WELCOME IN to Podd Deep!
The third at that! Thanks so much for coming back, or indeed for your first visit. It’s very lovely to have you on board. This blog is admittedly a slow boat, in a world where we are blessed by the presence of thousands of podcasts and new shows are dropping daily, but I hope you can get down with the more deliberate and thoughtful approach I’m bringing! I could throw in like 50 recommendations per week but where would that get you… I couldn’t listen to that many anyway so I’m afraid that’s not on the agenda. I’m more about giving you a nice intro into some shows that either you have been meaning to check or maybe know nothing about - a hand to hold in this deep, weird and vastly populated universe. So with that in mind - let’s get into volume 3!
Just wanted to send Dana a HUGE shout for the Instagram holler! I do this as a way of shining a light on the things I’ve fallen in love with, and stuff that I want to share. There’s so much out there to occupy our time with the negative, so I wanted this to be a fun, safe place for the good stuff. I don’t do it to get noticed by the people who make the podcasts themselves, but it’s a lovely feeling that it’s being seen by the makers and producers who I want to bigup. It made me a smile a great deal. Bigups then, Dana Gould!
PODSTOCK•A one day celebration of all things pod…
Ladies and gentlemen, first off I would like to cordially invite you along to the BFI PODSTOCK event on SATURDAY 3rd NOVEMBER! It’ll be a slammer, and I know this because one of the podcasts I produce will be going LIVE!
‘Films To Be Buried With’ is a podcast dreamed up by writer/actor/multiple threat Brett Goldstein, which goes deep into the lives of each week’s guest via a number of film choices. It hits parts that don’t often get hit, and reveals personal tales and layers that you won’t have heard before. Basically it’s a film lover and existentialist’s fantasy right there. You’ll get to see and hear Brett and EXTRA SPECIAL SECRET GUEST live and in the flesh on Saturday at 6pm!
IMPORTANT! Use the code ‘BURIED’ at checkout and get £2 off the ticket price! We look forward to making your acquaintance! I’ll be there, probably at the back in sunglasses speaking into my cuff like a security guy of some description, or dressed up like the homie Harry Caul in The Conversation, but either way, come along! It’ll be ace. And of course check out the other shows happening - it’s so great to have these things in the UK and I hope more of them happen! Such a nice thing to have a podcast celebration. If you’re anything like me this is like a mini Coachella or something. A verrry mini, micro Coachella. In London.
PODD DEEP • Volume 003 • The Dana Gould Hour
TO SUM IT UP IN A SENTENCE
A magazine you’d pick up at a thrift store on Haight Street in 1969, which you would then read at a diner and maybe accidentally leave at a late night horror movie. Or Planet Of The Apes screening. But, of course, a podcast.
WHERE TO FIND IT
WHO MAKES IT?
Dana Gould is the host, a brilliant comedian from a little town “ironically” called Hopedale in Massachussets, who has been in the game for a ton of years. He now makes the show ‘Stan Against Evil’, which has elements in common with the Evil Dead school of horror comedy and he also had a stint as a writer on The Simpsons too. Otherwise, he has all kinds of fingers in so many pies, but just know that he’s one the greatest and has an insane skill at summarising and distilling situations and scenarios into perfectly formed nuggets. Sometimes his analogies are worryingly accurate and I feel like the podcast contains a good 10 or so absolutely perfect quotes per episode. Please may I also add, the production of this podcast is also handled skilfully and lovingly by Jillinda Palmer, Joe Napolitano, Andy Paley and Jeff Fox. It sounds stellar, always, and with this team you can expect a perfect podcast.
WHAT IS IT?
The Dana Gould Hour, first and foremost, is never an hour. But from the name you might get an idea of what you’re getting into - imagine a chat show but in magazine form, with interludes and monologues and all kinds of really interesting sidebars and tangents (which I’ll get into later), and lots of kind of ‘needledrop’ conversations. So one chat might end at a logical place, then another might pick up where it left off, and basically this is the show! The chats are loosely themed, and the episode title often gives you a fair idea of what you’re in for… Being a fan and scholar of all things LA/Hollywood freak-scene 60’s/70’s, Dana will usually steer the show in that kind of direction, but being such a bizarre treasure trove of weird happenings and incidents, politically and culturally, it’s a perfect era to reach from and also draw parallels with the present day. The themes are usually fairly comedy based, and there are usually two sets of conversations happening - one might be with comedy friends and guests, and the other might be a guest specific to the theme, so for instance one month Wayne Kramer from MC5 was on there (there are others but probably more specific to US television, still very interesting to hear from), and the comedy guests usually feature the Bitter Buddha himself Eddie Peppitone, the Smiths fanatic and awesomely funny April Richardson, and a gang of other favourites. There’s kooky 60’s style exotica music idents throughout, and every segment is guided and comes and goes without being out of place at all, or feeling crowbarred in or anything. It flows perfectly.
WHEN DOES IT COME OUT?
It’s pretty much monthly. I think it was more frequent back in the early days but it’s a very well produced podcast, and when you listen you’ll understand why it would take a good while to make. Also as Dana has been more involved in massive projects outside the podcast, it sounds like it’s been tougher to get done but all is forgiven when the episodes drop.
WHAT DO I LIKE ABOUT IT?
