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!
SUPEREGO (Episode 4:1 Neko Case)
I don’t know why it took me so long to find this show. I wasn’t ready for it. I just wasn’t there yet. Maybe I was stuck in a rut listening to one comedian trying to outwit another for an hour at a time as weeks and years rolled by. I was aware of Superego. I heard others talk about how brilliant it was so I tried it once when I was young, but I think I did it wrong. Time, circumstance, and the blessing of perspective brought me to the help I need. Dr. Matt Gourley, Dr. Jeremy Carter, Dr. Mark McConville, and Dr. Paul F. Tompkins comprise this team of virtual healthcare professionals prescribing theater of the mind. The doctors, along with specially selected guests, perform improvised sketches in the name of analytic science. You didn’t need more reasons to love singer songwriter Neko Case, but here she is playing herself in a comedic role opposite the country/western sensuality of Shunt McGuppin. This recording session for a duets album gets racy right quick when Shunt sings “With your youthful bosom heaving up against me, I feel like Sylvester Stallone.” Neko only fans the flames of desire with Red Roses and White Wine “Red Roses and White Wine, gonna have me a real adult time.” Next up Dr. Paul F. Tompkins brings us to the Pamela Mills portrait studio. Aunt Lourdes and the kids are the subject of this portrait in American mall photography, causing me to have a flashback. I used to hate being dragged into that den of false landscape backdrops and fun-looking props that no one would let me play with. Leaning up against a plastic fence or sitting on a fake tree stump under the hot lights refusing to smile because I knew some divorce attorney’s kid was wearing the braces I needed. “Did you know that you make a noise when you smile? Yeah you make like a sorta haunted house noise.” Yes, I think it’s working now, I did it right this time. Superego first launched in 2006. This year Paul F. Tompkins became an official member replacing Jeff Crocker. I was a regular listener of The Pod F. Tompkast. When a new episode of the monthly podcast would appear on my phone I would feel a genuine flicker of joy as I knew I had an hour ahead of me listening to the many celebrity caricatures voiced by Tompkins. The Tompkast is over but Paul also stars as H.G. Wells on the Dead Authors podcast and is a featured player on the old time radio performance podcast The Thrilling Adventure Hour. On Saturday, Sept. 27, Superego will be performing live at the third annual Los Angeles Podcast Festival. Their show starts at noon and I’ll be there all excited but barely awake like its Christmas morning. Better late than never, I have accepted the well crafted podcast-ery of Superego into my life. Let the healing begin.
ROAD STORIES with MURRAY VALERIANO (Jeff Schimmel)
Road Stories is a weekly podcast featuring traveling comedians with sometimes fantastical tales of misadventure. Television writer Jeff Schimmel has some great stories about working in Hollywood. His first TV gig was Full House. He wrote for In Living Color, Mind of Mencia, and even worked for Rodney Dangerfield when he was starting out. He played a lot of poker back in the day and the movie Rounders starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton is the story of his life. In 1995, he was working in features and pitched his story to some executives who shot him down. Someone ripped off his idea and he hated the film. Jeff is the younger brother of Robert Schimmel, a stand-up comedy legend best known for his albums and frequent appearances on HBO. The Schimmel brothers were close. They could finish each other’s sentences but they also had monumental battles. Jeff would travel with Bob sometimes as he toured the country performing. I got to know the real comedy and tragedy of Robert Schimmel’s life and times from his several appearances on The Howard Stern Show. In 1978 Robert started performing stand-up and found himself in a class of young comics that would go on to have huge careers. Paul Reiser, Kevin Nealon, Paul Rodriguez, and Keenen Ivory Wayans were among them. A club owner once made the mistake of telling Robert Schimmel that he had to work clean. The set opened with “So I’m fucking the Pope in the ass…” His act was both famously filthy and brilliantly funny. Murray got to work with Robert during his last few years and remembers him as a kind man with a big heart. Four years ago this month, Bob died in a car accident in Arizona, he was 60 years old. It was a sudden and unexpected ending for sure. Bob had been struggling with poor health for a long time. Jeff found out after his brother’s passing that when Bob was sick with cancer he would buy comedy CDs and CD players for patients in treatment at hospitals that he would visit while on the road. Jeff is working on a new book that pays tribute to his brother called “Leave ‘em Laughing.”
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.