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Episode 9.2 — Time Crunch: Day 2


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#1 Earwolf Admin

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 11:01 PM

Dave Anthony and Matt Belknap are two major figures in the world of podcasting. Dave co-hosts Walking The Room, the "comic's comic" of podcasting. Matt co-hosts Never Not Funny, one of the longest running podcasts around. They know full well what it's like to be in a time crunch and they're here to see which of our remaining three podcasts can deliver in a pinch. Join us tomorrow as three becomes two and we inch ever closer to crowing a winner of The Earwolf Challenge.
- Show quoted text -



#2 Gym Sockerman

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 11:41 PM

What a rough week. Regardless, I've subscribed to these three remaining podcasts. If anyone has listened to Walking the Room this week, you've got a sneak peak as to what's coming tomorrow. It's going to be a hard listen.



#3 D C

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 01:21 AM

Bad judge choice? The guy was overly mean in-studio, then (apparently) let the cat out of the bag. Whoops.

 
I don't take fairness or competition aspects as seriously as some posters. So far it's been a fun, informative contest. But I can't help but be disappointed with this week's outcome.



#4 Foam Corner

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 01:23 AM

I'm really disappointed with how TLDDC reacted to this. I do think it is a great challenge (minus the unfairness to LHR). To get this upset about it and take it this personally is unnecessary.



#5 Bucho

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 01:55 AM

This was maybe the funniest the LITTLE DUM DUM CLUB has been in The Challenge as far as I can remember. I think the judges were right that it was a lot of sound and fury signifying not much, but when they hit on the racist angle near the end they had me laughing pretty good. To be fair though, as much as I find Jimmy Pardo extraordinarily entertaining a lot of the time, NNF doesn't always fly as smoothly as Matt "Voice of Velvet" Belknap was purring that it does. Even a cobra-strike mind like Jimmy's doesn't produce non-stop gold and I've heard NNF labour once in a while the same way LDDC did in this clip. WTR isn't perfect in this regard either come to think of it, so judging the Aussies too harshly on this would seem odd.
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Loved Belknap's notes on LEFT HANDED RADIO's post-modern misfire and loved Besser's world-weary reaction to them even more. What a bummer that the funniest minds left in the contest couldn't come up with a funny sketch this round.
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The judge's notes on TOTALLY LAIME were on the money regarding how honesty and vulnerability treated with humour have significant potential to be compelling. The more you let your audience see of your own humanity, the stronger the potential connection and attachment between artist and fan. The note at the end where both Matt and Dave suggested bringing in the real deal stuff and mixing it with the interview stuff is exactly what the Keith and The Girl show has been doing for more than six years now, and that show is huge. And maybe TL decided they didn't want to go that way and risk being called out for copying Keith and The Girl, but the shooting-the-meaningless-shit deal they usually run with isn't an original path to tread anyway. For me this was the best entry from TL in The Challenge so far and while they didn't make me laugh like Karl and Tommy it did make me want to listen to more TL in a way that LDDC didn't.
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1. Totally Laime
2. Little Dum Dum Club
Bye. Left Handed Radio



#6 Naylor

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 02:07 AM

Okay I've never disagreed with the judges more than I have in that round. It wasn't a great LHR sketch, but it was hardly terrible.
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Putting aside the subjective quality, why are LHR under any kind of impetus to address the Zach Galifianakis situation? The comparison to addressing something if it's happening when you're on stage doesn't quite hold up, because it's a different format.
Supposing they actually did have a guest that cancelled, they wouldn't necessarily have promoted it anywhere themselves, so an audience would be none the wiser that somebody cancelled, and they would have had longer than 30 minutes to deal with it.



#7 Julia Hays

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:33 AM

I listened to this episode twice; the second time I only listened to the clips submitted by the contestants. My final verdict: The Little Dum Dum Club made me laugh the most.
Left Handed Radio, well, you had me at: "It just quoted Jerry Maguire!"
As for Totally Laime, I liked the concept of going over questions that they would have asked Zach, but the execution of the concept, the clip itself, was the only one of the three that didn't make me laugh.



#8 Linus

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 04:26 AM

Wow. Anyone else completely disappointed with this challenge and how it was handled?
 
This episode more than any other told us nothing about what to expect from the shows if they won the challenge.
The constraints of the particular challenge were such that it wasn't handled like the podcasts would in real life. If this was actually to happen:
 
a) They would skip a week.
b) They could release a "best of" or clip show -- many podcasts do this.
c) They could find an alternative guest.
 
None of these were possible, and it just felt like a poor attempt at a reality TV style gimmick to artificially up the drama by f*cking with people. Except it didn't even do that by not recording the moment of reveal!
 
