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Episode 7.2 — Original Content: Day 2

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The challengers have three-and-a-half minutes and no introduction to get our judges on board. How will they fare when Matt, Jordan Morris, and Kulap Vilaysack "commentate" on their mini-episodes? Learn who makes the bottom three and who is going home tomorrow on The Earwolf Challenge.

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Hi Kulap, I just wanted to take this opportunity to say all Karls (or Carls) do NOT have the same opinions. We are all individuals, and often do not appreciate the broad, brushstroked depictions of Karls and Carls in popular media.
Mainly, we are all not either nazis, people with severe mental problems, or absolutely the worst people to be in relationships with, which is basically every Karl/Carl in cinema (any movie with nazis in it, A Time To Kill, Caddyshack, Sling Blade, Forces of Nature, Catch Me If You Can, etc).
ANYway, This was a great ep with some stellar submissions! The guest judges both come from two podcasts I enjoy very much!
Can't wait for tomorrow's elimination round!
Oh, Earwolf.

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Since Matt asked and I am a fan of The F Plus, I have to say that I am pretty much never confused about riffs vs. content in the regular show. Each reader is introduced before each piece or as each new message board poster, always. There's a rythem to it where you can tell from the tone of voice and the content of the material what is being read, and when you get a few episodes in, you can really tell the readers apart and get to know their personalities. I guess the downside is that you need to just dive in and get an episode under your belt before you really understand it as a whole. Of the ones left, it's the highest concept and the hardest to access immediately, but those problems are reduced in long form.

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Left Handed Radio win easily for the fourth week on the trot. No matter who wins this thing it's been worth it for me just for discovering those gals and guys.
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I followed Bob and Dan ok, but I agree that their minds sometimes seem to be too fast for their comedy to really land solid punchlines. At times ideas fly into their heads and out of their mouths faster than the speed of sound and a normal human brain attached to normal human ears can have trouble keeping up. I thought Jordan's critique - even though he seemed to laugh at B&D more than the other two gabfests - was accurate. The Dum Dums were the opposite, in that they stuck to one thing but couldn't find enough funny enough ideas to build enough comedic momentum to hit a climactic punchline. They found a nice potential vein to mine with the good old guys-pretending-to-belittle-childbearing game, but they never found a solid payoff and it ended up frustrating because of that. On the other hand, everyone (in North America) loves their accents so everything looks bonza for them this round.
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Jordan's note on Totally Laime was a bullseye too. I've listened to four full eps from them now and Psychic Andy really is significantly better at hosting than Elizabeth. Her flighty, distracted, high-pitched, giggle-fest thing is anchored (somewhat) by his cooler, grounded demeanor. But then according to the tagline that's kind of their raison d'etre, it's a gabfest about unimportant stuff, it's allowed to be fluffy. Bummer for F Plus though. Over the course of an hour show they're easy to follow but like Matt said it can take a couple of minutes for a new listener to find the groove and with a three minute clip this round it was no surprise to hear the judges struggling to keep up.
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In other feedback Ku-ku was wildly delightful as always and Jordan was hilarious and smart and should be on Who Charted (as should Jesse "The King Of Hip Hop Nerds" Thorn) and Matt Besser should be signed up to have his own gabfest on Earwolf because it makes my heart heavy to think ahead to a post-Challenge world in which he's not gabbing it up while hosting a podcast.

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Pretty much following in the same shades as Shannon here, As A fan of the F Plus the first time listening to the podcast can be daunting. I think what is the discrepancy between the F Plus and the other podcasts is that often F Plus will post the actual site they are reading from so that the audience can read the forum itself and gain a feel for what the people are talking about and how people act within the forum.
I agree that it is a difficult thing to follow, these are just some things that I believe make it easier.

Credit where credit is due to Left Handed Radio, who I thought were starting off a little shaky, but came up good in the past couple of weeks.

Bottom three are Totally Laime, F Plus and...maybe Bob and Dan?

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Jordan, there is a difference between Something Awful and Old Man MurrayPortal of Evil.
I do like the F+, but no one is capable of following what they were doing in that clip. Such a shame. They've done so well previously. I hope they aren't kicked out this week.

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I'm a relatively new listener to the Challenge, and I'd never heard of any of these podcasts before...

Left-Handed Radio seems like a really tight, well-constructed sketch show. I don't have a huge appetite for sketch, but I'm happy to say I could see myself tuning into this on a somewhat regular basis.

Dum Dum Club was my other top pick this week, and they've been one of my favorites each week so far. They have a great chemistry and they seem to be on the same page in terms of where to take the story or the riff. I really enjoyed last week's sketch, so I could picture really loving this podcast if they extended beyond simply riffing each week.

Totally Laime seems OK. This week didn't seem especially strong to me, but I can get into what they do most of the time.

Bob & Dan don't really have a hook for me, but I enjoyed this week's ep a little more than previous ones.

