Interested in learning more about the acts featured in the JoCo Cruise from episode 14 of Professional Geek Podcast? Look no further! We've put together a quick guide featuring the guests for the cruise's seventh sail. Get tickets here.
The Cruise Itself - JoCo Cruise!
JoCo cruise is a geeky getaway on the high seas. It’s one part gaming convention, one part comedy and arts festival, and one part resort-caliber cruise - all filling a whole cruise ship for an entire week!
Every year this group of geeks, gamers, makers, artist, comedians, musicians, writers, and fans get together to celebrate the things that make them happy (and in a way that’s very relaxing). The week will be filled performances, parties, events, and excursions, and much more, all co-produced by Paul & Storm and hosted by the JoCo (Jonathan Coulton) himself!
Jonathan Coulton calls the internet his home. When business-as-usual in the music industry was being disrupted by this new thing we call “The Internet,” Jonathan Coulton was using it to gather his nerdy, geeky, techy, and ultimately dedicated fans. His shows are equal parts tremendous fun and emotion and without losing the feeling of an insider club meeting (but everyone is welcome).
Paul & Storm
Paul & Storm is made up of Paul Sabourin and Storm DiCostanzo. This long-time duo have done a little bit of everything, from their origins together in the acapella group Da Vinci’s Notebook, to founding the nerd variety show w00tsctock with Adam Savage and Wil Wheaton, to writing jingles and, maybe most importantly, releasing their own original comedy music albums. Their fifth album, Ball Pit, is currently available after a wildly successful kickstarter campaign. Paul & Storm were guests on Professional Geek Podcast.
Matthew Weiner was the creator, writer, Executive Producer, and director of the wildly popular drama Mad Men, which was one of television’s most acclaimed programs. It was awarded an Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series four consecutive years, and was nominated for 116 Emmy’s total over eight seasons. Weiner has been nominated 13 times for the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. He earned his MFA from the University of Southern California and now lives in Los Angeles.
Entering into showbiz at an early age, Wil Wheaton is no stranger to the silver screen. Beginning with commercials at age 7, he was one of the protagonists in the film Stand By Me, and was made geek royalty in his role as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Since then you may have sees him on The Big Bang Theory, TNT’s Leverage, and on SyFy’s Eureka and on the Geek & Sundry channel on YouTube. He’s more than an actor, though: he’s a blogger, a twitter user and an author. Now followed by approximately 3 million people, he was an original user of Twitter. You can pick up any one of his many acclaimed books, like Just A Geek, Dancing Barefoot, or his latest book, Memories of the Future Volume I.
Writer Gail Simone is an acclaimed writer and professional geek. She’s wrote many graphic novels: Birds of Prey, Deadpool, Batgirl, and Secret Six. She’s also written for animation for Justice League Unlimited and Wonder Woman. She is an activist for diversity in comics.
Max Temkin is the Chicago designer behind projects for Jonathan Coulton, Barack Obama, and the 606 Trail in Chicago. He also has designed a few games, most notably Cards Against Humanity, Secret Hitler, and Slap .45. He also is the co-founder of Blackbox, a shipping service for independent artists.
Actor, comedian, writer, and producer Janet Varney is a busy person. You’ve seen her on @Midnight, You’re The Worst, and Entourage and you’ve heard her voice as the voice actor for Korra on Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra. Frequent guest of Paul F. Tompkins Spontaneanation podcast and host of her own The JV Club podcast, she’s also the creative director and producer of SF Sketchfest, one of the most recognized and well known comedy festivals in America.
The man with the beautiful baritone voice is the host of the popular light horror-comedy-poetry podcast Welcome To Night Vale. He comes from live theater, as an alumnus of the New York Neo-Futurists, and has performed at The Shakespeare Theatre DC, Studio Theatre, The Kennedy Center, The The National Players, LaMaMa E.T.C., Emerging Artists Theatre, and at the Upright Citizens Brigade.
Jon Bernstein is first and foremost an audio guy. He is a New York based composer, producer, and sound designer and is the man behind Disparition, the project responsible for much of the music in the podcast Welcome To Night Vale. His most recent album is Palm in Mirror.
Jim Boggia is a talented dude. His brand of authentic, emotional and nostalgic rock ‘n roll music never gets old. His three studio albums - Fidelity Is The Enemy, Safe in Sound, and Misadventures in Stereo, released through the 00’s - are driven by smart and real songwriting. During his career, he’s worked with Aimee Mann, Juliana Hatfield, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Bernadette Peters, David Poe, NRBQ’s Big Al Anderson, famed Beach Boys lyricist Tony Asher, MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, Attractions drummer Pete Thomas, esteemed ’70s pop misfit Emitt Rhodes, and Canadian songstress Amanda Marshall. He also performs with New York Beatles cover band The Fab Faux, and plays the ukulele.
