Best Of :: People & Places
Born in Savannah, Georgia, Scott Aukerman grew up in Orange County, where he attended Cypress High School and, like Glee's Matthew Morrison, Orange County High School of the Arts when it was on the campus of Los Alamitos High School. Aukerman also knocked around in a band with No Doubt's Adrian Young and met his writing partner B.J. Porter at Orange Coast College, where they started a radio show called Lutz Radio. Aukerman went on to become the ultimate Hollywood comedy insider: in-demand puncher-upper of TV and movie scripts; Emmy-nominated producer of HBO's Mr. Show With Bob and David; 2009 MTV Movie Awards head writer who broke the news via Tumblr that the Eminem-Bruno incident was staged; director of Zach Galifianakis' hilarious Between Two Ferns interviews on FunnyOrDie.com; and host of Comedy Death-Ray interviews with the likes of Judd Apatow, Ben Stiller and Seth Rogan that are shown as bumpers between IFC-"rescued" reruns of Mr. Show, Arrested Development, The Ben Stiller Show, The Larry Sanders Show, and Apatow's Undeclared and Freaks and Geeks. Aukerman has also maintained his love of aural "theater of the mind" by co-founding Earwolf Studios, which presents regular weekly podcasts by his standup and alternative comedy pals, as well as by hosting his own Comedy Bang! Bang! Podcast (formerly Comedy Death-Ray). With the likes of Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt and Jon Hamm dropping in, Aukerman conducts bizarre interviews and runs guests through deliciously pointless aural improvisation exercises. Routinely, a Matt Besser of Upright Citizens Brigade or Paul F. Tompkins of a million things (from Mr. Show to Tenacious D. to his own The Pod F. Tomkast) arrive unannounced and in a character who quickly gets under everyone's skin. Everyone, that is, except us listeners, who love it. Comedy Bang! Bang! Podcast and other Earwolf Studios programs are available via earwolf.com and external digital (iTunes, Zune) or mobile (iPhone App, Android App on the way, iPod, iPad, mp3 players) platforms.
earwolf.com/show/comedy-bang-bang-podcast | comedydeathray.com
Whether he's working to protect the jobs of employees throughout Orange County, or jousting with his fellow board members at meetings at the Orange County Fairgrounds, Nick Berardino is a tough character. He's an idealist who doesn't take kindly to people in power exerting any type of unjust control over those who don't want or know how to be heard. He's good at constructive arguing or, as some call it, negotiating. He has been involved in labor negotiations for more than 30 years with the Orange County Employees Association, so there's not much that rattles him. He'll ask the uncomfortable questions, he'll call people out on their BS or stare down the most imposing of political figures—and then he'll turn to his constituents and smile and wink. He has their backs.
In the past, we've asked Bao Nguyen for quotes on topics, and he has politely refused. Unlike so many in local politics, Nguyen—one of Orange County's leading progressive activists—prefers accomplishments to accolades and publicity. In June, the 31-year-old UC Irvine graduate, who's a Buddhist and a public-school teacher, was appointed to a position on the Garden Grove Unified School District's board when Dr. KimOanh NguyenLam, another one of our favorites, accepted a job in Washington, D.C. While others with political aspirations might have been socializing at watering holes, Bao quietly volunteered to aid needy elderly citizens in North OC. Hopefully, his new role will be a continuation of what we've seen in the past: a man who is incredibly sensitive to community rights and wrongs and isn't afraid to speak up.
Before there was the city of Bell scandal (starring Huntington Beach's Robert Rizzo), there was Barbara Kogerman of Laguna Hills trying to get anyone to listen to what she was uncovering about excessive compensation of city staffers and elected officials in Orange County. The wife of former Marine Corps officer, El Toro International Airport fighter and Orange County Great Park board member Bill, Kogerman first targeted her own city, an obsession she was later able to spin into a successful run for the Laguna Hills City Council. Fortunately, she did not confine her digging to that 'burb. Assisted by two college students and public-records requests, Kogerman uncovered lavish pay, benefits and pensions throughout local governments in the county. Her investigative work was later validated by the grand jury, The Orange County Register and government watchdog groups that have lavished her with awards. Most cities, with a sense of shame, posted some elements of compensation on their websites (with varying degrees of success). The Los Angeles Times followed up by spotlighting excessive pay in LA County, which eventually brought the journos to Bell and Hogg Boss Rizzo. Subsequently, the state's controller and attorney general (now Governor Jerry Brown) called for disclosure by all cities of their city managers' compensation, and legislation was introduced to address excessive compensation and lack of transparency. Initially ignored, Kogerman is now a national spokesperson for local compensation reform, transparency and accountability.
In May, the county's Board of Supervisors voted without a word of public discussion to pay $249,975 in taxpayer funds to the Truth Agency, a Santa Ana government consulting firm, for the task of convincing residents they should visit county parks.
In June, the county's Board of Supervisors voted without a word of public discussion to give businesses at the Dana Point Harbor $145,800 in taxpayer funds to publicize their private companies.