Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Holy Crap, I've Done A Lot of Podcasts!


The first podcast I ever did, was WAAAAY before podcasts were invented.

Jim McCabe and I recorded a bunch of goofy audio bits (including prank calls) for no reason at all. We had no outlet. This was LOOOONG before the internet would be introduced to the public. It was really just to entertain ourselves. I'd use some of the pieces between songs on mixtapes I'd make for friends/girlfriends/acting teachers.

I remember a bit that had John F. Kennedy & Ted Kennedy as Biff and William Loman in "Death of a Salesman." You know, ground breaking stuff. My acting teacher at Temple University, Jimmy Blunt, loved it!

Fast forward many (many) years later when Joel and I would talk on the phone until 3 in the morning. We both worked odd hour retail jobs, so it wasn't out of the ordinary for us to talk that late. We'd joke, we should record this. We (and the public in general) were still unaware of podcasts.

Then Joel suggested a podcast in which we'd discuss film, television, comic books, video games...pretty much anything in the realm of Geek Culture. Along with James Hunsinger, we'd start "You've Got Geek on You." An homage to Shaun of the Dead's "You've got red on you." Eventually the show title would be shortened to "You've Got Geek."

The cast would change through out the show, Joel being the only constant. It would see various cohosts come and go in Bob Trate, Brendan Carr, Chuck Francisco, and Michael Henley.

In total, we did over 250 podcasts!

We are slowly in the process of rebuilding the library of episodes on Soundcloud (Totally my fault! James, I need to move much faster, I apologize.)

You can find them here: You've Got Geek

I also, briefly tinkered with a podcast idea through CSz Philadelphia called "The Advice Panel." This was a podcast based on the improv game of the same name we play in ComedySportz. It even had a kick ass theme song written & recorded by Hot Breakfast (HOT BREAKFAST! *fist pump).

Don Montrey was the host, and we'd have various characters on the show to give advice to our "audience." This was originally designed as a studio piece, where the questions would be gathered from Twitter or just made up completely.

We changed it from a studio show to a theatrical show in front of a live studio audience. We recorded 5 episodes before pulling the plug as attendance was low and it unfortunately affected the energy of the show.

It's one I'd like back. I still think it would work as a studio show, ala Comedy Bang Bang.

Between GEEK and The Advice Panel, I worked on a web series called The Clink. One of our writers (and Guard Carson) was Brendan Carr. 

Having worked so well with him on You've Got Geek, I suggested to Joel we bring him onboard for The Clink. Joel agreed whole heartedly, and our Tuesday night writing sessions began. Many a night would see Joel, Brendan, Jim Burns, Andrew Mitchell, and myself sitting in my living room or family room or front room (all the same room, but Julie and I never really settled on what to call that room. At easter it's our dining room).

Though the sessions didn't have a rigid structure, they were all very similar. Often starting with me making Brendan tell everyone a crazy story about Elvis Presley. Brendan and I had bonded long before this over our love for the King of Rock and Roll, and the fascination with his less than normal lifestyle. To this day, I think Joel, Jim and Andrew were just humoring us.

Brendan and I pitched the idea of doing an ALL-Elvis episode of You've Got Geek. Joel was 100% on board. But it just never seemed to work out.

Also during The Clink writing sessions, Brendan turned me on to a podcast called Comedy Death Ray (which would soon become change it's name to Comedy Bang Bang) as well as the Superego podcast.
(If you've never heard the James Bond "How British Am I?" sketch, you owe it to yourself to listen to it RIGHT NOW!)

I immediately fell in love with Comedy Death Ray. It would be a while until I'd actually give Superego a chance, but when I did, I fell in love with that too, especially it's format!

Brendan and I then developed a podcast about Elvis with a heavy Superego influence. That podcast is called Elvis, And (a play on the Improviser's philosophy "Yes, and"). Our tagline is "Mostly Improvised, Slightly Edited." It's a show that I REALLY want to try live, to prove that it is truly made up in the room.

Obviously, Brendan would be Elvis. We rounded out the cast with Lew Indellini, who I had recently worked with on a play. Jim McCabe, my original podcast buddy. Adam Wahlberg, a funny ass mother fucker! And Steve Roney, who I work with at ComedySportz. Steve came about almost at the last minute. He and I met to discuss a podcast idea he had (more on that in a minute). I mentioned Elvis, And and asked if he'd be interested. In typical "Yes, And" fashion, he said he would be. Then he came and slayed!

Matt Casarino, who had been kind enough to provide music for The Advice Panel, provided a TON of music for Elvis, And. Then in season 2 we put Matt on a mic. This gave us such gems as Dr. Nick as well as Carl Perkins (and his Blue Suede Shoes). Jill Knapp and Rodney Linderman (who I grew up worshipping as the frontman of "The Dead Milkmen") would also get involved.

We'll kick off season 3, which will likely be it's final season, this Summer.

Now back to Steve's idea.

After a night of ComedySportz matches, it's very common for the players to unwind at a bar a couple of blocks from the "arena." Inevitably, while relaxing after performing for over 3 hours, someone would start to tell a story. While the surrounding comedians would constantly interrupt. This was the inception for The Punch Up Podcast.

A weekly podcast where we bring in some of the funniest writers and performers from the Philly comedy scene. Someone tells a story while the others "help out." While it's a comedy, there are many deep, deep moments explored by the storyteller and panelists. Not quite WTF, but a long way from The Kennedys demanding that "attention must be paid."

Steve is the host, with panelists Eoin O'Shea, Jessie Preisendorfer, and myself, as well as frenquent guest Dave Jadico, and various guest storytellers such as Alli Soowal, Mary Carpenter, Kevin Dougherty, Don Montrey, Jim Carpenter, Darryl Charles, Sean Curran, and Kristin Finger (just to name a few).

I'm extremely proud of all of the episodes, but especially one in which I was the storyteller talking about my honeymoon. You can listen to "The Florida Keys" right here.

And that's not all! Brendan and I are working on a NEW podcast that we hope to debut in the Fall,
(Remember when I used to film stuff? No? Me neither.)

Five podcasts in the past decade.
Now if only I could get you to listen to one of them...

You've Got Geek
The Advice Panel
Elvis, And

The Punch Up Podcast
*To be announced SOON!

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