photo of "Asperger's Are Us"
Asperger's Are Us

Asperger’s Are Us’ is a four-member comedy troupe that is quickly gaining national traction. While all four men are on the autism spectrum, their comedy is not all about their condition.

In fact, the group says it has no interest in poking fun at Asperger’s, and the men do not make light of their behavioral differences. They get on stage every night to enjoy one another’s company with the hope that their absurd and satirical sketches will make their audience laugh.

Photo of Dominique Witten
Dominique Witten

Comedian Dominique has performed alongside Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle. But she says her comedic inspiration doesn’t come from these comedy all-stars, it comes from her mother.

She was raised by a straightforward woman who encouraged her to ‘tell the truth’ and ‘call it as you see it,’ and that’s exactly what she does on stage.She has appeared on HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam,” was a finalist in last year’s “Last Comic Standing,” and currently stars in the hit TV series “Black Jesus” on Adult Swim.

Damon Wayans performing comedy in 2007.

For some Oscar viewers this year, host Chris Rock’s jokes about race crossed a line. But in the world of humor, is there a line?  

Do certain comedians have greater license to make jokes that might be offensive if delivered by others? And does the composition of the audience matter?

An image of the Sklar brothers in front of North Carolina Public Radio
Charlie Shelton-Ormond / WUNC

After more than 20 years of stand-up comedy, identical twins Randy Sklar and Jason Sklar are ready to explore what lies beyond the stage in the places they perform.

In a new pilot with the Travel Channel, the brothers explore Raleigh and observe the area's idiosyncrasies. Each day they will construct stand-up material based on their observations and share it with a local audience. 

Image of Youth improv team 'Get The Hook'
Courtesy of the artist

When the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival began 16 years ago, it was a small gathering of three college improv groups and two local teachers. Today the festival spans two weeks, features acts from around the country, and is considered by many in the comedy world to be one of the premiere festivals in the nation.

Lizz Winstead is a political satirist and the co-creator of The Daily Show.
Michael Young

Lizz Winstead has made a career being the watchdog of the watchdog. As a co-creator of The Daily Show in the 1990s, Winstead was one of the first comedians satirizing both newsmakers and news media.

Her current focus is on women’s rights, and she founded Lady Parts Justice, an organization that uses comedy and digital media to advocate for reproductive rights.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Winstead about political satire and her comedy.

John Hodgman is known for his work on 'The Daily Show' and as the PC guy from Apple's 'Mac vs. PC' commercials.
Shark Party Media

Comedian John Hodgman has made a name for himself as a correspondent for The Daily Show and the PC guy from Apple's "Mac vs. PC" advertisements.

But Hodgman is putting those characters aside and showcasing stories from his life as an aging, weird, mustachioed father. In Hodgman's new one-man show "Vacationland," he tells stories about traveling to Maine for vacation but being met by "oceans made of hate" and skeptical locals. 

Image of Eric Trundy, who has used comedy as a therapy for a traumatizing childhood.
Eric Trundy


Up-and-coming standup comic Eric Trundy says that comedy saved his life, and he means that in the most literal sense of the words. His childhood was filled with trauma, from physical and sexual abuse to abandonment, and he repressed those memories for many years.

Professional photos of Paula Poundstone done with lighting.

After years of working the stand-up circuit, Paula Poundstone has established herself as one of the most successful comics in American comedy.

Need we say more?

Since ancient Greece, rhetoric has been a powerful form of speech used to persuade and impress an audience.

Today, the wittiest among us sometimes exchange the most chuckle-inducing form of rhetoric: the pun. That battle of wits is now a competition in the Triangle where 24 contestants will fight for the title of Pun Master of Durham. A champion will be crowned at Motorco in Durham on Monday at 7 p.m.

Comedian Maria Bamford takes the stage at DSI Saturday.
Natalie Brasington

For comedian Maria Bamford, nothing is off the table. 

She is brutally honest in her comedy about sex and dating, conditions like Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Bipolar disorder. Her candid approach has made her, by many estimates, one of the best stand-ups in the industry

Host Frank Stasio talks with Bamford about her career as a stand-up comedian and the many intricacies that make her such a perplexing figure in entertainment. 

The North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival ends this Sunday.


