez de Heredia winery, the panel discusses the negative affect of a crackdown by the Chinese government on money fleeing the country, and why forming personal connections with Chinese backers is essential to a transaction. Meanwhile, director Gren Wells fills in for an absent Scott to talk about her role in the New York Times article that broke the news of Louis C.K.’s sexual misconduct.
November 14, 2017
Circle of Confusion literary manager Zach Cox joins the podcast to talk about the ongoing spate of sexual harassment and misconduct incidents in Hollywood, and whether overlooked norms in the industry played any role in them. During a frank and emotional discussion, the panel ponders if anything will change as a result of the revelations, and debates the path forward for both the victims and perpetrators. They also try three bottles of wine paired specifically for Thanksgiving dinner – no matter the level of holiday sophistication at your house.
October 24, 2017
Jonathan Kesselman got his big break directing the 2003 cult hit The Hebrew Hammer, which he had directed as a short film at USC Film School. And while he continued his career directing major commercials and comedies like Jimmy Vestvood, Kesselman always thirsted to make a sequel of the film. A window of opportunity opened up last year when investment rules changed, allowing non-accredited investors to participate in a film’s equity. To capitalize on this, Kesselman shot a short earlier this year with stars Adam Goldberg and Judy Greer, previewing a possible sequel called Hebrew Hammer vs. Hitler that you can find on Microventures.com. And as we discuss the path forward for the project, we continue our trip through Burgundy by drinking three (somewhat regrettable) bottles from the village of Fixin.
October 10, 2017
Producer Steve Wegner (Insomnia, The Blind Side) was 12 years old when he saw Blade Runner – and even wrote a paper on it in film school. Of course, little did he know he would become a producer on the film’s much anticipated sequel, Blade Runner 2049, which topped the box office this past weekend on some of the strongest reviews for a sci-fi movie in recent memory. In this episode, Steve joins the panel as they drink South African wine and discuss how a Blade Runner sequel came to be – from the “a-ha” moment in the producing team’s first story meetings with Ridley Scott, getting Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling on board, and why they gave the project the top-secret name “Acid Zoo” during development.