Nate Bargatze’s first hour-long special, “Full Time Magic,” debuts this Saturday night at Midnight/11 Central on Comedy Central. We talked about how he put together material for the special, what fans can expect when they tune in, and why he feels this might be the worst time and date to debut a comedy special ever (SPOILER ALERT: something to do with some kind of boxing match-type thing taking place that same night.)Follow @bigwakeupcall
We got a great response to our last “Written Radio: The Official Transcripts of The Big Wakeup Call” feature, so we’re back with another segment for those of you who’d rather read my interviews than have to listen to me conduct them. This time our guest is the very funny Ben Gleib, standup comic and host of “Idiotest” on Game Show Network. Again, feel free to add your own inflections and enjoy!
Ben Gleib : The Big Wakeup Call Interview
Ryan Gatenby: You know our next guest from his previous appearance on this program, as well as from his show “Idiotest,” which is back for a new season Wednesday nights at 7 Central on Game Show Network. It’s Ben Gleib! Hi, Ben!
Ben Gleib: What’s going on, Ryan? Good to talk to you again.
Ryan Gatenby: I’m glad you agreed to come back on the show, Ben. I assume this means we’re now like totally best friends.
Ben Gleib: It does. They didn’t make me do it. In fact, they said “Look, you don’t have to talk to Ryan again.” I said, “I will talk to Ryan again. I must.”
Ryan Gatenby: Well, thank you, I appreciate that. So you’re back with new episodes of Idiotest. Have you guys made any radical changes to the gameplay or the set or your outfits? What are we going to see for season two?
Ben Gleib: Look, everything is changing! I mean, we have back the elements people love — we have great visual brain puzzles again, and I’m still pretty snarky with these contestants and put them in their place when they come in cocky and feel like they’re better than my game —
Ryan Gatenby: (Laughs) Nice!
Ben Gleib: But we’ve amped things up. The contestants are more interesting, and they’re better looking contestants — that was key for me to make sure we did season two. For season one, we had one touch screen in the middle of the set, and now we have two touch screens for our second season. If we get a third season, I’m hoping for three touch screens. That would be ideal.
Ryan Gatenby: (Laughs) Perfect!
Ben Gleib: And I’m wearing weirder clothes. Sometimes I don’t wear a tie and I button my shirt up to the top like I’m a hipster. I do all kinds of stuff. The show is weirder — we do cold opens, and we have sketches coming at you. It’s a very fun time, and if you enjoyed season one, you should like it. We have new kinds of tests this year — a couple animated tests, and we have really interesting rivalry episodes. We have bald guys versus hairy guys, we have cat lovers versus dog lovers, we have identical twins competing. We had an episode where models competed against each other, so obviously the scores were very low on that one.
Ryan Gatenby: But I imagine it was still one of your favorite episodes.
Ben Gleib: Oh, very much. I got a couple phone numbers, you know what I mean?
Ryan Gatenby: One change I noticed in some of the promos — the previews that GSN has been running for season two — is that your hair seems very different from season one. Was that deliberate? Did they run that through a focus group?
Ben Gleib: (Laughs) They did. They came back and they said, “people love you, but they need your hair to change.” And I said, “I will do what America wants.” My hair changes throughout the season. My hair gets long, gets short, and I have a beard for some of it and I don’t for some of it. I’m definitely fatter for season two. For season one I really cared about being skinny — I went on a crash diet. For season two, I realized I’ve already got a hit show, so I’m going to let myself go. I will be Dan Aykroyd in no time.
Ryan Gatenby: You mentioned you have a savvier group of contestants this season. Are these people who have come in and they’ve familiarized themselves with all of season one and they feel like they’re going to trip you up?
Ben Gleib: They did try. A lot of people — it was interesting, because for season one people had never seen the show, and for season two everybody had seen the show, so we were cognizant of that. When we were working on the tests, we tried to make ones that would challenge people, and we made sure that we were anticipating people had seen our tricks in season one, so we have different tricks. We were anticipating people trying to outsmart us and we flipped the script right back at them. I think you’ll find this season throws a brand new challenge into your brain when you watch it.
