When the Now Hear This Podcast Festival promised the “brightest stars in podcasting,” they meant it!
Friday night, How Did This Get Made? took the stage to entertain an audience that was just as excited as me and this is my absolute favorite podcast. It makes me laugh; it makes me cry from laughing. And it makes me a social outcast on the subway due to all the smiling and giggling that occurs when I listen to this podcast.
The short description of HDTGM is a movie recap podcast where three comedians watch a terrible movie and break it down awful plot-point by awful plot-point. For Now Hear This, the movie of choice was 1980’s remake of The Jazz Singer starring your mom’s favorite singer-songwriter Neil Diamond. I watched it, and oh yeah, it was bad. More on that later.
The Live Show
This recording was done at the Stitcher Main Stage, the largest space available. I had been advised to line up an hour before the show. So when I arrived at 8pm, I wasn’t surprised to see a line of people already forming. HDTGM has a rabid fanbase and it was one of two Main Stage shows that weekend. The room ended up being filled to the brim with people.
As people settled into their seats, Paul Scheer (The League, Fresh Off The Boat) came out to do some crowd work. This included treating us all to a video montage of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s butt in every JCVD movie they’ve covered. I’ve never seen a JCVD movie, and now I feel like I’ve seen the most entertaining bits. (Get it, bits? It’s a pun, people, follow me here!)
Then the other hosts arrived. I should mention that a HDTGM live recording is very much like a Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight showing. There’s audience participation that might confuse HDTGM newbies. For example, when host Jason Mantzoukas enters, the audience yells out “Zoooooks,” and when host June Diane Raphael enters, everyone yells out “Juuuuuuune.” It sounds like we’re booing, but really we’re cheering with love.
The special guest for this episode was Chris Gethard (The Chris Gethard Show Live!, Don’t Think Twice), who was also in attendance at Now Hear This with his podcast Beautiful/Anonymous. Chris watched this movie while on a family vacation, complete with a nice lake house. Everyone agreed that watching this movie was the low point of their day, but were so excited to talk about it.
Guys, when this podcast episode drops, please give it a listen. You’ve probably never been entertained by blackface, blatant sexism, and anti-Semitism all in the span of an hour before. Because you’re a good moral person. Except HDTGM makes it your job to laugh at these things and boy howdy, did we laugh!
At this point I should put up a spoiler wall, but you should probably never watch this movie so power on! Jason could not get over how old Neil Diamond was in this movie, Chris was obsessed with why Neil Diamond abandoned literally everything in this movie, Paul was obsessed with Neil Diamond’s hair blowing in the wing, and at one point Jason and Chris mansplained diaper-changing to June. June, who has two children by Paul Scheer (that’s right, Paul is her husband). Never have I laughed at mansplaining so much.
The audience participation did not disappoint. Each live episode, Paul goes into the audience for questions and queries. And because their fanbase is crazy, we had all watched the movie and had something to say. My personal question was going to be, “What is up with Laurence Olivier starring in movies with blackface?” but someone else remembered the Olivier 1965 rendition of Othello and they beat me to the punch.
Then came Second Opinions. Second Opinions is a bit where Paul culls through old Amazon reviews for 5-star reviews. And the audience is always asked to provide the theme-song for this bit. Four brave souls came prepared with songs, and they all delivered. One was to the tune of Mr. Sandman. Another to the tune of Sweet Caroline. Which will make the final episode? You’ll have to tune in and find out.
With the show coming to a close, Chris Gethard left us with these parting words: “Would you want to see a movie where the Ramones beat up Neil Diamond?” Yes, Chris, yes I do.