Comedian Kumail Nanjiani can go totally blue, and somehow it doesn’t register as profane or vulgar. Not that he’s a blue comic. “Wry” would be a good way to describe his humor. He was a regular on a lot of the alt-comedy podcasts long before Nerdist launched The Indoor Kids, which “isn’t just about video games, but it isn’t not about video games.”
Nanjiani’s wife, Emily Gordon, produces The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, a critic favorite housed in the showroom in the rear of Meltdown Comics on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Gordon is also the co-host of The Indoor Kids.
If you’re not a gamer, you shouldn’t let the content description scare you away. This show is a riot. The video game chatter is almost secondary to the couple’s banter with an “insider” guest.
This week, they had Aaron Bleyaert, a writer/researcher/performer at Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
For a first-time listener, the subject matter almost needs a reset, a reminder that you’re about to listen to some genuine geeks talk shop. They don’t waste any time diving into their favorite consoles, 8-bit and 128-bit alike.
Episode 190 is a breakdown of the best games that never were. They kick it off with Bleyaert’s review of the E.T. game, an ’80s one-off purportedly so bad that Atari 2600 developers buried the lion’s share of the game cartridges they manufactured in the desert. Bleyaert was equally critical of the project. You can see why it would achieve serious Razzie status in the gaming community:
The hosts ran with the E.T. bit and almost immediately took it to an “adult” place. What’s great is, Gordon is even less reluctant to get dirty than Nanjiani. She can summon a blush with the best of them.
Water World was next on the chopping block. And quickly followed by Rap Basketball, a game concept that probably has no rival. The gang somehow found their way to ’90s rapper Coolio, an interaction between Bleyaert and Don Pardo, and a stripper named “Knuckles.” It was a mess, and I loved it.
The verdict, gamers with a sense of humor will devour this, but non-gamers should dig it too.