by: James Hesky
As a lot of you know, Darryl Charles and I decided to bring CheaPodcast to a close this week after 125 episodes. A lot of people (Mostly just superfan Chris Curtis) have been asking us questions like “Why?” or “How could you do this to me?” or “Oh, that’s cool, you have a podcast? I don’t really listen to podcasts, but congrats man. Or I’m sorry. I don’t really know what to say in this situation. Everything cool between you guys?”
We started the podcast as a way to promote our monthly show “Cheap Laughs” at the Raven Lounge. Unfortunately, that show died a sudden death when it became clear that we had no clue how to run a show and the bar found out that we weren’t nearly as lucrative as bachelorette parties. Still, we decided to keep rolling with the podcast, putting out an episode once a week because we had nothing else to do and it made us feel like we were real comedians.
Now everything is different. Darryl is in ComedySportz, got married and has a house (I think I’m putting that in order of importance, but you’d have to check with Darryl), I’m the phunniest person in the city, and we both get booked enough that we don’t need a podcast to cover up whatever darkness we have deep down inside of us that makes us force strangers to listen to our thoughts.
It was a good run, but all good things must come to an end. And so must mediocre things that were kind of fun but starting to get tiring.
We’ve had a lot of fun and a lot of great guests from the Philly comedy community (And some of the headliners and features at Helium), so here are my ten favorite moments from our two-and-a-half year run.
10. I pass out mid-episode
At this point in the podcast, I was working a 60-hour-a-week job that I hated. We recorded on a Friday after I had worked closer to 80 hours in five days. I was exhausted and looking to get liquored up. So I got myself a bottle of iced tea vodka and a 2-liter of lemonade and made some drunk Arnold Palmers. All was going reasonable well for the first 30 minutes or so, but then that fourth drink and the entire week hit me and I started to fade. Darryl did a great job of leading the podcast, and I did my best to hang in there, but I came up just short. As we were closing, Darryl looks over at me and sees that I’m asleep and calls me out on it. I say the only thing that I can think of which was “I feel bad.” It was true in every sense of the phrase.
I told Darryl I wasn’t comfortable putting that up, so we re-recorded the episode later that weekend. Five weeks later, Darryl and a respiratory infection and I was working so I couldn’t record with anyone else, and Darryl posted the original episode 8 for the week.
9. Little Cat ends the first episode
As much as I would like to say that we had a plan for the first episode, we didn’t. We knew we wanted to do a podcast and we were going to tie in weird news stories with a theme. That’s it. And we definitely didn’t know the danger of letting my roommate’s cat sit on my leg for the last few minutes of the podcast. I forgot that if I moved slightly or there was any noise louder than a light breeze, he did this thing where he buried his claws deep into my flesh. So our first podcast ends with me just screaming in pain, trying to detach a cat from my thigh muscle.
8. Joe Doc deals with joint custody
As some of you may remember, Darryl and I got into a little bit of a fight following a series of articles on Witout called “The Great Debate” (Round One, Round Two, Round Three)Looking back on it, it’s so silly that it almost looks completely staged. But it totally wasn’t. It’s not like we got into a fake fight then had no idea how to end it so we just went deeper into the argument to see just how much yes anding we could do.
It all came to a head when we had on Joey Dougherty and decided that we couldn’t stand to be in the same room with each other, so we did the first half with me, and the second half with Darryl hosting and forced Joe to decide who he liked better. It was a shameful moment for both of us.
7. The worst transition of all time
Oh boy. This one was pretty bad.
If you’ve ever listened to our show, you know that we like to come up with transitions between the articles. Usually it’s a giant stretch and we just make fun of the other person for failing, but if it goes well, it’s usually our favorite part of the podcast. Well we had H. Foley, Chris Cotton, Conrad Roth and Tom Cassidy (All from Center City Comedy) on for the show, and the theme for the episode was roommates. We were wrapping up an article about a motel with a shitload of registered sex offenders, and the next article had something to do with kids. So in my brilliance, I decide to go for the transition without telling anyone, so in the middle of a conversation about pedophiles I chime in with “Well, kids love attention…”
I know now that I was wrong, and I’m sorry. Let’s just move on.
6. Finding out that we suck at recording
If you listen to our first 50 episodes or so, you may notice that the sound quality sucks. Anyone who spoke too loudly would max out the mics and everything sounded a bit grainy. We did everything we could to mess with the sound. We adjusted the mixer, we put the mics in different places, we downloaded new recording software. It didn’t matter, we couldn’t fix it.