Ryan Gatenby: So what are we going to see on tonight’s brand new episodes?
Ben Gleib: For our first episode, we’ve got two mother-daughter teams competing against each other, and then our second episode was our April Fool’s Day episode, with a special cameo from the very lovely, very sexy host of “The Chase,” Brooke Burns. I was messed with quite a bit.
Ryan Gatenby: Oh, very nice. Ben, I thought you would fall for my not-too-clever attempt to trick you into revealing a spoiler, but obviously, you’re too smart for that.
Ben Gleib: I am totally too smart for that, and although I appreciate the attempt, it’s hurtful that you would try to do that to me. I thought you and I were close and had a bond of trust.
Ryan Gatenby: (Laughs). Whoops.
Ben Gleib: It hurts, I’m not going to lie. (Laughs)
Ryan Gatenby: Ben, when you do your standup gigs now, do you have a new audience of people who mainly just know you from “Idiotest?”
Ben Gleib: Yeah, the audience definitely expanded. I’ve been touring around the world and I have people that really enjoy the game show coming out, and it’s helping sell more tickets and make me more money, so honestly, it really works out well for all parties involved, and I’m the only party involved.
Ryan Gatenby: Are people disappointed, though, when they find out after your set that you’re not giving away $10,000?
Ben Gleib: They are. They mostly come out hoping I will give them cash, but in fact, instead I sell them my CD and they end up often losing $20, so it really is not great. I don’t recommend seeing my show when I come live to your city. You probably want to avoid it and just stay home to watch me for free.
Ryan Gatenby: You’ve been on my show a couple times now — does that make me ineligible to be a contestant on “Idiotest?” Can I still come out and audition?
Ben Gleib: No, it totally makes you ineligible. You know, first you tried to trick me, and now you’re trying to get money from me. And I’m sorry, I feel like this relationship is not what I thought it was. I thought you and I were true friends, but apparently it seems like there are just things you want from me.
Ryan Gatenby: I’m sorry, Ben. I feel ashamed, and I will beat myself up for days after this.
Ben Gleib: Well, if you send me photos of yourself beaten up, I will forgive you.
Ryan Gatenby: It’s a deal. And catch two new episodes of “Idiotest” tonight at 7 Central on GSN — is that confusing when you have to keep changing it to an hour earlier when you’re talking to people in the Central time zone? I understand it’s a controversial topic.
Ben Gleib: It’s the worst. Honestly, I think it’s annoying when every commercial, every time I tweet, I have to say “8, 7 Central.” Can’t people in the Central time zone just do that math for themselves by now?
Ryan Gatenby: You would think so, but then again, we are in the center of the country, so maybe it should center around us.
Ben Gleib: But then if you go by population, it’s a much smaller percentage — you’ve got a strong point there, but when both coasts have an 8:00 debut, you know — okay, how about this idea: just forget Central time. Pick one of the more popular time zones. Why don’t you just go Eastern?
Ryan Gatenby: I think we could. Hey, maybe you should work that into the game! I’m obviously kidding, but do you get that a lot? Do you get people coming up to you and making inappropriate suggestions for Idiotest?
Ben Gleib: I do. I get people all time telling me, “Hey, here’s an ‘Idiotest’: you should tie your shoe!” That’s not an “Idiotest.” My shoe’s just untied. You can just tell me to tie it; you don’t need to tell me I should put it on my show. Just don’t let me trip, okay? I’m not just part of the game! I’m a human being as well!
Ryan Gatenby: New episodes of “Idiotest” are on tonight at 7 Central on Game Show Network with our guest, Ben Gleib. Ben, thank you so much for joining us today, and I hope we can still be friends.
Ben Gleib: Thank you, Ryan. I feel closer to you than ever.
Thanks to our intern Jerry for transcribing this interview!
