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Episode 36 — You Got P.R.ANKED!


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#1 Earwolf Admin

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 11:01 PM

Today's episode of improv4humans is the perfect primer for anyone looking to interview Matt Besser. Our guests are Paul Scheer, Casey Feigh, and Joe Hartzler who are rocking some improv in more than one way. You'll get depressed, constipated, and you MIGHT contract hep c. And we have a special Cased Closed with a listener who thought he could "prank" Matt. Was he successful? Listen and find out!  Be sure to pick up an improv4humans shirt from the Earwolf Store and follow @MattBesser on Twitter to send in your improv suggestions. Music by Bobby Matthews and Dragoon.

#2 GW

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 11:53 PM

*nerd voice* I think Paul meant to say Full Throttle instead of Brutal Legend. They were designed by the same dude though, so it is an understandable mistake *nerd voice*

Also, Paul would've been like 19 at the time...

#3 Digital Jizz

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 02:24 AM

Man I love this show! So happy Paul is finally on! Either way this podcast NEVER has a bad episode, good job Matt and team!

PS: I love Paul even more after he talked about calling 1-900 "game tip" hotline, I think a lot of us nerds did that when we got stuck. WTF life before the internet was weird!

#4 NaylorBen

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 04:52 AM

I feel like there was some extra layer I was missing in that 'case closed' segment. Was the skype call the real prank? Was he trying to do a bit during that call?

#5 Bruce Reid Robinson II

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 06:24 AM

Wait, am I still in the league? I forget.

Besser you are a genius.

Back peddling like a drunken crawdad is a great saying

#6 Luke HENDERSON!

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 06:34 AM

Joe's story to start the podcast was so cringe worthy I just loved it. I wanted to share this. In college, a friend and me went to a worship center because there were two sisters we were trying to get with. I was okay with going, but my friend hated it. Anyway, I knew we were in trouble when the first song played was a cover of SWEET HOME ALABAMA with the words changed to SWEET HOME UP IN HEAVEN, and just them singing, WHERE THE SKIES ARE SO BLUE, and LORD I'M COMING HOME TO YOU, over and over.

That wasn't even the best part. My friend was deaf in one ear, and mostly deaf in another. So he had a hearing aid in the one and got so annoyed that he turned it off. Well the song finished and they did this weird Southern Baptist thing we do which is pray real suddenly without actually saying we're praying.

Well my friend was looking at a girl's chest and wasn't paying attention and just suddenly turns his head to me, thinking the music is still going, and JUST SCREAMS, "What the f**k is wrong with all these people?".

We did not get with the girls. We were not welcome back.

#7 Ricerx

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 06:44 AM

Great show, always is.

I got Freak Dance on Itunes the other day and it's super funny. For some reason I have this memory of reading it was a stage show first, am I making this up? I could probably find out on google but I want to be an active memeber of the earwolf community.

#8 Pepper R

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 08:24 AM

Maybe Joe's prank was that he tricked you into letting him get onto the show with a fake story about pranking you.

#9 Luke HENDERSON!

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 08:31 AM

View PostPepper R, on 19 July 2012 - 08:24 AM, said:

Maybe Joe's prank was that he tricked you into letting him get onto the show with a fake story about pranking you.


Yeah I never actually heard Matt say if he remembered the guy being weird or not during the original interview.

#10 Luke HENDERSON!

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 08:32 AM

I think the prankster went to the Chris Gore school of improv.

#11 Degenerateslob

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:29 AM

View PostNaylorBen, on 19 July 2012 - 04:52 AM, said:

I feel like there was some extra layer I was missing in that 'case closed' segment. Was the skype call the real prank? Was he trying to do a bit during that call?


I created an account to say just this. This assbutt was just trying a DOUBLE PRANK

#12 Wesley

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:45 AM

View PostLukas Holmes, on 19 July 2012 - 08:32 AM, said:

I think the prankster went to the Chris Gore school of improv.


oh boy that made me laugh
now available in fun size

#13 jw_seattle

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:53 AM

Am I wrong in saying that Matt totally misunderstood the caller? The caller never used the word 'prank' in this story, the Ali G thing was a metaphor and the caller said that he used the 'playing dumb' thing to overcome his poor interview skills. I think it's clear that the caller didn't mean to mess with Matt, but to engage him. Obviously, the caller did a really bad job at it, but there's no indication that he was trying to screw with Matt.

I'm just so surprised about the misunderstanding, since Matt is usually so sharp. I think Matt has a legitimate larger gripe that he incorrectly projected on the caller.