It turns out that’s because we were recording directly into Darryl’s computer mic, not the mics hooked up to the mixer. After that, we just started recording directly into my digital recorder, because we suck at trying things that are difficult.
5. Brendan Kennedy gets blackout drunk then does the podcast
For a brief period, Darryl and I (Along with our good buddy Mykal Carter-Jackson) ran a Sunday open mic at Connie’s Ric Rac (Among other places), which was right across from the famed Hate Speech Hall. Somewhere along the way, Brendan Kennedy found a bottle of whiskey and a jar of pickle juice and drank all of both, then did our podcast.
I love this entire episode, but some favorite moments include:
• Starting off by talking about how hot dogs are from heaven
• Having to delete an entire five-minute chunk because Brendan kept talking about Darryl’s job
• Brendan wanting to rename C-sections “Don’t block my shine, shorty.”
Give it a listen.
4. Getting John Oliver and Kurt Metzger to do our podcast
We had already had some great local comics on (Chip Chanty, Mykal Carter-Jackon, Sue Taney, and Luke Giordano just to name a few), but we realized we were being idiots for not including some of the headliners who we were opening for at Helium. I remember being nervous to ask Jeff (One of the managers at Helium) if it would be okay to ask the headliners to do the podcast. He said it was fine, but he was curious to see how it went because no one’s ever asked before. I could easily imagine this turning into a conversation where I was told that I was suspended from Helium for a year and a new “Hesky Rule” would be put in place where no one could ask the headliners to do a podcast without going through their agent first.
Luckily the first week we had the opportunity was with Kurt Metzger and John Oliver: Two of the nicest dudes in comedy. We spoke way too fast while doing it, and the interviews are practically unlistenable, but at the end of the John Oliver one, you can tell that Darryl and I are both celebrating the fact that we will probably get to do this again sometime because it went just well enough.
3. Watching the Cleveland Bus Driver video on repeat for 10 minutes
I remember in 10th grade getting so high one time with a friend, that he made a dumb observation about milk cartons and we laughed so hard and for so long that I legitimately started to worry that I would never be able to stop laughing. I thought I would have to just go through the rest of my life laughing. It would be going on at school, during graduation, whenever I met people at college, and while I was getting married.
This is the only time I’ve laughed harder than that. For a solid ten minutes we watched the video of a bus driver uppercutting a woman who refused to pay her fare then pushed the driver. It’s the most amazing video I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen it, here it is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbRYTLzkd04
2. The Hangovercasts
I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but I know that at some point we decided that it would be a brilliant idea to record on New Year’s Day 2011. My roommate and I had gotten a quarter keg of Miller Lite and needed help finishing it, so we invited Darryl and Lori over to help us drink beer (And bloody marys). The podcast was a bit of a clusterfuck, as you would expect it to be, but it was fun.
So the next year, we decided to do it again. This time we invited a bunch of comedians and some fans of the show to take part. We were in just as much pain, and I had to leave in the middle to go help Johnny Goodtimes move a keg that was responsible for breaking his rear window the night before.
Then this year, we had big plans, but it all went to shit until our good buddy Pat Barker came through and helped guide us through a particularly rough hangover (For me, at least.) It was a great tradition, and now I have to find out what else I’m supposed to do to nurse my New Year’s Day hangover.
1. Todd Glass and Geoff Tate get Brendan Kennedy-level drunk and do the podcast
I opened up for Todd Glass out in Phoenixville for a one-nighter at PJ Ryan’s. After the show, Todd had a fair amount of whiskey but had already agreed to do my podcast. We ended up at Helium and ran into Geoff Tate (Who was featuring that week) who was just as drunk, and they both decided to jump in and do the podcast. It turned into one of the greatest moments of my life. I’d add to that, but just listen to the first 15 minutes, and if you don’t start crying at the 8:50 mark, you have no soul. Don’t turn it off there either, just keep listening and Todd keeps being Todd. It’s the best.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
You see? I was right. And you’re welcome.
James Hesky is a Philadelphia stand-up comedian and reigning winner of Helium Comedy Club’s Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest. He asks that you follow CheaPodcast on Twitter for more updates in the upcoming week’s on the show’s favorite guests and episodes. You can listen to the final episode of CheaPodcast online.