In convincing my friend Jordan of the blog rumbleowl to listen to the Nerdist Podcast, I promised him a curated list of episodes to help introduce him to the podcast. It seemed like a waste to put in an entire half hour of effort and not publish it to the internet, so here it is, a sampling of my favorite Nerdist episodes.
During this episode, Tom Kenny and his band perform several songs from Spongebob Squarepants, driving the live crowd at Largo! nuts and causing me to bounce up and down as I sang along, cruising up the 405 Freeway as I looked for my first apartment in Los Angeles. It was this moment that made the podcast stand out as something special.
Sure, you could put Fred Willard, David Koechner, and Tom Kenny in a room with a band and have them sing a song from Spongebob, but would I have known about it, or listened to it? Probably not. This episode demonstrates the power of the podcast medium: to take something private and share it with the masses without diluting it’s intimacy.
Billy West recounts a story where he barfs during a voiceover session. Listen for that alone, though Chris proves his worth as a host by providing the easy, conversational atmosphere for guests to easily lay down these kinds of stories.
As the guys’ lives became busier and busier as the Nerdist empire grew under Chris’ feet, Matt started standup and became a professional writer, and Jonah began his odyssey of personal discovery, they decided to start recording episodes without guests, as the podcast was the only time they saw each other in the week.
At first they called them “Guestless,” but as I recall a listener later rechristened them “Hostfulls,” a more fitting title. The rapid rise of the podcast is probably due to early notable guests like Tom Lennon who provided name recognition, but the real-life chemistry of the three main hosts is the soul of the show.
(Then again, that was before late 2013/early 2014 podcasts started to reveal Chris and Jonah’s strained relationship. It seems to be patched up, but only time will tell.)
Chris had mentioned his father on many occasions, professional bowler Billy Hardwick, but decided to interview his father on a whim. The resulting episode was charming and delightful, a good listen due to the unexpected histories that Billy passes his son. But it wasn’t until Billy passed several months later that the episode became a memorial, and a good listen became a great listen.
Revel in the awkwardness as Chris repeatedly rips into Nerdtern and Cousin Oliver of the podcast, Kyle Clark, for being late even as the Wachowskis grow audibly uncomfortable and try to continue talking about Cloud Atlas. Then Chris tries to talk about trans issues with Lana, setting a high bar for awkwardness that won’t be broken until the Harrison Ford episode.
This unofficial two-parter of Hostfulls tell the story of Jonah Ray’s wedding to Deanna, the woman he met shortly before the podcast began. We experienced Jonah’s relationship with Deanna vicariously through the show, and when they finally walked down the aisle, it felt like our little man had finally grown up.
The wedding is the best kind of debacle, with Jonah clearing hurdles to get down the aisle and earn his happy ending. But where a sitcom wedding ends with the groom kissing his bride, we’re treated to the reception antics of friends and family drunk on the open bar, hitting it’s apex when Jonah’s aunt physically assaults Chris.
I. Love. Bruce Gutter.
(Bruce Gutter is a cocaine-dealing character of Jonah Ray’s, invented during this episode. It’s amazing. Just listen to it.)
with Ed. M, Ph.D Jackson Katz
Holy crap, I watched this video in college. It was the go to video in our library to write a quickie bullshit paper on social theory, enough that some professors had a “No Tough Guise” policy.