Fri, 26 September 2014
Time for another Succotash "halfisode", one of those short, off-the-cuff, podcast installments that I spew into my digital recorder while plying the "Kessel Run". (That's my nickname for the 5+ hour jaunt on Interstate 5 between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The occasion is the 3rd Annual Los Angeles Podcast Festival, taking place this Friday through Sunday, Sept. 26-28. Haven't missed one yet. I'm writing this accompanying blog on Friday morning, after successfully navigating my way to Big Smoggy.
I took a half-day off of work so that I could make the drive in plenty of time to not only make the Podfest but also to drop in on the Chillpak Hollywood Hour "partycast" that was going on at the Bottle Rock in downtown LA last night. Which I did, as evidenced by my photo of hosts Phil Leirness and Dean Hagland that appears below.
During this particular halfisode, I finally give out with some details on the upcoming format changes in store for future episodes of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast. My idea - in an attempt to move to a more easily consumable format - is to split the show up a bit. By that, I mean that each episode will be either primarily comedy podcast clips or an interview. And you'll be able to tell which is which by the title, because the former will be under the banner of Succotash Clips, while the latter will be called Succotash Chats.
The reasons for making this move in "Season 2" of the show - these changes will transpire beginning with Epi101 - are several. One is that episodes are getting very long. Lately our shows have been coming in at between 90 and 120 minutes. So they're getting increasingly more difficult to produce and taking more and more time. Another reason is that I's like to make a bit more of a consistent product, by aiming for 30 minute shows for the Clips editions, and no more than an hour for the Chats versions.
As I mention in this epi, no one ever says much about the show's format as it is but, if you either support or object to the planned changes, feel free to reach out and let me know. You can call the Succotash Hotline, at (818) 921-7212. Or email me at marc@SuccotashShow.com. Or just tweet your comments to @SuccotashShow.
Also during this episode, we had a surprise guest drop in via cell phone! Out of the blue, friend of the show Rick Overton, brilliant comedian and the host of podcasting's Overview, happened to call while I was recording. So I just left the call in.
BTW, the quality of the show is a bit sketchy. Recording in Studio F while it's moving is always a little difficult. I filtered a lot of the road noise out but it's still a less-than-optimum production. Still, it's only about 20 minutes long, so you can certainly muddle through that much. I did.
If you're going to be the LA Podfest this weekend, you can track me down in the Podcast Lab or you can also message or call me through the Succotash Hotline number (see above) - I'll have it on live this weekend rather than voicemail.
Thanks for passing the Succotash!
— Marc Hershon
Sun, 21 September 2014
Just four more shows after this one and we hit Epi100, the last show of the first season of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast.
Seasons in podcasting seem a little silly to me, so I figured after almost 3 years and 100 ‘sodes, we’ll make THAT the end of season one. (I’m still trying to figure out if I have it together enough to do a live show somewhere for the 100th episode. Don’t know. We’ll see…
I’ve also been talking with our Associate Producer Tyson Saner– or messaging him, more precisely, about a couple of format changes that Succotash is in for in the second season of the show. I’ll tell you more about that soon. Nothing major in terms of what you hear, just going to tighten up the struts on this rust heap a little bit and see if we can’t keep it flying a little longer.
We only have a few comedy podcast clips to share with you this episode because the main attraction is my interview with comic–magician The Amazing Johnathan. He recently announced his retirement from performing live on stage and we find out during the interview.
I had heard Johnathan on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast – a great interview, by the way. If you didn’t hear it, think about tracking it down over at WTFpod.com. But because I’ve known Johnathan for years, I figured it might be neat to get him on here to chat and we’d no doubt find some other things to talk about. Which we did…
He's had an interesting career, starting out trying to do stage magic in Michigan, then street magic in San Francisco, before finding his unique "punk magician" spin on an act that has always been more about the laughs than the magic. Johnathan talks about those early days on the street - competing for sidewalk space with the likes of Harry Anderson and A. Whitney Brown. We also find out how a bet he made with a friend ended up keeping off Late Night with David Letterman for years after he made his debut.
