TIME celebrities

Owner of Iconic New York Comedy Club Remembers Robin Williams

The legendary comedian would show up at the famed New York club to support other performers

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When Caroline Hirsch, owner of New York City’s renowned stand-up club Carolines on Broadway, came to know Robin Williams, he was just building his name on TV with Mork & Mindy.

But soon enough, in the mid-1980s, Williams became one of the big stars to appear on the stage of the famous Times Square comedy club. In the decades since then, Hirsch said, he would return to support other performers.

“Who’s going to fill that, that of the comedy world?” she told TIME. “Because we really don’t have that kind of unique person. I haven’t seen it. And I don’t know who will come up the ranks to be that guy, who is always there for everybody.”

TIME movies

VIDEO: Kermit and Pepe on How to Promote a Muppets Movie

The Muppets Most Wanted celebs dropped by TIME's offices to explain how it works

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It’s no secret that when celebrities tell journalists they’d love to drop by a magazine’s office to be interviewed, they’ve usually got something to promote. Which is great, except when that something is a DVD/Blu-ray release, which usually means we already know all about the project from when it came out in theaters. What’s left to talk about?

When those celebrities are Kermit the Frog and Pepe the King Prawn, lots. The two Muppets were in town to gab about the Aug. 12 DVD release of Muppets Most Wanted, so we took the opportunity to get some of those pressing questions answered. How, we wondered, does a Muppet promote a DVD release? How grueling is the promotional schedule? Does it bring up fun memories from filming, or is it a slog?

We did manage to draw some answers out of them—but, as you’ll see in the video above, an interview with Kermit and Pepe doesn’t always lead where you thought it would.

TIME movies

Go Behind the Scenes of Wong Fu’s First Feature Film

An inside look at the popular YouTube team's foray into a more traditional format: feature film

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When I arrive on the set of Wong Fu Productions’ first feature film in Pasadena, CA, they’re in the middle of shooting one of the most emotional scenes in the movie.

Everyone, from the production crew to the hair and makeup artists, is speaking in hushed tones — even though the action is taking place in a separate room.

That’s because we’re actually shooting in the Wong Fu Productions office, where a corner of the space (which, on a normal day, looks like a typical workspace with desks and computers) has been transformed into a mock college dorm room, complete with actual walls, a microwave, a bed, and other furnishings. The door to the room has been propped open to leave room for the camera, and also to prevent the set from becoming too hot.

“The way we do things is pretty unconventional,” says Philip Wang, who cofounded Wong Fu with college friends Wesley Chan and Ted Fu. “I like to say it’s resourceful.”

For Wong Fu, which got its start in 2003 and quickly gained a strong following with the growing popularity of its YouTube channel (which now has over 2 million subscribers), a long day of shooting is nothing new. What’s different this time around is the length of time spent on one particular project.

“Now, we just kind of have this mentality of like, ‘Hey, it’s just like we’re just making 20 shorts, all in a row,'” Wang says. “We do that anyways throughout a year. Now it’s just condensing it all into one.”

Wong Fu is in a unique position as an independent production company for a few reasons: The trio had already begun to make popular videos before YouTube came along — videos were passed around through download links on their website and fans’ instant messenger profiles — and were able to take advantage of the viral potential afforded them by the new platform. Notably, they also feature a primarily Asian-American cast in their shorts; they attribute much of their success to a largely Asian-American viewership eager to see themselves represented in the media. Wong Fu produces character-based short films, which Wang believes is distinct from the typical viral videos that attract views through shock value or cuteness.

In March, Wong Fu raised $358,308 on Indiegogo for their movie, making their project currently the fourth-best funded film on the crowd-funding website.

The film’s plot focuses on two couples at different stages of their relationships, set in a world where “all relationship activity is documented and monitored by the Department of Emotional Integrity (DEI)” and is assigned a number like a credit score.

The young couple featured in the video above is played by Victoria Park and Brandon Soo Hoo. (The rest of the principal cast includes a mix of familiar names and new faces: Randall Park, Ki Hong Lee, Chris Riedell, Aaron Yoo, Joanna Sotomura and Brittany Ishibashi.)

The scene I witness is a tense moment because, for the first time in their relationship, the two have to learn to deal with the challenges of a long distance relationship.

“No one was wrong in that argument,” says Chan, who co-directed the movie with Wang. “We want you to side with both of the characters. That’s one of the real life, relatable elements we wanted to include — that a lot of times, when we argue, there’s no right or wrong.”

Shooting officially wrapped last week, and the movie will be in post-production for the next three to four months. What happens from there isn’t set in stone yet, but Wong Fu plans to submit the film to various festivals as they work out the details of a release plan.

In the meantime, it’s also worth keeping an eye out for a possible upcoming engagement video — according to the movie’s Indiegogo page, one lucky donor claimed a Wong Fu wedding video package for $8,000.

TIME Infectious Disease

Everything You Need to Know About the Deadly Ebola Virus Outbreak

A look at the numbers behind the largest ebola outbreak on record, which has so far killed over 670 people

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More than 670 people have died from the latest outbreak of Ebola, a highly contagious virus that is also one of the deadliest human diseases.

Though it’s been almost 40 years since Ebola was first discovered in 1976, there are currently no cures or effective treatments.

Here’s what you need to know about the unprecedented outbreak.

