Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "Uhh Yeah Dude"

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They say that less is more. They say to keep it simple (, stupid). Simplify, simplify, said Thoreau. These are broad rules, to be sure, but, in what has become your Podthinker's humble opinion, they apply just as well to podcasting as they do to any other, healthier pursuit. When you're putting out a podcast, going elaborate is a dangerous gambit; sometimes you pull it off, but most of the time you wind up with an unholy mess. While what the hosts of Uhh Yeah Dude [iTunes link] do may indeed be unholy, it adheres to about as simple a format as formats get, and good lord have they scored a following by so doing.

Now bear with, because this is going to sound less promising before it sounds more promising. Like Arrive Having Eaten, Uhh Yeah Dude straddles the line between Two Twenty/Thirtysomething Guys/Girls Bullshitting About Culture (TTWGBAC) and Ridiculousness Uttered Flatly, Segmented By Music (RUFSBM), except it out-simplifies the latter genre by not having any interstitial music, and it isn't even segmented. That is to say, it's not sharply segmented: the dudes behind the mics simply talk to each other, no breaks, with vanishingly subtle or spun-on-a-dime changes in subject, for about an hour per episode. It's one solid conversational texture, all the way through.

Given the unfortunate title, this more than likely sounds, to the uninitiated, like a recipe for a meaningless, desultory yammerfest. And to some listeners, perhaps that's precisely what it is. Thing is, though, the show's actually quite funny — and it's not clear why. Co-hosts Seth Romatelli and Jonathan Larroquette — no, not the horny lawyer from Night Court, but it might be his son — don't make what one would normally call jokes. Theirs could more accurately be called a tonal humor, or at least it would be if the phrase "tonal humor" didn't conjure so many unpleasant memories of A Prairie Home Companion. It's worth noting, though, that 90% of your Podthinker's Uhh Yeah Dude-related laughs are set off by Romatelli's delivery style, which is tricky to describe but somewhat resembles a foulmouthed, more masculine, more slacker-y version of David Sedaris. At a certain point, the listener starts Pavlovianly chortling at whatever the guy happens to be saying.

Topic-wise, the program is no great shakes, but nor is it impoverished. Ostensibly surveying the United States of America in all its bizarre glory, Romatelli and Larroquette cover and ridicule happenings across this great land including but not limited to the release of Kanye West's "book", the threat of a Sugar Ray comeback and whether "Nougabot" counts as a racial slur. And after 170 episodes, they've got it down, trading riffs with and blasting through the issues of the day with almost startling quickness. Hence, one supposes, the large, devoted fanbase; they're admirers of the pure craft.

Vital stats:
Format: two dudes and America
Running since: February 2006
Duration:1h-1h15m
Frequency: weekly
Archive available on iTunes: all

[Podthinker Colin Marshall shakes his fist at all of you who were able to live large at MaxFunCon this year, but vows revenge — specifically, that he'll be at the next one. Tell him how maximally fun it was at colinjmarshall at gmail.]

Comments

It is fantastic, and hard to describe to others...

I can't recommend it more strongly.

might be his son

100% is. HOLLYWUYD!

Simply the Best

One should go back to the beginning and start to listen, you'll be transported back to that week in the best way. Format hasn't changed, both Seth and Jonathan slowly established their characters and new information is still trickling out every week. TAKE NOTICE.

888-842-2357, 323-481-4422

Part of what made UYD a neccesary part of my week is how accessible they seem. Might not be the right term but they have the hilarity of written comedy with the authenticity of bar conversation, a formula often touted but rarely achieved. They dont posture or exaggerate anything. There isn't the distance that too many pod-casters artificially inherit from broadcast. I honestly think that even if California goes into permanent blackout, they would still meet up for a hour each week with their notes cards and knowingly ask our crumbling society if everything was cool. They do it cause its fun and its so fun to listen to. Then the LA stories, the excellent music and the philosophical skimmings are just gravy.

Thanks for the review.

Cambridge, MA