Monday, May 3, 2010

The Podiwan Review 3 – Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show

A person can fly from Dallas to Houston and back again on a single podcast if one listens to Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show (KPCS). The current record holder for show length on KPCS is about 3 hours but the average is two and a half. A single guest,.. two and a half hours; with an intermission for the host and guest to go see a man about a horse. As incongruous as that sounds with the concept of entertainment, it is actually a good two and a half hours. One can watch or listen live on UStream and recordings of KPCS are available in audio and video.  In addition, all shows are viewable on YouTube and down loadable via iTunes.

Kevin is a jovial host and snarky to his production staff when they gaff or when he hits a lull and needs a target. A lot of what Kevin says starts with “I,..” or “For me” and it seems at times to be self aggrandizing. I don’t mind that so much, but I'm not keen on the barely veiled demi-contempt he lets out in Freudian belches to his staff from time to time. Not real insults as much as tweaks and pinches. They are his posse and he is their leader and by pissing on them from time to time, he lets them, the guest and us know it. And truthfully, its usually funny. Also, like a kidnapper, he alternates between sour and sweet with the staff and you can see he genuinely likes them except when something doesn't go smoothly.

Long as the show is, the best part of KPCS is actually the length. All guests everywhere who promote something have 7 minutes of stage persona that they use on every show. They all have an extra 7 minutes they use if they have to go 2 segments and many of them even have another 7 minutes that they can use at cocktail parties.  But nobody has 2 hours of chat.  On KPCS, sooner or later they run out of persona and you start to see the edges of person. By the end of the show, you’ve gotten a pretty good glimpse behind that person's curtain.

Kevin has three standard games he plays with every guest; Tweet 5, played several times per episode, in which the guest answers 5 rapid fire this or that type questions provided by the tweeterverse, and The Larry King Game, played at the end of the show as a closer. The basic premise of the Larry King game is that LK is an old guy and sooner or later he’s gonna say something about himself that reveals too much. The guest does a bad Larry King voice, reveals something about himself (as Larry King) and then throws it to the phone, hopefully with a funny sounding place name. An example: “I have a testicle in each leg of my pants and they tickle the backs of my knees. Taint, Virginia, you’re on the air.”  The third game is Paris, Demi or Oprah in which the guest competes against Kevin trying to discern who of the three afore mentioned celebs tweeted a particular statement.

The format (and set) is largely lifted from Charlie Rose and the opening monologue is all Tom Snyder.  Guests are mostly friends from the world of comedy, poker buddies, personalities of the new media and the occasional iconic star.  All are dissected and examined as fully as possible or necessary,… and really, it won’t seem like 2 hours when you’re done.

There are 47 episodes of KPCS available in the library and lots of edits pieces are available on YouTube.

 My rating scale
Is this podcast entertaining? - Yes
Am I likely to listen to the next podcast? - Yes
Do I recommend this podcast to friends? –Yes

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