Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: The Anytime Show

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Vital stats:
Format: everyman and comedian interviews
Episode duration: 1h-1h15m
Frequency: 2-4 per month

We’ll have to dig our way out of a veritable labyrinth of Maximum Fun connections with this one. If you keep up with the offworld appearances of Max Fun personalities (like this forum thread does) you’ll have noticed that both Jordan and Jesse recently took the guest seat on something called The Anytime Show [RSS] [iTunes]. The truly astute Max Funster will realize that Dominic Dierkes, the program’s host, pulled up a similarly temporary chair on a JJGO in the not-too-distant past. On their Anytime sessions, Jordan discussed his theories about ass-stuffing parties in the approach of the Rapture and Jesse discussed his disappointment with his Alan Alda-free birthing classes — both of which they also cover on separate JJGO episodes. On his JJGO session, Dierkes gets involved in a conversation about “black Bart Simpson,” a subject which arises independently on his Anytime chat with Donald Glover [MP3] — who came on The Sound in 2009!

Before we’ve officially started shooting an Oliver Stone movie about this (a phenomenon I think I remember hearing come up on Dierkes’ JJGO), let me give you the basics on what goes on with The Anytime Show: Dierkes, one-third of the sketch group Derrick, gets up live onstage at Kevin Smith’s SModcastle and talks to people. These people include, of course, the aforementioned Jordan, the aforementioned Jesse, and the aforementioned Donald Glover, but also other comedic and/or podcast-y types you can find around L.A.: his fellow Derricker D.C. Pierson [MP3], say, or the Upright Citizens Brigade’s Matt Walsh [MP3]. Hence the promise of a heapin’ helpin’ of laffs every time.

If you don’t believe me, well, it’s a live show — just listen for the chortles in the background! You’ll hear about a dozen. I wouldn’t normally comment on a thing like low turnout — on a podcast, the relevant audience unit numbers exactly one — but I feel like every other episode I hear references the audience’s thinness. I can’t quite tell what’s going wrong, but maybe Dierkes just hasn’t built up quite the name recognition needed to fill 50 seats on the regular, a task I’m sure turns out to be far stiffer than it sounds. Still, he brings his interviewing and joke-cracking game in full, no matter the attendance, displaying a work ethic that, yes, he talked about on JJGO. And speaking of, man, do Jordan and Dierkes have moments where they sound alike. You wouldn’t mistake one for the other purely on tone, and you wouldn’t mistake one for the other purely on cadence, but their speech resembles each other’s just enough in both dimensions to make me periodically think, hey, these guys related? Comedically, perhaps.

I’m sure only time separates The Anytime Show from a regularly packed SModcastle, especially if its guests stay well-known. Paradoxically, minimizing the well-knownness of certain guests might help too. For the show’s first segment, Dierkes often brings up a member of the audience and interviews them, figuring out on the fly what might prove interesting to ask them about: their tuba-playing, the origami they’ve folded and then burnt, their opinion on the Kobe Bryant rape case. I quite like the idea of pairing interviews with non-well-known non-comedians with interviews with well-known comedians. In fact, I don’t even need Dierkes to make actual jokes during the former; I take all the amusement I need from the contrast.

[Podthinker Colin Marshall also happens to host and produce The Marketplace of Ideas [iTunes], a public radio show and podcast dedicated to in-depth cultural conversation. Please hire him for something.]