My Pod Week: Week ending 5/25/14

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!

GIRL ON GUY with AISHA TYLER (#140: Carol Leifer)

Aisha Tyler is a host on The Talk and Whose Line Is It Anyway?, does Crossfit, writes books, voices Lana Kane on the FX series Archer, volunteers, performs stand­-up comedy, and brews her own beer. When she’s not busy doing all that, she’s busy making a podcast where no topic is off limits and her audience gets to listen in on great conversations with brilliant personalities. Carol Leifer has a new memoir out called “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying.” Leifer is an accomplished stand-up comedian and a writer on the Lifetime series Devious Maids. She told Aisha about growing up with a feminist mother on Long Island and following her college boyfriend Paul Reiser into comedy. When Carol started out in stand-up, she found her male peers like Steven Wright and Richard Belzer to be supportive and giving; some even told her how to shut down male hecklers. Tyler and Leifer breakdown the challenges that female comedians face and the mechanics involved in winning over a room. Carol’s life on stage led to a writing career that included work on some iconic television shows like Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live, and The Academy Awards. She describes her experiences behind the scenes with detail and perspective. For all of the struggling writers, actors, dancers, filmmakers, artists, and comedians — listen at the 17:05 mark where they talk about day jobs and how to make them fit into your life while you chase your passion. Aisha was a marketing assistant before becoming an advertising executive and Carol transcribed polygraph results for a private investigator. Carol also pointed out the importance of pursuing your dreams: “I feel like people should go after their dreams, but at the same time I also feel you have to have a realistic gauge of whether it’s working or not,” a point she expands upon in her new memoir. After 30-plus years in comedy, Leifer wants to share what she’s learned and her book gives practical advice like show up on time, be social, be nice, and don’t be afraid to fail.

THE TODD GLASS SHOW (#152: Jen Kirkman)

This show has been one of my go-to podcasts when I’m on a road trip. The opening is just Todd Glass in kind of a soft voice like you’re sharing a corner table together in a busy restaurant and he doesn’t need the booth across from you listening in. He gives you an update on what’s going on with him and the things that are on his radar this week. He finishes the intro of this episode with a few breathing exercises, positive affirmations, and tips for lazy meditation. Every episode of this show is a party, and that party is really fun when Todd has “a ball of great energy” like comedian and writer Jen Kirkman come over. Good music, good times, it even has heartfelt and passionate moments about topical social issues that you might not see coming, but just go with it. I never feel like he’s off point or incorrect in his observations, and unlike some of his podcasting peers these moments aren’t shot at you like projectiles from a rant gun. Not that Todd’s tone doesn’t come with some urgency, but it sounds more like those moments at a party when you have a real conversation with someone instead of the usual chatter-type bullshit. Kirkman and Glass alternate between complete childlike silliness when talking about Jen’s David Spade crush, and adult realness when exploring the media’s coverage of Michael Sam. Kirkman is also devoted to free form spontaneous talk on I SEEM FUN: The Diary Of Jen Kirkman Podcast and her book “I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids” is now available in paperback. Todd has a book coming out June 3 called “The Todd Glass Situation: A Bunch of Lies about My Personal Life and a Bunch of True Stories about My 30­-Year Career in Stand­-Up Comedy.”

WHAT’S UP FOOL? FELIPE ESPARZA PODCAST (Ep 5 Gil Carrillo — Good Cop-Good Cop and Richard Ramirez the Night Stalker)

Felipe Esparza went from serving hot dogs at Dodger Stadium to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium after winning NBC’s Last Comic Standing season 7. Esparza grew up in East Los Angeles but his career in comedy takes him all over the country. This week I listened to episode five of his new podcast with guest Gil Carrillo. Gil is not a stand-up comedian or an actor. Gil Carrillo is a retired homicide detective. Felipe and Gil are different generations with a shared background, and both men recount the pivotal moments that set them on the right path. Even when the discussion gets into heavy territory, Felipe finds the humor and Gil is a generous participant. When Carrillo returned from Vietnam he started what would be a 38-year career in law enforcement. One case in particular is the focus of Felipe’s interview. Carrillo was the lead L.A. County Sheriff’s homicide detective assigned to the Night Stalker case. This home invasion murder spree had all of California locking their doors and windows at night from June 1984 until August 1985. The televised path of destruction was pure nightmare fuel. It had me afraid enough to sleep with a baseball bat every night.

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.

If you enjoyed this week’s podcasts as much as Flinn did, then please check out these related readings!

Mike Flinn

After a brief and unsuccessful attempt at a conventional education Mike Flinn started a band in his hometown of San Diego, CA. In 1998 he moved to the San Francisco Bay area and founded Back From Booze Hell zine. It was a collaborative effort dispensing equal doses of pop culture and prose, and made it's way into independent bookstores in the Bay Area, New York, and Los Angeles. Playing in bars and self publishing did not pay the bills. I held, I mean Flinn held many jobs during those years, most of them in warehouses. Like Bukowski without the talent. At some point Flinn walked off the job at Costco, breaking his mothers heart. Things get a little "hazy" around this time. He was an actor for a few years and then went back to songwriting and performing. Let's just skip ahead. When not playing with his iPhone or on a trip to Trader Joe's to pick up salads you'll find him watching live comedy in Los Angeles, recording podcasts, and writing.

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