Friday, June 8, 2012

The Podiwan Review 23 - Hollywood Babble-On

Part of the 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.


  1. Podiwan, I've been a comedy fan for a long, long time. I've virtually stopped listening to music while I drive, filling my head instead with comedy podcasts, many of which you have reviewed on your blog. But there's one that has not received any media attention that I believe is deserving of much more. It's called John London's Inferno. John London was the on-air name of a very successful, syndicated shock jock, based in San Francisco and then LA. He was constantly pushing the FCC envelope, doing the edgiest material he could dream up. His career came to an abrupt end when he (jokingly, on the air) offered to pay a listener five grand to kill Penn Jillette…seven grand if he suffered a lot. Jillette was at the time trying to have a radio career and his show followed London's. CBS had to buy John London's contract to get him off the air and he subsequently relocated to Austin, Texas.
    About a year ago, he began podcasting, and his efforts are unique from all the white-guys-sitting-around-a-table-discussing-comedy shows. Episodes typically begin with John ranting about something political or sports-related…but the rants are usually ridiculously tongue-in-cheek. My favorite parts of the show, though, feature London's interactions with an ever-increasing cast of characters. In the beginning, he did a few voices himself. Most other characters were played by text-to-speech voices, leading to great interactions. Recently, he's done something really off-the-wall: he asked listeners to send in recordings of their own voices. If they were of sufficient quality, London would send them scripts and they would record their parts at home and email them in, where London would edit them all together. Due to his years in radio, the production quality of the podcast is terrific…and great fun is had in poking fun at the new characters and their cheesy microphones. There is much breaking of the fourth wall, commenting on the sound effects, arguing over theme music. It is very hard to describe…but it's awesome. There are more characters now than LOST ever had, and the stories have become multi-episode arcs which build each week and reward the regular listener.

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  51. its a shame you hadn't mentioned greatest comedy podcast ever.

    The Mens View, its funny infotainment unpredictable show.
    they were on Top10 in iTunes comedy (then they quit, lost ID)
    the interviewed Transsexual pornstsr to NASA scientist..
    the have the greatest guests..
    most funniest stories ever
    10 years of experience (you might have heard about 2008 comedy show "GetLaidRadioShow")
    here is a sample clip from ~400hours of fun:


    The Mens View PODCAST
    Please believe me! i am addicted to this.

    Some REAL stories they discussed:(RANDOM,top off my head)
    1.interview of a transexual PORNSTAR decided to FUCK 25 guys one day,and DID IT!!(then got on a bus, with jizz all over)

    2. At age 20 losing virginity, top OLDER CHICK going down on a girl "On Her Peroid".look up, blood on mouth

    3. interviewing Paulaconda, guy with 17 INCH DICK , they made him show it live on their YouTube channel, he have the dirtiest phone. favourite guy in the show,MetalHead tells story of working as a JIZZ-CLEANER on a pornshop, getting finger by kids(IN SIGN LANGUAGE!!) on schoolbus

    5.interviewing Pickup artists

    6.episode 190 , where MoneyMike of show, go to houston for hookers, call and give live audio feed, funny as hell.

    7. The star of show MetalHead was talking about sex when he first came to show, You wont belive what they found out( ) one show, guys PUNCH each other's... BALLS guy calls from pakistan, he carry around AK47 all the time! they interviewed a NASA scirntist the same day! ( )

    10. interview nude art model in Art collage.
    12 a guy talk had to sniff 25 year old fart as reunion of friendship




    100.more (REALLY! they have been doing this ppdcast for 10 years. They Quit one time while they were TOP 10 IN iTunes COMEDY)


    Extra: they have a News section at the end of every show,Crazy News like 1. Butthole eaten at a Cleveland Lions
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    4. Florida man wearing a I have drugs
    T-shirt was caught dealing drugs. (News of episode 199)
    The Mens View Podcast
    (old names TheGuysSpot, jesus&homie show, GetLaidRadio)
    SAMPLE(Try sample for 5 minutes, just 5 you will be Addicted):