Mike Flinn (@realmikeflinn) isn’t just a podcast producer and engineer; he’s also an avid fan of the form. “My Pod Week” recaps and reviews the many varied comedy podcasts Flinn listened to or attended live tapings of during the previous week. Enjoy!
THE GREG PROOPS FILM CLUB (Wonder Boys) *LIVE*
When we arrived at The Cinefamily, on Fairfax just south of Melrose in Los Angeles, I was quite hungover. The strong wind and cool temps felt nice. It felt like Berkeley. We met a few friends and had a brief chat out in front. The seats are comfortable, the vibe is cozy. By now, my hangover cure is kicking in and this Diet Coke tastes fantastic. After a short wait, Greg Proops danced his way onto the stage. You would absolutely recognize him but you may not know the great range of his work. Greg Proops was a cast member of the Drew Carey hosted improv television show Whose Line Is It Anyway? He is also the voice of the animated children’s character Bob The Builder.
The point of The Greg Proops Film Club is to take another look at some interesting films that were not recognized as special at the time of their original release. Proops gets right to the point and we learn about the key ingredients that give the film its unique flavor. Greg queries and prods the audience, making us a part of Film Club up to a point. “Who invited everyone to talk through the whole fucking thing, If you..oh I did”. Wonder Boys (2000) is adapted from the 1995 novel by writer Michael Chabon. Great detail unfolds when Greg describes the career of director Curtis Hanson whose films include L.A. Confidential and 8 Mile. Bob Dylan wrote the theme for Wonder Boys and won an Oscar for best song. Greg covers the many acting roles of Bob Dylan, most notably his performance in the music video for his Oscar winning song where he is edited into the movie Wonder Boys. Yes, you read that correctly. During this segment of the podcast, Proops seamlessly becomes the different voices of Bob Dylan like a magic trick. However, I was most captured by his caricature of Michael Douglas. Greg nearly gives a dissertation on the celebrity culture of the entire Douglas family.
The film itself is funnier than I remembered it being when I saw it 14 years ago. What’s it about? The complexities of love unattainable and love concurrent in an ivy-covered academic setting. Frances McDormand’s performance effortlessly keeps pace with Michael Douglas. Robert Downey Jr. carries many scenes with his comedic charm and Tobey Maguire is in it, too. I almost forgot Katie Holmes. Katie Holmes is in this movie also.
When we spilled out onto the street it was dark and all parties agreed to return. Greg Proops is a performer that you must see live like Jonathan Richman from The Modern Lovers. If you have an open mind and a desire to laugh, go out and see him.
If the reader is bold enough to do a little time travel and have his or her mind blown by a story so full of love and tragedy that it can only be true, dim the lights and click. this. link.
THE DORK FOREST (episode 223)
The Dork Forest is a safe place for dorks to talk about whatever they dork out on most. Jackie Kashian seems happy to indulge her guests on topics that have included comic books, ping pong, graveyards, and even evolution. Jay Mohr loves to read presidential biographies. I’m glad someone does because most are longer than fuck. Mohr says that he didn’t bother trying to tackle a 1,040-page “prequel” on LBJ called “Master of the Senate” by Robert Caro (ain’t nobody got time for that). Jay paints quite a picture of a depressed and generally unkempt Abraham Lincoln doing a ton of presidential yardwork to clear his head, or maybe just to have a few moments away from his wife. Mohr also touches on John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s unfortunate back brace and Richard Milhous Nixon’s plentiful paranoia. This episode was recorded the same day that Jackie did the Mohr Stories podcast and Jay’s radio show, “Jay Mohr Sports” on Fox Sports Radio. After three hours together, they showed no signs of slowing down and it seemed as if they could talk all day.
DOUG STANHOPE’s PODCAST (episode 23)
Doug and his crew talk to Rebecca Vitsmun, the atheist tornado survivor. Rebecca’s account of this life changing event is riveting. When a tornado in Oklahoma destroyed her home she was interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Rebecca was asked if she was thanking “the Lord” for her decision to escape the house with her young son. She briefly hesitated, and did something quite unique for an Oklahoma tornado survivor. Rebecca told Wolf that she was actually an atheist. The clip went viral and a friend of hers told Stanhope about it. With the help of fellow atheists Ricky Gervais and Penn Jillette, Doug put together an IndieGogo fundraiser and in a short time had raised enough to get Rebecca Vitsmun and her family out of Oklahoma and into a home in the Pacific northwest. The original goal was $50,000. They made that in the first seventeen hours. The total amount raised was $125,760. Doug did not start the fundraiser because he felt sorry for Rebecca. During the interview he admits “I just did this for you because I thought it’d be funny.” We get to hear about some of the awkward aftermath that Rebecca encountered as a result of her publicity. One family member even congratulated her when former Fox News info-tainment puppet Glenn Beck called her a “force of spiritual darkness.” After hearing her talk with Stanhope for an hour she seems to be an honest person and a good mother.
Mike Flinn is a podcast producer/engineer based in West Hollywood, Calif., for All Things Comedy. The views expressed in My Pod Week are purely his own.