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Episode 9.3 — Time Crunch: Day 3


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#41 Chris Scott

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 07:50 AM

@Jeff,
I get the feelings. But I'm a bit surprised you are responding this way. I mean, have you ever been on the internets before? What do you expect?
 
You are getting this sort of response because the idea of the show DOES appeal to people. And much of it has been enjoyed.
It also appears you've never been part of the semi-harsh world of comedy. It's hard. You get shit on. (And the folks you shit on are always going to be louder than the folks who love something.)
 
Just as some contestants don't get leeway for the difficulties they have and the learning process they had to face, The Challenge isn't always going to get leeway for just because you are "trying something new."
 
There have been MANY reality shows you could have studied and learned from. And you guys did. But some lessons didn't seem to be taken. (One reason most shows have a panel of judges that return week in a week out is so things are consistent.)
 
And just because you tried to address a complaint in the forums (challenges repeating themselves) and tried to do something different and then had it go poorly, don't take it personal. Learn from it, but get whiney.
 

Look at the criticisms you agree with and learn. Ignore the rest. You don't have to justify yourself to anyone.



#42 Matt Miller

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 07:53 AM

I haven't agreed with everything that's happened on the show, but I download and listen as soon as I can because I still really enjoy it. It's rough around the edges, but that's part of the charm. I don't see it so much as "one winner, and a bunch of a losers", because even the eliminated podcasts have gotten priceless exposure. I've added several to my subscriptions, which is valuable to me as well.



#43 Scott Aukerman

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 07:54 AM

Oh hai guys- just got back from Seattle to notice all the hubbub. Love your passion! (okay, some passion more than others, but that's what message boards are about, right....?
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If I may give you my thoughts on this week?
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It was a good challenge. This situation happens all the time. Twice to me this week. The old show-biz saying "the show must go on" is based on this kind of thing, right? I suggested it because I really think that you can see what someone is made of when they are forced to come up with something on the fly. And for those of you crying foul, you might remember that three VERY strong submissions came out of it.
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And when you have three strong submissions, one is going to get cut, and people are going to be upset about it.
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Here's a FACT: Some of you don't like TL, and are convinced that there is nothing redeeming about it, and that your brains are the only ones that work correctly. You are WRONG.
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Here's another FACT: Some of you like LHR the best, and are convinced that every other show is weaker than them, and every other person should agree with you because you are right. You are also WRONG.
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You know those disclaimers at the end of reality shows that talk about how producers may have helped affect the outcome? We never wanted to do that for this show. Jeff and I are always suprised to hear who got the boot every week. We have been disappointed some weeks, just like you. But we never wanted to monkey around in it too much, leaving it up to whoever was judging that week. So any cries of judge bias are VERY WRONG.
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Yes, the one flaw in this week is that the judges could have been prepped more on exactly what the rules were. This is a very hard show to put together, and one for which it is even harder to book judges. But no excuses - that is something that could have been strengthened.
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But at the end of the whole thing, they judged the material just like all of you - based on what their ears liked. So they are NOT WRONG.
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Were I judging this week - based on three very strong submissions - it probably would have been a coin flip for me between LDDC and LHR. LDDC were hilarious for the first couple of minutes, then treaded water. LHR turned in a very professionally written and sounding sketch that, at its core, was basically an amusing trifle (which I think they would agree with). This is the kind of premise that, when working in the Mr. Show writers' room, was pitched often. Bob would say, "very funny - now go back to the drawing board." This doesn't make it any less of an achievement that they put it together - but it doesn't make it a great sketch.
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I think I may have voted for LDDC to be eliminated were I judging this week. But that's what's great about America - everyone's brains work differently. I am satisfied with the decsion, and do not think anyone got fucked over.
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I am not telling anyone not to complain - we like it! In fact, I welcome the several cranks who are going to yell at me for this post. Go ahead! I love that you're passionate about the show, and especially about LHR, a great show that deserves your subsriptions - the only prize that's really worth anything out of this whole contest.
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By the way - those of you leaving shitty iTunes reviews for Walking the Room - please erase them. This is childish. Dave is a good friend of mine - we have worked together on many things, and he is a delight. He did us a favor by being on the show and to have you treat him this way is disgusting to me. I really think people will look back on the things they said online reagrding other human beings during this era and be ashamed of themselves.
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And on that note, have a great day, everyone!
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SA



#44 Alicks Fearer

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:00 AM

"I really think people will look back on the things they said online reagrding other human beings during this era and be ashamed of themselves." Possibly the wisest thing said... on all the internet!!!



