Eli Braden has solidified his status as a Twitter thoroughbred. The guy is prolific, irreverent, and quick. The written word infrequently gets me giggling, but while “researching” this intro, I pursued some of his best tweets, and I laughed, out loud, several times.
Braden really shines when he’s responding to vapid celebrities and the automated posts of bland corporations. For example: “Not Olive Garden” RT @olivegarden: If you had to describe Italian food in three words, what would they be? He pummels Justin Beiber and Kim Kardashian regularly. It can get pretty beautiful.
But Braden fans know it’s his ability to write a comedy song that really sets him apart. He’s taken the art form to another level, putting his specific brand of celebrity satire to music. He’s written for ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’, and he’s a contributor to MAXIM Magazine, and his songs can be heard on The Howard Stern Show. And now, thankfully, he has a podcast. Turns out the guy is as insightful and friendly as he is funny. He recently answered a few questions for me.
Let’s start with heroes; Who are they now? Who were they when you were younger?
At this point in my life the only person I really look up to (except my parents, which I have to say because they’re still alive) is Howard Stern. I just think he’s a genius of another level. Despite unfathomable success, he’s stayed true to who he is as an artist, while still managing to evolve and improve on what he’s doing in a way no one else in the arts has even come close to. His show isn’t just the best radio show in history, it’s the best thing ever in any media.
I would also put Obama in there, actually. I think he’s a brilliant guy with amazing discipline who entered a very dirty game to try to get as much good done as he could against insane odds. There are other politicians I like, but Obama’s the only one I admire.
When I was young my heroes were music people: John Lennon and Morrissey stand out in particular. If I was more honest, I’d tell you I also went through a major Jim Morrison phase, but that would be too embarrassing to admit in print.
What came first, the music or the comedy?
Music. I was in rock bands for years before I ever considered doing comedy. I had two different major label record deals that never went anywhere.
I was always attracted to the more playful, funny side of music: Beck, Ween, P-Funk, Beastie Boys – a lot of rap music, actually. There’s even a lot of humor in both Lennon and Morrissey’s stuff when you get down to it. And when I eventually got too old and fat to be a ‘rock star’, I said: fuck it – I’ll try comedy. Another career with very little chance of success and zero job security! I make great decisions.
When comparing your work on Stern and Kimmel’s show, is it apples and oranges, or do/did they both fulfill specific needs?
I actually only worked at Jimmy Kimmel’s show for a short time – I was filling in for someone on maternity leave. But I’d go back in a minute if they’d have me! … What I do mainly for the Stern Show is parody songs, and for me anything that incorporates my music talent and songwriting ability is always gonna be in my wheelhouse. There are funnier people than me, there are better writers than me – but I honestly believe there aren’t many people who can write and produce a better comedy song than me – parody or original.
You’re a Twitter superstar. Where do the best jokes wind up? Twitter, Stern, Kimmel, your stand Up, the podcast? Or are they evenly distributed?
They just stay there on Twitter, waiting for someone to read them and like them enough to hire me for something. I NEED A FUCKING JOB.
Your commentary on celebrity can get very specific. Any blow back from the Kardashians of the world?
Yeah I was banned for life from having sex with any Kardashian so that SUUUUUUUUUCKS bro.
On to the podcast. Did it come about organically, or is there more method to your madness than one might assume?
I had no interest in doing another podcast like every other one out there. Most comedian podcasts are just variations on Maron or Never Not Funny. Actually, that’s a gross generalization; there are lots of creative original shows out there – especially on Earwolf and Nerdist.
But I didn’t want to do one unless I had an idea I thought was worthy. Finally I did. And I don’t even know what the idea is, but there seems to be some coherence. Someone described it as ‘a parody of a podcast’, and that’s definitely partially true.
Reviews for the show are glowing. Aside from it being funny as hell, what do you think it is people are identifying with?
For me, making this podcast is just an extension of making music. I approach it in the exact same way. I’m just having fun and making something I’d wanna listen to. If anyone else enjoys it, that’s awesome!