My Pod Week: Week ending 7/6/14

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!

(#82 Kotter Talk)

Brian Posehn has been playing Dungeons & Dragons with the same group of friends for a decade now and if you listen to his podcast you’ll know why. Blaine Capatch, Ken Daly, Sarah Guzzardo, and Gerry Duggan roll the dice and tour around the realm with Posehn every week. I’ve never played D&D myself and was unsure if I could get into this podcast, but I’m glad that I gave it a chance because I found the adventure in the game exciting while the non-game-related conversations kept me laughing. Capatch calls the action as Dungeon Master. The “DM” creates the challenges while keeping a realistic continuity of events during play. “So you’re sorta off in the corner I guess and you see a skeleton sort of walk by..” thief Sarah rolls a 16 and does double damage with a backstab reducing that skeleton to a pile of bones. Capatch drops a Welcome Back, Kotter reference mid-game and I could picture the group decked out in Ye Olde Costumes with swords and armor casually reminiscing about 70’s TV while hordes of goblins and giants sprinted toward them. The series marked the birth of pilot John Travolta’s acting career and combined with Sesame Street was my first impression of a far away land called New York. Gabe Kaplan played Gabe Kotter, a teacher who returns to his high school alma mater to work with a bunch of remedial stereotypes know as “The Sweathogs.” The show ran from 1975-1979 on ABC and I have a foggy memory of my dad trying to explain to me how Gabe Kaplan was an actor and Gabe Kotter was a character. He turned out to be wrong. If you put Gabe’s acting career next to his poker career it’s obvious that he was a poker player pretending to be an actor, pretending to be a teacher. And now the group is back in game play. They seem to have stumbled upon a skeleton wedding or something but get sidetracked by kids’ fashion for adults and the magical world of potty training.


Comedian Dean Edwards is excited about the Star Wars saga continuing and I’m with him on this. “Star Wars helped make and shape my entire adolescence,” Dean remembers the original TV commercials in 1977 and the shock of seeing the best special effects available at the time. Dean and his brother were so crazy for the action figures that they lifted about 40 of them from a Toys”R”Us. Edwards parodies Obi-Wan Kenobi and R2-D2 and is glad that the original cast is returning for the new film. Sir Alec Guinness became one with the Force back in 2000, but 79-year-old Kenny Baker is still with us and hopefully willing to climb back into that little white-and-blue trash can again even though today’s technology makes it totally unnecessary. Edwards doesn’t want any new actors taking over the original roles and at the 1:01:30 mark goes into the old (Sebastian Shaw) versus new (Hayden Christensen) ghost of Anakin Skywalker argument brought about by the 2004 digital restoration release of the original trilogy. Darth Vader and Bugs Bunny were Dean’s first impressions and he grew up to do Michael Jackson, Wayne Brady, Chris Tucker, Don Cheadle, Colin Powell, Serena Williams, Nipsey Russell, Grace Jones, Randy Jackson, Redman, Denzel Washington, and Billy Ocean as a cast member of Saturday Night Live (2001-2003). Dean even becomes Sylvester Stallone during a brief detour into the Rocky films. This Star Wars episode was fun to listen to and I can’t wait for the J.J. Abrams-directed films to hit theaters so I can hear Dean talk about them.

REAL LIFE SCI-FI with WADE & WILLY (#2 – Chemtrails with Kelsy Abbott)

Chemtrails are believed by some to be chemical trails left in the sky deliberately by aircraft for evil purposes undisclosed to the general population. Episode two of Real Life Sci-Fi examines the facts and the fiction behind this possible conspiracy. Wade Randolph, Willy Roberts and guest Kelsy Abbott are all alumni of Channel 101, a monthly short film festival in Los Angeles created by writer Dan Harmon and director Rob Schrab. Notable participants include Jack Black, Joel McHale, Aziz Ansari, Sarah Silverman, Bob Odenkirk, John Oliver, and even Flavor Flav. Early in this episode we get a brief explanation of contrails as a point of reference for the chemtrails vs. contrails debate. Contrails are long thin artificial clouds or vapor trails that sometimes form behind aircraft. These are from the water vapor in the exhaust of aircraft engines, but can also be formed by changes in air pressure and a few other meteorological factors (at least as far as I can understand after a quick Google search). I never believed in this particular conspiracy but I find the topic interesting, and after hearing the dissection of the theory, I’m seeing chemtrails everywhere. What I love most about this podcast is that it never breaks down into a shouting match or anything close to hostility. These guys are friends and it’s a real discussion with lots of questions and intelligent exploration. *As I write this a small jet flies over me on 3rd Street in Hollywood with no visible trails, chem or con. Well, myth debunked. I can’t wait for another episode of this show to supplement my Tumblr addiction to strange history, cryptozoology, and paranormal events.

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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.

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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