As a huge fan of PiL, I was very excited to have a few minutes to chat with John Lydon, who called our show in the middle of a satellite tour to promote his new book Anger Is An Energy: My Life Uncensored. We talked about why fashion has always been important to him, how his songwriting process has stayed consistent over the years, and why he called Public Image “a hole I chuck money into.”
I was a seriously dedicated fan of the wonderful (and criminally and unjustly cancelled) Mystery Science Theater 3000 back in the day, and it’s great that Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett are still doing what they do in the form of RiffTrax. We talked about their latest live event, invading a film festival, and the implications of “Sharknado” becoming a “genre.”
A live RiffTrax performance featuring “The Room” is coming to a theatre near you — visit fathomevents.com.
Elisha Cuthbert called in to talk about the season finale of “One Big Happy,” airing tonight at 8:30 Central on NBC-5 Chicago. We talked about the challenges and advantages of a short season (the show had a 6-episode run), shooting in front of a live audience vs. a single camera production (like she had on “Happy Endings”), and how much of an influence Ellen had in Elisha’s portrayal of lead character Lizzy.Follow @bigwakeupcall
In response to those who would rather read my interviews than have to hear me conduct them, we’re introducing a new feature today – Written Radio: The Official Transcripts of The Big Wakeup Call! Our debut segment features Scott Aukerman, host of Comedy Bang! Bang!, who called into the show a couple weeks ago. Read it with your own inflections and enjoy!
Scott Aukerman: The Big Wakeup Call Interview
Ryan Gatenby: It’s time for our next guest, and – wait a minute! I’ve heard of Scott Aukerman on Comedy Bang Bang, but Scott Aukerman on The Big Wakeup Call? Hi, Scott!
Scott Aukerman: What?? (Laughs) Hey, Ryan, how are you?
Ryan Gatenby: Good! Now, it’s been a while…since you’ve been on the show. How are you, Scott?
Scott Aukerman: (Laughs) You’re hitting all the catch phrases! I love it! Hello! It has been a while. IT’S BEEN about..
Ryan Gatenby: (Laughs) I appreciate you calling in today. I mean, I know now that your show is a ratings smash and you’re acknowledged as a comedy superstar, I’m sure the requests for interviews have got to be relentless and I would imagine oftentimes invasive.
Scott Aukerman: Well, you know, that’s pretty much all I do all day. I don’t have time to make the show any more, I just do interviews about the show. Which people are okay with. I mean, they would rather hear me do an interview and talk about something that I’m not doing rather than actually seeing it.
Ryan Gatenby: (Laughs) That seems much better.
Scott Aukerman: You know, I wake up at 6 a.m., and until about midnight or so I’m doing interviews.
Ryan Gatenby: Do you ever have to go on those “morning zoo”-type radio shows and they try to make you do “bits” with them? Because that’s the format – “hits” and “bits.”
Scott Aukerman: You know, I normally just go to regular zoos in the morning, and I try to do most of my interviews from there. I find that I’m a little more at peace when I’m petting a zebra. That’s actually where I am right now – I’m in front of the lemur cage, and – oh, look at those little guys! Hey, knock it off! They’re getting a little naughty, and I know your dump button isn’t working today, so I don’t want to say exactly what they’re doing, but it’s pretty informative. I’m gonna have to use some of these tricks back at home.
Ryan Gatenby: So Comedy Bang! Bang! is back on IFC Friday nights at 10, and you’ve got all new episodes, and it looks like to me, just from a casual, attentive home viewer, that you guys have a bigger budget for the episodes now. I mean, last week you were doing some huge and dangerous stunts.
Scott Aukerman: Well, that’s true, but let me correct you for one moment, Ryan, my dear boy. The show is on at 11, not at 10, but I think that you could tune in at 10 and watch the last hour of Pulp Fiction or that movie about the vagina with teeth – whatever IFC is showing. It’s always nice to catch the last hour and then catch my show. But, yeah, we have a slightly bigger budget. I think what it was is we were able to afford a special effects guy, so we’re able to put in CGI robots and stuff like that. It’s basically like watching the Star Wars Special Edition, you know. We’ll be doing an interview and then the camera will just pan over and you’ll see a CGI Jabba the Hut sitting there for no reason.
