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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pod Nerd: Eugene Mirman, Alex Guarnaschelli and the end of an era

There are a wide variety of nerds out there: comic book nerds, anime nerds, sports nerds, Breaking Bad nerds, nerdists, tech nerds, porn nerds, My Little Pony nerds, Dr. Who nerds, Law & Order: SVU nerds, sci-fi nerds, etc., etc.  I am a pod nerd, by which I mean I listen to a ton of podcasts.  Too many probably.  I spend 90% of each day listening to podcasts, and while that is most assuredly an exaggeration, it is not much of one.  I love podcasts.  And I listen to a wide variety.  So with Pod Nerd, I plan on sharing my love of podcasts with all of you.  Each Saturday I'll highlight three podcast-related things that excited me over the past week in the hopes that you too will come to love podcasts as much as I do.

1. The K Ohle with Kurt Braunohler: The Boat Show with Eugene Mirman: Comedian Kurt Braunohler's podcast is actually three rotating podcast concepts.  There's Pet-O-Philia, in which Kurt and a guest discuss the inherent stupidity of animals; Get Lost with... features Kurt blindfolding his guest, driving him/her somewhere they've never been, seeing if he/she can guess where he/she is, revealing where he/she is and then seeing if said guest knows how to get home; and my personal favorite, The Boat Show, in which Kurt chats about boats and boating with a guest who knows nothing about boating or boats.  This week on The Boat Show, guest Eugene Mirman talked about the dangers of practicing archery in one's Brooklyn apartment, his long-term relationship with our country's first female president, Franklin D Roosevelt, and his immortality.  There was something about boats too, I think.  It's a must listen, especially for you, Jonathan!

Also, Kurt tells a very personal story at the opening of this week's podcast (he does this quite often) that is extremely moving and centers around the song "Like A G6."

2. WTF with Marc Maron: Alex Guarnaschelli: Marc Maron was the first stand-up comedian of which I was ever truly a fan.  This was back in middle school when I was a burgeoning comedy nerd (FYI: I'm also one of those).  Comedy Central was a relatively new endeavor, and I was already completely obsessed with Monty Python's Flying Circus.  Maron hosted what amounted to a clip show called Short Attention Span Theater (he's talked about it a lot on WTF).  In truth, I would watch SASN hoping for Python clips, but there was something about Maron that appealed to me.  My next exposure to Maron was on Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, another program I obsessively taped on the VCR in the living room (I had tapes full of Dr. Katz, Batman: The Animated Series, Monty Python, Ren and Stimpy and the original Real World).  Maron did a bit about the wonders of the internet (i.e. "Do you like dogs?") that cracked me up.  Then, he disappeared.  For me anyway.  Hey, I was a kid.

When the WTF podcast appeared in 2009, I sincerely thought it was because God had finally answered my prayers to bring Marc Maron back.  I think I was vaguely aware that he had been on Air America, but WTF brought me back in contact with Maron in a way I never thought would ever be possible again.  Now he's got a TV show that I love and I've seen him live and all is right in the world.

One of the many things I enjoy about Marc Maron is his love of the television program Chopped, a competition cooking show on the Food Network that I am similarly obsessed with.  Marc regularly mentions that there have been episodes that have make him cry, affecting him in an intense and visceral way.  I have experienced this same thing while watching Chopped, usually when it involves a chef talking about his daughter.  That's why this week's episode featuring chef and regular Chopped judge, Alex Guarnaschelli was so great.  Not only was there some great Chopped talk, including a third mention of Maron's almost appearance as a contestant on a celebrity edition of the show (Oh, please let that happen!), but Guarnaschelli, who I recently heard interviewed on the Alton Browncast, is endlessly entertaining.  I simply enjoy listening to her talk.  This is one of those episodes of WTF that I wish would go off into You Made It Weird-territory and just go on for three hours plus.

(I'll add that Thursday's WTF with Simon Pegg was also amazing [a little too light on the Edgar Wright talk, but maybe he'll pop up on a future episode], but I'm attempting to keep myself to three weekly highlights, so, you know, there.  All around great week on WTF though.)

3. Yeah, it's that over:  And, sadly, this week we said good-bye to Yeah It's That Bad, a bad movie podcast I've listened to faithfully for the last 2 years or so.  The concept was pretty simple: hosts Joel, Martin and Kevin would watch a movie that was considered "rotten" by Rotten Tomatoes standards in an attempt to determine whether or not said score was justified (Spoiler Alert: Usually it was).  

I don't know how many bad movie podcasts exist on the internet (I'm guessing plenty and I'm not counting The Greatest Movie Ever Podcast), but I listen to four: The Flop House, We Hate Movies, How Did This Get Made? and, until this week, Yeah It's That Bad.  Those are the only four I needed, and they're probably the only four I'll ever need.  

What makes a bad movie podcast succeed is the hosts, and like the other three I mentioned, Yeah It's That Bad had a fantastic trio of hosts.  Unlike the hosts of the other three podcasts I mentioned, Joel, Martin and Kevin were not involved in the world of comedy in any way (I don't think The Flop House's Stuart Wellington is either, but he's funny as fuck and should be, so...), yet their film "analysis" was consistently hilarious.  It was kind of like hanging out with your goofy high school buddies, with the layers of inside jokes and the copious amounts of high-spirited giggling, two things about the podcast that while I greatly enjoyed, some listeners didn't really appreciate.

Anyway, I'm sad to see Yeah It's That Bad go, but it was a good thing while it lasted.  I'm holding out hope that some form of Yeah It's That Bad will return in the future, but if it doesn't, I'll be fine.  I'm going to try not to cry, guys, but I am, sadly, a weak, weak man.  

Joel, Martin and Kevin: thank you for the five hundred million billion laughs.  Somewhere, Dennis Quaid is shedding a single tear.

1 comment:

nick said...

I echo your sentiments regarding Maron, WTF and Alex Guarnaschelli. Spot on. I've been listening to WTF since the first episode (so great) and she was absolutely one of my favorites.