And once upon a time I was the head writer on a short-lived game show called Ruckus for Merv Griffin. Johnathan was the host and we talk about some of that craziness, too.
We talk at length about Ruckus, actually and one of the things we bring up - in fact, something I did in this particular segment Johnathan uses to kick off and close our chat - was a gag called The Ultimate Blindfold. I came on stage as a"stooge", pretending to be a member of the theater audience, which was where we pulled our contestants from for each episode. That bit lives in perpetuity on YouTube, so I figured I'd slug it in the blog here…
The 10 Most Active Shows on Stitcher's Top 100 Comedy Podcast List
Nowhere else in Podcastland are you likely to hear a list featuring the 10 most active shows on any list. But we have it for you here! These are the shows that moved up OR down the most in the past week on Stitcher’s Top 100 Comedy Podcast List. (Some weeks we get big, massive swings in the numbers. Some weeks, not so much. Mostly single digit moves this week with a couple of exceptions.)
As much as I kind of get a kick out of this feature, we may need to trim some fat if we move to a shorter show in a few episodes so this could be on the chopping block. Do YOU like the 10 Most Active? Enough to keep it in the show? Call into the Succotash Hotline – (818) 921-7212 – and let me know.
Other Stuff In This Episode
We have a fresh Burst O' Durst with our resident crankpot, comedian and social commentator Will Durst, who's talking about the new iPhone 6. This episode is sponsored by Henderson's Peer Sucker Pants. And we've got a few things to talk about in the Tweetsack.
Greg Proops’ Film Club
P.F.’s Tape Recorder
The Geek Generation
Hitting The Road
I'll be on the road later this week, heading to Los Angeles and the 3rd Annual Los Angeles Podcast Festival. (This year, BTW, for the first time they're offering a "virtual ticket" to the PodFest - for $25, you get to watch their "livestream" of the entire event online.)
I'll kick off my Southland visit by dropping into the big "partycast" being thrown by Chillpak Hollywood Hour hosts Dean Haglund and Phil Leirness Thursday night. So I may toss a Succotash "halfisode" up online between now and Epi96.
Thanks for passing the Succotash!
— Marc Hershon
Sun, 14 September 2014
Welcome to Epi94 of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast. This is the podcast where we feature clips of other comedy podcasts to help you to try and sort through the, literally, thousands of comedy podcasts you could be listening to when you fancy a comedy podcast or two.
Since I’m always skimming the podwaves, listening to what’s out there (I also review podcasts as part of This Week in Comedy Podcasts for Splitsider.com and on the Huffington Post as well – I know a number of podcasts have taken time out to mention the tragic death of Robin Williams in the past month. Joan Rivers, too. But Robin in particular seemed to touch a nerve across the board with his passing. I spoke about it a bit last episode.
I knew Robin some, having grown up in the same area – Marin County – as well as going to the same high school and junior college just a few years behind him. And I had the opportunity to do improv with him on stage a number of times as well as just hangout with him from time to time. So I’ve had my say, really. (Although, if you’d like to see something I’ve written on it, I have a remembrance of Robin and his connection to Marin County that's up on the blog for Marin Magazine here.)
Our associate producer Tyson Saner came up with a great idea and that is to give you a smattering of what some of the other podcasters have been saying about Robin. I said, “Go for it!” and he went out into Podcastland and clipped an even dozen different shows and that’s what our show this episode is going to be about. Tyson asked if I would relax our usual policy of playing only three to five minute long clips. I thought that was an appropriate request, given the nature of what we’re doing here. So some of these are pretty long. Hope you don’t mind (and I hope the hosts of the shows we’re playing these from don’t mind us taking a bit more of a liberty that usual…)
I know theres been a lot of about Robin's life – and his death – since his tragic suicide a month or so ago on August 11th. Maybe you’re tired of hearing about it. I can understand that, but he was a personal acquaintance of mine and a great friend to San Francisco comedy, not to mention a global icon. But if this sort of tribute is too heavy or not you cup of tea, I get it. Feel free to give this episode a pass if you want, but you’re going to miss some great words spoken about a comedian, actor, father, husband and friend who was truly beloved.
