Mar 5, 2014

Podcast Portal: U Talkin' U2 To Me?

Welcome to Podcast Portal: a spontaneous column that will highlight podcasts of all genres that are lesser known or new shows that are worth giving a listen. With the medium continuing to grow, it is hard to acknowledge all of them. However, I am going to try and find as many noteworthy titles as possible to share and hopefully expand your mind to the greatest growing medium out there. If you have any podcast that you feel is worth adding to the Podcast Portal, please make sure to inform me whether through the comments or through an e-mail (information in sidebar). 

SHOW: U Talkin' U2 To Me?
HOSTS: Adam Scott, Scott Aukerman
NETWORK: Earwolf
EPISODE BEING DISCUSSED: The Unforgettable Fire

One of the most delightful surprisingly successful podcasts of the past few years has been Analyze Phish: a show that tries to get people to like the band Phish. Even for people who only know of the band vaguely can ravel in the music discussion as people try to make sense of the nonsense of the infamous jam band. It is a formula that is so endearing that it makes each episode a hit. Along with co-owning the Earwolf network as well as hosting flagship show Comedy Bang! Bang!, Scott Aukerman brought charm to the show and created something timeless. For all of the talk of Phish that nobody understood, the criticism was filled with hilarity and entered unenforced territory.
That is why U Talkin' U2 To Me? sounded like a brilliant idea. Along with Aukerman, comedian Adam Scott makes his podcast host debut in a series that attempts to explore the entire catalog of music by the band U2 up to the release of their latest album. The catch is that both are really into the band and want to make the definitive, informative account of the band's music album-by-album. Along with the currently running The Andy Daly Pilot Project Podcast, it is a show with a limited amount of episodes, making Earwolf's recent stint somewhat ambitious.
Unlike the genius of Analyze Phish, the show's "comedy" set-up is that U2 is only a fraction of an average episode. It is acknowledged around the 50-minute mark that among the banter, there hasn't been a single mention of the U2 album in discussion: "The Unforgettable Fire." Billing themselves as Adam Scott Aukerman and referring to each other as "Scott," the show finds ways to riff on tangential topics with no relation even to the music genre, including segments such as "I Love Films" that appear spontaneously often within the same episode.
The question is: are you expecting great coverage of U2's catalog? This is about as irreverent as things could get while still qualifying on technicality. Among the tangents, the hosts spend a fraction actually talking about the albums. Depending on how much they like it, they will not just resort to another tangent. For the album "The Unforgettable Fire," the album is a discussion point for less than 10 minutes of the 93 minute running time. If you are frustrated by a comedy show with false promises, keep moving.
However, if you are somebody who doesn't care much for U2 and enjoys the banter between the two Scotts, this may be a show for you. It is questionable if this premise will grow stale, but much like Analyze Phish, I do feel like U Talkin' U2 To Me is going to be a cult show rather quickly. The premise may not be nearly as exciting or endearing, but the show has already found indelible brilliance in saying "Achtung Baby" in exaggerated voices. In fact, while it would be satisfying for an entire show based around U2 to spend the entirety bashing them, the show works for awhile. If you like comedy and don't care about the false promise, this is a show that may not always work, but works well enough to find a way to mix U2 with laughs. With the promise of Analyze Phish host Harris Wittels on the next episode, it is likely that we'll get it.


RATING: 3 out of 5
WORTH A SECOND GO?: Being fans of the hosts, it is great to hear Adam Scott riffing candidly in a podcast forum. If you like the hosts, I would continue to give it a shot, though I do worry that after a few episodes, it will outstay its welcome.

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