Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Podiwan Review 11 - The 40 Year Old Boy

The 40 Year Old Boy Podcast is billed as a stream of consciousness rant or maybe it's a spewing or perhaps an exorcism.  Stream of consciousness doesn't even come close to describing what Mike Schmidt (@the 40 year old boy) is doing.  I've listened to several of the podcasts that Mike has available on iTunes (all from season 3). It looks like he does these weekly and  I'm pretty sure he does this instead of therapy.  Clearly he needs therapy but luckily for us, he does it publicly. 

I don't know that I could take being around Mike every day or all day or any more than the 90 minutes that his show lasts but for that extended time that I've got him in my ears, it is non stop follow the bouncing ball in a room full of bouncing balls and mouse traps and rattle snakes and the occaisional hand grenades.  He calls it random bullshit and I can't argue with him but it is entertaining random bullshit. 

Mike has no filter on his internal monologue.  Everything becomes external just as soon as it's generated.  I'm trying to imagine Mike's filter and I picture it like this; There's a screen door on the back of an old house in the country and nobody lives there anymore.  The wind and the animals have been abusing this building for years and now the door swings freely on the one remaining hinge, smacking the door frame with a loud swak when the wind is just right.  And the screen on the door is now just remnants of screen around the edges of the frame with a gaping hole right through the middle.  That's his filter; a sad, useless remnant; a reminder that some people, in fact most people, have these filters but Mike's no longer keeps the flies, or even the livestock from entering the kitchen and crapping all over the place.

In a recent episode that clocked in at the normal hour and a half, Mike covered just three subjects: an English contortionist and escapologist who was staying with his producer and resembles Russell Brand,  being called a pig while eating at a Denny's after helping a friend move apartments, and going nuts at a post office and then returning minutes later to get the correct package.  All of these things are connected in one long evacuation .  Don't ask me how they're connected but take my word for it, they are.  And in the telling of it, I can't say that I recall Mike ever taking a breath.  I'm pretty sure he'd need an internal oxygen supply or to be a practitioner of circular breathing in order to do that much talking without stopping for air.  I talk a lot and really fast and I can't do what he can do.  It's like crack talk from beginning to end.

I listened to three 40 Year Old Boy podcasts over a period of a few days. They are the kind of podcasts that you can put down for a while and then come back to later when you've got the time.  You'll pretty much remember where you were and it doesn't make a lot of difference anyway.  The story Mike's telling is waaaay not the point.  The way that he's telling it is the thing you want to witness.  It's like when I was a kid and my dad would take us to the carnival.  His favorite thing to do was to head for the side shows and stand there watching and listening to the barkers and pitchmen.  It was an art form that amazed and enthralled him.  My dad couldn't explain it anymore than I can explain why I can stand dumbfounded, staring off into nowhere with ear buds in my head while I try to follow Mike through this week's therapy. It's kind of a train wreck or a public hanging or like poking a dead animal with a stick.  You can't say why you're doing it but that's not really gonna stop you either.

If I had to pick something about the 40 Year Old Boy podcast that I didn't like it would have to be the girl squealing with delight in the background throughout the entire show.  I assume that the female in question is Lili Von Schtupp, Mike's friend, producer and the creator of her own adult based shows and podcasts.  I'm glad that somebody is laughing for Mike as there is no audience during the recording and I think he needs the feedback to fuel him as he drives to, over and through the comedy.  But the laughing, crying and squealing  is constant and quite often inexplicable.  Not everything is funny and certainly not funny enough to make me pee in my pants or stop breathing or have the sort of seizure that this woman is clearly having.  What's worse, it's annoying.  It's distracting and from time to time, I found myself drifting away from what Mike was saying in order to concentrate on the histrionics of Ms Von Schtupp. Some of the laughing is ok just not all of it. Obviously, she's hitting the bong a little too hard but maybe she could just leave the room once in a while and let the listeners have a break from the cackling sobbing giggle from the girl in the corner. 

My Rating Scale
Was I  Entertained?  Yes
Am I likely to listen to the next podcast?  Yes
Will I recommend this podcast to a friend?  You bet.

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