Chelsea Ursin is the host of the great new podcast “Dear Young Rocker.” It’s an audio memoir of growing up a loner and finding a home in music, including a segment on letters she’d write to her younger self. Despite our being a generation apart, I relate to so much of her story as a fellow creator/writer/nerd/musician.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Tracy Wilson and Holly Frey are the co-hosts of the popular “Stuff You Missed In History Class” podcast. We discussed the creation of the program, recent topics they’ve tackled, and whether or not official licenses are involved to be a podcast (and/or radio) historian.Follow @bigwakeupcall
NBC News correspondent and MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle called in to talk about her “Modern Ruhles” podcast. Discussion topics included getting a little bit better and smarter, the “alpha male,” and how subtle things can impact a child’s perception of gender roles and responsibilities.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Jake Brennan called in for a fun chat about his “Disgraceland” book and podcast. Topics included Kurt & Courtney, the Ramones, Phil Spector, Elvis, and the Beach Boys.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Comedy Bang Bang’s Scott Aukerman made his record-breaking 12th appearance on the show to promote Comedy Bang Bang live at the Chicago Theater on September 8th. Highlights in the convenient form of a transcript are below, with the full audio underneath (Note: all of the typos and errors generated by Transcription Bot 2.0 have now been corrected by human eyes and fingers.)
Ryan Gatenby: It’s the Big Wakeup Call. I’m Ryan Gatenby and time to get to my next guest. From Comedy Bang Bang, it’s Scott Aukerman! Hey, Scott!
Scott Aukerman: Hey, Ryan!
RG: Scott, good morning, and I appreciate you joining me today. This actually is my 2000th show.
SA: Whoa, congratulations! How many have been good, do you think?
RG: Well, let’s see. You’ve been on about 0.6% so I’d say 1% ?
SA: I’ve done over 600 episodes of my show, Comedy Bang Bang, and I think you are at a higher level of success than I am, honestly.
RG: Oh, nonsense. Because I’m not doing a live show at the Chicago Theater in September.
SA: That is true. Although if you were doing it on the same night, there would be some sort of booking screwup and that would be horrible. But yeah, September 8th, a Sunday night, we’re doing a live episode.
RG: But live at the Chicago Theater, which is a huge place by the way, we’re talking like 3,600 seats. Is this one of the largest theaters or arenas that you’ve done a live show?
SA: You know what, just the other day at Clusterfest, I did a live episode of a show for 8,500 people. And that is definitely the biggest one that I’ve done at this point. So, you know, over 3000 — who cares?
RG: When you’re doing a show like this – is this strictly a live taping? Is this going to be a future episode of Comedy Bang Bang? Or is this a standalone show by itself?
SA: Well, we always do it as a standalone show. It just kind of exists for the people who were there. If we release it later as a podcast, it’s purely for people who are interested, but we’re not aiming it at them.
You know, like when you go see a live taping of a television show, you’re just kind of there as a fly on the wall for what is intended to be on television. This is intended for the audience itself and we don’t really care if anyone’s listening outside of it.
RG: Well, then are you inviting audience participation, or do people have to like hold their applause and laughter until after the conclusion of the show?
SA: No, we have a policy where, if you find something funny, you definitely laugh out loud, sort of a “ha ha” kind of thing. And if you’re ever confused by anything, you can shout up at the stage “huh?” Just any human reaction you have, try to find a vocal sound that goes along with it, and shout it out as loud as you can.
That’s the Comedy Bang Bang promise, that we’ll get to everyone. We’ll hear everyone’s complaints, everyone’s compliments, all 3000 of them. We want to hear from you.
RG: I thought you didn’t care about what people thought about the last episode.
SA: Is that something I said before?
RG: I think it was on Twitter.
SA: Okay. I remember that. Yes, that used to be in my tagline because I got way too many people critiquing the show every week telling me what I did wrong. And as you know, Ryan, every episode you do is going to be someone’s favorite and someone’s least favorite, but you don’t really need to hear from the least favorites every single day of your life. Otherwise, why do it?