Ryan Gatenby: I should point out, Scott, that you are on at 10 here in the Central time zone, and that’s who you’re speaking to now.
Scott Aukerman: Oh no! Oh, listen to me, I’m acting a fool right now! Of course we’re on at 10. What is the deal with the Central time zone, by the way? Why does everyone in the Central time zone insist on getting their television an hour early?
Ryan Gatenby: I don’t know. I wish we would just align with one of the coasts – and I don’t know if that would start a war or anything, but I just want to watch TV! I don’t want to do math.
Scott Aukerman: I know! I mean, the fact that we always have to say “11, 10 Central” – first of all, you guys should be able to figure it out by now. You’ve lived there all your lives, everything is an hour earlier. But are you guys really going to bed an hour earlier? You guys in Chicago love to party, right?
Ryan Gatenby: Yeah, and we like to get the news an hour earlier. Then once we’re informed, we go out – after being filled with the news.
Scott Aukerman: But don’t you have to wake up an hour early to watch The Today Show?
Ryan Gatenby: I think that’s true.
Scott Aukerman: Yeah, that’s the ugly dark side of the Central time zone.
Ryan Gatenby: Scott, one recurring theme I’ve seen lately on Comedy Bang! Bang! is that you’re kind of hinting about your audience either consisting of hipsters or stoners or both. Now, I’m neither but I love the show. Does that make me weird? Are there jokes I should be enjoying on another level?
Scott Aukerman: (Laughs) Yes, if you were to just get high, there’s a whole secret layer of jokes that are there.
Ryan Gatenby: Oh, no!
Scott Aukerman: You have to unlock your mind to get them, so – you know, I really feel sorry for the people who are not high watching the show. They’re only getting about one joke every 10 seconds. There’s an extra bonus joke every 60 seconds if you’re high that you get.
Ryan Gatenby: Oh, my gosh! (Laughs)
Scott Aukerman: Yeah, it’s really a shame. So, you know, I would try it at least once. I know a lot of entertainers come out and say “don’t do drugs.” I’m here to say “do a drug once.”
Ryan Gatenby: When you’re shooting an episode – when you have a guest out there on the couch, how much time do you spend with each guest versus what we wind up seeing on the show? Because last week with Jack Black, it was suggested he was there for about 15 hours.
Scott Aukerman: Yeah, we shoot a lot of stuff for the show, so when we have Jack Black on – or this week we have Joel McHale, or we had Joseph Gordon-Levitt a couple weeks ago – for a 10 minute interview, we’ll usually shoot about half an hour or so, and just really experiment and use the best stuff out of that. And I think people who come to the couch feel reassured that not everything that they say is going to be used – we’re only going to use the best stuff. So it winds up being a more fast-paced show that way, too.
Ryan Gatenby: And then one of the things I really enjoy that goes along with that is you’ll have genuine moments – and I’m recalling last week where you had Paul F. Tompkins as J.W. Stillwater, your amateur vigilante fan boat operator, and there was genuine laughter – seriously, legitimately cracking up you and Jack Black, and on most shows there would be a tendency to want to edit that out and they’d literally frown upon that.
Scott Aukerman: Yeah, most shows try to edit out all the mistakes or edit out people breaking. I insist on not knowing what people are going to say, and that’s why we do so much of the show improv-style. I really want to have those genuine moments where I’m surprised or the guests are surprised, and we sprinkle those all throughout the show. Even though some of it is scripted, we try to mix it up so people never know if something is scripted or not, and I think you see more genuine moments in my fake talk show than you see in real talk shows.
Ryan Gatenby: And I would imagine at this point, as long as Comedy Bang! Bang! has been on the air, that the guests you’re getting are people who have seen the show and are fully buying into that.
