Published Feb 06, 2020If a recent "mini-sode" of the popular How Did This Get Made? film re-evaluation podcast is to be believed, co-host Paul Scheer may have caused a California earthquake with an app.
"I did, I did," he insists to Exclaim!
On the show, Scheer recounts downloading the Quakebot app, which monitors earthquake activity in and around Los Angeles. Within a second of pressing a button on the application for the first time ever, the ground began shaking due to an earthquake and Scheer thought he had seriously fucked something up.
"I mean look, now I have the power so, in a weird way, as long as I don't open it, we're all safe, which is great," Scheer reasons. When pressed to simply delete the earthquake-causing technology from his phone, he declines.
"No, I need it," Scheer insists. "I need that power, I need to have it."
Scheer's experience could well be a plotline in the kind of disastrously bad film that he and his co-hosts, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas (and occasionally some very special guests), watch and then break down on the hilariously incredulous How Did This Get Made?, a podcast that is presented as both a contained, in-studio production and a live show.
The show's rabid audience partake in the action by watching the movie in question in advance and arriving at live tapings with opinionated observations and questions for the hosts, which leads to an immersive, funny, interactive experience. The trio bring HDTDM to Vancouver's JFL NorthWest for a February 22 engagement at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
"Our live show is uniquely different than our regular show, in the sense that, even the show you listen to as a live episode, isn't totally the experience you get when you're in the venue," Scheer explains. "June, Jason and I are all live performers, and we really cater to creating a fun live experience.
"That doesn't mean there are costumes and sets, but we try to make it really fun for the audience there, and we get to hear immediate feedback."
Scheer cites their relatively recent experience discussing the 1991 comedy, Drop Dead Fred, which he says became a surprising, communal event in the room, and has become a classic episode.
"Before the show, we don't talk about what we're going to talk about," Mantzoukas adds. "With Drop Dead Fred, none of us knew that we were going to be split on how we felt about the movie. That moment of discovery happened onstage in front of the crowd and I think that's what's interesting and compelling about it."
Mantzoukas goes on to suggest that such an incident falls within the original vision for HDTGM.
"Our priority, even when we did the shows at Largo here in Los Angeles, was creating a live event," he explains. "Something that felt like, anyone sitting in the audience and anyone sitting at home could both enjoy in those contexts. There's so much stuff that is added to make it an interactive experience."
Of course, there are instances when the live show gets pretty wild. Take the small boy who attended multiple New York tapings recently, showing up in costumes and, when given a mic to ask a question, wondered if he could simply slap Mantzoukas in the face.
"That only ever happens at live shows," Mantzoukas chuckles, "where people say and ask bizarre things of me."
"You can see us do a live show ten times in a year and it's a completely different experience, because we never repeat the show," Scheer says. "People used to ask, 'Oh, are you doing that movie again?' No, no; we're doing a unique podcast every single time. You get something that no one else gets.
"If you see a standup comedian on the road, that show will be perfected and it'd be the same show every single night," he adds. "Here, you can see us twice in one night and it's a totally different thing. Nothing's ever polished, but we're having fun."
"You are a part of the discovery of this conversation," Mantzoukas states. "That's a unique and electric thing for an audience to watch people truly discover these crazy, wild scenes that we've each noticed in these movies."
Ordinarily, the film up for HDTGM? dissection isn't revealed until the week before, on a prequel podcast episode. That's not the case for the Vancouver crowd, which has been assigned the 1990 Jesse Venture vehicle, Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe.
Scheer is already anticipating some disappointment about this selection from the local crowd.
"Our movie sadly does not deal with any of the different types of rain you guys have, or your bike lane politics," he says.
"As one might, I'm assuming the audience is going to be absolutely gorgeous," Mantzoukas adds, pandering to Vancouver. "It's going to be hunks and honeys and it's gonna be a blast."
Speaking of the beautiful people, the 2020 Oscar season is in full swing and, with the award ceremony coming up, one can't help but wonder if any of the nominees, like perhaps Quentin Tarantino's divisive Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood might be ripe for a HDTGM treatment.
"Okay, the gauntlet has been thrown down to me," Scheer says. "So, if Brad Pitt wins the Oscar, we must do his first movie. I believe it's called The Dark Side of the Sun and it's him as a young man and for the majority of the movie, he's wearing a black gimp mask, because he can't stand the sun.
"He's swimming with dolphins at one point and a dolphin attacks Brad Pitt — and they just left it in the movie?!
"I feel like that would be a great one to look at," he adds. "I'm a huge fan of Brad Pitt and, the gimp mask, when you google it, is very, very impressive."
See How Did This Get Made? live at Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre on February 22 as part of JFL NorthWest.