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!
THIS IS RAD! By KYLE CLARK and MATTHEW BURNSIDE (“Ren Faire”)
Back in May Kyle Clark, Matthew Burnside, Natalie Hazen, and Laura Knight went to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire. The adventure was recorded for the podcast. Producer Natalie Hazen was excited to finally release this episode after some laborious editing. Thanks to her Francis Ford Coppola-like thirst for perfection, they are now able to share what was so rad about spending the day in olden times. Kyle had been to the Faire once before as a chaperone for middle school children from south central Los Angeles. He went with the kids on a Wednesday for a more PG version of the sometimes saucy atmosphere. He found it to be “Boob-a-palooza” with flesh-contorting corsets all around. I’ve never been to one of these but for some reason, at this very moment, it’s an experience that I need to have. Also I love Game of Thrones, so I can just walk around with a mug of mead and a leg of mutton looking for Khaleesi. Kyle did some research for this trip. Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale, Calif., is the original. According to Kyle, it was started in the late ’60s as a school project in a backyard. Kids liked it so much that the homeowners opened it up to the public for a weekend and over the course of two days, 8,000 people showed up. According to the renfair.com FAQ page you aren’t required to attend in costume, but at eight o’clock the night before, producer Natalie decided that she needed a cloak. She went out and got black velvet fabric and manically made herself one. You can see some photos on the This is Rad! podcast Facebook page, most impressive indeed. On the car ride in, the gang spotted a pervy-looking billboard for the Faire featuring a mustachioed rapscallion: “That dude’s like, ‘come here and I will finger you.’” “He looks like he’s staring right into my vagina.” A few wrong turns were made on the road to the Middle Ages. They used the mailing address and drove to the main office, collecting some unwanted renaissance franchise information before continuing on their merry way. Once inside they were greeted by Leonardo Da Vinci, saw a simple magic trick from a wizard, and found some “Assassins Creed” looking masks and tiny little metal hats for sale. Matthew gave play-by-play of strange actions on the fairway. “A pack of about six women dressed as black-and-white cat people and a shepherd or a wrangler, something that looks Diablo-esque, and then while that’s happening someone else walks by and someone takes their hat off and kneels to them, I think it was understood that the one was royalty, I don’t understand how this works.” Next up was a woman selling fresh crabs with a tasty side of sexually transmitted pubic lice innuendo: “Everyone’s had my crabs.” When the group took a break for refreshment they found $9 mead that was the size of two Dixie cups. Our hosts were accosted mid-mead by a very forward wench. “I love giving head, that’s how my wenching career got started.” I really enjoyed this podcast. Everybody on this episode sounds like someone I’d like to hang out with, randy wench included, randy crab lady excluded.
THE CHONG AND CHONG SHOW with TOMMY CHONG (“Aunt Irene”)
This episode included rock ‘n’ roll proclivities, gambling stories, tips for being Zen about your golf game, but more importantly Tommy Chong told his son and capable co-host, Paris Chong, about growing up in Calgary. Tommy’s father, Stan, immigrated to Canada from China in the 1920s. He describes his dad as a moody and quiet man that loved to read comic books. They had a small three-bedroom house for six or seven people if you count “Uncle,” a friend of Tommy’s dad that had helped built the railroads. Young Tommy also had Aunt Irene around. She was a bit of a character that spent some time in jail and was known to do some drinking. In her later years, Irene suffered from dementia but gained the ability to sense when the bus was coming. She would rock in her chair and tap her foot quickly when the bus was about five minutes away. Paris was quick to point out that busses usually run on a schedule but Tommy insists that this one was more like a coach of unpredictability. Aunt Irene was helpful even in her diminished capacity. The family would have huge parties at the house celebrating Christmas from Dec. 1 to the end of February. Tommy and his dad would acquire the holiday libations from the window of a shed behind a Chinese restaurant that was guarded by a vicious dog on a chain. “You never talked to the guy, you never saw him. You put the money in and the booze would come out.” Tommy Chong recounted his early life with warmth and reverence for the people and the place that he came from. This podcast is a real partnership. Paris shared some meditative breathing techniques he found online called Smoking Ganja: The Yogic Way. Chakras are involved. I followed along from steps 4 through 7 and could feel it working, I think my third eye blinked in agreement when Paris said, “Now smoke the blessed ganja.” These instructions reminded me that balance is something that you need to seek out and practice, not just talk about. The easy conversation between Paris and his iconic father was informative and lively. I urge you to give this podcast a listen. Tommy Chong will be on this season of Dancing With the Stars beginning tonight!
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.