Laugh Comes Full Circle

For years, I had to drive an hour each way for work, which is a large reason why podcasts were such a large part of my life for so many years. Of all the shows I listened to, and of all the shows I loved that were incredibly important to me, there was always one that stood above them all and instantly shot up to the top of the queue each time a new episode was released.

That show was the Australian podcast, TOFOP, featuring comedian Wil Anderson and actor Charlie Clausen.

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I had no idea who Wil or Charlie were when I started listening to the show, but instantly fell in love. It lead me down a rabbit hole of seeking out any work of Wil’s I could. Charlie was out of work through most of the time, so it was harder to find work of his that he hadn’t gotten cancelled already.

All I could find from Wil was a body of work that made him instantly become my favorite comedian. Between TOFOP, where he was incredibly quick and hilarious nonstop effortlessly, his standup bits, that were brilliantly written and expertly performed, and his TV show, Gruen Transfer, which is an amazingly hilarious look at advertising, it was like there was a comedian that was put on this planet just for me. With his love of comic books, specifically Batman, a love of puns, an adoration of pop culture, and a TV show focused on advertising, he wrapped so many of my interests into one hilarious package. To make all this even more likeable, it was all wrapped up in this extremely charming personality and a genuinely all around nice guy.

From 2010 to 2012, Wil and Charlie released 83 episodes of TOFOP, which will forever be my favorite run of a podcast ever. I was crushed when they announced they were taking a break, but ecstatic at the same time because it was only happening because Charlie got a great job. After 83 episodes with them, I felt like they were my friends. I was happy for Charlie. Sure, it’d suck that we wouldn’t get to “hang out” as much anymore. But it was for an awesome reason for him, so it was worth it.

After those 83 episodes, Wil eventually returned with FOFOP, which I loved almost as much. Wil then eventually started Wilosophy, TOFOP returned in June of 2014, and Charlie recently launched That’s Aweson! It definitely didn’t end with TOFOP. It’s also been awesome to follow Wil along the way as he continues to be one of Australia’s top comics while also trying to catch a break in the states. It’s been cool to follow.These two have kept me entertained in so many ways for the past five years.

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They’ve also very regularly used artist from the amazing James Fosdike. Including the TOFOP banner abover, and this sweatshirt that promoted Wil’s Wiluminati Tour. If you look near the bottom from the very far right you can see my face, which is very awesome.

Even with all the entertainment TOFOP, Wil, and Charlie provided me that I am extremely thankful for, they also provided me with something else that I may appreciate even more: MOTIVATION.

In all my time listening to podcasts, I always wanted to start one of my own. I had done a lot of episodes of Podcast Squared, but that was always Andrew’s show. I wanted my own, but I had no ideas. I didn’t have an angle. I didn’t have an idea. I didn’t have a format. But Wil and Charlie showed me that none of that was needed. They proved to me week after week that two dudes who were funny and had great chemistry could just sit down, hit record, and bring joy to many.

About two years into listening to TOFOP, I finally decided to put the ball in motion and start my own. I eventually asked my buddy Erik Cribley if he wanted to start a podcast, and he surprisingly said yes. Thus, Erik and Dave Talking with Erik and Dave was born.

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I met Erik when I was doing standup regularly. I was never on a show where he wasn’t the greatest set of the night. I was never in a room where he wasn’t the funniest person in there. I admired and adored him as a standup, and actually really liked him as a person. He was easily my favorite local comedian, and there were a lot of them that I admired and respected, so that meant a lot.

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I didn’t know Erik all that well at first, but I really wanted him to be a part of Juggalohio. Asking him to be in it, despite it feeling super awkward, was one of my most brilliant decisions ever. We had a lot of good times filming, and that lead to a couple other fun times spent filming other projects with our pal Tony Hartman, including a movie and a music video.

Erik always made me feel at my funniest. I felt like I had to raise my game just to hang with him. We developed a pretty solid chemistry, and that’s why I thought a podcast with him could possibly somewhat entertaining.

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So we started Erik and Dave Talking with Erik and Dave. We learned on the first episode that we weren’t as smooth as Charlie and Wil. We couldn’t just sit down, hit record, and let magic happen. So we adapted, started creating bits, wrote lots of fan fiction, and had a lot of fun.

We went the full first year and managed to put an episode out each week. That first year ended with a live show that failed miserably and made us wonder if we even wanted to do any more. We remained weekly for the next few months, but then I went through moving and switching jobs, and our hiatus lasted a little longer than expected, then Erik moved to Cleveland for comedy purposes, and we both just kinda lost the passion. We never fully got back in the swing of things after that. We were hit or miss for the rest of year two, that ended in a clip show, then only did three total episodes in year three, but still thought it’d be funny to do a third anniversary special. As we enter year four, who knows? I’d kinda like to see us put out at least one episode per month, but we don’t have the best track record.

Despite our flaws, I feel like the best thing Erik and Dave did was keep Erik motivated. When he started slacking on his standup, I was there to give him shit for it. Doing fan fiction made us keep writing actively, even if it was just about our friends getting space raped or silly shit like that. Eventually he went and start FACTS! with Mike Kolenich, which had an awesome run, and eventually lead to the creation of FACTS! and FRIENDS! and Perfect America. Erik is a funny dude, and the more people that can be exposed to him is better, and podcasting has let him reach a wider audience.

As entertaining as he is in podcast form, standup is his natural calling. He is a phenomenal joke writer and bit former with an incredible stage presence and energy. Every show I ever did with him on it felt like he was a pro among amateurs. He stood out that much. I was so happy to see him move to Cleveland to immerse himself into their budding comedy scene.

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He eventually released a CD/DVD called The Prince Of Youngstown, which is fantastic. You should buy it, either on iTunes or Amazon.

It’s worked out pretty well for him so far, as he was recently announced as part of the Alan Cox Comedy Tour, which is being headlined by Wil Anderson. I’m super proud of him.

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Even better than the fact that I get to see two of my favorite comedians on the same show, I think it’s super awesome to see the guy I’ve hosted a podcast with for three years be on the same show as the guy who gave me the motivation to ask him to start a podcast with me in the first place.

It’s all come full circle.

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