#45 Jeff Ullrich

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:01 AM

@Linus On a lighter note, how do you get spaces in between your paragraphs?



#46 Max

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:01 AM

@Jeff
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Speaking for myself, my issue was not with this single episode of the podcast. This was much more of a "straw/camel's back" situation. Every week there has been confusion about the rules and standards of judging, so much so that Paul F. Tompkins was able to go on a quite funny riff about it on Who Charted the other week. Surely when other comedians - the people doing all that hard work you are talking about - are on *your network* making fun of this situation, you must realize something is amiss?
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This week's voting just brought the underlying issues into sharp relief. I don't doubt that Matt, the producers, and the guest judges are working hard at hosting and producing the show. But how hard did they work at developing the challenges and the judging criteria? With all due respect...it doesn't seem like a whole lot of thought went into it.
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Maybe that's ok. Part of what I like about this show over the inevitable American Idol/America's Got Talent comparisons is that it is sort of ramshackle. Certainly I wouldn't have the chance to complain to the producers of those shows directly, the way I can to you. In fact, it's for that reason that I'm happy to let your "well maybe we'll just take our ball and go home!" comment slide. That's unprofessional as hell, but that's part of your appeal.
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I guess the bottom line for me is that, if you want to run a contest in this off the cuff sort of way, that could be entertaining - but you should probably be more explicit about it. Matt's approach as the host has been to take the competition *very* seriously. He offers real, biting criticism, frequently gets upset or at least agitated, and agonizes over the rules that he clearly spent very little time thinking over before going to air. His delivery - and the whole tenor of the show - don't really fit with the reality, which is that these podcasts are eliminated on a whim, and by no discernible standard at least 50% of the time.
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Maybe "Earwolf Challenge: Where Anything Can Happen!" Something to convey that at a fundamental level this is a casual, comedic show that's not trying to imitate a serious American Idol kind of contest.



#47 Jeff Ullrich

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:02 AM

"If the internet had it's way, there would be no internet." - Someone I can't remember.



#48 Linus

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:04 AM

@Jeff Ha ha, sure. Non-breaking space in combination with a line break. The forum code seems to ignore empty line breaks.
I'm a typographer, so it's my niche. Hold Option + Space on a Mac. Much more painful on Windows, sorry.



#49 Ronald Riley

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:09 AM

@Jeff and the rest ... I don't think the Earwolf "brand" has suffered, even a little bit, over this kerfuffle. I certainly don't think less of anyone involved because of it, not Scott or Jeff or Besser or Belknap or Dave. Shit happens. The internet reacts. Angrily. Always. That's what the internet does. Complaints will always outnumber compliments, because most people only feel motivated to expend the time and energy to respond to something when their expectations aren't met.
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Hell, it's not even like the internet invented this. I worked in newspapers for almost 20 years, and 90 percent of the letters to the editor were just angry screeds about how terrible we all were at our jobs. Of course, print media is damn near dead now, so maybe we all were terrible ...
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I don't feel like anything is fundamentally broken here. The vast majority are still listening and still enjoying, because we recognize that even the greatest entertainment isn't always perfect. I won't stop watching "Curb Your Enthusiasm" just because Larry has an off-week. So, some people got mad and yelled at the internet. Must be Wednesday.



#50 Jeff Ullrich

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:10 AM

@Max I can't help but disagree with something you said. This is a serious show with serious judges who have educated an entire generation of podcasters the past nine weeks. No one is becoming a better singer from watching American Idol but many people will produce better podcasts from listening to the Challenge.



#51 Dirk

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:12 AM

@Linus 
Thanks man!
 
it WORKS!



#52 Russell Felder

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:16 AM

I would love to address something.

Yesterday, Matt said that the podcasts would be judged on how "funny" they were. Today, we're told that TL won because of how "engaging" they were.

Did they not listen to the podcast where they said this, because this is fucking blowing my mind. First of all, just piss poor judging from all sides. I know Matt said it was a clean slate, but it still felt like a clear nod was given to TL. In fact, it almost became a "how can we make this shit more tolerable" executive meeting when they broke down the show. Also, if you want an engaging podcast, listen to a NPR podcast. I have come to believe that if I want a comedy podcast, I should go to Earwolf. Unfortunately, if you want a shitty couple talking about penis sizes, you're going to listen to TL.

Also, Frank said that even if LHR got the hour with Zach, they couldn't use any scripts and had to shoot the shit with him. Well, that's kinda fucked up as well. You're telling a SKETCH COMEDY PODCAST to act like an INTERVIEW PODCAST in the course of 1 hour. How is this not rigged?