I have really enjoyed this series, but have to say, this was a really disappointing turn of events. There were so many other options for what could have been done with the final 3 contestants that would have shown more about the shows strengths and weaknesses, or suitability to the Earwolf network.
 
For example, so much of this competition has been about the new listener's perspective -- what about features to keep people tuning in? How about interaction with the audience (this was hinted at but not really fully explored in the recurring segments challenge)? How about a marketing challenge -- how are they using twitter, facebook and other platforms to promote the podcast?
 
I was barely able to sit through the fake coaching session. Who was this for? It didn't serve the listener -- it didn't serve the contestants -- Matt Besser didn't seem to be having fun! WTF?
 
Really hope you guys will recover from this misstep so late in the game, Earwolf challenge. And, please, don't pull this kind of stunt again next season.



#9 FartStore

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 04:51 AM

@Ben I'm also a little floored that not addressing the Zach situation in LHR was a sticking point for the judges. If having to address the event was part of the judgment, it should have been stated in the rules. For a sketch show, I wouldn't want to hear about the guest they didn't get to use anyway! If you have a live sketch show and lose an actor or guest on the day of a show, you cut their sketch and replace it with something from the vault.
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I think a different mindset applies for the chat shows depending on how they recover. If it's just the two hosts on a show that normally has guests, then you have to address the no guest situation. If you recover with another guest, then you wouldn't say anything! I also feel I wouldn't want the hosts to dwell on the loss or name the guest in most situations, unless I was going to an event billed as having that certain guest.
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I'm hoping that not mentioning Zach in LHR's submission doesn't factor into the judgment. They wrote, recorded, and did fx for a passable sketch in 30 mins. That's amazing! Especially considering they spent all week prepping for an interview, which is something they never do!

The other shows did not have to write anything and needed very little prep time; they just had to be funny. TL did a great job, and appeared to actually think on how they might handle their recovery. LDDC are funny guys and have a great vibe with each other, but them stringing together indignant, repetitive jibes at the situation hardly feels like a good use of their time in this challenge. How long would that go on if this was an actual episode (which is part of the conceit of the challenge)??
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If LHR gets eliminated because of this challenge, I don't feel like this reflects on them at all as up-and-coming comedy writers. That they managed to pull anything funny out of this situation I think is a credit to them. But man did they just have really tough competition this week.



#10 Caroline Anderson

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 04:58 AM

@Linus- Your suggestions for what a podcast would could do (Record a best-of, skip a week, etc) doesn't figure in the fact that many podcasts hire producers and interns who will be at a certain place at a certain time and you have to pay them no matter what. Yes, many podcasts are recorded from home by the talent, but look at
Maximum Fun shows
Never Not Funny
Mike and Tom Eat Snacks
Pod F. Tompkast
WTF with Marc Maron
Pop My Culture
All those podcasts have paid producers (and sometimes paid studio time) and if a guest cancels, they can't just throw away that money. A few weeks back there was a guestless JJGo because of a last minute guest drop out. I think it's a genuine problem, or else Scott Aukerman himself wouldn't have had the idea.



#11 Linus

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:10 AM

@Caroline
 
You raise a good issue -- some podcasts do have to hire staff and are in a more rigid position with regards to schedules than those who have the ability / are at the stage where they are simply recording from home.
 
However, how does this play into the challenge? The one participant this was true for was LDDC -- did the consideration of how much of a worse logistical position they've been put in effect the judges? We don't know yet. However, they seem to be chided for bringing it up. They had to kick other programs out of the studio recording space for this stunt.
 
Will whoever the winner is be recording in the Earwolf studios? Seems unlikely for 2 out of the 3 finalists.
 
I just felt frustrated as a listener that this challenge didn't reveal much about the shows dynamics, content or capability. It only showed how they reacted to being pranked.
 
Also, the judging criteria on the challenge has been hazy most weeks, but this week seems completely undecipherable. What were they judging them on? Being funny? Then why did LHR get criticized for not referring to the situation? If the challenge was to riff on the situation, why did LDDC get chided for harping on about what happened to them too long?
 
Just a very frustrating challenge overall, not just for the challengers but also, at least, for this listener.



