Podcasting: Original Content in Our Remake-Obsessed Culture
It's hard to find original and creative content today no matter what format you're searching in. Films, novels, television -- they all have fallen victim to a popular culture that praises rehashed material over original stories that challenge us as humans and as a society.
For those tired of sitting through endless "Tranformers" movies, seeing vampire literature at the book store, or balking at the advertisement for newest lame sitcom, there's good news. Podcasting is where misfits go to chat, laugh, and hang out.
And we are all invited.
A podcast is hard to describe despite being, perhaps, the simplest form of entertainment. Two (or more) people sit down in front of microphones and talk. That's it. Plain and simple, right? What is unpredictable and amazing, however, is not the simplicity of the conceit but rather the actual content.
Kevin Smith has become a bit of a mystery as of late. The mind behind "Clerks" has almost entirely given up on directing films and lashes out at the industry, film critics, and whoever seems to be ruining his day. This, on the surface, is what he appears to be up to. What Smith has actually done is venture away from the camera to the microphone where he has started his own podcasting network titled, "Smodcast."
There you can hear him and Ralph Garman poke fun at the latest celebrity news on "Hollywood Babble On" or just hear him geek out about the Caped Crusader via "Fat Man on Batman." This all may sound like a bore, but it is far from it. Every line of dialogue is original.
And the banter isn't interrupted for news, sports or weather as in terrestrial radio programs.
Podcasts could be said to be a beacon of positivity in a sea of politically motivated and hatefully biased art flooding our airwaves.
Some may recognize the name Jay Mohr. He's a comedian who works in both film ("Jerry Maguire") and television with the unique and short lived "Action" and the surprisingly intelligent and funny "Gary Unmarried." Mohr showcases a whole new side of his talents with his "Mohr Stories" podcast.
Here, he sits down with people who make him laugh in his garage. Yes. His garage. Why watch "Picture Perfect" when you can hear Mohr laugh about how Jennifer Aniston hated him and made his life a living hell while filming the movie? Or hear the story about how Clint Eastwood offered him a German beer and looked at him like the scum of the Earth upon refusal?
Why not hear Mohr read advertisements in the voice of Tracy Morgan or Christopher Walken while Bob Saget laughs in the background instead of sitting through hours of boring advertisements on TV? Mohr has his own podcasting network, "Fake Moustache Studios," where fun and general childishness ensue and are always welcome.
Adam Carolla has his own podcast where he professionally rants against liberals and fellow comics every day. He speaks of his love of cars and tears into any topic given to him on the spot.
What are you going to do instead? Read "Twilight?"
Carolla not only hosts his own wildly popular podcast but showcases other talents (like Penn Jillette) on this blossoming Ace Network of podcasts.
These podcasts can even have a serious side at times. Mohr talks about being awakened to Catholicism and sits down with his manager from time to time to discuss life and goals and invites his Uncle Dan to tell endless stories about his blue collar jobs growing up. Carolla can make legitimate political and social arguments and even Smith has a profound moment or two in between dick jokes.
There is a moment every artist feels. It is a time when it all makes sense. An epiphany, if you will. This moment is pure bliss, a feeling that anything in the world is possible because creation is at your fingertips. Every piece of art whether it be a story, a song, etc. is trying to bring that moment across and share it with people. The podcast cuts out the middle man. We are invited into rooms to share in discussions about life, comedy, love and bad behavior where these moments actually occur.
Smith's "Smodcast," Mohr's "Fake Moustache Studios" and Carolla's "ACE Network" are just jumping off points for the uninitiated podcast listener. Podcasts are a beacon of hope for originality in today's glum world. There is no editing, no glistening. Podcasts provide us with creative people creating something without even realizing it. This is special. This is new. This is for us. Let's enjoy it while it lasts.