Scott Aukerman: (Laughs) You’d think that, but –
Ryan Gatenby: (Laughs)
Scott Aukerman: (Laughs) I don’t know. I’m constantly surprised that people agree to come on the show and have no idea what it is until they get there. But people really like to play along, and it’s unlike any other talk show – they get to do sketches, they get to act while they’re in it, they interact with comedy characters, so I think people eventually believe and go “wow, I have no idea what that was, but I had such a good time doing it.” It’s really unlike any other show they’re ever going to be on.
Ryan Gatenby: Scott, I didn’t know if you were aware of this, but there is a guy on another late night show right now, and he’s pretty much ripping off Reggie Watts. Have you seen this?
Scott Aukerman: Man, that sounds familiar. Late night, you say? So, in the Central time zone, when would that be?
Ryan Gatenby: Medium night?
Scott Aukerman: (Laughs) Okay, medium night. So a medium night talk show. Hmmm – yeah, I’ve heard of this guy. You know, we have Reggie Watts on our show – he’s my bandleader – and he’s been stepping out every night, so he’ll sort of end the show early and he’ll leave somewhere, but I have no idea where he’s been going.
Ryan Gatenby: Well, I found it bizarre and troublesome, so I thought you should know.
Scott Aukerman: Okay, well, you know what, snitches get put in ditches, so you better think about that.
Ryan Gatenby: Oh, no! (Laughs) Hey, is that going to be a segment coming up – “Snitches or Ditches?” I’d love that.
Scott Aukerman: (Laughs) Yeah, I would love for you to be the first volunteer.
Ryan Gatenby: Finally, Scott, is there anything you’d like to plug?
Scott Aukerman: Wow, the plug bag is open! Well, of course, I do the Comedy Bang! Bang! TV show every Friday at 10 pm – not 11, Ryan, come on, man! I do the podcast once or twice a week, and that’s on the Earwolf network, and I think that’s about all that anyone really cares about me. Although I will say I did write a little five-page story in this week’s Deadpool comic book, issue 250, so go out and read that. Paul Scheer wrote one, and Jason Mantzoukas, and a bunch of comedy people, so pick that up.
Ryan Gatenby: Oh, excellent. And don’t miss new episodes of Comedy Bang! Bang! Friday nights at 11, 10 Central on IFC, with our guest, Stock Photoman. Well, Scott, thank you so much for calling in to The Big Wakeup Call today. I really appreciate it.
Scott Aukerman: Thanks, Ryan, I always love talking to you.
Thanks to our intern P.J. for transcribing this interview!
We are back LIVE beginning tomorrow with all new editions of the show.
Tuesday, April 28:
9:10 Elisha Cuthbert on her new show One Big Happy
9:30 Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett from Rifftrax & MST3K
Wednesday, April 29:
9:30 John Lydon talks about his new book Anger is An Energy.
Thursday, April 30:
9:40 Comedian Nate Bergatze promotes his Comedy Central Special Full Time Magic
Friday, May 1:
9:00 Bob Harper discusses his new book Skinny Habits
9:10 Bill McCormick from the World News Center
9:50 The Movie Man’s 6 Second Reviews
(all times Central)
Mick Wall is an acclaimed rock writer whose latest book is “Black Sabbath: Symptoms of the Universe.” We talked about his time working as the publicity rep for the band, how the long-term success of the band seemed improbable when their first record was released, and why most people experience a combination of “fear of and fascination with” Black Sabbath.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Juan is currently starring as Jesus on NBC’s “A.D. The Bible Continues.” We talked about how he prepared himself for the role, how weighing the gravity of the character and situation affects his performance, and whether or not people are recognizing him in public from the show. New episodes air Sunday nights at 8 on NBC-5 Chicago.Follow @bigwakeupcall
It’s been a while since we talked to Scott Aukerman, so we were glad to have him call in and talk about new episodes of Comedy Bang! Bang! After an initial bout of confusion over the air time of the show (one of these days we’ll end this “Central Time” nonsense once and for all), we had a great chat about morning zoos (vs. actual zoos), the perception of the show being for hipsters & stoners, and how this fake talk show has more genuine moments than most actual talk shows.
New episodes of Comedy Bang! Bang! starring Stock Photoman are on IFC at 11/10 Central.