Dana Gould was and remains one of the leading lights of the ‘alternative comedy movement.’ And finally, having calmly and stoically assessed the scene, finally launched his own podcast back in February and praise be, as he emboldens the standard podcast format, hosting a show bristling with ideas, strange stories of yore and two men from Boston. Each episode lasts around about an hour, is broadcast fortnightly and brings with it mirth and brightness to spare.
The bedrock of each show follows the familiar podcast trope of ‘three white guys talkin’ but brings with it a vibrancy, elegance and intelligence that really sets it apart from competitors. This is as much down to the individual and collaborative skills of the guest collective, so far including such luminaries as Eddie Pepitone and Matt Weinhold, as it is to the topics they discuss, which are as inviting as they are expansive. The breadth of these topics allows all involved to communicate lucidly, with anecdotes and adventures to bare throughout. Dana himself is heralded by an endless troupe of stories, seemingly having experiences for any subject, each one as hilarious and elucidating as the last. Their interwoven and competing jokes mean the comedy amps up at a great pace, as they overflow with a desire to reach for that final cherry atop the cake, but these interruptions never harm the story, simply adding colour to already fabulous hijink retellings. As a fluid group, the podcast has a distinct air of experience, knowledge and worldliness that at its best makes them seem professorial, with awareness of obscure times and places way outside the listeners purview. Harnessing the seemingly infinite well of experience that the various guests and distinctly Mr Gould himself possess is one the pods greatest assets, with the format allowing for these to be gilded and worked intricately within the shows.
Unashamed to air dirty laundry as it is unafraid to countenance ideas and theories however outlandish. The Dana Gould Hour harnesses Gould’s perspective and outlook, allowing it to be a world of concepts rather than concretes. That all those involved are more interested in expressing and understanding ideas works greatly in the shows credit, granting it a flow and spark that means each section shines both individually and holistically. Set alongside this is the mildly strange ‘Political Talk with Two Guys from Boston,’ which may well be a little too ‘local’ for some, despite the fun Dana is having. With it’s advanced silliness and drive towards absurdity always lending it a comedy beyond it’s loving archetypes mean that even in it’s most introverted moments it is never too far from rediscovering the funny. The final key element in each show is a researched monologue, in which Gould tells a radio-style story of a bizarre happening linked to the topic. A recent example told of ‘I Am Legend’s transformation from1954 novel, to 1964 Vincent Price led feature, to it’s 1971 re-imagining as ‘The Omega Man,’ and how these interacted with the popular ideas at the time. These extra stories engorge the podcast, instilling a roundedness and fullness of scope that similar podcasts eschew. It also allows for a decisive change of pace, with Dana offering a wry glance at such times, pontificating on the motives and backgrounds of those considered; The employment of a serious story based in the ludicrousness of human life puts the rest of the show into striking contrast, again granting the show a circularity that makes it a podcast that works as much as a whole as in segments.
All in all, The Dana Gould Hour is a coming force, a growing juggernaut headed up by the eponymous host, and ably aided by a rotating guest list. The enthusiasm and knowledge that Dana has for the topics and the world is an ever-present delight, breathing life into his format.
You can find the podcast on iTunes of course, or from the website, www.danagould.com. He has a facebook of course, or you could pester him on twitter, @DanaJGould. If you want Dana on other shows, he has appeard on a few other LA podcasts, Walking the Room or The Nerdist, to name a couple.