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Jeff Bridges on the Nerdist

It doesn’t take long in episode 382 of the Nerdist to see the similarities between Jeff Bridges and his now, archetypal portrayal of Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski. The actor is obviously less put upon than the famous Coen brothers character, but his demeanor is soooo Dude.

Jeff Bridges Nerdist

He’s a little slurry, surprisingly cogent, and you can actually hear his perma-smile coming through the speakers.

In fact, he’s so relaxed, it’s almost jarring when he tries to strategically steer the convo toward his new movie R.I.P.D., a 3D supernatural action romp, where he and Ryan Reynolds play cops assigned to “protect and serve the living from an increasingly destructive array of souls who refuse to move peacefully to the other side.”

Yep, that’ll be one adult ticket for the matinee, por favor. I love an absurd premise.

Matt and Jonah are nowhere to be found in this ep; there is an unidentified  third party who chimes in every now again, but for the most part this is Hardwick and Bridges, mano-a-mano.

Bridges is not as forthcoming as one might expect him to be. You get a sense that as a showbiz legacy (his father is Lloyd Bridges), he’s learned how to expose just enough of himself over the years to make an interview entertaining but not overly revealing.

He talks about Tron; he talks about The Big Lebowski, and he talks about his relationship with his father and his brother, Beau. But he never goes deep enough to make this interview compelling.

I get the impression he’s  hot off a press junket for the new movie, and Hardwick, though he tries to dive deeper, has no option but to vibe off of Bridges’s momentum. If you’re  a Lebowski fan, it’s certainly worth a listen. If you’re not, don’t expect too much from this one.

Rick Moranis on the Nerdist – Ep. 368

Rick Moranis did the Nerdist last week. That’s right, Gozer the Traveler’s Key Master, up close and personal. He’s been MIA for some timVinceClortho_GNREID.jpge now. And I’ve  missed him, as have countless other children of the ’80s it seems.

Moranis made an indelable impression on millions of young comedy enthusiasts. His turn as Vince Clortho, Sigourney Weaver’s nosy neighbor in Ghostbusters, stands as one of the funniest comedic performances of that decade. Then there were his roles in Strange Brew, Parenthood, Little Shop of Horrors, Spaceballs and let’s not shortchange Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. All classics in their own right.

Sadly, Moranis’s wife died of liver cancer in 1991, and he stopped doing movies several years later. “Well, I took a sabbatical,” he said in an interview with Sound and Vision. “I walked away from shooting movies because I couldn’t handle the travel. I’m a single parent. I had young kids, and I found that keeping in touch with them from hotel rooms and airports wasn’t working for me. So I stopped. And I discovered after a couple years that I really didn’t miss making movies.”

His name has come up on various podcasts through the years, and I wasn’t surprised to hear he’d decided to reemerge on the Nerdist. They can book anybody over there. And it probably couldn’t get more perfect in terms of content alignment. Besides, I don’t see him jiving with Joe Rogan or Adam Carolla.

On episode 368, Jonah and Chris (Matt was in Orlando at Disney) interviewed him as part of a promotional tour for his new bluegrass/folk/country album My Mother’s Brisket. They respectfully avoided discussing Moranis’s wife’s passing, and opted for an in-depth look at his comedy background with SCTV. They talked about some of his parts in the movies I mentioned, but Mr. Moranis is a very even-keeled individual.

Obviously, I wanted him to recount his work with Bill Murray,  Steve Martin, and Mel Brooks with childlike giddiness, but he was very matter-of-fact about those days. “I haven’t talked to anybody in years,” he said at one point. And then very objectively explained it was just a fact of life. There are foundational elements in any relationship, a shared experience. And when that element is removed from the relationship, a friendship, though still genuine, loses its urgency.

Despite Chris and Jonah’s palpable excitement, one can’t help but detect an air of sadness surrounding this episode. Moranis is not the characters he made famous. He’s articulate, earnest, kind, and understandably disillusioned with certain aspects of his life. I wouldn’t call him a cynic, but he’s certainly a man of modest means, intimately aware of falling prey to pride, as it typically comes before the proverbial fall.

There was one part of the interview that really stayed with me: There were some microphone issues in the studio they were recording, so the intro and the outro were done on a handheld device without a directional mic. So you hear the audio quality transition. The formal interview ends, and Chris drops his burrito line, then the low fi mic takes over. Moranis seemingly unaware he is still being recorded, reveals he is just as thoughtful and kind on mic as his is off. Made me want to go out an buy his album.

A little classic Moranis to get your day going:

Katie Levine: an Insider’s Take on the Podcast Boom

Katie LevineKatie Levine has played an integral role in some of YOUR favorite podcasts. She worked behind the scenes at ACE Broadcasting, now Carolla Digital, during the Goliath’s formative years. She saw it grow from a solitary show to a revenue-generating heavyweight.

Currently a producer for the Nerdist Podcast Network, and co-host of Save it for Air, a bi-weekly show she does with Logan Moy, Levine is in the vortex of the podcast boom. She graciously answered a few questions for me last week.

  • First things first: Is it a love of radio, comedy, broadcasting, Hollywood, or all of the above, that brought you to production?

It was a love of comedy and Hollywood that brought me into production. I have always loved comedy and when I was 10 years old I became obsessed with Saturday Night Live. I said “I wanna be a producer on that show”. I didn’t know what a producer did, but I’m Jewish so I guess it was instinctive. I then went to school for film and television production. I took every class possible because I thought to be the best producer, I needed to know how all the steps on the entertainment industry work.

  • Great to see another “Save it for Air” in the cue. Tell me about your history with Logan, and why you think your dynamic is such good cast? Also, why the hiatus?

Logan and I met at Carolla. We started doing a podcast that was pretty much behind the scenes stuff at Carolla called The Fudge Factory. We would answer emails and tweets from fans and tell funny behind the scene stories. When I left, we wanted to keep doing a podcast so we changed the name to Save It For Air and the format to a free-form podcast. I think our dynamic is good because Logan and I are good friends and have known each other for awhile. We also both still listen and work in podcasting so we are knowledgeable in the field. Also I’m way cooler than Logan. We took a hiatus because we both have very conflicting schedules and it was hard to find the time to meet up and record. But now we are making an effort to get a show out every two weeks.

  • What do you think podcasts communicate that terrestrial radio has not been able to?

Podcasts are much more intimate. The hosts are for the most part uncensored and able to get much deeper into conversations. Also, it is a longer format that is not broken up by advertising. This allows an unbroken conversation where the listener is really able to relate to the hosts and guests.  It feels like you are listening in on a conversation you are maybe not supposed to be hearing.

  • What are you most proud of?

I am proud of all the shows I work on. I don’t have favorites. But I love the way You Made It Weird blew up. It’s a great podcast and the response has been unbelievable. I also love that we have a podcast hosted by a 10 year old (The Mutant Season). It is hilarious and fascinating to see a kid interview adults. And I am extremely excited about a new one called The K Hole with Kurt Braunohler. It is a multi-platform podcast that I’m sure will be fun and entertaining.

  • Do you think podcasting will eventually become an accepted advertising platform? What’s it going to take?

I think more advertisers are going to see podcasting as a viable source soon. Even since I started, more and more advertisers have come on board. It’s a great way to advertise because it caters to a very loyal audience who wants to help out. And you are able to pinpoint exactly who you are advertising to.

You can follow Katie on Twitter @kt_money