Comedy is a subjective artform. What makes one audience laugh out loud will not always make another crack up.

But, the fear of bombing in front of an auditorium of strangers does not stop contestants in the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival's "Carolina's Funniest Comic" contest.

Host Frank Stasio talks with DSI Comedy's resident instructor on stand-up comedy, Zach Ward; local comedian Lauren Faber; and comedian Maria Bamford about the art of stand-up comedy. 

Filmmaker John Waters
Edinburgh International Film Festival

Filmmaker John Waters is known for creating depraved cinema.

He shocked America in the early 1970s with the underground hit Pink Flamingos, in which the main characters compete for the title of Filthiest Person Alive.

That movie and other films solidified John Waters as a celebrity of trash theatre, but his success with movies like Hairspray and Cry-Baby also earned him a spot as a cult icon.

Hari Kondabolu comes to Chapel Hill and brings his polarizing comedy with him.


Comedian Hari Kondabolu does not tiptoe around sensitive subjects like race and ethnicity. 

Host Ophira Eisenberg wearing a very stylish WUNC T-shirt


The comedy of Ophira Eisenberg includes many elements of her former dating life like lamenting about online dating and unreasonable expectations from your partner.

The charming brand of stand-up allowed Eisenberg to make a seamless transition to radio as host of the NPR trivia program Ask Me Another.

The show features contestants guessing about everything from Shakespearean soliloquies to the names of French pastries.

Graphic for The Murphey School Radio Show
The Murphey School Radio Show

The Murphey School Radio Show takes place at the formerly abandoned but now renovated 1920s-era Murphey School in Orange County. The School serves as a community performance space and an incubator for small nonprofits. The semiannual show features skits, jingles, and musical acts to bring the community together to benefit local non-profits Student U and EmPOWERment, Inc. 

Comedian Tig Notaro is one of the hottest comedians in America right now and she is in town on her Boyish Girl Interrupted Tour.

Since comedian Tig Notaro went public with her breast cancer diagnosis in 2012, her life has been a whirlwind.

Comedy Gets A Fresh Beat

Aug 14, 2014
Mindy Tucker


Stand-up comedy acts can be a routine collection of one-liner and insults. 

cartoon woman screaming

Many people assume comedy requires wacky characters and crazy scenarios. But for comedian Kevin Allison, vulnerability is key. His podcast and live show, "Risk!", features personal stories the tellers never thought they would share. "Risk!" will be at DSI Comedy Theater in Chapel Hill on Friday at 8:30pm. 

Check out last week's podcast. The theme was stung. On The State of Things, we played a clip featuring LA-based comedian Jen Kirkman.

The Muslims Are Coming! / A film by Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah

Since 9/11, some news accounts portray Muslim-Americans only as terrorist threats. These stories create stereotypes in the minds of the American public. A new film, The Muslims Are Coming, co-directed by Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah, follows a group of Muslim-American comedians on a tour across America. 

creative commons

We all like a good chuckle, but what if laughing was actually good for more than entertainment?

Research from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill indicates that laughter may be good for far more. In honor of that, here are some great comedy acts to laugh at. You can hear the State of Things show on the topic of humor here.

Warning: Videos below may contain strong language or content.

How Comedy Shapes Our Relationships

Jan 2, 2014

We all like a good chuckle, but what if laughing was actually good for more than entertainment? Research from the North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill indicates that laughter may be good for far more. In fact, it may be the key to a healthy relationship.

Kids in the Hall on the red carpet.
Richard Burdett

The late ‘80s and early ‘90s were a good time for funny television. The Kids In The Hall sketch comedy show took to the airwaves and amused a generation of viewers with their unique brand of sketch comedy.

Aleksey Igudesman and Hyung-ki Joo met at music school at age 12, and they've been on a mission ever since to make classical music a little less serious. The two accomplished musicians are bringing their classical music comedy show to Greensboro and Greenville this weekend. Igudesman & Joo join host Frank Stasio in the studio to listen to some of their performances and talk about mixing classical music with pop songs, props, and slapstick.

Vote Zach Galifianakis

Feb 15, 2013
The Campaign

To prepare for his new role in “The Campaign” as a small-town conservative in a no-holds-barred congressional race, comedian Zach Galifianakis looked to the past.