Then, the icing on the cupcake, you tell them that maybe it would have been a good idea to name drop Zach in a sketch. Look, I don't care if Zach dropped out at the last minute, the most professional thing to do would to go about business as usual. And the sketch was funny. I'm sorry, I don't see how it didn't beat out two aussies bitching and moaning about kicking people out of a radio studio or a couple talking about their first time.

I would not say the "Earwolf" brand is tarnished, but I would worry about the fairness of the competition. I think at some point, you have to allow for the audience to help decide who to pick to be the next Earwolf podcast. Because, let's face it, you're going to come to us and ask us to support Earwolf, we might as well have a say to who gets in.

But I loved LHR and their FTW attitude. Earwolf would be stupid not to go back to them in a couple of months and offer a smaller, try out contract to test it out with it's format!



#53 Julia Hays

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:21 AM

On Sept. 7, 2011, the Earwolf forums became self-aware.

[attachment=6729,145]



#54 Brendan H

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:21 AM

@Jeff: I understand your issues. Some rants take it too far, and you shouldn't take those as being representative of the majority of listeners. And even if it seems like there's more complaints, that's in part because people are more likely to write a complaint than praise. And it's also because this is a show that issues criticism and judgment, so it elicits those types of responses. So don't take it too hard, i'd say only a small percentage of listeners really thinks anything major is really wrong with the show.
 
I don't think anybody involved in the show has done a bad job, certainly no conspiricies, and the idea that this show has tarnished or even hurt the Earwolf brand is absurd. In every case, I feel the judges tried their best to determine who deserved to go out based on what they heard. The comments I usually make have to do with disagreeing with the judgement, but sometimes, like this week, consistancy in the criteria for judging seems to be lacking.
 
Maybe if the listeners heard the whole deliberation process, it would be more clear. Or maybe it wouldn't. Obviously it's all based on opinion, but a little more clearly defined criteria for the challenges and the judging process would go a long way, especially since the judges rotate from week to week and largely have no prior knowledge of the shows themselves or what has transpired on Earwolf Challenge before they were on.



#55 FartStore

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:23 AM

@Scott I mentioned this in the Day 2 thread, but I'd like to get your feedback on what the contestants turned in vs. what you were expecting. Mainly, when you conceived of the challenge, did you intend for them to respond to the situation in their submission? Or go about business as usual in 30 mins? Did you want the initial reveal to be that the guest backed out or that they got pranked?
 
I'm mainly just curious and not furious, because the judges did not have criteria about this and had to judge otherwise. LDDC and LHR had responses on the ends of the spectrum for ignoring/addressing the prank and TL found the middle ground.



#56 D C

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:25 AM

WIndows space is

 
Alt+0160



#57 Max

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:25 AM

@Jeff
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Well look, I'm not about to out myself as an American Idol viewer on this forum (the SkyNet comparison is apt.) But surely you can imagine a hypothetical scenario, in your mind, where the audience both learns a great deal about podcasting...AND the judging is haphazard and meant mostly for entertainment purposes?
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Ok, allow it to exit the world of hypothesis. It's real! It's *this* show!
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There is literally no way to listen to this show and come away believing that there are any standard judging/elimination criteria. I defy you or any other producer/judge to put something on e-paper that can prove otherwise. And that's ok! I'm just saying you guys should embrace it, that's all.



#58 Jeff Ullrich

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:32 AM

I really need to get off these forums and get some work done...but until then!

[attachment=6735,146]



#59 Scott Aukerman

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:32 AM

@KC - when I first thought of the idea, it was based on the situation of, "Okay, a guest backed out and you still have to put out a show. GO!" No one ever expected them to mention it. So the fact that LHR didn't address the situation was perfectly fine by me. That the others did was up to them, because everyone uses what is going on in their lives in their art in a different manner. 
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I wish that were made clearer to the judges - that the situation should be addressed accoridng to each show's preference. But to pretend LHR's sketch was flawless and not worthy of being cut this week is absurd.
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Remember everyone - the challenges are here to be FUN and CHALLENGE the contestants - otherwise we should all just pick our favorite at the beginning and award them the prize.



#60 Robert Strawsburg

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:39 AM

@Julia Hays
"Ullrich listened while the Forum laid it all down: The Challenge, Judgment Day, the history of things to come. It's not everyday you find out that you're responsible for 3 billion angry posts. He took it pretty well. " [attachment=6737,147]