The Earwolf Challenge Last Words: The F Plus
Which isn’t to say we don’t have faith in the quality our podcast (we think it’s great), but the underlying premise isn’t one you might consider “an easy sell”. Our sensibility works on the assumption that you’ll pick up on some nerdy references and come in with an interest in the musings of grammatically challenged fan fiction writers, tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists, and people with mind-destroying fetishes for physically impossible acts. That is, we can all agree, a “niche market”.
Early on in The Challenge, we talked about Mystery Science Theater 3000 being our chief inspiration, and it’s definitely been a guiding light for a lot of us in more than just our podcast. Those guys (as well as Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets) taught us to seek out, engage with and ridicule the absurd things that other people tend to ignore. They were our patron saints.
When MST3k transitioned from being on a local Minnesota channel seen by nobody to The Comedy Channel (which, despite later becoming Comedy Central, wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now), the then-host of the show was asked if he was concerned about the show finding an audience. His response, which he repeated a lot, was “The right people will get it.”
Podcasts as a media format have clearly been coming into their own as of late, but the economics still have yet to be figured out. On the plus side, producing a podcast is cheap! All you need is bandwidth and free time. But everything else, from building a listenership to the monetization of even covering your own costs… that’s something everybody has to figure out for ourselves.
So it was really exciting for all of us to be selected as contenders for The Earwolf Challenge. For a little while we got to swim in the big kids’ pool. Our content was listened to by comedians we like, comedians we’ve seen on the TV. Sure, most were just perplexed by us and a few turned out to not like it at all, but Earwolf gave us a platform, and we tried to make the most of it.
In the seven weeks we were on air we agonized every time about what new bit of content we could provide for the show. We wanted to provide new material and continue to give listeners a new topic and a new idea with our own particular sensibility. We heard some criticism we’d never considered before, and heard some other criticism which we didn’t really think about too much. Also, we looked on the Earwolf Forums and saw that a couple of you seem to be really mad about something.
When we started doing this thing about three years ago we had neither an audience nor a goal. We were doing what made us all laugh, and we were sharing it with whoever thought it was interesting. Over time more people have found what we were doing, and some of them have turned out to be enthusiastic supporters.
It would be completely disingenuous for us to say that we don’t pay attention to the number of listeners we have. We totally do. We’ll check the Facebook page for some awful fundamentalist rant site that we’re mining for content, and the first thought is “Shit, they have wayyyy more fans than we do.” But we also know that the only podcast that we’re capable of producing is the podcast that we’d like to listen to ourselves. And when you’re running a show that operates at a net-loss, and you never expect that to change, it seems a little silly to do something that doesn’t personally interest you.
And so it turns out that the podcast we put out made it halfway through this elimination, and that’s a result we’re all perfectly content with. You learned a little about us along the way, and a couple of you turned out to like us.
We want to give Much Muthafuckin Clown Love* to the show’s producers, Peter Moses and Frank Cappello, not only for thinking we were good enough to be involved in this thing, but also for the massive undertaking that coordinating this show clearly was, and for providing its ten contestants with as little pain as necessary. Their efforts gave us all an audience, a brief window of time, and the challenge “Entertain us.” It’s the kind of chance everyone’s looking for, and we did all we could with it.
Jazaaboo D. Portaxx
*This is a traditional term of respect among Insane Clown Posse fans.**
** We are not Insane Clown Posse fans.
You can catch The F Plus live, Friday, September 30th
The Blue Nile in Minneapolis (2027 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404)