Podthoughts by Ian Brill: "Ask Mr. Biggs"

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If you, like Jordan Morris, takes comfort in the sounds of talk radio perhaps you'll be interested in Ask Mr. Biggs (iTunes link). The concept is that a team of audio experts take calls from actual radio shows, splice them up and play them on this fictional show hosted by Mr. Biggs, who sounds like The Thing looks.

On their description the team behind Ask Mr. Biggs say they're not going "for easy laughs, but rather for a more subtle, nuanced, character-driven humor." Listening to the show I got a sense that its all taking place in a small town full of strange people. Mr. Biggs talks about his restaurant Whiz Bangs which sounds like home grown version of Applebee's. He proudly tells of how they put on a Richard Greco look-a-like contest in hopes of getting Greco to show up to the restaurant (he didn't). Mr. Biggs's sidekick Roger sounds like the calm voice against his friend's bluster but he proves to be the type of person so bland it becomes disturbing. He loves learning and sharing stupid points of trivia and talks of his racist grandmother in ways that aren't entirely disapproving. This show clearly takes places in Anytown, USA and creates a strong sense of place with satirical wit.

I was surprised, given the premise of the show, is that the calls aren't particularly funny. The producers of the show usually take normal types of questions, people asking for technical or diet advice, and use that to spin Roger and Mr. Biggs into absurd debates. The comedy on the show ends up sounding like a lot of the low key humor a lot of improvisers practice. I'm thinking particular of the episode of Jordan Jesse Go! with invented presidential candidates. There are a few laugh out loud episodes. Show #0016 features Mr. Biggs talking down a disgruntled former Whiz Bangs employee that's a riot. But most of the time its just slight a glimpse into small town insanity.

We've got podcast review so why not podcasts news (becuase that's where you want to go for news, a guy who manages to write his column every two weeks with no set schedule). Former Never Not Funny co-host (and Jordan Jesse Go! guest) Mike Schmidt returns to the podcasting world with The 40 Year Old Boy. It will be on iTunes soon I hope but for right now Schmidtty's got all the info to load the first episode into your iPod. So far it's The Former Third Baseman in monologist mode. It's a bit different from NNF but Schmidt's such a classic storyteller that I think it's great stuff.


I really like this show. Thanks for introducing me to it. Keep up the good work. Now a suggestion for podthoughts: "This is Hell". 4 hours of live uninterrupted quality. Fun and very informative.