This issue is brought to you by that nagging sense that growing and monetising your podcast should be easier.
What if it turned out you were just a character in a sitcom? Would you be the hero, the love interest, the plucky sidekick, the villain, the henchman, the hapless fool? How would someone review your character arc? Would they find you believable and relatable, or are you a hat on a hat?
This week I’m bringing you some user-generated content in the form of an email, read aloud on a podcast. The podcast is one about podcasting, but it needn’t have been. In it, our hosts discover that – at least in one person’s reality – they are merely characters in a workplace sitcom. The guests they bring along to the show are real, but the hosts themselves are merely works of fiction.
Here’s a bit of the email that was received by the Buzzsprout team, in response to their fortnightly Buzzcast podcast.
The concept of a workplace comedy series about a podcast host startup was certainly a bold (if somewhat obscure) choice, for sure. But they leaned into their own "niching down" mantra and developed the concept for a WKRP In Cincinnati + Frasier radio comedy with "inside the biz" elements of The Larry Sanders Show, with nods to other workplace comedy series like Parks and Rec. And somehow they pull it off! There's enough non-industry banter about the characters' lives outside the show to keep things relatable and the occasional cameo by real-world podcasting figures playing themselves (e.g., Adam Curry, Evo Terra, etc.) provide for many "wink-wink we're all in on the joke” moments.
You’ll hear an abridged version of this email discussed from 50 seconds in to episode 101 of Buzzcast. The reading and their discussion takes about 7 minutes and it’s well worth a listen, but I thought I’d highlight the first bit as it sets us up quite nicely.
I initially thought this was an Apple Podcasts review, and started to wonder whether Marcos, the email’s author, had left similar reviews around the web for other shows.
In a past life I created the character of Mrs Marginald Biggot, who has in her lifetime written in to my own podcasts as well as leaving a small number of Amazon product reviews. She is a very confused person who lives in a lighthouse, and I love her dearly. Fans of the BBC Radio 4 show I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue will absolutely know the energy she was channelling.
There’s a wonderful intersection in this week’s minute between the world’s of performative comic misunderstanding and dissociation by proxy. Yeah that’s right, I know words.
Just imagine being described as a character, or where your actions fit so squarely into a behavioural pattern that you become an archetype.
And on that note, a quick TV recommendation for you. If you haven’t watched Kevin Can Fk Himself (I’m not being overly censorious; that’s how the show is styled) seek it out wherever you can find AMC shows. You’ll understand why within the first 5 minuets.
Well, there’s lots more audio frolicking to be done and little time to do it in. I’m going to be wading knee-deep into Eurovision over the next couple of weeks in anticipation of the final, but I’ll try not to let any of that spill over into my minute-describing duties here.
See you next week. In the meantime, you keep listening, and I’ll do the same.