The Need to Fail with Don Fanelli
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The Need to Fail with Don Fanelli

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The Final Fail: Chris Gethard

In our series finale, we check back in with Chris Gethard (Beautiful/Anonymous, Space Force) who recently came close to committing himself for the first time in almost a decade. We talk about being on the downslope of success, where he fucked up along the way, the surprising succ ...  Show more

Seven Years Later: Lauren Lapkus

In our final episodes of The Need to Fail, I will be checking back in with my original guests from seven years ago. Next up: Lauren Lapkus (The Wrong Missy, Big Bang Theory) who talks about not booking 90% of the roles she goes out for, how her true humor came through in The Wron ...  Show more

Seven Years Later: Abbi Jacobson

In our final episodes of The Need to Fail, I will be checking back in with my original guests from seven years ago. Next up: Abbi Jacobson (Broad City, Disenchantment) who talks about ending Broad City and the pressures of adapting an iconic movie to the small screen. We also cha ...  Show more

Seven Years Later: Josh Patten

In our final six episodes of The Need to Fail, I will be checking back in with my original guests from seven years ago. Next up: Josh Patten (SNL) who talks about how things have changed over his eight seasons at SNL. We talk about craft related setbacks & trying to get better at ...  Show more

Seven Years Later: Josh Ruben

In our final six episodes of The Need to Fail, I will be checking back in with my original guests from seven years ago. Next up: Josh Ruben (Scare Me, Werewolves Within) who talks about his frustrating journey auditioning for SNL, the star-studded pilot he was cast in that didn't ...  Show more

Seven Years Later: Benjamin Apple

In our final six episodes of The Need to Fail, I will be checking back in with my original guests from seven years ago. First up: Benjamin Apple (The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, The Onion) who talks about how a year after our original conversation, he was let go from Jimm ...  Show more

Episode 150: Edgar Momplaisir

Edgar Momplaisir (Culture Kings, What Just Happened) gets candid, opening up about his personal demons, regrets, and rock bottom moments. We talk about not fully processing his best friends death, his frustrating audition process for the Daily Show, and not getting onto Maude Nig ...  Show more

Episode 149: Anna Salinas

Anna Salinas (badcomixbyanna, Sugar & Toys) went from a kindergarten art teacher to an assistant in the Reality TV department of a big agency working with someone who no one wanted to work with. We talk about the origins of her comic, badcomixbyanna, and how she communicated her ...  Show more

Episode 148: Joey Greer

Joey Greer (Good Night, Alchemy This) got screwed up taking on the business side of Hollywood. We chat about how he applied his degree in theology to his creative pursuits, being sick and tired of feeling like he needed the industry's help to create something, and how he spent 16 ...  Show more

Episode 147: James T. Robilotta

James T. Robilotta (Leading Imperfectly, TEDx) is now a life coach and public speaker, but it took a lot of ups and downs to get there. We talk about how writing his book was the most polarizing thing he has done in his life, why the brain always feels stupid for letting the hear ...  Show more

Episode 146: Ellen Haun

Ellen Haun (How to Get Away with Murder, Cinderella & The Glass Ceiling) was never cast in a show in all four years at USC. An accidentally dropped headshot ruined her final chance. We also chat about how she moved to NY after two agencies were interested and wound up not getting ...  Show more

Episode 145: Michael Cruz Kayne

Michael Cruz Kayne (Late Night with Seth Meyers, High Maintenance) booked an off-broadway Stomp-like show called Hoopz, produced by Disney, and it was quickly cancelled after Michael Eisner saw it. We chat about testing for SNL, searching for validation in the UCB system, and dea ...  Show more

Episode 144: Charlie Todd

Charlie Todd (Improv Everywhere, Pixar IRL) tried for years to get Improv Everywhere on TV with lots of ups and downs along the way. We talk about how he wound up in handcuffs after an Improv Everywhere prank gone awry, seeing a network steal and produce one of his show ideas a y ...  Show more

Episode 143: Robyn Schneider

Robyn Schneider (The Beginning of Everything, You Don't Live Here) sold her first book at 18. It was the best and worst day of her life. Straddling a life between writing and medical school, Robyn overcomes trauma, book flops, book cancellations, theft, and a slew of other setbac ...  Show more

Episode 142: Jordan Klepper (Part 2)

In Part 2 of our conversation, Jordan Klepper (The Daily Show, Klepper) talks about filling in as host of The Daily Show when Trevor Noah was sick, the joys of getting your own TV show and the gut-punch of it being taken away, and the life changing experience of being arrested. J ...  Show more

