There’s a lot of a scuttlebutt surrounding the The Bret Easton Ellis Podcast; partly because its host is an author revered by a generation of aging angsters (not unlike myself), and partly because he’s had two mega A-listers on his show: Kanye West and Judd Apatow. Needless to say, iTunes is a big fan.
First impressions: A bit heavy-handed.
My maiden voyage with Ellis’ show was the Judd Apatow episode (part one), and in all honesty, I will probably never listen to the Kanye West episode; I really don’t understand why what he says matters. But I am “aging,” as I noted in the opening graph.
I’ve heard several Apatow interviews over the past couple years, and I like a lot of the things the he’s done, but dude is a serious downer, and speaking of depressing guys, Ellis isn’t exactly Richard Simmons. I know these guys deal in malaise and the existential funk brought on by one’s resignation to mediocrity, but it’s OK to talk about the bright side every now and then. Right?
The podcast advertises “a glimpse into one of popular culture’s most fascinating minds.” Well, what I listened to was engaging, and Ellis certainly is a fascinating guy. But what I also heard was a lot of heavily trodden philosophical jibber jabber about where we’re heading as a society, and how our kids just aren’t going to have the coping skills we all amassed in our hard-scrabble upbringings.
What amazes me is every generation says this about their kids, yet we always think our situation is different. Every era subscribes to a unique perspective on the end of the world, and how things are going down the tubes. And every generation utters the expression, ‘kids today.’ Both figuratively and literally. Granted, this was the very beginning of the Apatow interview, and many other topics were mined, but it was hard to shake that intro. Just a bad jumping off point in my opinion.
Bill Burr does not mince words. If you’ve ever listened to this Boston comic’s podcast, you know he loves his dog. He hates bankers. And he has issues with women. But in his head, he’s a great guy.
Burr is regarded as one of the more gifted stand-ups working today. His reputation for killing in both traditional comedy clubs and alternative rooms is hard-earned, and his humor is unparallelled in its cynicism and unapologetic honesty, traits he even embraces in his promotional ad spots it seems.
The clip below is probably one of the most hilarious live reads I’ve ever heard. In it, Burr, slays one of his sponsors (Shari’s Berries), and airs it, on his show, uncensored. Hands down, the ballsiest advertising move, a podcaster has made.
“Words are thoughts. Thoughts are things. ‘They seemed to like it.’ That’s something I would say,” Stevens says to a another cast member via phone during his characteristically un-funny podcast (pictured). But it is funny. Very funny. I just can’t figure out why.
Funny in that Stevens is a master of getting real serious real fast, and squirming through exhausting psychoanalysis and awkward diatribes about his own mental health. He’s almost too good at grinding the dialogue to a halt with his own neurosis. In a recent appearance on Who Charted?, Stevens revealed a longtime phobia he’s had about his eyebrows. There was closure.
His podcast, The Steven Brody Stevens Festival of Friendship, is an examination of the many things that led to his now-famous breakdown, forever archived in a 24-plus-hour rant on Twitter. He’s hilarious, combative at times, and unhinged… like a fox. Take a listen. Note: the Comedy Central Show is amazing.