TIME Music

Go Behind the Scenes With Nico & Vinz at The Tonight Show

TIME chats with the Afro-Norwegian duo, best known for their summer hit "Am I Wrong," before their performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

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Though you may not recognize their names (yet), their tune is definitely recognizable — Nico & Vinz‘s single “Am I Wrong” is currently sitting at number one on the Top 40 airplay chart.

Earlier this week, TIME caught up with the Afro-Norwegian duo as they headed to the NBC studios to rehearse with the Roots before their performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

In their down time, the pair both constantly have earphones on, often singing out loud or dancing to a silent rhythm.

“I’m listening to some sketches we did in Norway, songs,” says Vincent “Vinz” Dery during a short car ride, chuckling. “Listening to ourselves.”

But even given the high stakes, neither appeared nervous. “We’re kind of confident because the chemistry between us is great onstage,”says Nico Sereba, the other half of the duo. “I mean, we’re playing with the Roots, which is one of the best bands in the world.”

In the video above, Nico & Vinz sit down backstage before the show to discuss their unique sound and how they balanced work — as high school substitute teachers — and music.

But be warned: their catchy, upbeat song will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

TIME Business

Take a Ride on The Newest Record-Breaking Wooden Roller Coaster

Goliath, the Six Flags Great America ride, takes wooden coasters to new heights and speeds

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It may not be as tall as some steel roller coasters out there, but Goliath at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill. brings the fear factor to another level.

“It’s really, really intimidating to get on something that looks like it’s made of toothpicks,” says TIME’s Deputy Culture Editor Sam Lansky, who went on the ride not once, but twice.

Goliath, with its 180-foot drop at 85 degrees and top speed of 72 miles per hour, broke three world records for wooden coasters.

Not breaking a sweat yet? Take a look at the video, then see if you think you can handle going on the ride yourself.

TIME Culture

Up in Smoke: The Rise and Fall of Big Tobacco

"According to this survey, more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette," is just one of the phrases we no longer hear in commercials

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Earlier this week, a $27.4 billion deal was announced that will merge two of the largest American tobacco companies, Reynolds American and Lorillard.

The deal comes at a time when cigarette smokers are at a steady decline. Even so, Marlboro still makes some lists of most valuable brands in the world.

And while it’s hard to remember the days when Camels were advertised as the most preferred cigarettes by doctors, a small segment of the industry is quickly growing: e-cigarettes.

Above, take a quick look at the history of America’s complicated relationship with the addictive habit.

TIME Music

Go Behind the Scenes of TIME’s Coney Island Photo Shoot With Jack Antonoff

The guitarist talks about the inspiration behind his latest musical project, Bleachers

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Jack Antonoff isn’t timid when it comes to his wardrobe.

“I like to feel like a 7-year-old who’s allowed to dress themselves for the first time or something,” says the musician, who is profiled in the new issue of TIME.

It seems like a pretty spot-on description for the 30-year-old musician behind Bleachers — who rose to popularity as the lead guitarist of Fun. — as he nonchalantly played games and buckled himself into rides at Coney Island’s Luna Park during a recent photo shoot for TIME.

Though there’s a palpable nostalgia in Bleachers’ debut album Strange Desire, Antonoff explains that the record isn’t all about lingering in the past — it’s about looking toward the future.

“I feel like I think about that all the time — how to push on, how to not leave too many of the pieces in the past, how to not take too many of them with you and become strange,” Antonoff says, chuckling.

In the video above, take a behind-the-scenes look at Antonoff’s shoot with photographer Geordie Wood and hear more about the inspiration behind the album.

TIME Innovation

A Look Inside the Home That Made “Life Easier” for a Marine Veteran Who Lost All His Limbs

From moving cabinets to remotely activated light switches, the home is designed to support a life of independence

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Retired Marine Sergeant John Peck lost all of his limbs when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan in 2010.

After he was once pronounced dead, spent three months in coma, and went through years in recovery, he came to live in a home built by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Peck worked with the foundation to design a home tailored to his individual needs. With high-tech features such as moving cabinets, tablet-controlled lighting and an automated shower, his house is an example of how smart homes can enable those who are disabled to be more self-sufficient.

“The house can’t really solve your problems, it can help make your life easier,” Peck said.

In the video above, Peck gives TIME a tour of his home – and shares his passion for cooking.

The former marine, who dreamed of becoming a chef ever since he was 12-years-old, is now re-learning how to cook, thanks to a prosthetic arm, an accessible cooktop and a relentless determination.

“The first time I cooked a meal in this house, it took a while. I made leek and potato soup,” Peck said. “It was definitely interesting to be able to make stuff and not need help.”

TIME 2016 presidential election

Romney: How Republicans Will Take Back the White House

Romney criticized Clinton's response to Bergdahl's release and expressed confidence that a Republican will take back the White House in 2016

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After hosting a high-profile summit over the weekend that included many Republican presidential hopefuls, Mitt Romney appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday to discuss politics within the G.O.P. and the 2016 election.

When asked by host David Gregory what he would do if he were a presidential candidate running against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Romney pointed to Clinton’s past political record as her weakness.

“I think you have to consider what’s happened around the world during the years that she was secretary of State,” Romney said. “And you have to say it’s been a monumental bust.”

Romney also referred to Clinton’s comments regarding the exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, in which she said the released Taliban leaders did not pose a threat to the U.S.

“And she came back with a clueless answer,” Romney said. “She was clueless.”

According to Romney, those points will be “the foundation of how a Republican candidate is able to take back the White House.”

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