F Plus just doesn't appeal to me. Not only does it just seem like "gross-out humor" plus "let's all laugh at the freaks," the hosts don't even really bring anything to it. I might find some enjoyment in it if they used random internet stuff as a springboard to an original conversation or to talk to their guests.

Matt, Kulap and Jordan did a great job assessing each show - looking forward to tomorrow's episode!

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Jordan was a fantastic judge - probably the best guest judge yet. Him, Seth Morris, and Maron should come back as the Guest Judge Power Team for the finale.

I liked Bob & Dan more or less, but they're definitely getting shunted into the bottom 3 by Left-Handed Radio and the Dum Dums. F Plus might be the safest bet to eliminate, but I wouldn't discount the chances of a shocking Totally Laime elimination.

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I really hope Totally Laime isn't elilminated. I think they are really funny and geniune. Plus I think Elizabeth and Andy play great off eachother
I could not follow F Plus at all! I think the fact that they have they have to post the actual site they are reading from so that the audience can read the forum itself (see Sam's comment) just adds to that point. You shouldn't have to do homework in order to follow a podcast. Left-Handed Radio was good today but I believe that a sketch comedy podcast is going to be really hard to maintain. I like how both Totally Laime and Little Dum Dum have guests (who they actually speak too). It keeps you wanting to come back.

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Didn't Matt say yesterday (2 weeks ago?) they weren't going to do the 15 second opening setup this time?

yes. The top 2 and bottom three are obvious.

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I've liked what Bob and Dan Cast have offered in the past, but this clip today was pretty annoying - not because of their topic-jumping, but how they both seemed SO amused by every joke they made. One of the guys in particular spoke like he was forcing words through a huge grin about to break into guffaws every single time he talked, and it was grating, because...it wasn't that funny.

I like the concept of the F Plus, and honestly I didn't find it difficult to tell what was from the internet vs. riffing. However, it seems too easy/cheap that so much of their content is based on mocking sexual fetishes.

Surprised by the weakness of Totally Laime these past two challenges. It seems they kind of stopped trying to put their best submissions forward.

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I generally like the Dum Dums, but I got a strong "morning zoo" vibe from their entry this week. I know a lot of people had mentioned that before about them (maybe I'm just slow on the uptake?). Maybe it was the compressed 3-minute format that made it seem like it belonged between Traffic & Weather and the REO Speedwagon Rock Block. Loved the exchange between Matt and Kulap where he pressed her on what makes the Dum Dums more appealing than Bob & Dan and she admitted it was just the cute accents.
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I think the F Plus could work better as a more heavily-produced show. Layer the music with the readings (like in a This American Life segment) and save the riffing for interstitial segments, and I'd be more likely to listen to it. I think the current format, where they're tripping over themselves to bust on the author as the reading is still being done, makes it all sound meaner. I'm still waiting for that empathy they've been promising us...
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I liked Left Handed Radio's entry but I'm embargoing them for going after commenters on the forums, which is unseemly. I still hate the "radio static" sound effect transitions.

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@JW I hope you don't feel as though I was going after you in the discussion about sound effects in another thread. My intent was to defend the decision we made on our show. Also, I wanted to encourage people to look beyond what they might perceive as a "hack" use of sound effects and enjoy all of the contestants' shows. But if you hate it, you hate it and that's fine.

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@Adam: I was just joking around, but I was also the commenter who teased you guys a month ago when you said you were better than SuperEgo, which was mockingly referenced on Monday's podcast. We are stuck in a time loop, where I tease you a month ago, and you get angry three weeks from now, and I like you again two weeks ago, and then you have fun at my expense right now, which is actually three weeks ago. We're caught in a time loop where we are destined to clash with each other, like a Duncan Jones movie, but boring.

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Believe me, JW, you're not the only one who made some noise about the SuperEgo comment. However, we are thrilled with all the great feedback from the Earwolf community. I just want to make sure I'm adding to that fun of discussing the show.

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@JW - I think the commercial radio jock vibe from the Dum Dums comes partially from how fast they talk and partially from how they tend to stick to old tried and true topics for their riffing. Compared to Totally Laime - who do occasionally lean on the odd radio jock soundboard effect but are differentiated from pro radio peeps by Elizabeth's flighty gigglyness - or Bob and Dan - who also talk fast sometimes but lean more towards pop culture references and JJGo/PFT-esque absurdity for their riffing.
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I think it's also that Bob and Dan aren't professional comedians and mostly just feel like two long-time buddies trying to crack each other up and so the conversation feels fairly natural and unforced (which may have actually hurt them this week as they seemed to get ahead of the audience), while the Dum Dums have a fair amount of filler where it sounds like rather than having thought of something funny to respond with they're just trying to keep talking to make sure there's not more than half a second of dead air - a very commercial radio way of thinking.
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By the way, as much as I've fallen in love with LHR during this contest I agree with you that the radio static feels wrong. For me it's not that it's hack, it's that when you change radio stations on an old analogue tuner and hear that static 98% of the time you end up in the middle of something, not at the beginning of something, and so when LHR use it to drop the listener at the beginning of sketches it just feels odd.

