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!
Piper’s Pit with Roddy Piper (Comedian Bobcat Goldthwait part 1&2)
This episode begins with the crack of a snare drum that speeds up into a sizzle followed by ethereal bagpipes. The pipes are a war instrument. The pipes were with 15-year-old Roderick Toombs when he marched to the wrestling ring for the first time. “Every time I hear those bagpipes it makes me want to either make love or fight.” Guest Bobcat Goldthwait doesn’t wait for an introduction “I hope it’s fight.” The two met when Roddy Piper was new to recovery. Bobcat made sure that Piper got to meetings and was a friend to him at that difficult time. Piper’s Pit was originally a talk show segment during weekend broadcasts of WWF wrestling programs, and it was where some of the best pro wrestling feuds got their start. Andre the Giant challenged Hulk Hogan there. He was a great worker in the ring, but the pit was where Roddy really shined. He had mic skills. He could improvise dialogue and toy with his less talented co-stars. In 1984 I saw Roddy break Jimmy Snuka’s head over a coconut on TV. In 1985 I watched Bobcat Goldthwait play Zed McGlunk in Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment. Zed gave off a fragile psycho vibe and spoke in spaz attack meter. Zed was abnormal, I was 12. I was pro-Zed. If I could travel back in time and tell my young self that Zed from Police Academy 2 was going to be on Piper’s Pit in the future he might say “That’s rad, I guess” roll his eyes, and get back to playing Super Mario Bros and not doing his homework, that little shit. Piper and Goldthwait talk about the dangers of being a heel. Bobcat made an ill-timed remark about Michael Jordan when he was the opening act for Nirvana in the early 90’s. He had to be smuggled out of the arena with a towel over his head so that the angry crowd in Chicago could not give him a beating. Piper nearly incited riots during his career as one of wrestling’s most infamous villains. He often had to escape by hiding in the back of an ambulance after his matches. A few crazed wrestling fans even attacked him “I’ve been stabbed three times.” In 1994 Goldthwait brought lighter fluid to his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He managed to light the guest chair on fire. I’ve heard him tell the story before, but this time he gave some insight as to what it was really about. It wasn’t about Leno or headlines. Bobcat didn’t want to be just another TV personality. He knew that he had to be something more than the guy that tore other people down “…I think that fear made me implode.” “It was just a mean thing to do to a guy, it was really aggressive.” Part one of their talk covered Andy Kaufman, the similarities between wrestlers and comedians, and the new documentary that Bobcat is directing called Call Me Lucky. In part two Goldthwait’s previous films are explored. He blended political satire with dark humor for God Bless America (2011). “I like to say it’s a very, very violent movie about kindness.” Willow Creek (2013) is about a couple interested in Bigfoot lore. “It’s a scary Bigfoot movie.” World’s Greatest Dad (2009) starred Bobcat’s close friend the late Robin Williams. “That’s a movie about loneliness.”
Long Beach, Calif., comedian Olivia Grace was joined by her pal Rick Shapiro. Together they riffed their way into improvised sketch comedy, while weaving in and out of real issues. Olivia shares her feelings about Rick Shapiro the man. “Rick is the only person that can get me out of my own head.” They talk about the mind of a comedian. Shapiro shared a story about accepting small talk compliments in character, “only a comedian would do that.” I first became aware of Rick Shapiro when I saw him on the 2006 HBO sitcom Lucky Louie created by Louis C.K. Rick played Louie’s black sheep brother-in-law, Jerry. It must have been later in that same year when I saw him perform in Hollywood at the old Largo on Fairfax. He had speed metal chops and blurred the line between poetry, satire, and comedy. He roasted the LA crowd right to their face and burned the room down. I remember he was rocking the same 70’s flavored wardrobe from the TV show. In my altered state it was like watching Jackie Gleason jump onstage in his bus driver’s uniform and threaten to punch the crowd right in the kisser. Olivia calls her friend Rick one of the most talented, intense, and thought provoking comedians in the world, I agree. Rick’s book UNFILTERED is available on Amazon.
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.