Former David Letterman writer Bill Scheft called in to talk about his experiences working with Dave and a new book, “The Last Days of Letterman: The Final 6 Weeks,” for which he wrote the foreword. Making Bill genuinely laugh right off the bat certainly gave me some confidence I might be slightly humorous.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias called in for a fun chat about his many new projects, including his Netflix comedy special “One Show Fits All” (and another special he’s already taped to air next year — plus he’s got a Netflix series in the works), and his upcoming “Beyond The Fluffy” world tour.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Anthony Atamanuik called in to talk about his new book American Tantrum: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Archives, and his new Comedy Central special A President Show Documentary: The Fall of Donald Trump. We discussed how the book is a fine, PBS-like companion to The President Show, the mental and physical side effects of becoming Donald Trump, and fond childhood memories of reading transcripts of the Nixon tapes.Follow @bigwakeupcall
The Daily Show correspondents Desi Lydic and Ronny Chieng called in to promote the show’s upcoming week in Miami, as well as their live midterm election special. Topics included a retro discussion of hanging chads, all-caps emails, dealing with longitudinal differences, politely dealing with lame jokes, and meeting The Wiggles.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Comedy Bang! Bang!’s Scott Aukerman joined our prestigious 10-Timers Club when he called in as a special guest for our 8th Anniversary and 1800th show. After giving us the heartiest of congratulations, Scott talked about the history of Comedy Bang! Bang! and gave us an exclusive look at the making of an episode! Highlights of the interview are below, followed by the full audio of our chat.
Ryan Gatenby: I’m so happy my next guest could join us for The Big Wakeup Call’s 8th Anniversary and 1800th show. He’s making his 10th appearance, which means he’s now been a part of .56 percent of all of our shows. Host of Comedy Bang! Bang! and other podcasts, it’s Scott Aukerman. Hi, Scott!
Scott Aukerman: Hi, Ryan. So glad I could be on less than one percent of your shows.
Ryan: Scott, how many podcasts do you have now? You’ve got Comedy Bang! Bang!, there’s one about R.E.M., you’ve got one about three-ways…
Scott: I mean, they’re all about three-ways when you really think about it. Yeah, I have three podcasts coming out a week, but I think some of them are going to end, but Comedy Bang! Bang! is the main one, yeah.
Ryan: Is it hard to come up with crowd-pleasing catch phrases for multiple podcasts, then?
Scott: It really is. I mean, I think the catch phrase we have for the R.E.M. is “This is good, uh, rock and roll music.” I mean, that’s craftsmanship right there. That takes a while to figure out how to get the entire world saying that. But yeah, basically I go into every show trying to figure out what would look good on a t-shirt, and I just try to execute after that.
Ryan: Scott, we are beginning our 9th year of The Big Wakeup Call; you are now in year 10 of Comedy Bang! Bang! ?
Scott: Yeah, it’s not the 10th anniversary, technically, but after the 9th anniversary you go into year 10, so I guess you’re right.
Ryan: You started that off — you were doing that on the radio.
Scott: I did, much like yourself — assuming this is a radio show — I was on Indie 103.1 for a year, and then I just decided to put it out myself.
Ryan: Were you like a regular radio show? Were you taking requests and giving away tickets to caller number 9?
Scott: Well, usually it was caller number 8, but everything else was pretty spot on. We were doing traffic on the 1′s. It was a pretty standard format. In fact, if you listen to the archives, the first year of Comedy Bang! Bang! is basically just a drive-time radio show.
Ryan: Oh, I can’t. I don’t have a premium subscription to Stitcher.
Scott: Oh, that’s far too bad, and I have so many free ones I’m willing to give away. Unfortunately, I don’t have those codes in front of me currently.
Ryan: Does it help you directly if I get a new website or buy stamps or try on some glasses or order a mattress?
Scott: It really does. I think doing all of them at the same time as well as maybe eating some Hello Fresh — I think all of that at the same time on the same day, my show would be incredibly profitable. So yeah, any of those things. They don’t even have to be from one of my sponsors. Just doing those things — wearing glasses. Anyone who wears glasses helps the show out.
Ryan: Scott, over the past decade, there have been some very successful, critically acclaimed podcasts that have run out of steam after a few dozen episodes. Is it through sheer force of will or just a drive to succeed that you’ve been able to keep going for so long?
Scott: Are you talking about Serial running out of steam? Is that what you’re trying to say?
Scott: That’s very backhanded of you. I don’t know. I want to keep doing it as long as I keep having fun doing it, and I am having fun doing it, so I’m going to keep doing it.
Ryan: Scott, how long does it take you to produce an episode of Comedy Bang! Bang! ? From booking your guests, you have to arrange their flights and hotel accommodations, and you’ve got to get them their per diems. Then you’re writing, rehearsing, dress rehearsing, giving notes, recording, editing — it sounds like a very complicated process.
Scott: Well, a typical episode is about 80 minutes, and we try to record it in 40. We talk twice as fast, and then we slow it down for the actual podcast. So, yeah, in addition to everything that you’re talking about, it’s probably a 6 month process beginning to end.
Ryan: Scott, it is always a pleasure to have you on The Big Wakeup Call, and thanks for calling in today.
Scott: Ryan, congratulations on 8 years. May there be another couple of months of this thing. Whatever you can squeeze out of it.
TV legend Marc Summers called in to talk about the reboot of Double Dare! We discussed the legacy of the original show, why aging Gen-Xers like me continue to have such a fondness for show (and how many of us now have kids old enough to be contestants), and how he became a part of the 2018 edition.
John Michael Higgins called in to talk about his new game show America Says, airing 5 days a week at 4ET/3CT on Game Show Network. After a brief chat about Walk Hard (I quote his record producer character at least once a week), John filled us in on how the game show works, his game show hosting style, and getting to say the most famous line ever uttered in game show-dom.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Tom Papa called in for a fun chat about his new book Your Dad Stole My Rake…and Other Family Dilemmas. We discussed why he wanted to put down his thoughts into convenient book form, writing for a specific audience, dealing with “wacky” morning radio shows, and the eternal dilemma of juggling work and family.Follow @bigwakeupcall
New York Times culture reporter, best-selling author, and Twitter superstar Dave Itzkoff dialed into the show to talk about his new book Robin: The Definitive Biography and Untold Story of Robin Williams. We discussed why fans felt such a connection to Robin, how he dealt with a rocket-like ascent to fame from comedy clubs to Mork and Mindy, his struggles with substance abuse, and how the public side of Robin Williams differed from the private side.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Comedy legend Mark McKinney made a triumphant return appearance to the show to talk about the season 3 finale of “Superstore.” We discussed the development of his character “Glenn,” including the nuances of the St. Louis accent and how it was based on my St. Louis-raised-wife’s next-door neighbor. Mark and I also made plans to attend a White Sox game this summer and share some mac and cheese, ketchup, and tapeworm food.Follow @bigwakeupcall