RG: Well, you give so much of yourself into each show. It’s hard not to take it personally.
SA: It’s less about taking it personally and it’s more just about like, why do you want to every single day of your life — like most people who have jobs, other than maybe waiters and servers, aren’t told constantly how bad they are at it. I mean, if you are, you need to look at another career.
But for some reason, with Twitter we’ve given everyone our personal email addresses and people like to tell us what we’re doing wrong all the time. So, you know, I would prefer not to hear it.
RG: So what is the format? What’s the setup of the live show? Are you, center stage on stools? Are you standing at vintage microphones and doing like an old time radio show?
SA: We’re definitely not center stage. We’re trying it this time from up in the rafters.
RG: How many trailers are you taking on this tour? Do you have lights and sound and pyro?
SA: Yeah, pyro is a big one, which if people out there don’t know exactly what that stands for, it’s an acronym which stands for… pretty… yelling…relationship organisms.
Basically, we have life model decoys of men and women who are very upset with people with whom they’re in relationships and we unleash them upon the audience. And, you know, if you can trick one of them into falling in love with you, then you can take it home.
RG: So you’re encouraging deceit and chicanery.
SA: Oh, of course. I mean, look, the only reason we get into this business is because someone tricked us. You know, sometimes our parents when we’re young, they trick us by saying like, “oh, you were really good in that school play.”
RG: That’s true.
SA: Look, lady show business is a cruel, harsh mistress and you have to wonder why you’re really doing it at the end of the day. And I’m hoping that the show on September 8th at the Chicago Theater will kind of just crystallize that for all the performers involved.
RG: Are you doing just one show per night, or do you have like a regular show at seven and then you come back and do the blue show?
SA: We are, yeah. The blue show is really difficult because ever since Blue Man Group was a big sensation in Las Vegas, people want people to put on blue makeup and do the second show dressed as them. And it’s time consuming.
I dunno what takes longer, putting it on or getting it off – ha ha ha! – but it’s what people expect. So, everyone is invited to come to the first show and then no one is there for the second show. We just do it for ourselves.
RG: Do you have all of your guests on stage at once or is it like the podcast, where you’ll have a regular guest and then some eccentric oddball walks out?
SA: You know, I don’t know what is going on with my show. If you’ve never heard Comedy Bang Bang, the podcast, it’s an interview show where I talk to – I don’t know how else to put this, but interesting people.
And then I would say nine times out of 10, if not 10 times out of 10, the show gets derailed with these unusual guests that my producer somehow ends up booking. And I would say the first 20% of the show is professional, and then it just devolves into chaos. So I’m hoping that does not happen during the show at the Chicago Theater because I’d just feel like my show was cursed or something.
RG: So you’re saying there’s cursing in the show.
SA: There’s cursing. Yes. It’s a rated XXX or triple X’s, as they say. We’e basically just describing pornography the entire time.
RG: It’s Comedy Bang Bang live at the Chicago Theater on Sunday, September 8th, featuring – I assume you’re the host?
SA: I am considering coming out and doing this show. Basically someone just needs to make me an offer
RG: Comedy Bang Bang, live at the Chicago Theater on Sunday, September 8th, featuring probably, more or less, Scott Aukerman. Scott, always a pleasure to have you on the show.
SA: Ryan. Thank you so much, and with whatever you end up doing, in your old age, I look forward to hearing from you again.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Dana Schwartz dialed into the show to talk about her new podcast, “Noble Blood,” which looks at the history of royalty and monarchies, including sex, drugs, blood, and all the good stuff that would get the show censored on terrestrial radio.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.
Jesse Brown is the host of the #1 Canadian podcast, “Canadaland,” and author of the entertaining and enlightening new book “Canadaland’s Guide to Canada.” We discussed what “Sorry” really means, why Canada doesn’t really want you to move there, and the importance of Tim Horton’s in Canada’s sense of pride and nationalism. Also, as required by the laws of Canadian Content, we talk about beer and hockey.Follow @bigwakeupcall