WHY WE ARE NOT HITLER
Before we launched Questionable Material, I told Jack in no uncertain terms that we should not be like Hitler.
Jack made a face. Not the usual stupid-looking one, but a different kind. One that suggested he didn’t understand what I meant. I could tell he wanted to ask me what I was talking about — and seemed to be on the verge of using a Gary Coleman catchphrase from a 1978 sitcom. Instead, he made a different stupid-looking face that had a raised eyebrow on it. That was his way of letting me know that he had no clue what I meant, the big dummy.
So, I turned to Jack (I usually face away from him) and explained exactly why I hoped we would not be like Hitler.
After losing World War I, Germany learned that a two-front war was a terrible idea. They had their asses (Hinterns in German) handed to them and were miserable for many years after. Things were so bad that folks got super excited about an agitated anti-Semite who couldn’t get into art school. Then, boom, World War II. For a few years, things were going swimmingly for Hitler and his gang; they had the world stage, all the Champagne they wanted (the region, not the beverage), and snappy uniforms designed by Hugo Boss.
Then they went and attacked their former ally, the Soviet Union, immediately opening a two-front war. We all know what happened afterwards. Ultimately, Hitler’s greatest accomplishment was killing the guy responsible for starting the war.
Hitler proved two things. One, he was a terrible tactician. Two, and most important, he did not learn from past mistakes.
That is why we do not want to be like Hitler.
In order to be a successful comedy podcast that dominates the world, or at least a large swatch of the English-speaking part of it, it’s important to study the failures of other comedy podcasts. By learning what they did wrong we can avoid making the same mistakes. We can avoid being like Hitler.
I wish I could say that Jack finally understood what I was talking about, but he just sat there with that vacant, punchable stare. God, I can’t stand him.
At any rate, we studied other comedy podcasts and their failures. Here’s what we found and what it taught us:
The Kyle & Jim Blather for an Hour and a Half Show
They seemed nice enough, but it’s filed under comedy and after 78 minutes you haven’t had more than a handful of brief chuckles. What we learned: Edit out the unfunny parts. If it was 1995 and you had to make the edits on actual magnetic tape with a razor blade, you could be forgiven. But it’s 2020. We’ve come a long way! Digital! It’s easy!
Sweartime with Kyle Jessop
Interesting topics? Check. Informed host? Check. Gratuitous f-bombs every eight seconds? Check. Lesson: Less gratuitous swearing means more room for entertaining words. I don’t mind swearing Kyle, but the audience deserves more than pointless cussing, you shitface.
I Hope My Political Rivals Get Bum Cancer
Man, you sure hate those guys! Thing is, some dude screaming angrily into the void about how much he hates the opposite team is not entertaining, is it? Lesson: Every single politician is worthy of scorn, mockery and often, contempt. Why limit it to your side?
We’re Sexy-Breasted Ladies Talking Sexy! Sex!
I get it — you’re pretty and on the internet so your simple, penised listeners are going to be more forgiving when your comedy podcast forgoes the comedy part and focuses on talking about your trysts. But I want more comedy, and definitely a lot less vocal fry. Lesson: Focus on entertainment rather than seduction. The grim reality is if Jack and I try sexy talk and flirting with the audience, we would have the most unintentionally hilarious podcast in all the land. Or zero subscribers in under ten minutes.
Shitty Microphone with Wendell Jacobs
Some funny stuff there, Wendell, but it sounds like you and the Radio Shack omnidirectional mic you got on eBay fell into a coffee can. Lesson: Spend more money than Jack would like on decent microphones.
“I love the podcast! Please don’t call me a wino on it.”
[Will talk to your husband, sorry.]
“keep up the good work!!! Love the carty b and billy one so funny”
[hate the spelling, love the sentiment]
“Funny, irreverent and of reasonable length.”
-Via Apple Podcast Reviews
[Can we use this as a tagline?]
-Via Apple Podcast Reviews
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY
We get it. You buy string lights on eBay and it comes with a little note from the merchant begging you to review their store. You buy a legal pad at Staples and they circle a web address on the receipt and say, “Please fill out this survey.” You hang up after thirty minutes on the phone with Delta and two seconds later you get an email from Delta asking how your chat with Barbara was. It’s enough to give you review fatigue.
That said, podcast reviews are much more important than other reviews. People make podcast-listening decisions based on reviews, and while having over 50 five-star reviews is awesome, 100 would be more than twice better. Jack says you don’t even have to write anything, unless you want to. All he wants are your stars. I wouldn’t mind something written, even if it’s just “Haha” (see mailbag) but sure, a little explanation of what you love about Questionable Material might help convince other folks to give us a listen, which is kind of what we want, being honest.
A new service makes reviewing podcasts much easier by giving one link to follow.
And if you haven’t subscribed to the podcast, please do via your favorite podcast provider. When you actually hit the subscribe button, new episodes will come to you magically, right away! And it makes Jack feel good.
You are all swell,
Jack & Brian
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