You’ll all be glad to hear that my podcast listening continues apace. Over the past month, I’ve been figuring out which shows I really really enjoy; I’ve added new ones to my regular subscriptions; and I’ve started to drop the ones that I really just never get around to listening to (ahem, The Diane Rehm Show). A few shows have emerged as my top choices – the ones I listen to as soon as there is a new episode available. But of those, there is only one that I’ve enjoyed it so much, I’ve gone back and downloaded old episodes so I could listen even more.
That show is The Dead Author’s Podcast.
The premise is simple: H.G. Wells uses his time machine to travel back in time and collect a dead author for a modern day interview. What’s that you say? H.G. Wells is dead? And he didn’t actually have a time machine, he just wrote a book about one?
Okay, so yes, it’s a silly and light-hearted podcast, but it’s for a good cause and it’s extremely entertaining. Comedian Paul F. Tompkins plays H.G. Wells as a genteel Englishman who considers himself (NOT Jules Verne) to be the father of science fiction. He asks his deceased literary guests softball questions in an effort to understand the experiences and inspirations that contributed to their works.
The podcast is recorded in front of a live audience at The Upright Citizens Brigade theatre in Los Angeles. The authors are played by various comedians and members of UCB. Sometimes they seem decently prepared for the role – they’ve obviously read up a bit on the author, bought one of their books, etc. Other times, they are undoubtedly completely under-prepared and unfamiliar with the author. The accents start strong and often deteriorate throughout the episode as the tone gets sillier and sillier. The episodes are always hilarious.
So far (of the ones I’ve listened to), my favorite has been Agatha Christie. Jessica Chaffin played her as a condescending English aristocrat, with a high opinion of her own talent and prolific literary output and a low opinion of Hercules Poirot and her first husband. Very entertaining.
The podcast is all in support of the Los Angeles branch of 826, a nonprofit providing support, tutoring and resources to teachers and students to improve basic and creative writing skills.
If you’re a big reader, you’re sure to enjoy the funny takes on famous authors, but even if you’re not a reader, the interviews will provide you with some good laughs. Go check it out.