My Pod Week: Week ending 11/23/14

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!

I WAS THERE TOO (Aliens with Ricco Ross)

1986 was a great year for movies. Top Gun, The Fly, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Crocodile Dundee, Pretty In Pink, Back To School, and Howard The Duck (my mom made us leave the theater at the first sight of duck tits and I’m still bitter about it). Sci-Fi heavyweights Star Trek VI: The Voyage Home and Aliens both raked in well over 100 million dollars each, but only one of these films holds up and is enjoyable today. One movie had Shatner’s rug and rubber Spock ears, and the other movie had facehuggers orally impregnating people. One movie took place in 1980’s San Francisco and whales got saved or something, and in the other movie an alien with a little mouth inside its main mouth spits fuck’n acid man! Actor Ricco Ross played Colonial Marine Private Robert Frost in Aliens. His conversation with host Matt Gourley is a fascinating look behind the scenes of this dark masterpiece. “I really think it’s up there with Godfather 2 and The Empire Strikes Back as one of the best sequels ever made.” As a film lover Ross agrees with the high praise for Aliens doing what so many others have failed at. Ricco came from a big family with a low income in Chicago. He made it to UCLA and went on to study Shakespeare in London when Hollywood offered him very “limited” roles. “I couldn’t get anything but playing angry young men.” When asked what it was like to work with James Cameron, Ross described the director as “preoccupied.” An understandable description given Cameron found himself over budget and answering to producer Gale Anne Hurd, who also happened to be his wife at the time. Ricco turned down a role in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket to work with Cameron on Aliens. Kubrick would not let Ross read the script before committing to his project. James Cameron let Ross read the script and gave his Private Frost character some of the most comedic lines in the movie. Hicks: “Looks like the new lieutenant’s too good to eat with the rest of us grunts.” Frost: “Boy’s definitely got a corncob up his ass.” I’m looking forward to more of this interesting new podcast from Matt Gourley.

BIZARRE STATES (#11: Barbara Crampton)

Human skulls and several books on Satan and witchcraft were found in a Connecticut dump. This is how the episode began! Workers thought that they were caught in a prank, but experts confirm that the pair of skulls were indeed real. Jessica Chobot and Andrew Bowser host hauntings, urban myths, unsolved murders, and general oddities on this podcast for seekers of spooky mystery tales. I’m glad that I’ve found the audio equivalent of all the strange shit that I read on Tumblr. Andrew described the Jim Jarmusch movie Only Lovers Left, about vampires and love among immortals. When Andrew worked in TV he found himself cutting together footage of “real life vampires” at one point for a possible reality show project. He found most of the applicants somewhat underwhelming like the “psychic vampire…that worked at Applebee’s during the day and DJ’d at shitty clubs at night.” This splendid douche specimen fed off of psychic energy. Others actually drank human blood procured from Craig’s List “and then he would just drink it from like a Buzz Lightyear tumbler, in his kitchen, in his studio apartment.” Nice. Actress Barbara Crampton was the guest on this episode. Barbara has had an impressive career on camera and is well known for her work on daytime dramas like The Bold and the Beautiful, Guiding Light, and The Young And The Restless. Barbara and Andrew talked about her role in the 1985 horror classic Re-Animator. The film was loosely based on the H. P. Lovecraft episodic novella Herbert West–Reanimator from the 1920s. Andrew recently met a big influence of his, Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon. Barbara also worked with Gordon on From Beyond (1986) and Castle Freak (1995) which she describes as a real human story about loss and fear. “I don’t think he’s ever repeated himself.” Barbara shared what her life on set was like for these now cult classics. She painted a picture of smoke machines, late nights, and nude extras in zombie makeup. Barbara also had a lot to say about the process and approach to her work as an actress. Horror was not her focus when she started out, but after the success of Re-Animator roles in the horror genre kept coming her way. “Filming a horror movie is a lot of 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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