Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Let’s Talk About the Hashtag Comedy Show

Donate to the #hashtagcomedyshow here!
Podcasts are fun.

Half of the fun is sorting through all the sludge to find something reasonably passable.  Some podcasts have balls-to-the-wall production value, with studio-grade microphones and top-tier recording software and hosts that could easily be situated anywhere on the radio or television.  Some podcasts are recorded by four or five high school nerds all huddled around a Blue Snowball microphone in their mother’s garage.  Some are even worse – some are Destination:Asphyxiation with Tom Bevis.  Just like the best part about Minecraft is spending hours digging around in dirt and the best part of riding a bike is the peddling, the best part of listening to these things is tossing out your net and sorting through what you pull out of the massive, unfiltered ocean that is the world wide web.

But, man, Jesus Christ, holy moly, gee whiz and other such phrases – nothing beats the feeling you get when you find one that’s worth your time, one that justifies all the wasted hours and hard drive space you spent milling around iTunes, Podomatic, Podbean, Libsyn, etc, etc ,etc, pulling out cover after cover.  It’s that spark of gold while you’re panning in California, it’s the shine off that toy you lost and discover under your bed, it’s the fucking groan you feel when Indiana Jones escapes that temple at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark with the monkey head idol intact. 
It's a lot easier to subscribe on iTunes.
I used to listen to podcasts.  And, I tell you, that search can be relentlessly cruel.  But I was lucky enough to be adopted by the podcasting family through a few sarcastically warm-hearted connections who took me in for no reason other than I wouldn’t go away (c’mon, it wasn’t my award-winning personality), and this made my search a lot easier.  And since then, I’ve heard more podcasts that I can count, and many of them are good.  Well above the international average curve – that is to say, better than those pimply-faced loners locked up in their basements talking about Dr Who (I’m one of those self-hating podcasters). 

And as wonderful and entertaining as podcasts are, sometimes, they take on a life of their own.  A notable exception is 1 August’s Royal and Doodall day.  Now, I came in half-way through this adventure and all the facts I have are secondhand, so if I get anything skewed, write me a letter about how stupid and lame you think I am, send it to tomfromda (at) gmail (dot) com, and I’ll read it, chuckle, then delete it promptly.  As I understand it, though, Royal and Doodall day was proposed by yet another podcast, The Dhead Factor, in an attempt to boost the ratings of the well-deserving Royal and Doodall podcast. 
BFF's are fucking boring, listen to these guys instead. @Royal_n_Doodall
The idea was on 1 August, 2012, all the podcasting and twitter community between these two shows and all their respective tributaries would subscribe, rate, download, etc The Royal and Doodall show to up the numbers on Stitcher and iTunes and all that.   The guys at Dhead Factor had something similar for The Gee and Jay Show – something of an internet sensation themselves now – previously, but Royal and Doodall decided to up the ante and do a full-blown live extravaganza that nearly became an international phenomenon (we’re not talking Beatles big, but close enough).  People connected to the show from most reaches of the world.  Not all of them, mind you, even God’s arms aren’t that big, and believe it or not, some places still don’t have internet. 

The result was a six-or-eight hour long affair between Twitter, Skype, Ustream, Google Hangout, and etc.  Yours truly was even involved briefly.  In fact, if it weren’t for RnD Day 2012, I probably never would have gotten into podcasting myself.  That sense of community, of camaraderie, showed me that there will never be a shortage of people willing to beat up on me and say they’re my pals (just like growing up!) and that I could call someone a goddamn dickweed without them unfollowing me on the Twitter machine.  Now that’s friendship, man!
We all owe a debt of gratitude. @thedheadfactor
And that was great.  That was fun.  People are still talking about it (fifty percent of those people are me, but who’s counting?).  Well, the next big thing to grow out of a podcast and become its own thing is the Hashtag Comedy Show, sprouting from a seed planted by Travis and Brandi Clark in their podcast, TinyOdd Conversations.

Tiny Odd Conversations is one of those aforementioned good podcasts.  In my opinion – which, honestly, is the Law of the Land in this stream of HTML coding and RSS feeds – Tiny Odd Conversations is one of the best podcasts out there.  In their most recent offering, Episode #62, titled Martian Sandal Tops, Travis declares that if the duo raises $20 through the donate button on their website, they will produce a solo comedy album by Brandi, titled the Hashtag Comedy Album.  The $20 was easily achieved, and Travis was egged on by one Angus Doodall (one half of the Royal and Doodall podcast) to up the ante himself.
Seriously, don't make me yell.  Listen to this show. @TOCpod
And by George, Travis didn’t back down.  Hell, this is a guy who boiled and ate seeds from a fucking alien pod that a tree in his yard dropped on him for no reason other than the internet machine demanded it.  It’s been established that he’s fearless.  So, in response to these chimes, Travis let it be known that he would strongarm Brandi into performing a full-on comedy show, to be streamed across the internet, distributing video copies to donators and inviting “gold level” designated contributors to attend. 

This, my friends, is where magic happens.  For every 2-Girls-1-Cups and OMGTHISCATSISWEARINGGLASSES that pops up on the internet, there are people willing to go to extraordinary lengths, break their backs and vocal chords, and embarrass the hell out of their wives (“You’re making me do things I don’t want to do,” Travis tweets, relaying a conversation with his wife, “It nervouses (sic) me.”) for the very sake of your entertainment.
No one has ever seen the real Travis Clark. @thatguytravis
But, my friends, these things aren’t free.  All the goodwill and honest-hearted entertainment in the world can’t exist without the help of the people who enjoy it.  The Clark’s invitation is simple: you can enjoy this feat of internet-based entertainment organized by a pair of people who honestly love to entertain at the very small cost of a generous donation.

Travis has set up a donate button on the Tiny OddConversations website with no minimum (and, by God, no maximum) donation.  In short: if you want this to happen, and I’m sure you do, or you wouldn’t still be reading, toss them a few dollars to front the bill.  It’s that easy.  And in return, you’re guaranteed at least thirty minutes of solid entertainment.
Presenting: your star! @serialnerd
And even if that isn’t your speed, keep in mind that unless you’re Marc Maron or, eventually, Weird Al Yankovic (you goddamn know that fucker will be podcastin’ with the best of them one day), podcasting is a labor of love.  That is to say, the hosts and producers of these shows don’t get paid for their work.  Even Podfather Marc Hershon of the SuccotashShow doesn’t bring in money for all the stellar work he does.  Much like television and radio in the past, the podcast is in its infancy and has yet to be significantly monetized.  This means two things, the first is it’s still a free medium, still a forum where anyone (even those high school kids I keep talking about) can participate.  It also means that there is no bread being made from all the work, and a guy’s really gotta eat.

What I’m trying to say is – if you have no interest in hearing or seeing Brandi Clark attempt stand-up for the first time (although you should), donate to Tiny Odd Conversations anyway.  If you don’t listen to Tiny Odd Conversations (again, you really fucking ought to – here’s that link again), then donate to your favorite podcast.  And if you don’t listen to podcasts at all, why the fuck are you still reading this?

So, just to sweeten the already ample pot, I’m tossing in a Destination: Asphyxiation t-shirt to anyone donating to Tiny Odd Conversations for the Hashtag Comedy Show.  It’ll be guaranteed not to fit so you never have to wear it, so it’s a win-win.  Consider it a Christmas present to yourself
Seriously! Donate to the #hashtagcomedyshow right HERE!


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