A Vancouver-based sports-comedy podcast has managed to find a cult audience among both sports and comedy fans, and the podcast creators are offering up some tips for those students looking to get started on their own podcasts.
Real Good Show was born from a defunct British Columbia Hockey League podcast hosted by Justin Morissette, who has a background in radio, and John Cullen, who has a background in stand-up. Stefan Heck, better known by his twitter handle, @boringasheck, joined the project after being approached by Morissette.
“I had roped in [Cullen] to be my colour commentary for the season. He lasted one game and one podcast,” Morrisette said. “But we had such a good time doing that. I thought it was the best thing that I’d done in an otherwise miserable season, and I really wanted to do it again.”
The team behind RGS are all long-time sports fans who have managed to find humour in the crushing disappointments of sports fandom.
“They say that comedy is tragedy plus time, but most of being a sports fan is tragic. It’s like your team just loses a lot, over and over again,” Cullen said. “There are so few times when the team that you want to win actually wins. I think that’s something that everyone can relate to.”
The podcast started as a platform for the three hosts to irreverently riff on the world of sports, but since its inception, it has become something much stranger — and much more fun. Over the course of the show’s nearly 100-episode run, it has incorporated a collection of absurdist comedy bits centered around nu-metal music, Spike TV’s Bar Rescue and a seemingly bottomless box of Operation Desert Storm trading cards.
“Most of our bits just happen on the fly, but everyone gets involved. Like nu-metal nook, for example, it was funny because I was playing nu-metal songs, but it was also funny because [Morissette] hated it,” Cullen said. “That was a very organic reaction from [Morissette], and that was what people really latched on to.”
The RGS team has one major piece of advice for potential podcasters: make sure that your sound quality is competitive.
“Even when we started, we were recording at my house in the kitchen. There was a dog barking half the time, and you could just hear all of this stuff in this tiny little kitchen. But because you could hear us clearly, it was fine,” Heck said. “It was like a professional sounding podcast, but there was just a dog walking around the studio.”
Despite the importance of sound quality, the RGS hosts agree that it is equally important to actually just start podcasting.
“It’s the same advice I have for people when they ask me about starting stand-up comedy: just start doing it,” Cullen said. “We talk about sound quality, but it doesn’t really matter if you do your first 20 episodes, and you don’t have a great mic.”
According to Cullen, when it comes to podcast monetization, RGS uses the popular crowdfunding site Patreon for listener donations.
“Just to have that extra money, it allows us to do cool stuff. When we needed to buy a new soundboard, we had money to buy a new soundboard. When we decided to sponsor a little-league team, we just took some of the money we made,” Cullen said. Morissette also appreciates the crowdfunding. “I think the number-one perk to being audience-funded is that I don’t really have to think of this as a business,” Morissette said. “I’ve never had to go cold-calling businesses and asking whether they’re interested in advertising or whatever.”
The RGS hosts also encourage potential podcasters to make the show that they want to make, regardless of its perceived appeal. According to Cullen, no idea is too niche for the market of podcasts.
“There’s a podcast about marathon running in South America that is somehow bigger than our show, but that’s the beauty of podcasts. It’s radio designed specifically for people. If you have something you can do, you can find an audience.”
Real Good Show is available on iTunes, Stitcher and wherever podcasts are available.
Graphic: Jeremy Britz / Photo Editor