The Big Wakeup Call looks back and says farewell to the unusual Summer of 2021 as we chat with special guests Michael Ian Black, Scott Aukerman, Ben Gleib, Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan, Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Andy Summers from The Police, Dylan Brody, and Bill McCormick! Re-live that exciting 6 weeks when everything seemed possible before unwelcome guest Delta Variant showed up.
The whole show is a fun listen, but if you’d like to skip to the individual chats, here you go!
We celebrated an entire decade of whatever it is we do here with calls from some of our favorite and most frequent guests, including Scott Aukerman from “Comedy Bang Bang,” Ben Gleib from “Idiotest” and the new “Nowhere Comedy Club,” Dylan Brody from “The Corona Dialogues,” Best-selling authors and fashion bloggers Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan, and the only member of the 400 timers club, the World News Center’s Bill McCormick.
We also revisited clips from some of my favorite interviews over the years, including Graham Nash, Mike Love, Dick Cavett, Kristen Schaal, Vanessa Bayer, Jim Breuer, Jim Gaffigan, and Elvis Costello.
Thank you for all of your support over the last ten years. Thank you to all of my guests who have made the show so special.
I hope I can get at least another couple dozen shows out of this.
What would an anniversary show be without an appearance from one of our all-time favorite guests, Comedy Bang Bang’s Scott Aukerman? I guess we’ll find out if Scott happens to change his number between now and July of 2021.
Ryan Gatenby: My next guest is one of our all-time favorites in the 10-year history of the Big Wakeup Call, today making his 14th appearance on the show. He was the long-time host of “Comedy Bang Bang” — I don’t know why it says “was,” I guess we’ll find out. It’s Scott Aukerman. Hi, Scott!
Scott Aukerman: Hi, Ryan! That’s right. I quit.
RG: Are we getting a ‘sclusie here? Are you hangin’ up the ‘Bang Bang?
SA: Actually, strangely enough, what people don’t know about Comedy Bang Bang – the podcast that I host – is that I quit after each episode, and then I just re-hire myself the next day. So I quit after Monday’s episode, but you’ll see me again next Monday.
RG: Is it out of frustration? Do you just yell at people and things are thrown and then you quit in frustration, or is that just what you do? Basically, you’re on a show-to-show contract?
SA: I pretty much yell at people. I don’t smoke, but I have several ashtrays, glass ashtrays that I can hurl at people, so even if I miss them, it shatters behind them on the wall and then gets the back of their neck with shattered glass. So, yeah, I’m pretty much a monster to work for. And luckily I’m my only employee, so I work for myself. I’m self-employed, so it’s pretty much just having an angry conversation with myself.
RG: How has the pandemic and quarantine changed the production of Comedy Bang Bang? Like we’re all doing radio shows from home — are you recording the show from your home or home office?
SA: I’m recording the show from both home and home office because my home office is in my home, unlike other people’s home offices. But, yeah, we do it over Zoom now so we can see each other, but we all record each other separately and then edit it together. And it’s a huge pain, as I’m sure you’re experiencing. But you know, the show is important to people. So we strive to keep improving not only recording techniques but timing issues and stuff. And the good thing is that people seem to really like the episodes we put out.
RG: Do you normally do it from your house? Are there actually legitimate Earwolf Studios or is that just a bit?
SA: Yeah, it’s a long-running, ten-year bit at this point that we have studios. No, of course not. We do it out in the middle of a field. I mean, we can’t afford a brick and mortar. Are you kidding me?
RG: I’m picturing you just having a constant stream of guests coming in and out of your house and like you’re doing it in your rumpus room.
SA: I would hate for anyone to know where I actually live. So that, unfortunately, is not going to happen. But I do have a rumpus room. So thank you for acknowledging that.
RG: Do you feel like it changes the energy at all to do your show with your guests Zooming in? Do you feel like there is something to having guests in studio that adds something that isn’t there right now?
SA: Well, if you’ve ever heard Comedy Bang Bang – and at this point, Ryan, I’m not quite sure that you have — It’s a show — basically a lot of people used to say it’s the show where we talk to interesting people. Some people have called it “America’s Podcast.” Some people now have called it “Humanity’s Podcast.” But I like to think of it as the show where people talk over each other constantly. So it’s sort of increased that a little bit because of just various not-being-able-to hear-each-other issues. But, you know, I mean, some people like that, some people wish that we weren’t talking over each other. It’s just a little hard to have more than four or five people on the show at this point.
RG: Quite often on Comedy Bang Bang, you’ll be interviewing a guest — like a legitimate star, comedian, or actor — and then some unusual oddball will burst into your studio. Has that still been happening over Zoom? Are they getting ahold of the dial-in codes?
SA: Well, we’ve always had an open-door policy, which has been the problem with Comedy Bang Bang since the beginning. We’ve been going eleven years — I know this is your tenth anniversary — and the issue with the show is unfortunately these weirdos keep bursting into the studio and then I talk to them, assuming they’re part of the show.
The other part is we have terrible, terrible producers who book just a collection of eccentric crazies to be on the show. And unfortunately, that has extended to the Zoom. We found out very quickly — You must have heard all of those news reports about people breaking into Zooms and figuring out the codes. That was all my show. It’s all Comedy Bang Bang. So it still has continued. I don’t know how to ditch this.
I would prefer to be a show sort of like, you know, “WTF” or “Conan O’Brien Has a Podcast or even “Serial.” I would love it if, like one of my guests came on the show and was murdered and I could just talk about that for a while. But unfortunately, this is a show where, you know, these crazy people come in and I’m forced to talk to them.