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Challenge is going great...love the guest judges input this week. As I've stated before, Left Handed Radio has made a crazy leap from being forgettable and easy to cheer against to consistently funny and memorable. Props go to where they belong. That being said, I have tried to digest other sketch podcasts (superego, PFT) and really haven't found a strong hook like other long form/conversation style casts. We'll see if that changes!
The F+ seem like great guys, but their concept is lost on me. I guess my preference for humor is finding absurdness in a environment of normalcy. I feel like by starting off with topics that are so out there already, its hard to find anywhere else to go besides the obvious. I don't think their sole intention is to belittle freaks, but it's kinda hard not to just by the format of their show. If someone told me to read one of those posts and then comment, I'm sure I'd go the same direction.
I enjoyed Bob and Dan, but I'm somewhat worried that they will be close to the chopping block again. Fingers are crossed.
Totally Laime is losing steam with me. If I hear the short synopsis of their cast one more time, I might puke. The MOST important people? That is kind of a stretch. How about "We ask the most well known local comedians the least important questions"...just saying. I did find it pretty humorous that Jordan asked why didn't anyone get Elizabeth to expand on her high school exploits....um maybe because her significant other is the sidekick?!! I'm not asking my wife about her and her high school boyfriend's joint wrestling career.

Matt - fuck the biters...keep up the good work.

Brendan L

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Once you listen to a few episodes of F Plus it's much easier to understand, they usually announce who's reading the material and that person will use a funny voice to distinguish themselves. I understand if they end up eliminated, though.
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If Left-handed win, I'll listen to them, but I get enough of the gab-fest with other podcasts so I don't think I'll listen to TL.

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Left-Handed Radio - I've been iffy about whether or not I'd enjoy a sketch-based podcast, but I must admit these guys are starting to win me over. Plus they're dealing with a higher degree of difficulty than anyone else remaining. I thought the middle sketch was pretty weak, but the first had a good premise and the third was very strong.
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Bob & Dan - They seem like good guys, I just don't get why I should listen to them. They're two guys chatting, with fair but unremarkable comic chops.
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Little Dum Dum - See Bob & Dan, but with a lot more charm. Yes, a lot of the charm comes from the accents, but I think these two play off each other so well. I wouldn't mind them winning. Having said that, I think my "two Aussie comics shooting the shit" quota might be already filled by TOFOP.
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Totally Laime - My favorite at the beginning, but they do seem like they're losing steam. Elizabeth and Andy are much fun to listen to, but the clip they selected for this challenge was kind of meh. I'm worried this might be the end of the road for them. On the other hand, they probably "need" to win this challenge less than anyone else, since they're already pulling pretty big guests, and have gained a lot of new fans from this.
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F+ - Not funny at all to me, and really just unpleasant to listen to. I'm trying to think of something nice to say... I guess the fact that they have fans means they're doing something right and appealing to someone.

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In terms of the 3 1/2 minute content challenge, it's clear that LHR knocked it out of the park, but I guess I'm a little concerned how that energy is sustained over a full show. Admittedly I haven't listened to one of their full shows, so I will do that this week.
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Obviously one of the advantages of the "gabfests" is that listening to conversations is much more natural; the listener doesn't have to work to get the conceit of a sketch - to pick up on the game, as Matt would say. The disadvantage is that, with a loose, unwritten structure, the strength of a chat podcast would stand on the host's ability to carry and direct the conversation. I think that was what the judges noted as the weakness of Totally Laime's submission. Personality and charm go a long way, as evidenced by Bob & Dan, LDDC, and TL all making the final five, but what's going to separate the top podcast is the ability to hold the listener's attention, find the interesting thread that arises from the conversation, and steer the conversation towards that on the fly. Not sure who does that the best out of the 3 chat shows left.
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I think the F+ kicks the bucket this week. Almost every week, it's remarked that they have an intriguing premise, but, with a couple of exceptions, the content has never been as good as their concept. Part of the problem is that they have so many participants that it's often hard to discern individual voices, often devolving to a a chaotic talking over one another. I think when there are so many personalities at play, the show's voice/direction gets lost. A lot of times the F Plussers seem content to make each other laugh; they have such a shorthand and know each other so well, which is enjoyable to hear, but they often fail to make sure the audience is in on it as well. And I wish they would riff off of the reading material more, not just laugh at sheer incredulity at the weirdness they find. Maybe if they started sharing personal anecdotes (e.g. "oh this guy wants to go back to wetting the bed as an adult... well, I wet the bed until I was 12" - now expound on that).

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