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!
NORM MACDONALD LIVE (EP 20 Roseanne Barr)
Roseanne Barr had the most-watched TV show in the United States a quarter-century ago. Roseanne (ABC) ran for nine seasons and each of its main cast members won Emmy awards for their performances, except for D.J., and both of the Beckys. Norm Macdonald worked on Roseanne from 92’-93’ and Barr was the first person to give him a shot at the writers’ room. Norm remembers Roseanne’s relationship with her writers: “They would write the script, you would say it’s no good.” “Whenever I heard a good original joke I would keep it, fuck the plot.” You could not buy your groceries at the supermarket in the early 90s without seeing Roseanne’s face on the gossip rags and she shared some anecdotes from her life at that time with Norm and his sidekick Adam Eget. Highlights include going to a party at Madonna’s house and spending hours on the dance floor with the Material Girl. Lowlights include the time that she paid a private detective $60,000 to find out who had been leaking stories to the tabloids; it was her husband at the time, Tom Arnold. Her rise to fame was precluded by hardship. Roseanne was hit by a car as a teen and suffered a traumatic brain injury that left her in a coma. The accident changed her so radically that she was institutionalized for eight months at Utah State Hospital. Sadly, it was not the only time that she would find herself in a mental hospital. Norm played a clip from one of Roseanne’s Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson appearances and they discuss her career in stand-up “Tell them your most famous joke.” “People say ‘You’re not very feminine,’ and I say suck my dick!” Norm and Roseanne also talk about her new job as a judge on Last Comic Standing (NBC). She considers her fellow judge Keenen Ivory Wayans a genius: “He’s got in-depth analysis of stand-up.” Other topics include cannibalism, weight-loss endorsements gone awry, and her 2012 run at the White House that got her 60,000 votes. Norm wraps up the episode by addressing his critics. “Everybody asks me on this show, ‘When are you gonna get a woman?’ I say I’m not gonna get a woman before I get Roseanne, I’ll fuck’n tell you that.”
Joan Rivers invited Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC) host Scott Aukerman into her bed for a chat. Before the interview began, Rivers placed a box of extra-large prophylactics on the bed that she claimed were product placement. “You could fit three of my dicks in this.” While Joan is slightly out of childbearing range, better safe than sorry. Scott and Joan talk about breaking into comedy writing. Aukerman got his start after Bob Odenkirk saw him on his second-ever attempt at stand-up comedy and asked him to write for Mr. Show With Bob & David on HBO. A few years would pass before he was hired to the staff but in 1999, Aukerman and his fellow writers would earn an Emmy nomination. Joan recalls her big break on The Ed Sullivan Show writing for Topo Gigio, the hand-puppet mouse. She went on to also write for Phyllis Diller and Bob Newhart. Joan asks what it was like working with President Obama earlier this year on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. Scott found the Commander-in-Chief to be accommodating and easier to work with than international treasure Justin Bieber. Aukerman directed and produced the episode, and it received more than 14 million views in 24 hours. It occurs to me now that the career of Joan Rivers spans a few generations with no signs of slowing down. For young people that mostly know her as the host of Fashion Police (E!) check out the 2010 documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work directed by Ricki Stern & Anne Sundberg. It’s the story of a passionate woman who never met a boundary that she couldn’t smash.
Ronna & Beverly interview comedian Howard Kremer of the Who Charted? podcast where he and co-host Kulap Vilaysack count down the top songs and movies. If there is one constant theme to the Howard Kremer persona, it’s “Summah.” Many albums worth of Summah-inspired music can be found on iTunes by Howard Kremer and his alter-ego Dragon Boy Suede. Ronna & Beverly are played by comedic actresses Jessica Chaffin & Jamie Denbo. Chaffin played dorm adviser Coco Wexler on all four seasons of Nickelodeon’s Zoey 101 and Denbo has made guest appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Life & Times of Tim, and Reno 911! Chaffin & Denbo often perform as Ronna & Beverly live at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles. When our hosts grill Howard on his emotional unavailability and slight touch of obsessive compulsive disorder, he proves to be affable yet elusive. The ladies also ask about his family. Howard has a twin sister and Ronna & Beverly explore the genetic possibilities. Some pseudo-scientific questions were asked about the birth of his niece: “Did you feel your vagina move or feel any pain?” “Uh, I had a hangover that day.” “Did your pelvic floor rustle?” With a logic-defying leap the ladies conclude that Howard is in fact an additional father to his niece.
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.