My Pod Week: Week ending 11/16/14

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!

CRYBABIES with Sarah Thyre and Susan Orlean (2 Lizz Winstead)

This new podcast is a “journey into emotion” from Sarah Thyre and Susan Orlean. This celebration of emotional release covers books, paintings, movies, music, and television shows that bring on the water works. Crying once in a while is good for us, but if you are worried about how you look after the fact our hosts suggest the anti inflammatory power of Advil. If the red and puffy eyes persist try a cold compress or even some Preparation H. Sarah knows a few on-camera personalities that swear by the leader in hemorrhoid treatment. “In every makeup artist’s bag there is some Prep H.” Susan would like to try this out for herself and is open to sponsorship possibilities. The cry of the week segment featured triumphant weeping from Sarah as she roller skated to Katy Perry music with her family in Texas. Anthems of empowerment can unexpectedly evoke emotion. Susan once spent time with a traveling gospel group in the name of embedded journalism, and their songs of praise had her screaming “Jesus!” even though she has no connection to the Christian Church. Her story gave me a flashback to my childhood born again brainwashing that made me want to cry for less than inspirational reasons. Comedian and activist Lizz Winstead joined in on the crying conversation. A native of Minnesota, Lizz was starting out in comedy while The Replacements were burning down drinks and boozing up stages around Minneapolis. Comedians, writers, and bands hung out and worked day jobs together. “…We weren’t hanging out with Prince, that was a whole other thing.” Lizz loves the song Unsatisfied from the 1984 album Let It Be. “From the second it starts you know some shit’s going down…” The critically acclaimed yet commercially undercompensated 80’s rockers have more than a few songs that one can drink and cry with, so I’m told. The Classic Cry segment from this episode will break down even hardened dry-eyed cynics like myself. Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech was examined. 75 years ago Gehrig said goodbye to baseball and expressed gratitude to his family, fans, teammates, opponents, groundskeepers, even the stadium ushers. His amazing career was over at age 36 and he knew that he had a very short amount of time left to live. Unfortunately only a few sentences from the speech have survived, but the example of strength and grace shown by Gehrig on that day will be remembered always. Tune in, tear up, crying is for everyone.

POP MY CULTURE (PMC 164: Mindy Cohn)

Cole Stratton and Vanessa Ragland talked with actress Mindy Cohn about Renee Zellweger’s new eyes, the classic rock time warp, and dead megastore chains. Cole, Vanessa, and Mindy are all for slowing down the information superhighway for a second. Cell phone free days are a part of Mindy’s routine. Cole is sick of the clickbait and creepy lists that make up the relentless brain rotting tsunami of digital content that seems impossible to avoid. Mindy played Natalie Green on The Facts Of Life from 1979-1988. Norman Lear and Charlotte Rae discovered Cohn when they did research at her Bel Air school. She describes her discovery as “serendipitous.” The show even did a few episodes abroad. “I have such amazing memories of our time, we had a month and a half in Paris, and a month and a half in Sydney.” The Facts Of Life was a regular part of my childhood and Mindy was an original cast member. Sure, I only had five channels to choose from and one of them was in Spanish, but the boarding school abandonment premise echoed off of the divorce cycle that I lived in. Did I write a fan letter to Lisa Whelchel, the actress that played Blair? Yes. Yes, I did. I remember the first couple of seasons they had like 13 girls and then one day it was down to four, as if Tootie, Blair, Joe, and Natalie had won some kind of Hunger Games tournament for a private school education. Their east coast privilege had the same enigmatic qualities for me as B.J. and the Bear or Good Times. I had no idea what the life of a long haul trucker with a chimpanzee co-pilot was like, or how hard it was for Florida Evans to raise her kids in an inner-city Chicago housing project after her husband James died in that car accident. The Facts Of Life never jumped the shark for me. At some point a candy store got attached to the front of their house/school, a not yet famous George Clooney showed up, and Blair’s cousin Geri became a stand out comedic force. Mindy was a great guest on this episode and I hope that her familiar voice does more podcasting soon. Cole and Vanessa are skilled hosts that make pop culture mockery fun.

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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