For five years now, I keep looking for new and interesting podcasts that push the form. My biggest distress with the medium has been the way that people generally stick to the safe formats (including, first and foremost, me.) I’ve always thought that podcasters should take advantage of the very low investments required and low repercussions of failure to try crazy things. That led to early experiments like the “Podcat” show that took clips of other podcasters, mixed them together over a techno beat and seperated sections with a crazy cat meowing.
I’ve recently found a show that I think has all the cool format breaking goodness I long for as well as is legitimately funny. That can be rough to come by sometimes. It’s called Tweet Me Harder and is the self-proclaimed “first, best, only and last talkback enabled interactive audio podblast.” It’s done by two webcomics artists, David Malki! and Kris Straub and is everything I would have hoped to have gotten from You Look Nice Today but that I never actually did.
The show seems to have some natural Subgenius elements to it. They talk about whatever random surreal bull-dada occurs to them, which is generally pretty funny. They stream it live and also podcast it, and while they stream it they interact with listeners from their Twitter account. By adding the hashtag with a show number to your tweets, they see it while they are recording and talk about them, which also means you can go back and look at the chatter from previous shows such as the most current one at this writing.
I got a show almost by random, appropriately enough, because I subscribe to other Kris Straub productions and got one episode in one of those feeds. I enjoyed it and have been listening to all the episodes from #1 forward. As much as I enjoy the wacky hijinks of the regular episodes, it’s the weird breaking of the (very loose) format that I enjoy best. First there was a “freestyle” rap battle to solve a dispute. I put quotes around “freestyle” because how freestyle can a prerecorded bit actually be? It got extra brilliant when the contest was judged by Fake Stan Lee, who tried his best to put everything in the context of early 1960’s Marvel characters only to get cut off every time. “That reminds me of when the Mighty Thor met the Incredible Hulk…” “Ok, thanks Fake Stan.”
I just got to shows #15 and #16, which had a fantastic macguffin. I don’t think I want to say what it is (even though it is pretty easy to tell early on) because the slow reveal is the real fun part. I just like this show. I don’t know how long this can go and I have yet to take part in the interactivity but I enjoy each talkback enabled interactive podblast.