Jack Helmuth is the assuredly lesser half of the duo behind the Questionable Material podcast. He was asked a few very simple questions and was eventually able to answer them in an incoherent scrawl written on bath towels. His manic scribble-answers have been translated into understandable English by people proficient at that sort of thing.
WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO LAUNCH A PODCAST?
Wow, this got personal fast. How DARE you ask me this?
What prompted me to launch a podcast? Well, when you hit rock bottom in your life you’ll do some pretty extreme things, even though you know you’ll regret them for the rest of your days.
To be honest, I had a conversation with my wife recently about my career and she asked me what it was that I wanted the most. “Take money out of the equation, what is it you want the most?” So I said, “Hike down those drawers and I’ll show you!” 15 minutes later, after I was icing the area on my face that she slapped, she asked it again and I answered honestly: “I just want to be doing The B.S. of A. with Brian again. If I could do just that for the rest of my life I would be really happy.”
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUIT [sic] RECORDING YOUR PODCAST?
Please leave this typo in so you can understand the working conditions here at Questionable Material. It’s like Lord of the Flies, but with doughy middle-aged dudes.
[Ed. note: Only Jack is doughy because Brian is more vain and goes to the gym.]
Well, Brian bought a bunch of equipment, which was nice of him. We’ve recorded five episodes thus far and have recorded in five different locales as we try to balance our duties of parenthood (or deadbeat parenthood in Brian’s case), husbandry (animal husbandry in Brian’s case), and work (nothing in Brian’s case). We just sit for a few hours, try to make each other laugh and surprise each other, and then Brian has the unenviable task of cutting all that material down to 40-ish minutes of gold.
IF THE WORD PODCAST DIDN’T EXIST, HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN WHAT IT IS YOU ARE DOING?
You are really angering me with how far you’re pushing boundaries with these questions. Please respect my privacy.
My lawyer is now telling me that I have to answer these or I’ll be in breach of contract, which is weird because this is a podcast and I didn’t sign a contract. Also, I don’t have a lawyer, so who is this guy sitting on my lap giving me legal advice? I guess I’ll trust him. I have good instincts about this type of thing.
Ok, I’ll pretend podcasts don’t exist and that there are still gatekeepers in society who maintain at least a bare minimum standard for quality content. What is it we’re doing? We’re trying to make people of all stripes, including all political persuasions, laugh. We’ll make fun of everybody in hopes we can all come together and not takes ourselves so seriously all the time. We just want to execute good comedy, bits and jokes, that make people forget their troubles for a little while. We have no political agenda, we’re not trying to get anyone elected or impeached. We just want to bring folks together.
WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR YOU TO BE A FULL-TIME PODCASTER?
There is a number. I won’t share that number, but my wife has said if I make a certain amount of money (which is considerably less than what I’m making now) then I can quit and just make content with Brian until the end of my days. I would like to get there.
WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING WITH BRIAN SACK?
What’s it like working with Mohammed Atta? There’s a resilience there that you respect, but at the end of the day you know the person is despicable.
I don’t hand out false comedy compliments, but I can say without reservation that Brian is always funny and playful and generous as a performer. I love working with Brian. It’s been one of the true highlights and privileges of my professional career.
One of the true white privileges.
WHY IS IT CALLED “QUESTIONABLE MATERIAL?”
Because the first 100 names we came up with were either bad or already taken.
The other big reason is that our comedy is not necessarily PC. We’re not into empty shock value, but we’re not afraid to tell a joke that some people will find questionable. To those people I’d say stick with us, because the next joke coming down the pike will be something that you’ll love and someone else will find questionable.