Episode 141: Jordan Klepper (Part 1)

In Part 1 of our conversation, Jordan Klepper (The Daily Show, The Opposition) talks about his decade of ups and downs in Chicago, what led him to NY, and auditioning for The Daily Show. We chat about how frustrations led to Jordan creating his own popular sketch show in Chicago, ...  Show more

Episode 140: Julie Buxbaum

Julie Buxbaum's (Tell Me Three Things, Admission) worked on her third novel for over two years, after giving birth to her first child, and made the painful decision to shelve it because it was capable but not exciting. We talk about her transition from attending Harvard Law Schoo ...  Show more

Episode 139: Sam Pancake

Sam Pancake (A Million Little Things, Arrested Development) got the dream call that he was getting his own TV show - but the deal was so bad he had to walk away, which actually opened up unforeseen acting opportunities. We talk about battling his addictions, his rock bottom momen ...  Show more

Episode 138: Amy Spalding

Amy Spalding (We Used to Be Friends, The Summer of Jordi Perez) secured a literary agent, but it took another three years to get her first book published. We talk about the benefits of having a day job she excels at, burning her childhood novels in a family bonfire, the dangers o ...  Show more

Episode 137: Mark McConville

Mark McConville (SuperEgo, Talking Tom & Friends) went to college to study music and was denied after his audition freshmen year. We talk about the formation of SuperEgo, the value of intention, landing a job at Disney after working 16 hour days at Starbucks and a retail store, a ...  Show more

Episode 136: Paige Weldon

Paige Weldon (Heathers, The Late Late Show with James Corden) had a humor website she co-created hacked and destroyed. Five years of writing and artwork from herself and her friends went down the drain overnight. We chat about how messing up in her Heathers audition probably help ...  Show more

Episode 135: Hal Lublin

Hal Lublin (The Thrilling Adventure Hour, The Venture Bros.) flew himself out to NY to audition for Boom Amsterdam, positive he was going to get hired. He did not. We talk about how he wanted to quit the industry after his mother passed away and what brought him back, how he hear ...  Show more

Episode 134: Aaron Abrams

Aaron Abrams (Lovebirds, Blindspot) had a panic attack in an audition after he thought the casting director had mistaken him for someone else. We chat about the role he didn't think he was going to book because he accidentally ate tacks in front of the casting directors, booking ...  Show more

Episode 133: Atsuko Okatsuka

Atsuko Okatsuka (Room 104, Let's Go, Atsuko!) was new to stand up and flown down to audition for America's Got Talent. She was X-ed by Howard Stern during her set and booed by the audience. We chat about how being an immigrant influenced her early comedic style, why she works her ...  Show more

Episode 132: Todd Masterson

Todd Masterson (Gay Fat Friend, Fashion Police) got his dream job working for Joan Rivers and then it was all taken away. We talk about the origins of his GayFatFriend instagram account, almost getting to work at Family Guy, and how watching restoration and makeup tutorial videos ...  Show more

Episode 131: Dan Lippert & Ryan Rosenberg (Part 1 of our You're The Man Now Dog Podcast crossover)

In our first crossover episode, Don joins the boys of You're the Man Dog Podcast, Dan Lippert and Ryan Rosenberg to chat about personal setbacks and reflexions on their sketch/improv team Big Grande. We talk about how Ryan dealt with his three friends/teammates getting onto the s ...  Show more

Episode 130: Bill Posley

After Bill Posley's (The Day I Became Black, Survivor) family filed for bankruptcy and his house was foreclosed on, he didn't have money for college. So he joined the Army after high school and graduated from basic training... on 9/11. He talks about how the army prepared him for ...  Show more

Episode 129: Daniel Shar

Daniel Shar (Scraps, The Onion) published an article called "You Miss 87% You Do Take if You Are Me in 2019" in which he documents over a thousand attempts at making money and furthering his career last year and breaks down all of the results. We talk about weighing his findings ...  Show more

Episode 128: Morgan Evans

Morgan Evans (Netflix, Disney+) had the worst year of his life when he moved to LA, after the movie he wrote was optioned. We chat about the struggles of drought years and money management, the frustration with not being able to transfer from the digital world to linear televisio ...  Show more

Episode 127: Achilles Stamatelaky

Achilles Stamatelaky (Broad City, UCB) is in his head. He's been getting to the final round interviews for a ton of writing jobs and not landing any. We chat about why he thinks this is, his UCB journey, writing hacks, the struggles with having to be your own assistant, and how a ...  Show more