SModcast universe of podcasts, Hollywood Babble-On (HBO) is perhaps SModcos highest iTunes rated show other than SModcast actual. In this version, Kevin Smith (@ThatKevinSmith) partners with friend and LA Radio celebrity Ralph Garman (@RalphGarman). Garman does most of the heavy lifting on this show but Kevin's shenanigan's, scatological humor and general willingness to goof and gaff makes the nearly perfect conversationally comic yin to Garman's radio personality yang.
The show started as a lightly produced, recorded in front of a live audience, weekly conversation between Smith and Garman about Hollywood topics like box office receipts, starlet meltdowns and rehabs and the occasional Hollywood obituary. It didn't take long, however, for it to begin picking up recurring weekly segments like a ball of tape rolling down a hill of sock fuzz. One of the first returning pieces to pick up momentum was Anne Heche's butthole. As a subject it would only have had so much shelf life but then a listener produced and provided a musical bumper for the segment. When they started using that bumper on the show every week it encouraged other contributions from a number of very talented listeners and the list of regular weekly fan driven bits grew. Those regular bits now include such gems as Hollywood Stiffs, Hollywood Helpers, the Creepy Clown, Shout outs (in any number of voice impressions that Ralph does), David Bowie Happy Birthday Dance, Exquisite Acting, Shit that Should Not Be and closing the show every week, Liam Neeson's Cock. What was once a show that came in around an hour and change, now more often than not goes 100 minutes plus... and that's a good thing. The show is fun, interesting and the pacing never lags. Garman and Smith work very well together like classic comedy duos from the past. It's more radio show than stand up (especially since they're sitting down) and though on paper it seems like they have it buttoned down with all the scheduled weekly segments, in reality it is considerably more free flowing.
Smith is not always available and as such there have been a number of guest stand-ins to work with Ralph; the funniest being Jon Lovitz, Patton Oswalt and most recently Jay Mohr. Another notable stand in in recent months was comic Brad Williams. Both times that Catherine Reitman was on it just didn't work. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't good either.
As nice as it is to have those guest hosts step in for Kevin when he's gone, what makes this special is the alchemy between Garman and Smith. A good bit of the magic is Kevin the mischievous kid who touches everything Mommy said not to, who has zero conversational filter in front of company and is endlessly fascinated with any subject as long as it's sex, dirty sex, self sex or butt sex. Oh, and poop. And if Kevin is the magic kid, Ralph is the magician; the master conjurer who, with a 101 voices, can wave a wand and make it funny. As Jay Morh said recently, "Ralph has a tremendous On Base Average. Put him in and he's going to get a hit."
The first shows were held at the now defunct SModCastle, a 50 seat black box theater in Los Angeles that Smith bought for the purpose. But with all of it's shows growing in popularity, SModco quickly out grew that venue. Currently, HBO sells out every week at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club and Podcast Theater at Universal City Walk. Live podcasts like Babble-on or Doug Loves Movies are becoming THE shows to see in LA. These podcasts and many others, including Adam Carolla, Walking the Room, Mohr Stories, The Nerdist and Marc Maron have found a growing, ready audience both at home in LA and on the road. When Hollywood Babble-on takes their show on the road they fill any hall they go to. And even if the production suffers a little, the audience never does. Fans get a full show plus some. Smith has been known to stack two shows at the same venue so those getting 2 hours Hollywood Babble-On with Kevin and Ralph may find that they've also gotten an additional hour of SModcast with Kevin and Scott Mosier (@SMosier) or a Jay and Silent Bob Get Old with Kevin and Jason Mewes (@JayMewes).
This show is on my "listen every week" list. It's like brand name comfort food. I like it. I get some every week and I can count on the quality every time I open the can.
My rating scale
Is this podcast entertaining? - Yes. Every week.
Am I likely to listen to the next podcast? – Yes, Every week.
Do I recommend this podcast to friends? – Yes, Every week.