Also, I feel bad for the caller, because he's clearly a big fan who wanted to share what he thought was a goofy little story, but when he did he was kinda piled on by the guy he likes. I guess he deserves a little of it, because he inadvertently bugged Matt, but I don't think he deserves to be shit on. I think it's bit of a shame.

#14 Matt Besser

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 10:05 AM

Well, I was there. The guy was pretending to be stupid when he wasn't to an absurd level. He was completely aware that he was annoying me and he kept pushing it. At the time I just took it that he was trying to ask me questions in a funny way but I just didn't get it. That actually happens a lot when I'm a guest on a show. I figure I'm just not getting the bit or the host is not communicating well. What I didn't know was that this guy was creating a communication breakdown on purpose. You can call it a one-way secret improv scene, I call it a prank.

#15 Shaun1326657701

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 10:09 AM

I agree with you jw_seattle. I listened to the caller's story a couple of times and I never got the impression that he was pranking Matt Besser. The way I understood it was that his interviewing technique, or "trick" was that he would pretend to know little about the subject to get the most out of the interview. Obviously he knew a fair bit about improv but was playing dumb to get plenty of answers. It backfired because he played too dumb and irritated Matt, at least he believes. He also didn't imply that Matt had a meltdown.
It was his friend who described the awkward interview style as an unfunny Ali G.

edit: then again, he later admits that he was trying to be funny. So now I don't know what to think. At some point in his story he's back peddling. So I'm confused

#16 Luke HENDERSON!

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 10:24 AM

"Kind of a trick I did"..."I would pretend I knew absolutely nothing about the subject."

"I took it to a real far off place with Matt Besser's interview, where I pretended...."

If he meant that it wasn't a prank, I can see where his words confused Matt. It sounds like he was trying an Ali G skit with each interview. It was his poor wording in the the phone call that lead to the confusion.

#17 Matt Besser

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 10:54 AM

He wasn't just feigning ignorance of a subject. He asked me if I was afraid that our audiences couldn't distinguish between improv and reality, like if someone was playing a dog should we explain to them that the actor isn't really a dog.

#18 Shaun1326657701

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 11:06 AM

His questions were kind of pranky. But maybe that was his point, like he went with the intention of feigning ignorance like his other interviews but took it in a weird direction once he got into it. I still don't know if his intention was to prank Matt. Wish we got to hear some more incriminating audio from the interview. He obviously came across as a dickhead, but I guess that was his point too.

#19 Dorkopotamis

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 11:14 AM

Hi, I'm the person who was interviewed for the podcast.

To preface things - Well actually, first, this is dumb. This is all very dumb.

Now to preface for real: I've already said this, but it probably should be said again - I'm a fan of Matt Besser. I grew up watching UCB, I've got the season 2 DVD sitting in a shelf next to me. Walk Hard is one of my favorite movies of all time (he had a small but great role in it) and I've even taken 2 classes at the training center in Los Angeles. I watched Crossballs and have heard portions of his prank album... etc.

If you ignore everything I said in the recording and my interview and decide to focus on a few ambiguous words - you could reason that I might be trying to "prank" Matt. But, if you listen to my intentions as I stated them, you should be able to take away that I wasn't. To edify on the "frustration" I saw in Matt, it stemmed from a gamble I took on imagining a premise in where people didn't realize they were watching improv. I did this for Matt thinking that we could have, together, a laugh. That didn't happen, it turned into an awkward moment, extending into a significant amount of time in where to escape, I had said "Matt, I was trying to do an improv." That sentence, itself, being a play on my original thought – to which he replied “I thought as much.” I tried something out - it didn't work. It wasn't a prank, or a half prank, but a failed premise and I could understand it if the criticisms were "an interviewer shouldn't attempt to have a sense of humor with his subjects." But then again, when examined outside of everything, it would have been very forgettable and that shows when Matt says, during this interview, that he doesn't remember our original interview.

There's no real enemy here. In my most deluded of scenarios I would have told stories of how I worked as an intern at NPR. How I, an inexperienced nobody, conned his way into the role of interviewer for a respected news organization.

Anyway, if I were reading this thread I’d want closure. So here is my attempt to give this to you. I thought the sketch based off the conversation was funny and I hold no ill will toward Matt for any of it.

I am not a prankster and I don’t even like pranks.

#20 Shaun1326657701

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 11:25 AM

Well, I was kind of wrong then.

Anyway, the other thing I wanted to say about this episode is this:
When Matt and Paul were talking at the start they were talking about things like "real world" and Paul being x-factor in mortal kombat and a point guard and other confusing terms. it's probably not worth explaining that stuff now, but I would've enjoyed some explainations about those terms when they were brought up.

Love this episode.