Most comedy fans in Los Angeles, and hardcore comedy fans in other places, know who Scott Aukerman is, if not for his past work as a writer on Mr. Show, then definitely for his current activities producing the weekly Comedy Death-Ray show at the UCB Theatre, as well as a weekly live radio edition of CDR. He's also a main brainiac behind the delightful Between Two Ferns series with Zach Galifianakis.
But it's on the Internet's digestible form of radio, podcasting, where Aukerman is looking to make his next mark. Earlier this year, he and Jeff Ullrich launched their own podcast network, Earwolf, based out of their own studios not far from the UCB Theatre in Hollywood. So far, they produce weekly episodes of CDR Radio with Scott Aukerman, plus The Sklar Brothers in Sklarbro Country. CDR Radio made headlines last month when virtually everyone in the media heard frequent guest Galifianakis comment on filming a movie and linked it to the protest over Mel Gibson's proposed cameo in The Hangover 2.
I sat down with Scott Aukerman and Jeff Ullrich during my recent visit to Los Angeles to chat about their endeavors with Earwolf.
How did Earwolf come about in terms of expanding Comedy Death-Ray Radio to something more?
Scott: I met this total weirdo...
Let the record show a hand went up.
Scott: I met Jeff and he had a dream, and I said, it sounds crazy. But so crazy, it just might work. No. Jeff had this whole big idea to do all this stuff and it sounded, you know, I've always been kind of half-performer and half-businessman myself, so it sounded like something no one was really doing. Which I always like to get into areas like that, where no one else is. I mean, Comedy Death-Ray, the live show, got started because no one was doing a live show in L.A. Like no comics wanted to take the time to put up a show. Most comedians basically, they want to perform on someone else's show, and don't want to put in the time to creating something, which is, you know, because they're usually spending all their time writing great comedy. And I don't do that. I spend half my time not writing great comedy, and the other half, also not writing great comedy. But, yeah. I think it's just we have this idea to get into a place where no one else is and just try to plant our flag.
So Jeff, what is the grand idea that you brought to Scott?
Jeff: It was more of a mindset of, a podcast network essentially is Comedy Death-Ray live. It's Scott putting in all the work, so that anyone who wants to perform can just be funny and go to a show and have a great platform to do it. We're basically replicating that within the podcast network, because so many people who could do a great show don't know the first thing about any of the audio equipment, or how to edit any of their audio files, and they don't know how to get a web presence. They don't have the time to maintain relationships with their fans. They wouldn't know the first thing about how to build a store, monetize it in any way, or go out and get advertising money.
How do you deal with a heckler if you're not a solo stand-up performer? Sometimes, teamwork really does make the difference, as the Sklar Brothers demonstrate in this clip from the movie I Am Comic, now out on DVD. Note: (Randy & Jason are twins.)
Roll the clip!