Stop Podcasting Yourself
Leo Portugal, Literature Editor, Podman
Canadian comedians Graham Clarke and Dave Shumka have been podcasting themselves since 2008. On its surface, Stop Podcasting Yourself (SPY) is just another podcast featuring a couple of white guys talking. Yada, yada, yada. What a snorefest, am I right? Nope! I’m wrong. SPY is amazing!
What makes SPY great is its constantly hilarious and light-hearted fare. Dave and Graham are just naturally funny and nothing feels forced. And the weekly guests (most of which I had never heard of before their SPY appearances) meet the hosts’ hilarity in equal measure. In fact, comic genius Paul F. Tompkins is a huge supporter of the show and has guested on it five times. Fans of PFT can become fans of SPY by listening to his episodes.
Some people complain that SPY is “too Canadian,” but I feel their show is all-inclusive. Every show begins with a segment called “Get to Know Us.” In it, Dave, Graham, and their guest take turns discussing what they’ve been up to. Sure, it’s a very simple idea for a segment, but it’s secretly genius. By letting the guest talk at an episode’s start, Dave and Graham get the guests involved early and a listener can quickly get to know Dave, Graham, and the possible guest. And I haven’t even mentioned Graham’s weekly “Hulk Hogan News” segment. It’s something everyone can love.
Dave and Graham have compiled quite the impressive catalog (215 episodes). Listen to a few episodes. I promise their Canadian charm will grow on you.
Vincent Chavez, Culture Editor, Future EIC/Garbage Queen
There are few things in this world that make me absolutely giddy: impersonating Nicki Minaj while driving, watching the Canadian talk show 1 girl 5 gays, the first bite of a pint of ice cream that I will be finishing in one sitting. Listening to Throwing Shade, a bitchy blend of pop culture and politics, real talk and really talkative bitches, is now one of these pleasures. The podcast features self-described homosensual Bryan Safi and feminasty Erin Gibson tackling the hottest/most pressing topics concerning gays and women.
The two have the uncanny ability to balance honest, intelligent conversation with hyper-clever, unusually vulgar riffing. Also, their rapport is genuine, witty, and at times, just plain cunty (just so we’re clear, I mean cunty in the reclaimed sense, like a more biting verison of bitchy). But the sarcastic tone masks an endearing heart. These two have obviously reached a point in their relationship where they feel comfortable tearing each other apart or dismissing what the other says as nonsense. For example when Safi says something like, “You’re kidding me, stuffing two cantaloupes in your vagina hurts?” and Gibson responds with, “Ugh,” you can feel their mutual love and respect for each other.
Safibson are also seasoned improvisers. Throwing Shade’s best moments are when Safi, an expert nonsense-weaver, breaks into character mid-conversation, while Gibson, a skilled straight woman (comedy and sexuality-wise), will respond to his insanity completely straight faced.
The Thrilling Adventure Hour
Steve Bessette, Entertainment Editor, 1939
My dad’s been in the radio business since I was about three years old. His appreciation for public radio trickled down into my genes like industrial sludge in a man-made tributary in lower downtown of some American city. I love it, it’s great. What always drew me in were reruns of classic radio shows from the ’20s and ’30s, so of course coming across the live recordings of The Thrilling Adventure Hour was like discovering a gold mine for my eardrums.
With just a slight amount of tongue-in-cheekness, TAH is a “new-time podcast in the style of old-time radio.” They perform monthly at the Largo in LA, complete with live music, foley sound effects, and pristine comedic timing. Instead of being locked into a single genre with a continuing storyline like the classics, they have several, including the western/sci-fi Sparks Nevada-Marshal on Mars, the noiric Tales from the Black Lagoon, and my personal favorite, the horror Beyond Belief, all done with old-timey style and goofs. There’s a consistent cast that plays multiple characters throughout all of the segments, but guests that have appeared on the show include Patton Oswalt, Dave Foley, and Andy Richter.
If you’d like a good episode to start out with, check out “White Hunter, Drunk Heart.” It’s a segment of Beyond Belief, starring Paul F. Tompkins and Paget Brewster as alcoholic socialites Frank and Sadie Doyle, who are always running into ghosts and mummies and stuff. If you’re into classic martini swilling dames as much as I am, Paget Brewster’s Sadie Doyle will capture your heart through your ears and assuredly keep you listening.
The Truth by Jonathan Mitchell
Marco Beltran, Senior Editor, Mad Man
A few minutes into the most recent episode of The Truth, entitled “Tape Delay,” and I was hooked. It’s a simple story. A guy ruins his date before it starts by unknowingly being an asshole over the phone, records the call, then develops a relationship with the recording by editing it into new conversations. It went from having this cliché idea of a bad date and twisting the scenario into something really creepy and a true to life concept, being able to go back and change what you said to someone. Each story they’ve released has several twists that make it a compelling listen.
The idea behind The Truth by Jonathan Mitchell is simple: movies for your ears. On a bi-monthly basis, an original 10 to 20 minute story or play is recorded in a studio using improvisational actors and adapted for the podcast with sound effects and interesting editing. It feels like an updated version of radio dramas pervasive before the advent of the television. The only drawback to it is that they’ve only released seven episodes and haven’t set a date for the next episode’s release, which could be due to the process that goes into finding a good story to adapt.
I’d suggest this podcast if you’re looking for something along the lines of Thrilling Adventure Hour. Since The Truth is such a lame name for a podcast—every religion podcast has something involving “the truth”—I suggest going to their website, thetruthapm.com, for the iTunes link because it takes a while finding it just by searching.