#12 Caroline Anderson

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:18 AM

"I just felt frustrated as a listener that this challenge didn't reveal much about the shows dynamics, content or capability. It only showed how they reacted to being pranked."
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^At this point, all three shows have proven themselves on these grounds. This was a challenge of professionalism. A funny podcast that only comes out every few weeks or whenever the podcasters want to will not be successful. The most successful podcasts are the ones that run on a schedule and adhere to it. There is a DIY/Punk Rock mentality to podcasting, yet everyone knows
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Superego and Pod F. Tompkast come out on the first of the month
WTF comes out on Mondays and Thursdays
CBB, JJGo, MATES, and NNF come out on Mondays
DLM comes out on Fridays
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I've seen a TON of podcast criticisms online based solely on "This episode was a day late" and the like. My computer was down for a few weeks and I didn't have iTunes to keep be abreast of new podcasts, so the only ones I was able to listen to where the ones whose schedules I remembered. I won't name names, but I can think of several podcasts that have funny hosts and a have been around forever, but haven't gotten any traction because the shows come out sporadically.
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While I too disagree with some of the notes from the judges, I don't agree that this challenge is without merit.



#13 FartStore

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:31 AM

Were the podcasts told the whole conceit of the challenge when given the reveal about no Zach? I'm thinking so from the comments made. Why was that the choice, instead of just saying Zach bailed then filling them in on the whole thing later? I wonder if that would have affected the outcome differently knowing the guest bailed vs. we got played for this challenge. Perhaps LHR would have mentioned Zach if they really thought he would have been on the show.



#14 Dirk

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:32 AM

@Caroline Anderson
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"...or else Scott Aukerman himself wouldn't have had the idea."
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Scott Aukerman 'Himself'? lol You mean the wise and powerful Scott Aukerman? The REAL HIM? IN THE FLESH? HIMSELF?
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I thought he was just a legend but you say he came up with this... HIMSELF? As we all know Scott Aukerman is completely infallible.... and he didn't have any help with this idea at all! that's the most amazing part... he came up with this... HIMSELF!
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Ok, enough of that.
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I was tickled that Matt enjoyed my 'rant' a few weeks ago, but lets not throw around the word 'conspiracy' so much ehh? The only one who mentioned 'conspiracy' was mr. Ullrich.
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The shows have been getting more exiting. Bob and Dan surely had it coming, and Doug's analysis was SPOT ON. He was BRUTAL, but completely honest with those guys. Why would they ask such a gibberish corn-ball question as "Do you still have to audition for rolls?" BAD.
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This weeks judges... well...
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... they suck and I'll prolly never have to hear these clowns again after this week. I never listen to NNF unless I like the guest. Of course the fact that I have no respect for the judges this week and consider them to be no-talent hacks dovetails perfectly with my opposite views of the podcasts.
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LHR sketch was pretty funny. Considering it was supposed to have been put together in less than 30 minutes... I laughed.
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Little Dum Dums - These guys are always great. No change this time. Yea, they frittered out a little during the middle of the clip, but it wasn't a train wreck
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Totally Laime - Didn't laugh. Didn't smile. I won't go as far as to say this was 'painful' to hear, but It was close.
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Totally Laime just seem sophomoric to put it nicely. They always immediately grab onto the most shallow thing and explore. Sex, Sex, Sex. They both must have sex on the brain... this is fine, but juvenile, and hardly entertaining. Every week it's like they explore such interesting topics as tramp stamps, and losing virginity. YAWN. If two of my friends decided to have this same conversation and giggle to themselves while recounting their pathetic 'first times' I'd quickly excuse myself from the room. boring stuff.
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Funny that the judges seemed to love them even tho they were clearly the weakest link and least deserving of praise.
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@Gym Sockerman Really? They stepped on the judgment? Walking the Room gave it away? I'm tempted to give it a listen but... meh... i'll wait.
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Good luck LHR! You'll need it. The deck is stacked against you!



#15 Naylor

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:40 AM

@Linus I'm pretty sure it was said earlier in the competition that whoever wins will still be having to produce the podcasts themselves, Earwolf will just be hosting it. That's why sound quality has been such an issue in earlier rounds.
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@Caroline Those are fair points, but the Pod F. Tompkast dropped a week late a couple of times, The Wolf Den had to skip a couple of weeks because of the move to the new studio. I remember hearing Jimmy Dore & PFT discussing their annoyance when people complained that their podcasts dropped late. So if the professionals don't always consistently deliver then it seems you can't be too harsh on these guys for struggling with it.
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It seemed uncalled for that LHR's sketch was called 'bullshit' I wouldn't mind but it seemed hypocritical after Matt Besser's ranting about people on the internet being rude last week. I know Besser wasn't the one that said it, but he was still pretty disdainful. I know as professionals & judges they're in more of a position to be harsh but that was a bit unpleasant.
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Also Scott Aukerman is someone that's made quite a few outdated Borat references over the course of CDR/CBB. It's probably because of him that I find outdated references to Borat funny.



