John Levenstein’s Retirement Party

September 8, 2023

John Levenstein and Mary Kobayashi hit the picket line to find out what writers remember about the 1988 strike.

February 14, 2019

Featuring Mary Kobayashi, Tim Heidecker, Jon Daly, Sara Watkins, Lauren Lapkus, Jon Gabrus, Steve Dildarian, Jay Kogen, and an interview with HBO & Annapurna Pictures’ Sue Naegle. Recorded live at UCB Franklin in Los Angeles, 1/24/19.

January 6, 2019

As the party winds to a close, John meets up with his first boss Michael Nesmith to talk about the Monkees, Television Parts, and the afterlife–and to find out if Nesmith tinkered with a video game to gain an unfair edge in a competition with John in 1985. Jack Handey refuses to take sides even though he was there, while Nick Kroll shares an old Deep Thoughts-related injustice. Sara Watkins talks about the invitation from her that led to Nesmith playing music again after a long hiatus. And John gets sloppy as he and editor and co-host Mary Kobayashi reminisce about the season…and take a risk.

December 31, 2018

Guests share their most star-studded anecdotes. With Abraham Higginbotham, Paul F. Tompkins, Karen Kilgariff, Joe Wengert, Jonathan Krisel, Eva Anderson, Courtney Lilly, Tim Heidecker, Pam Brady and Michael Nesmith.

December 23, 2018

John and Joe Wengert execute their dream of writing an episode of “Franklin & Bash” in real time, leading two rooms of all-star writers who’ve never seen the show. Neither have John and Joe. Featuring Eva Anderson, Brad Copeland, Noah Garfinkel, Gabe Liedman, Brad Morris, Theresa Mulligan, Monica Padrick, Marisa Pinson and Gareth Reynolds. With co-host Mary Kobayashi.

December 16, 2018

Mark Brazil (That 70s Show) and Ron Zimmerman (Action) discuss show business feuds. Richard Day (It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, Larry Sanders) finds himself in need of an agent; John and Mary take the party to The Simpsons to enlist Matt Selman’s help. And Jay Kogen (The Simpsons, Frasier) returns, finally giving John and Mary a chance to resolve a feud.


December 9, 2018

Craig Bierko talks about starring in the Mitch Hurwitz pilot that wasn’t Arrested Development. Connor Ratliff reveals himself as Middleman on the early Arrested Development message boards. Barbie Adler, Brad Copeland, Abraham Higginbotham and Courtney Lilly reunite to reminisce about season one in the writers’ room, and get a surprise call from Will Arnett.


December 2, 2018

Kate Berlant and John Early do dramatic readings of network notes from the 90s. John’s mother and her best friend recount the old-school sexism they endured as a screenwriter and actress in the 60s and 70s. And we begin our quest to find a TV writing job for Megan Koester.

November 25, 2018

Nick Kroll joins the party to break down Big Mouth and Kroll Show and warn David Harbour (Stranger Things) about the hazards of working with John. John and Mary track down Fred Armisen to determine if his Big Mouth character is the same as his impression of John. And Joe Wengert (Kroll Show, Big Mouth) talks about starting out doing improv in New York.


November 18, 2018

John talks to Pam Brady (South Park, Lady Dynamite) about writing with her on The John Larroquette Show in 1995, when he was also going to grad school to become a therapist. John’s best friend from grad school talks about what a terrible therapist he would have been. Pam’s best friend Theresa Mulligan (Lady Dynamite, Baskets) drops by to surprise her. And creators of The Middle — Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline — join the party to mark the series finale (and convince Mary to remove John’s “Lipstick Jungle” credit from the podcast’s opening titles).

November 11, 2018

Karen Kilgariff (My Favorite Murder) dishes about the snobby alt comedy scene of the 90s, Paul F. Tompkins backs up her account, and we call director Jonathan Krisel (Portlandia, Baskets) to get him to go on record saying nice things about Karen and Nick Kroll, while getting heckled by Tim Heidecker.


November 4, 2018

To kick off John’s retirement party, Jay Kogen (The Simpsons, Frasier) talks about The Stump, his social media site for comedy writers that John joined in the late 90s. Jill Soloway (Transparent) and Becky Thyre (Mad TV) trace how The Stump evolved into the stage show Sit n’ Spin. And veteran Sit n’ Spinners Claudia Lonow (Rude Awakenings), Maggie Rowe (Arrested Development), Jonathan Schmock (Ferris Bueller) and Ben Wexler (Scrubs) join the party to track down the audience member who threw up when John was on stage at the Aspen Comedy Festival in 2003. With retirement toasts from Kate Berlant and John Early.