Ed Brubaker has his hands in a lot of geeky pop culture. He writes for Westworld on HBO, he co-created The Winter Soldier for Marvel while working on Captain America, and has written his own crime and horror comics, Criminal, Fatale, The Fade Out, and Kill or Be Killed
Now living and working in Los Angeles, Rhea Butcher is an actor, writer and standup comic originally from Akron, Ohio, although she’s charmed comedy fans all across America. You might’ve seen her on @Midnight or heard her on the Comedy Bang Bang and Spontaneanation podcasts, and her first TV show, Take My Wife premiered on August 11 on the Seeso network. Her first stand up album Butcher is available now, as well.
Author Chelsea Cain is well known for the Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell series and the Kick Lannigan series. The New York Times best selling author’s thrillers have been described as “steamy and perverse, and can be found in 30 languages. Booklist says “Popular entertainment just doesn’t get much better than this,” and she’s writing a Mockingbird comic for Marvel.
The co-writer of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast with Joseph Fink is joining the cruise. Most recently he’s been working on Vulture-Wally at Incubator Arts Project and This Could Be It at The Chocolate Factory. He also routinely writes, performs, and directs at the New York Neo-Futurists for their show Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind.
These two Portland musicians, Angela Webber and Aubrey Webber, write some seriously catchy and charming songs. They debuted on Youtube in 2011 and since then they’ve made a spot for themselves in geek and songwriting communities with their two charting comedy albums. They’ve risen above the label of “geek rock”, however, and make music that gets people where they feel things. They’ve been featured on Nerdist, BoingBoing, Huffington Post, Kotaku and many more!
Cameron Esposito is best known for her standup comedy, but also writes and acts, most recently in her Seeso show Take My Wife, which she co-created with her wife Rhea Butcher. You may have seen her on TV or heard her on Comedy Bang Bang. She’s received high praise from The New York Times, Variety, The Guardian, LA Weekly, Time Out Los Angeles Magazine and Cosmopolitan Magazine. Her album Same Sex Symbol debuted at the top of the comedy charts on iTunes.
Mark Gagliardi is perhaps best known for his storytelling on Comedy Central’s Drunk History, even before before it was on Comedy Central - you may remember seeing him tell the story of Alexander Hamilton. He graduated from DePaul University in Chicago and performed at iOWest regularly. He’s acted in over 200 plays and voices Savage on I’m In The Band (Disney XD).
A 20 year veteran of improv and performance, Hal Lublin is one of the hosts of the podcasts, We Got This with Mark and Hal and Tights and Fights. He also plays characters on the Welcome to Night Vale and Thrilling Adventure Hour podcasts and does voice acting on Cartoon Network’s The Venture Brothers.
Aimee Mann is primarily a solo artist and has been for most of her career, but she has been associated with the bands ‘Til Tuesday and The Both. Her latest album, Charmer, is all about those people who love to make you like them and what drives those people. Her music isn’t exclusively about the titular Charmers, but you don’t come to Aimee Mann looking for cliches.
Originally from New Jersey, Peter Sagal has had quite a career. He’s been a movie publicist, a stage director, a literary manager for a regional theater, and was even an extra in a Michael Jackson music video. He’s written and performed in many plays for small and large theaters all over the world, and, without his knowledge, wrote screenplay that eventually became Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. These days he hosts the wildly popular radio news game show and podcast Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! His first book, The Book of Vice: Naughty Things and How To Do Them is available now through Harper Collins.
Jean Grae is a visionary artist, lyricist, producer, writer, director, cinematographer, and general creator. She’s worked with other creatives such as Mos Def, Talib Kweli, The Roots, Pharoahe Monch and many more. She created a sitcom which premiered on December 25th at her website JeanGrae.com.
Los Angeles-based musician and composer Hrishikesh Hirway makes music in a band called Moors and also under the name The One AM radio. He is the host of Song Exploder and The West Wing Weekly podcasts. Oh, and he graduated Yale with a degree in art and design!
N. K. Jemisin
N. K. Jemisin is an award winning author who writes short stories and novels and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her stories have been nominated for many awards, including the Hugo award. You might’ve seen her work published in Strange Horizons, and her first six novels are out from Orbit Books.