#16 strayan

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:41 AM

Loyal challenge listener, first time poster here :)
I LOVED hearing the candid responses from the judges to LHR. They didn't sugar coat any of their responses but my heart did break a little. LHR did have it tough, but I think the challenge this week was the most interesting one yet.
Besser's groan at the meta/post modern stuff was the greatest.
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I didn't laugh at all at TLP but I enjoyed hearing them having a real conversation. Straying away from the "least important questions" stuff really changed my opinion of them for the better.
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LDDC made me laugh more than any other submission ever. I was really looking forward to their submission too when it was revealed they wouldn't be talking to Zach. I love hearing an angry Karl Chandler. It would have been great if they had moved on to another topic like TLP did. But it was still the funniest by a mile.
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[To clear one thing up that as an Aussie, I couldn't stand the judges get wrong and sadly what drove me to register here: The Australian footballer LDDC mentioned was Warwick Capper. He is known for his long blonde locks (80's mullet), taking great marks, tight shorts and posing nude/making a porno once his career went down the drain. He also released a song, if I remember correctly. He's an entertaining google image search / lovable national embarrassment...ahhh it feels good to get that out of my system. ]



#17 Caroline Anderson

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:41 AM

Oh, I just meant that usually Frank and Peter come up with the challenges, but this one was created by Scott, a podcaster.



#18 Linus

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:45 AM

@Caroline
 
"This was a challenge of professionalism."
 
If it been billed as such from the start, then I agree, it would be a challenge with some merit.
 
Sadly, this has not been the clear objective. If Matt Besser had framed it as such, if the judges had said any such thing during this episode, that would be a worthwhile challenge. Instead, it's been merely hinted at. They tried to play it out like a bit or a prank in the coaching session. The judges haven't been clear what they're looking for -- instead it's just highlighted what has always been the frustrating shortcomings of this challenge from the beggining: lack of consensus and clarity on the organizers part.
 
LDDC talked about what had happened to them in an entertaining way. The judges said -- why did they just go on about the situation?
LHR stuck their heads down and wrote, recorded and edited a sketch. The judges said -- why didn't they address the situation?
TL played around with what they had already prepared. The judges said -- we liked their husband & wife dynamic?
 
It seems like nobody is giving the judges a back story as to what are the constraints and desired outcomes of each week's challenge. This is very frustrating as a listener to hear the same criticisms leveled week to week that are not really valid criticisms of the contestants, but of the mechanisms of the challenge itself.
 
It would have been interesting to see a "time-crunch" challenge that was focused on being funny in a limited time frame for production without the pranking element. Or if this was a test of their professionalism, that being the clear objective, and hearing how they handled the news, and that being taken into account along with the submissions. As it stands it fills neither role, and instead is an unfocused and disappointing listen.



#19 Ronald Riley

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:46 AM

I love Dave and Matt Belknap, but boy did I hate them as judges this week. Leaving aside entirely issues like whether this challenge even made any sense, I think LHR just got crapped on for all the wrong reasons. As KC pointed out, LHR did more with their time than either of the other two shows. LDDC and TL just sat down, turned on the mikes, and talked for five minutes. Nitpicking about the "robot voice" and whether it was funny or "meta" that they referenced "Borat" is just pointless. They wrote, performed and produced a freaking sketch in 30 minutes! It wasn't the greatest sketch of all time, but it was a hell of a lot more inventive and funny than Elizabeth and Andy rehashing a couple of old-ass stories about losing their virginity.
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I like TL. I subscribe and listen to the podcast. But I thought that submission was just lazy and pointless. If the point of this challenge (and I could be wrong here, because it sure seems like no one knows what the point of this challenge really was) was to see how creative and nimble the podcasters could be when faced with a crisis, then LHR was a clear winner.
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But, as was made pretty damned obvious by the judges' reactions, LHR is going to be the loser this week. Which is a damned shame. I don't know whether to blame the judges, or the format of the stupid challenge itself, or maybe I'll just blame Besser. No one's hated on Besser in a while. He probably misses it.



#20 JW Buchanan

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:50 AM

As a challenge, this was a real misfire. It's too bad, because I thought the idea was interesting, but we didn't learn anything about the contestants (except how mad they got when pranked). The prank element of this challenge just built up an expectation in the judges that they'd get to see the contestants react to the prank, and so they were disappointed(!!!) that Left Handed Radio just rolled with the punches. Ugh.
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I guess the only thing to glean from this challenge is that it's funnier to watch a chat show flail about and struggle, because the listener can identify with those kinds of feelings; If a sketch show is flailing about and struggling, the sketch suffers and the listener doesn't care. That's a huuuuuuge advantage for a chat show, in this challenge and in real life.