Crossing Over: “THE ANDY DALY PODCAST PILOT PROJECT”Books/Art/Culture,Features/Interviews,News Ken W. Hanley
Welcome, FANGORIA Readers, to CROSSING OVER, our newest column that highlights the films, series and content out there outside of horror that is fashioned towards or pays tribute to our beloved genre. By shining a light onto these projects, FANGORIA hopes to open a world of entertainment perfect for fright fans that lies just beyond the borders of the horror community. So without further ado…
For fans of the extremely popular podcast and TV show COMEDY BANG! BANG!, there’s few guests whose appearances incite such nervous excitement as Andy Daly. A comedian, actor and master of improv that most people might remember from Comedy Central’s REVIEW or HBO’s EASTBOUND & DOWN, Daly has earned a reputation on COMEDY BANG! BANG! for his willingness to turn a conversation towards darker, more graphic absurdity at the drop of the dime, and usually the wait to get there almost incites a palpable level of unease. But as horrific and inappropriate as his character’s may be, his approach is always impressively hilarious, and in his use of repetition and provocation, there’s almost an entire mythology built up around his characters that goes into funnier and more deranged territory each time around.
So back when REVIEW was preparing to hit the airwaves for the first time, Andy Daly embarked on a limited-run podcast that explored his characters and their mythology (sometimes dubbed by Earwolf fans as the ‘Dalyverse’) by giving them a platform on which to express themselves and their various levels of tragedy, desperation and debauchery. The series was entitled THE ANDY DALY PODCAST PILOT PROJECT, and simply on an laugh-per-minute basis over the course of its eight-episode run, might be the funniest podcast ever produced. And with subjects such as Satanism, self-mutilation, suicide, sexual deviancy, murder and human trafficking being all fair play among Daly’s characters, the show can incite just as much horror as it does hilarity.
While the show couldn’t cover every character in Daly’s deranged roster, fan favorites showed up in top form and all of whom had banked at least one memorable appearance on the CBB Podcast. Monster-hunting poet-cowboy/creep Dalton Wilcox, Satan-worshipping game show host Chip Gardner, generally abusive personal trainer Bill Carter, depressed traveling cuckold August Lindt, perverted cretin Don DiMello and more each get more time to shine on THE ANDY DALY PODCAST PILOT PROJECT, and Daly exudes a joyful glee in returning to each of these character’s respective living hell. And with frequent collaborator Matt Gourley (of SUPEREGO fame) and tried-and-true Earwolf vets such as Jason Mantzoukas, Jessica St. Clair, Jon Daly, Maria Bamford, Matt Besser, Paul F. Tompkins and more in tow, inhibitions are at an all-time-low, which makes for an even more reckless and bizarre exhibition of improv at its finest.
For fright fans, the show doesn’t get quite darker and more disturbing than the “Eye on Theatre” episode featuring Daly’s crown jewel of creepiness, Don DiMello, an elderly perverted theater director who frequently skirts the line of pimp, pornographer, mutilator, and out-and-out psychopath. While DiMello has often provided hilarity with his dark, absurd career choices on COMEDY BANG! BANG!, THE ANDY DALY PODCAST PILOT PROJECT takes the character into a whole new level, and explains that DiMello may be shuttling off women to an undisclosed location (known only as “The Farm”) where they are destined to spend the rest of their tragic lives and are prone to attacks by wolves. And, surprisingly enough, the comedy show actually finds a way to introduce emotional stakes in the third act by introducing CBB regular Marissa Wompler (played to oblivious perfection by Jessica St. Clair) as DiMello’s potential protege, giving the audience someone to root for in terms of not falling prey to DiMello’s sinister intentions.
But even with the podcasts going into pitch-black comedy at times, THE ANDY DALY PODCAST PILOT PROJECT also serves as a miniature master class in improvisational comedy as well as creating a narrative within a podcast, an endeavor so few podcasts do. While Daly never forwardly appears to be in control of the proceedings, and perhaps never truly is, his ability to roll out the irreverence and insanity surrounding him into a cohesive story is a testament to his skill and talent in the art of improv as well as the synchronicity between himself and his guests. Equally as impressive if Daly’s pure lack of doubt when it comes to unexpected plot developments and character traits, which often leads to the series’ funniest and most twisted bits and callbacks to these character’s CBB origins. It’s what sets THE ANDY DALY PODCAST PILOT PROJECT apart from its comedy counterparts, and if the series ever does return for a second go-round, one might expect Daly would go even further into the dark recesses of his character’s morose minds.