Baron Vaughn has had success as both an actor and a comedian. After graduating from Boston University's theater program, he appeared in a variety of television series and movies, ultimately landing the role of Nwabudike "Bud" Bergstein in Netflix's Grace and Frankie. He voices Tom Servo on the Netflix revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and hosts SyFy Wire's The Great Debate, where actors and comedians debate topics like, "Who'd be a better hang, the crew from Cheers or the Golden Girls?" The show, inspired by a popular Comic-Con panel, premiered on June 18.
As a comedian, Vaughn co-hosted and co-created Comedy Central's The New Negroes, a socially aware stand-up series showcasing both comedians and musicians. He also co-hosts a new live Funny or Die web series called Call & Response, where he discusses the current state of the news with a special guest.
Recorded remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, NPR's Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton talk to Vaughn about his new projects and debate about who would make a better roommate the X-Men's Wolverine or The Incredible Hulk.
Then, he takes two Ask Me Another challenges: a guessing game inspired by The Great Debate.
On his Comedy Central stand-up and sketch series The New Negros
"I feel like every couple of years there's always a show that expands the black perspective. Which is to say there is no one way to be a black comic. There is not necessarily a thing called "Black comedy." However, I'm playing with that with a lot of ironies because I made a very Black-centric show with all Black people. But the whole point of it is to show how much range there is to everyone's stand-up."
On his new Funny or Die topical web series Call & Response
"To make something funny, you have to understand it first. You can only make a joke out of what you understand. So this is a means of me and Mike [fellow performer Open Mike Eagle] trying to process what the hell is going on. And it's true for anyone who wants to search or to tune in. We're talking to comics, writers, philosophers, activists, union organizers, all different councilmen, directors, just all kinds of different people around the country that are doing something or have something to say. The secret selfish thing is that me and Mike are getting smarter."
Heard on: Jane Levy and Alex Newell: Zoey's Extraordinary Zoom Call.