If you showed up at the Bell House in Brooklyn last night for the live taping of writer and comedienne Julie Klausner’s How Was Your Week? podcast expecting Teddy Leo, cat photos, the JCPenney Facebook page, drunk Maya Angelou, the most hated man on Billy Eichner’s iPod (aka, Chubby Checker), a taped bit starring Jackée, and a spirited discussion of who should be cast in the all-black remake of Steel Magnolias, you are a very hip, prescient person who knows a lot about podcasts. What you might not have expected were the following:
- A ridiculously funny “sizzle reel” for Billy Eichner’s forthcoming Fuse show Billy on the Street (it looks and feels like this) in which he literally assaults people on the street with pop culture trivia questions. It’s so funny, in fact, that now you can’t wait to watch. If you can find Fuse on your cable listings, that is.
- Julie singing a pretty strong rendition of Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” backed by Ted Leo and some Pharmacists.
- A “jazz test” deployed by special guest Fred Armisen, wherein audience members were required to raise their hand at the moment they lost interest in a piece of jazz music.
- Ted Leo’s hatred of mustaches (especially Paul McCartney’s).
- Paul F. Tompkins getting INTO it with Ted Leo regarding the above sentiment.
- A dramatic reading of the scintillating correspondence that passed between a sherry-warmed Maya Angelou* (played by Klausner – see below for the better-than-fiction back-story) and a raccoon-obsessed (pronounced (r’kOOn) – roll your “r” if you can) Dame Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber (reprised by Paul F. Tompkins from his fine podcast, the Pod F. Tompkast).
- How damn good Jackée looks.
- A roast of Miranda July.
Let’s pause and examine that last bit. An audience member wearing a WTF Pod t-shirt was plucked from the crowd after correctly naming three inductees into Klausner’s Redhead Hall of Fame. She was then magically turned into Miranda July, just because she made a movie narrated by a cat. Klausner hosted as the ghost of Elaine Kaufman. Naturally, the roasters were as follows: the disgusting director of the Human Centipede movies (Armisen), a filthy Vincent Gallo, a sloshed Lorraine Bracco (Jessica Chaffin), a starving Neil LaBute (John Gemberling) and Chubby Checker (Eichner).
Each took their shots, made their jokes, and after it was all over (the audience hyper-ventilating with laughter and stepping on the empty cans of Pork Slap that had been dropped to free hands for clapping) the entire roast crew was joined on stage by Paul F. Tompkins and they sang a stirring rendition of folk-rock mega-hit “Cat’s in the Cradle.” Because Klausner likes cats, see?
And that was that. It was insane, quite literally and quite wonderfully. And it was fantastic to see all of the little monsters of How Was Your Week? IRL. Klausner promises that the live show will be chopped up and shared piecemeal on future podcasts, and I, for one, will be tuning in just to see if I can hear myself laughing.
* An actual portion of Maya Angelou’s Wikipedia page brought to life by Julie Klausner on her podcast “How Was Your Week”: “Beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou has used the same “writing ritual” for many years. She wakes at five in the morning and checks into a hotel room, where the staff has been instructed to remove any pictures from the walls. She writes on legal pads while lying on the bed, with only a bottle of sherry, a deck of cards to play solitaire, Roget’s Thesaurus, and the Bible, and leaves by the early afternoon. She averages 10–12 pages of material a day, which she edits down to three or four pages in the evening.”