Marueen Johnson is a YA (young adult fiction) author, responsible for the best selling books 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, and The Name of the Star. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in writing and has been nominated for several awards including the Andre Norton award.
You’ve seen her on @Midnight, Lady Dynamite, and Maron. She’s been doing the podcast The Dork Forest for over 10 years. Check out her 2014 standup special, This Will Make an Excellent Horcrux, for comedy that “is like listening to a really racy episode of All Things Considered.”
Using a computer and a looping pedal, cellist and composer Zoë Keating places layers of incredible cello music on top of each other to create the illusion of a giant orchestra, all by herself. She creates and publishes all of her music without a record label! Her albums have reached the number one spot on iTunes classical charts and she has composed music for theater, film, and radio. She’s recorded cello for many bands and artists such as Amanda Palmer and Imogen Heap.
Mary Robinette Kowal
In addition to being an award winning author of lots of short stories and anthologies, Mary Robinette Kowal is a professional puppeteer and voice actor who has won the UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence, which is the highest award a puppeteer in American can win.
Ted Leo is a powerhouse in the East Coast indie music scene. He’s worn many hats in many bands in many different genres. His band Chisel was widely influential retrospectively. Most recently, he’s worked with Aimee Mann in the band The Both and released their self-titled album in 2014.
Frequent collaborator of Paul and Storm, The Doubleclicks, and Jonathan Coulton (friends of the cruise, you know), Molly Lewis rose to fame on the Internet with ukulele covers of pop songs. In concert she performs covers as well as her own original songs.
Popular podcaster Justin McElroy is one of the co-hosts of My Brother, My Brother and Me, The Adventure Zone, and Sawbones. He also can be found on YouTube. His series Monster Factory, Things I Bought at Sheetz, and Quality Control put him on the big screen (as long as you have a big monitor).
Dr. Sydnee McElroy
The co-host of Sawbones and Still Buffering joins the cruise! She talks about medicine on her podcast, but she also teaches the subject as an assistant professor at the Marshall University School of Medicine. When she’s not podcasting and teaching, she’s also a family doctor and a mom.
Aparna Nancherla is a new face in the comedy scene but she’s already been featured, recognized, and awarded. You might’ve seen her on Inside Amy Schumer, or in person at the Whiplash show at the UCB theater. She’s popped up on Comedy Bang Bang, @Midnight, Last Comic Standing, Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, and many more, and impressively she’s been written up as “50 Comedians You Should Know in 2015”, Marie Claire‘s Funniest Women of 2015, Time Magazine‘s 140 Top Tweeters of 2014, Jezebel’s Comedy Queens of 2014, Time Out NY’s “10 Funniest Women in New York”, Flavorpill’s “11 Essential Young Comedians in New York City”, LA Weekly‘s “12 Comedy Acts to Watch”, Serial Optimist’s “10 Comics You Must Know”, and Splitsider’s “10 Up-and-Coming Comedians on Each Coast.”
Best known for their theme song for Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Nerf Herder is no stranger to the geek rock movement in the pop punk genre. They’ve toured the world and the music video for their single Sorry featured Mark Hamill. Along with that Star Wars reference, they recently released the single I’m The Droid (You’re Looking For) which was recorded at the actual Skywalker Ranch and is entirely words that are lifted from Star Wars.
John Roderick is a professional musician from Seattle. He was a touring musician with Harvey Danger and has recorded on some of the biggest albums from Death Cab For Cutie, The Decemberists, and Nada Surf. He may be best known for forming the band The Long Winters in 2001. He has collaborated with Jonathan Coulton!
Patrick Rothfus is the Madison, WI-born author of award winning fantasy series The Kingkiller Chronicles. A lifelong reader and writer, he’s been working on The Kingkiller Chronicles in college while trying to figure out what he wanted to do as a “read job.” As it turns out, his success with The Name of the Wind (called “The Book” by his friends in college) work as a pretty good “real job!” Split into three installments, The Kingkiller Chronicles first book The Name of the Wind came out in 2007, which was followed by The Wise Man’s Fear in 2011, with the third book being worked on as we speak.
Symphony Sanders has an active lifestyle as a Zumba instructor, personal trainer and actor! She plays Tamika Flynnon on the podcast Welcome To Night Vale, and can do a mean handstand.
Award winning author John Scalzi is the man behind science fiction books Old Man’s War, Redshirts, and Lock In, He also has collaborated with Halo co-creator Alex Seropian to write the video game Midnight Star, as well as with Paul & Storm and Jonathan Coulton for songs for his books.