You Made It Weird has become my absolute favorite podcast to listen to. For a while, it was on equal footing with Ari Shaffir’s Skeptic Tank and Marc Maron’s WTF - I’d listen to at least one episode a month and sometimes go back to one I’d missed if enough other comedians insisted I had to hear it. And I always skipped the Live from... episodes (same with WTF) because I’m spoiled and if I want to hear a bunch of funny people approximating what they think is “conversation” by sitting around and riffing.. well, that’s basically every day, all the time for me. I like the one-on-one, the intimacy, the depth. And now that it’s hit a kind of stride, that’s where YMIW shines.
The thing that I like about all three podcasts is the same thing I like about stand-up - they are an honest inspection and exploration of life, warts and all, by smart and interesting people, presented in a smart and interesting (and funny) way. And also they talk a lot about comedy. I might prefer my riffs from friends, but I will eagerly listen to anybody* who has thoughts on the experience of doing comedy - from crafting jokes and building sets to how a bomb crushes your soul to how doing this changes your entire outlook on the world.
The balance of my podcast listening time shifted to YMIW starting back in March with the Hannibal Buress and Kyle Kinane episodes. And not just because Pete yelling, “Kinaaaaane!” is making me laugh out loud right now. Those are must-listens for anyone who is committed to an art form they love but hasn’t yet seen success (see also the Steve SImeone episode of Skeptic Tank). There are some more great YMIW episodes from this spring (especially Duncan Trussell, Natasha Leggero and the Chelsea Peretti clip show) and then there was The Jerrod Episode. Go listen to it right now. Even if you know Jerrod Carmichael, so you’re thinking “yeah, I bet that’s great.. I’ll listen later/never” go listen to it right now. It’s better than you could ever imagine. It’s one of the most beautiful things I can remember ever listening to.
Pete introduces it as the first in a series of really moving episodes, but I expected to just fall back into my regular casual listening habits. Nope, it sucked me it. I’ve since listened to the Rory Scovel, Sean O’Connor and Tommy Johnagin episodes - even gave Live from Montreal a shot. And Pete’s right. I found the Sean O’Connor episode incredibly compelling and I laughed out loud like a lunatic at the stabby Target during the Rory Scovel episode. Multiple times.
And it was somewhere in those two episodes that it hit me - I love this podcast because it’s an exploration of the human condition with a wide-eyed guide. Pete is unabashedly curious about and fascinated by his guests. When he bumps into a weird dark corner, he’s like “Hey gang, let’s look inside!” and he’s just as unironically excited when he stumbles into a brightly lit room with a bouncy castle. You get the feeling that Pete’s learning almost as much as we are. It makes sense, given that Pete’s stand-up also comes from a “I am having so much fun up here, gosh I hope you guys can come along for the ride too!” place. And just like watching Pete onstage, I am having a tremendous time whenever I listen.
So if you aren’t listening already, start now! And if you are, well, be smugly satisfied that someone else shares your high opinion of the show. And Pete Holmes, if you happen to read this, keep it up and keep it crispy!
Wow, imagine what his late night show is going to be like!
* Okay, not actually anybody... anybody that any of these three guys would have on. Again, if I want to hear the “wisdom” and “experience” of someone 3 years in, I’ll go chat with my friends.