We stopped doing our podcast.
For a little while I had a weekly thing with my friend Alex, called “The A/A Meeting,” that we would put on iTunes, and despite doing it for almost a year, we never got beyond 30 listeners an episode. We got the message.
I had the idea of doing a podcast because in my first year in New York I was not very active. I hadn’t really broken into the scene yet and wasn’t getting any bookings, and since I had moved to NYC with the idea of creating this important comedy career, I wanted to feel like I was doing something. Since podcasting is such a DIY affair, I decided, “Hey, I could do one and create an internet fandom!” I had just started hanging out with Alex at that point, and we had a kind of comic chemistry where our conversations were naturally funny. I thought, hey, if I get this guy to be my podcast partner, I have an excuse to hang out with him every week, and if we invite other comedians, I would get to know all of these people I’ve never talked to before.
In short, I was confused and scared, and the podcast was an excuse to make friends.
Like most things, at the beginning, we were super-motivated. I would pick out topics to talk about and Alex and I were writing sketches for us to record every week, thinking we could make a sort of audio portfolio to show to agents and producers. Then, after a while, we decided that was too much work and relied simply on interviewing other comedians. That, for a while, was cool, but then I got too side-tracked into trying to be a “good interviewer” that I would try and ask intense, liberal-arts questions that just didn’t fit the situation. When you’re talking to another open-mike-er, they don’t have a lot of experiences that will yield the gut-wrenching, heart-breaking answers you’re looking for.
Then there were times I would try to get my guests to talk about shit they simply weren’t interested in talking about. I cop to tanking the Brian Jian episode because I so wanted to get a harrowing account of the Asian-American experience, when he just wanted to talk about what kind of comedy he liked without having to make it racial.
We did have some GREAT episodes, though, with guests that we really didn’t deserve: people like Erik Bergstrom, Josh Gondelman, Sean Patton, and my professor Norman Steinberg. When I wasn’t trying to be Ira Glass or Marc Maron, we had some really fun romps with friends like Reid Faylor and Brandon Beck. Nick Naney and Brett Ossinoff said the N-word a bunch of times to make me uncomfortable, to the point that they would punish any bad puns I made by saying it. Even some of the very last episodes we recorded I enjoyed, like when I got disturbingly into talking about sex with Katherine Williams and made Alex uncomfortable. We definitely recorded some moments that I feel proud of.
After a while, though, a lot of people started to get podcasts. Other comedians, and even non-comedians who were just doing it as a hobby. As a result, I started to feel ashamed of doing one. I always frown upon people who think they are SOOO interesting when they have nothing to say, but seeing how many other people were starting up podcasts made me reflect on myself and think “Wow, is that ME? Am I just part of this wave of ‘me, too’ band-wagoners?”
There was also the aspect of so many podcasts being “two or three guys just talking.” That what we were doing, and we weren’t bringing anything new to the table, ESPECIALLY after we stopped doing skits. We weren’t trying to give our unique perspective, but were just doing it for the sake of saying we were doing it. We DIDN’T have anything to say anymore.
Then something else happened: I started to get somewhere in stand-up. I started getting booked on shows. I became a better comedian. I started making friends and networking connections. Somehow the podcast started feeling superfluous. Then Alex got too busy to edit the episodes in a timely fashion because his life sort of blew up with shit, and we both realized it wasn’t our top priority anymore.
Now we’re gonna focus on just being good comedians, since we realized A) we’re not yet famous enough for anybody to give a shit about our podcast, B) we don’t need a podcast to justify feeling like real comedians. I AM glad to have 45 hours of recorded comedy content to our names, but I think it’s time we move on and try and mature a little more before we try it again, if ever.
But if you want me to be on YOUR podcast, I’ll gladly do it!
P.S. A moment of silence for the three lost episodes of the A/A Meeting:
1. Alex, and Reid, and I in a car driving up to Dartmouth last May.
2. Deepu Gil and Hormoz Rashidi
3. Two editors from Marvel Comics that was really great but I had to take down because their office nixed it.