I’m trying to get across exactly what the show is and what the contents involve but it’s really hard to sum up the feeling of it. It really is like another world, not because loads of weird random stuff happens, but just the tightness of it, and how well produced it is. It’s a properly sculpted show each time, and each conversation is so engrossing. Where so many podcasts are long-form free flowing chats (which is, of course, an amazing thing to have in a podcast), this has a different tone and feels more like a late night show, with loads of skilfully plucked pieces of conversation that keep you fiending for the next segment. It helps that Dana is crazy gifted in his show hosting abilities, while being hilarious, and it’s a show that you can genuinely trust. I find this to be a really key element of what keeps you coming back to shows - you kind of have to put your trust in them. The content is obviously always different, but after a certain amount of episodes you start to get a feel for the quality, the form, structure and so on. That’s what I get from this, the consistency and production standard, it all adds to what feels like a fully polished album of a podcast.
One episode in particular that hit me in a number of ways was a fairly recent episode simply called ‘Joe Frank’. This was an episode entirely dedicated to a writer and radio performer called Joe Frank who Dana was very much inspired by to make the podcast in the first place. I’m so used to the show in its current format that this episode was really surprising, but in such a rewarding and satisfying way. With clips from Joe’s many thousands of hours of performances and productions, Dana paints an incredible portrait of him with extended clips that really show the genius of the guy. What hits even harder though is the end piece that Dana concludes with, a piece called ‘Insomnia’ written and performed by Dana and produced by Joe Frank. It’s the perfect way to end, and I could listen to it again and again - it’s a very touching and heavy piece of writing about Dana’s bouts with insomnia tied into his early life, with this lush music behind it supplied by Joe. Dana had been performing this all around, and Joe was in the crowd at one of the shows and invited him to be on his own show. Joe kept telling him in this new recording to go ‘flatter’, and while Dana was initially put out, it turned out to be the perfect advice and when you listen to it over this music, it’s just stunning. I remember listening to it on a train and I was utterly mesmerised. I love Dana anyway but this only endeared me even more. You would be well advised to hear that episode - it’s a departure from the usual episodes but it’s like a documentary in itself, and you’ll come out of it with a deep appreciation of the subject without a doubt.
Another episode I thoroughly enjoyed in recent months (I’ve listened to every single one but - as I’m sure you can understand - I can’t rightly remember those early ones… It’s been a number of years) was one called ‘Critters!’. Dana spoke to this guy Kevin Fitzgerald, a Colorado based vet who was once a bodyguard for just about everyone, including the Rolling Stones. I’d never heard of homeboy before but he’s just excellent - he has something of a trademark stoner voice, like a Cheech & Chong kind of vibe, but is so interesting and has some incredible tales about those early days doing the bodyguard stuff. I can most certainly recommend that one - again, it’s an episode that truly keeps you hanging on and fiending for more chunks of chit chat. Loved that one…
On the whole though, it’s just a hugely entertaining listen with a great range of guests and subject matter, all through the lens of someone who knows an inhuman amount about comedy history, politics, culture and Planet Of The Apes, and it really feels like a treat when the new episodes drop.
WHAT’S THE FORMAT?
Peppered throughout with said exotica jingles and idents made specifically for the show, but also using authentic cinema soundbites and ad dialogue here and there, it has a thoroughly consistent theme which is light hearted. This balances out the occasionally dark subject matter, and brings you back to a safe space. So it begins with the usual brief Charlton Heston inspired intro, which leads into a quick ad, followed by Dana’s intro catching you up on all things Dana, and then the theme music. After that, you are introduced to a new segment of chat, in which you are introduced to each guest with a “this is the sound of my voice” which should help you out with the old ID action. After that, if a new segment is introduced you’ll get the same again so you’re usually pretty well informed as to what’s going on. There will usually be a middle segment, where Dana goes deep into the history of a person or situation pertaining to the show’s theme - maybe a Manson scenario, maybe a Roy Orbison tale or two, but always a very interesting aside, which leads to a nice and subtle ad suggesting where you can find out more on the tale you just heard… There’s also a regular section called ‘Political Talk With Two Guys From Boston’, which is Dana and comedian pal John Ennis playing the parts of Johnny Condon and Robbie Sullivan respectively, throwing down severe Boston accents and playing the parts of two blue collar air conditioning salesmen (“We’re cool if you’re cool”). This and the middle section are always self contained, but function as a very nice distraction and breather between the conversations. Like an intermission, really. It seldom veers from this formula and it’s comforting in a way - you know what you’re getting, but the content is always new.
LEVEL OF ENGAGEMENT
It’s one you can sort of dip in and out of. While the episodes these days are routinely over the 2.5 hour mark, you can space this out over a few days and it’s not hugely time sensitive. You’ll get a lot of talk about the current presidency, and social climate, but it’s quite self contained so it’s more of a time capsule than an out of date chat, if you go back. Anyway - as a whole listen it’s really entertaining so would work perfectly on a long travel, but goes great in small doses too. You’re never really lost with it.
HOW MANY EPISODES AT THE TIME OF POSTING THIS?
Looks like 64 right now. I think there’s a Halloween episode coming up, which will be awesome as Dana loves him some Halloween. A good amount to filter into your listening!
BINGE OR ONE AT A TIME?
If you enjoy it and feel like you want to stick with it, bingeing could work if you do it maybe one a week. You’ll catch up in no time. Probably not more than one a day I would say, as it’s quite a dense and engaging listen.
ENTRY LEVEL EPISODES?
I’ve been listening since the beginning and unfortunately back in the days I wasn’t making too many notes on what to suggest to people, BUT - there are some that spring to mind…
Hope you enjoyed this one… As always, MUCH more to come, but hopefully you get a chance to peep The Dana Gould Hour. It’s a goody.
More on those soon…!