Also In This Episode
We still have our usual roundup of the stuff we like doing, like our Burst O’ Durst segment with comedian & social lampooner Will Durst (It's actually a double dose o' Durst this episode!), a classic Henderson’s Pants commercial, our Tweetsack segment, and an extra big clip mention/clip/message from the Chillpak Hollywood Hour with Dean Haglund and Phil Leirness. Plus our exclusive feature that we like to call…
The 10 Most Active Shows In Stitcher's Top 100 Comedy Podcast List
We're not satisfied just to look at the top 10 shows on the list of Top 100 comedy podcasts over at Stitcher - mostly because those rarely change. Instead, we like checking out the shows that are moving the most up OR down the charts. Here's how they looked this past week…
Latest Podcast Reviews
This past week on Splitsider.com, as part of This Week In Comedy Podcasts, I reviewed The Louie Anderson Podcast Epi5, "Robin Williams: A Friend and Legend Remembered", which was chock full of comedians' remembrances of Robin. That same review appears on the Huffington Post.
World Premiere of 3 Still Standing
The documentary film that I've been mentioning on Succotash, entitled 3 Still Standing, is about to make its debut in the fairly prestigious Mill Valley Film Festival! I did a bit of bheind the scenes work, some consulting and even some on camera stuff for this movie, which take a look at the San Francisco comedy scene, from the early 1980s through present day. It does by examining the lives and careers of a trio of working comedians: Our own Will Durst, past guest Larry "Bubbles" Brown, and Johnny Steele.
The movie's premiere is set for Saturday, October 4th, 5 PM, at the Sequoia Theater in downtown Mill Valley, California. Then, at 8 PM, just down the street at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre, I will be hosting the 3 Still Standing Live On Stage comedy show with the three comics, the film's directors and producers, and more. If you're interested in tickets, hop on over to the film festival's online box office at http://MVFF.com
The Christopher Titus Podcast
The Evil Teddy Bear Podcast
The Nick Di Paolo Podcast
About Last Night
The Smartest Man In The World
The Chong & Chong Show
This Week with Larry Miller
Stuck In The 80s
The Todd Glass Show
Thanks to all the hosts and guest of the podcasts we clipped this episode to make this special Rememberin' Robin episode happen. Our next episode we'll be back with an interview with The Amazing Johnathan, as well as clips from more comedy podcasts from around the internet!
Until, then, please remember to pass the Succotash!
— Marc Hershon
Mon, 1 September 2014
Yes, it’s me, your old – or, perhaps, new – friend, Marc Hershon and I'm your concierge for Epi93 of Succotash, the Comedy Podcast Podcast. First off, let me apologize for the delay in bringing you this episode of the podcast.
I have been swamped with both my regular job, which is a full-time, in-the-office, meeting-with-clients, boss-to-answer-to kind of thing, and I have also been doing some writing in my off hours, which is more fun but less profitable. (Several articles coming out for Marin Magazine, the first one in the September issue!) And I’m helping a buddy work on a screenplay long distance, which involves a lot of emails, phone calls and pecking away on a file we keep sending back and forth to each other.
Back to Succotash. Normally we feature a generous helping of clips from comedy podcasts from around the internet. I’m still sort of coming out of “recovery mode” from the tragic suicide of Robin Williams, so the next couple of episodes are going to be a little different than the usual fare.
Although SOME of the usual fare will be in here, too. I do have several clips that have been harvested by our associate producer Tyson Saner. And we’ve got a double dose o’ Durst with TWO Bursts O’ Durst with comedian/social commentator Will Durst, the 10 Most Active Shows in Stitcher’s Top 100 Comedy Podcast List, and a brand new Henderson’s Pants commercial.
I’m going to talk a little bit about Robin in this episode mainly because, in my interview with this epi’s special guest, W. Kamau Bell, he and I talk about it toward the end of our time together. I interviewed Kamau a couple of weeks ago and we had only gotten the news a few days earlier so we kind of had to talk about it.
