Witout: How did the Comedy, Food, Sports show begin?
Patrick Dodd: Just under a year and half ago, I got married and my wife was pregnant soon after. I had only been in Philly for about two year as, so I wasn’t established enough locally to be able to just do feature spots or anything like that (I’ve been doing standup for about 5 years total). At the same time, I didn’t really have enough time to hit the open mics and make a name for myself. I was dying to do something creative, but my time was limited. Having a major passion for cooking, watching and playing sports and all things comedy; I wanted to figure out a way to marry the three. My original idea was just going to be rants and reviews about the three subjects and I’d throw a few original recipes of mine on the site here and there. I did a few “articles” and I knew, as fun as this is, I need to do something more unique. Jim Florentine was in town for a random Thursday show. I had opened for Jim in the past, so I contacted him to see if I could interview him about the three subjects. After that interview I realized that this might be the format. I ended up getting Nick DiPaolo, Dale Talde from Top Chef, Robert Kelly, and a bunch of others that just really brought their A-game for the interviews.
We had some really good traffic on the site and a lot people were telling me how much they loved the concept. Me and my buddy decided to form a “late night talk show” style version of the show. After a few months of throwing ideas around, we had what we were looking for. Once we found a venue, everything else kind of fell into place. The show really is just a live version of the blog with some Daily Show/Conan type tidbits sprinkled in.
Do you find it hard to find comedians that are sports fans, or maybe do you notice a specific type or “style” of comedian is more into sports? It is definitely hard to find comics that are into sports as much as I’d like them to be. There is a type, but I can’t really describe it completely. Nick DiPaolo, Joe Materese and Jim Florentine had all done sports related stuff on TV and/or radio, so they were pretty easy to pick. When I interviewed Dan Levy, he told me to skip the sports section but I kind of figured that before the call. That’s pretty much a roundabout way of saying, some guys are more “jockey” and others are a bit “asthma-y”.
What are your favorite sports (to watch or play) and teams? Are you a lifelong sports fan? Do you find your interest in one sport or another change with age or any other factors? My favorite sport to play is and will always be basketball. The NFL is definitely far and away number one for me to watch. I love watching college hoops and I try to watch the NBA when I can, but I don’t go too far out of my way to watch regular season games (although I catch the Sixers a decent amount). I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with baseball. I will pay attention to it from start to finish, but I always want to make fun of it at the same time. I’m definitely a lifelong sports fan. That was something I was born with, I think, and I can’t see that ever changing. I would say my interest in sports in general has changed slightly since I had a kid, because my time is so much more limited. I have to pick and choose the sports that I want to really pay attention to more than I did before. I still hate tennis though.
What do you think it is about sports (or sports fans) that can make talking sports turn to such heated arguments? It’s the “we” mentality. Everyone thinks they are part of the team and, to an extent, they are. Everyone, including myself, thinks they can analyze, coach and consult their favorite teams. Most people take sports so seriously. We’re doing a segment called “athletes tweeting stupid shit”, because most of these guys are such entitled retards. Physically they entertain, but when Dan Marino or Jamal Mashburn is your “go to” guy for analysis; you have to laugh a little. It honestly cracks me up more than anything when I see people yell and scream about shit. Desean Jackson would take a shit on your lawn and kick your puppy before he left town, if there was a $10,000 bonus for doing that in his new contract (whenever that gets done). So would Chase Utley for that matter.
When it comes to food, do you focus on more upscale dining, comfort foods, specialized places, or does it depend on your guests? I focus on whatever they like. I usually ask open ended questions and they just run it with it. Some of them talk about how much they like to cook, while others like to talk about their favorite spots and others just eat whatever Subway’s $5 footlong is. I would say it tends to lean towards specialized places and comfort foods more than anything. Comedians seem to talk about their favorite spot to get a specific food that seems to bring them back to a specific place. Maybe it’s the whole tortured soul thing that a lot of comics have.
What are your favorite foods? I LOVE Thai food! I haven’t had enough of it here in Philly, but that’s my own fault. French and Italian are always delicious, but I think Asian food always takes the crown for me. Gastropubs are becoming a bit cliché, but most places in Philly really do it properly and I’ll never turn down something like a bone marrow burger.
Do you talk about cooking, or more eating at restaurants? Generally, I talk more about cooking. I’m pretty much self taught, so when I come up with something or riff off of a classic, I’m always excited to talk about. I love talking about restaurants too, but I get let down a lot when I go out. I’m not a snob by any means, but it should at least taste fresh and be properly cooked.
There are a lot of shows on television now showing people travelling the world eating at all sorts of interesting places, are you looking for tales of great food finds, or stories of impressive eating feats? I’m definitely looking for great food finds more than anything. Joe Materese talked about this pizza joint in Conn for about ten minutes straight and I was just blown away. He live in New York and he can’t stop talking about a spot in Conn. It turns out that place is famous and Sinatra used to have his driver pick some up for it, but I would’ve never known that without Joe telling that story. Bobby Kelly had a good story about a place in New York that serves mutten chops and Rory Scovel talked about a high end vegan spot in LA. Comedians are perfect for that subject, because of all the travel they do.
What are some of your favorite spots in Philly to eat. Any best kept secrets? I unfortunately haven’t eaten out enough. Obviously The Royal Tavern is amazing. Kennett So. 2nd is right next door to where I live and they make some pretty amazing stuff too. Veracruzana at 9th and Washington is ridiculous! I could eat there every day. Lee How Fook in Chinatown has the best hot and sour soup I’ve ever had. Almost everything on their menu is good. The Amish place in the Reading Terminal Market has the best breakfast. Isgro’s is unreal for desserts. I did a tasting at Amada once and that was amazing from start to finish.
Why should people come to Comedy, Food, Sports? The easy answer is: It’s Free and it will be over before 9:30pm! Realistically though, almost everyone loves one or probably all three of the subjects. What better forum to discuss the three subjects than people in the industry that are knowledgeable and hilarious? If someone were to tell me that Bill Burr, Anthony Bourdain and Scott Van Pelt were going to do a show where they discuss comedy, food and sports; I would spend hundreds to go see that. So this is a smaller, more local version of that. There will be stand up, some bits, a BIG special guest, a year in review and a Q&A. On top of that, we are giving away a gift card to someone in the audience.
Worst case scenario, you hang out at an amazing bourbon joint that has great food and a really cool ambience and afterwards a blues band will play for the rest of the night. Best case scenario, we’re hilarious and entertaining and you’re outing last Saturday to Applebee’s was just topped as “best Saturday ever!”
Comedy, Food, Sports is this Saturday, January 28th at 7:30PM at The Twisted Tail (upstairs at The Juke Joint) 2nd and South St., Philadelphia