RG: Now, I notice you blamed your producers, but early on in this interview, you said you were the only employee, so perhaps your producers being volunteers is part of the reason you’re not getting the quality you would expect.
SA: Well, you know, even though you don’t quite get the best work out of them, I find that unpaid interns are the way to go when you’re trying to make a living in podcasting.
RG: Scott, a lot of fans of your TV show — I think a lot of people don’t know Comedy Bang Bang was also a TV show — but fans of the show pretty distressed when we heard the show was possibly leaving Netflix. And yet, as we speak, it’s still up there.
SA: Well, they can return to their distress, because I just read that it’s leaving again. I don’t know what is going on with it. A lot of people write to me and say, like, “hey, put it back on Netflix,” or “put it on Netflix Canada” and stuff like that. But I have no control over the licensing of it. And I just read an article yesterday that said it was being taken down again in August.
So who knows, maybe it’ll just be for another day. I don’t know what’s going on with it, but, you know, the more people watch it, the more people will want to keep it on their platform. So I hope people can continue to binge it until it’s gone.
RG: I think it’s a terrible idea to have it leave because I know the only reason most people sign up for Netflix is to watch Comedy Bang Bang. So I was thinking you should at least get a buck out of every new subscriber.
SA: I think so, you know, I mean, how many do they have? I mean, they keep bragging about it. What is it, 900 million? I don’t even remember. I kind of zoned out in any of my Netflix meetings when they brag. Anytime you go into Netflix — I directed a movie for them and also a special. And, you know, anytime you go in there for anything, they have to brag about how many subscribers they have and how many languages everything is translated into. And I sort of zoned out, but yeah, I should get one dollar for each. You’re right.
RG: Scott, is there anything else you’d like to plug before we let you go?
SA: You know, I would love people to watch the “Between Two Ferns” movie on Netflix, a lot of people don’t even know that there’s a movie out there, but it’s right there on Netflix. It has Zach Galifianakis and David Letterman and Keanu Reeves and Matthew McConaughey and Awkwafina and so many great people in it. So check that out if you can.
RG: Is that going to have a director’s cut ? Or since you directed it, that was your cut?
SA: You know, I pitched to them and I still kind of think they should do it, especially when everything is shut down — we shot maybe a four hour movie that we cut down to under 90 minutes. And there’s so many interesting avenues that we went down and scenes that we had to cut out and whole subplots that I think it would be interesting to see a three hour long meditative Altman-esque cut of the movie. But when I pitched it to Netflix and said, “Yeah, it’ll it’ll almost be boring in a way!” they sort of turned off on it.
RG: So, your pitch for the movie was “it’s going to be boring.”
SA: Yeah, well, that’s how I start everything, every pitch. In fact, you know, you didn’t air it on this, but before you started recording, I told you that this would be boring and hey, sure enough!
RG: Well, Scott, thank you so much for joining me for the 10th anniversary show. It’s been a pleasure to have you on point five percent of all of our shows.
SA: Congratulations and, you know, I mean, when you listed those stats of 10 years and I was on 14 times, it made me realize that you ask me more than once a year and could you please stop that?
It’s the end of another year of The Big Wakeup Call! We close out the radio year and take a look back at 2019 with our special guests Scott Aukerman, David Wain, Dylan Brody, Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan, Bill McCormick, and a special musical performance from Laurie Berkner!
The Big Wakeup Call’s 2019 End-of-the-Year show is sponsored by Hotel 99, Same Day Mattress, Dayquil, and Dollar Health Club.
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.
It’s The Big Wakeup Call’s 2018 End-of-the-Year Show, celebrating yet another year of how we inexplicably continue to be allowed to do this show. Ryan invited many of his favorite guests to call in, and those who actually returned his call were Scott Aukerman, Ben Gleib, Dylan Brody, Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan, and Bill McCormick!
This episode is brought to you by Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride. Diphenhydramine, just as potent as ammonium sulfonate, only with a little more salicylic acid.
If you’d like to skip ahead to the interviews, you could try:
Paget Brewster joined the show to talk about her new movie The Witch Files. Did she get to shadow any actual witches and/or witch hunters to prepare for her role? We also discussed Criminal Minds and working with Paul F. Tompkins on The Thrilling Adventure Hour. Plus: an inside look at the making of a Drunk History segment.
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.
On The Big Wakeup Call’s End-of-the-Year Spectacular Cavalcade of Giggles Plugfest 2017, I chat with some of my favorite guests and close, personal friends who wouldn’t dream of taking such a tender occasion to plug their projects. First to call in was my very good pal Scott Aukerman, marking his 9th appearance on the show. We discussed secret identities, a name change for Comedy Bang Bang, Scott talking less about himself on the show, looking back on 2017 and ahead to 2018, and exactly how much money Scott made on 2017. Maybe it’s just me, but for me, this was a fun interview.
Scott Aukerman made his record-shattering 8th appearance on our Show, this time talking about “Michael Bolton’s Big Sexy Valentine’s Day Special,” which he co-directed and co-executive produced and is out now on Netflix. We discussed the origin of the special, why Comedy Bang! Bang’s signature mix of comedy, love and music made for a perfect match with Michael Bolton, and why this special could and should be a significant part of a romantic weekend. Plus: favorite lines from Comedy Bang! Bang!, filming in Australia on Christmas Day, and a medical explanation of male excitement.