Kamau has recently moved back to the Bay Area after being in New York to work on his Totally Biased TV show for FX and, fatally, for FXX. We chat about how he got that amazing opportunity via Chris Rock, as well as what some of his future plans may be now that the show is done. (Incidentally, if you’re in the Bay Area, particularly Marin County, Kamau is going to be doing his latest one man show, Oh, Everything, at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre on September 11th. Yep, 9/11. 8 PM. He's got a bunch of other dates and locations as well, including San Francisco, Sacramento and more. Click on his show title to take you to the show site where you can get tickets and more information.)
I had cast Kamau in the pilot episode for a web series called SpamBUSTERS! that ended up not happening, along with Dana Eagle and Shane Elliott. Kamau and I discuss the project during our interview but here, for the first time, YOU get to see the rough cut of this "lost" pilot episode.
I am planning a special Robin tribute episode, which is likely to be entirely clip-based. Tyson is working hard to round up as many clips as he can find where the podcasters mention and reflect on Robin and who he way, as well as what he meant and brought to people. Related to that, I was texting with our friend, Phil Leirness, co-host of the Chillpak Hollywood Hour, just two days after it happened and he asked me how I was feeling. I told him “Stunned.” He responded on their show this week much as he did to me in text form and I have included that response in this episode.
I first saw Robin perform in a little club in Sausalito, just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, in 1978. He was a few years ahead of me at the same high school and at the same junior college before he headed off to Julliard. But I never crossed paths with him then. But after I saw him perform the first time, I started hanging out in the comedy scene in San Francisco in the late 70’s and early 80’s and we’d see each every so often. We occasionally even ended up sharing a stage and doing improv together from time to time and he was a fairly regular fixture in my comedy life during the past 30 years.
When he was hanging out back in Marin County again after his CBS TV show got cancelled, he was down. Depressed, I guess. But not dour or morose. At the most, you might suspect he’d start drinking again. Or using coke or some other drugs that he used to be into. But no one that I know that knew him figured on him ending it all.
So “stunned”, at least for me, was a viable reaction to carry me through the first week and a half without him being around. Then grief starts to creep in, and sadness, and that horrible, horrible knowledge that I’ll never see him hanging around the scene any more. He’ll never be a surprise who you didn’t even know was in town but somehow found out we were doing improv at some shithole bar somewhere and there he was, bounding up on stage out of the darkness and already in character to help move the scene ahead.
But enough of that for now.
We deal, as we do, when one of our own has gotten lost and wanders away. And we hope that others around us will take it as a cue to perhaps say something if they can shake the grip of that demon they’re wrestling with long enough to ask for some help.
The 10 Most Active Shows In Stitcher's Top 100 Comedy Podcast List
The numbers in the Top 100 Comedy Podcast list on Stitcher have settled down a bit from my last report, but it seems like the Top 10 is finally getting pierced and it’s good to see some action at the top.
Since we’re not playing a ton of clips this episode, if you’re looking to sample some new meat, hop over to http://Stitcher.com, dip into the Comedy Top 100 list and find something new to put in your ears.
This past week I reviewed Mohr Stories with Jay Mohr and his guest Adam Ferrara for both Splitsider.com and also Huffington Post. I got a nice thank you tweet from Adam for the review. Never expect those sorts of things when I put something out there, but it’s nice when it happens. As part of those reviews, I also listened to Men In Blazers welcome back the Premier League, and We Have Concerns: Immortality Transfusion
The Funny Looking Podcast
Angry Beards Podcast
This epi clocks in at an hour and forty-five minutes. Some people think these Succotash episodes are getting too long. I prefer to think of us as the podcast that keeps giving.
You can remember to give, too, by visiting our Succotash site and either using our Amazon banner every time you want to go shopping in the world’s largest everything store, OR clicking on our Donate button and pitching us some pennines that way, OR click on through from our homesite to our Succotashery to buy some merch. Easy peasy, Succotash squeezy.
Now get out there and pass the Succotash!
— Marc Hershon