YBY ep 300: A retrospective of the 299 Yes But Why episodes!
Hello Yes But Why listeners! Welcome to Episode 300 of the Yes But Why Podcast! I thought episode 300 would be the perfect time to give you a little backstory and some fun clips!
So this week on Yes But Why, it’s a retrospective of the podcast’s past. There have been a lot of changes to the podcast since the first episode of Yes But Why on April 18, 2016.
First thing to note is that when the podcast started, it was me and two cohosts – Delia Diaz and Wendell Smith.
I went through lots and lots of episodes to find cool (and weird) moments to share. One thing that was really comforting was that I’ve maintained the purpose that Wendell and Delia and I came up with when we created Yes But Why.
The podcast was started to explore different stories from the front lines of theater – different perspectives of living a life in the arts. It still maintains that thematic thread today, representing the stories of creative people from all over the world.
For the first few episodes of Yes But Why, it was just me and my cohosts talking to each other about improv. We were all involved at the same theater and we talked about our experiences…and we also told a bunch of weird stories.
In my first clip, here’s me bringing up #My18YearTheory for the very first time in episode ONE.
Then we decided to ask others to join in on the fun. We finally landed interviews and unsurprisingly, it was mostly people we knew.
We were all comfortable with each other so sometimes it got deep, like in this clip in which Redd Jefferson and Roy Lazorwitz tell us why they love writing and performing comedy.
We also talked about teachers and how they affect their students with their notes. Listen first to this story from G-Su Paek about how he approaches giving notes to his improv students. The clip after that is Chuy Zarate talking about how he took a particularly harsh note from his directing teacher in college.
There was also a lot of random crap that we tried because we weren’t sure how to do interviews just yet. Like when Wendell bought that book of 1001 questions and we ended up having this discussion on trust with Lisa Friedrich.
There is even that one weird episode when I posted a spoof radio show that I had made for my sketch show, The Neighborhood. I only did it the one time, I guess just to get more ears to listen to it. I was very proud of it. Episode 12 if you want to check it out.
Then, VERY EARLY in our growth, we had the opportunity to talk to Kevin McDonald. He had taught a sketch workshop at the theater and I took his class and we bonded and became friends (we still talk on the phone occasionally). We had a great talk and he helped us to hone our interviewing skills.
After getting to interview Kevin McDonald, we were empowered to start reaching out to visiting comedians when they came in town for tours or festivals. We also went to a festival or two just to connect with artists for interviews!
Check out this clip from Austin Film festival with filmmaker Par Parekh on accepting yourself as an artist
In the next clip, touring standup comedian Josh Gondleman tells us about what it was like for him submitting writing packets to late night comedy shows.
Next up is a moment from Austin Film festival when I sat down with writer/director Zoe Ward to hear about how much she loves the collaborative aspects of filmmaking
Listen to this clip of my conversation with Dan O’Connor and Edi Patterson when they came in town for Out of Bounds in 2018.
In the early days, we rented a studio in a space that was really for bands to rehearse. The room we recorded in was not soundproof at all and sometimes bands would rehearse LOUDLY right next door. It was a little embarrassing to our visiting artists guests but we carried on.We even made a joke out of it for standup comedian, Bobby Mickey. I was definitely upset that the band was so loud in the background of my chat here with standup comedian Valerie Tosi, because this was my first ever interview on my own and she was just so great.
Sometimes we talked about living a life as a creative but sometimes we talked about the weirdest shit imaginable.
In the first #weirdshit clip, Wendell pulls out a saxophone.
In the next #weirdshit clip, a man accosted me and Par Parekh during our interview at the Driskill Hotel to tell us the chairs we were sitting on were HAUNTED.
In this clip, I told a story about an ex crashing my car to Keith “Keebler” Horvath and it totally went down a rabbit hole of weird bits.
Oh did I forget to mention that Wendell and I are obsessed with Friends? Yeah so sometimes it dominated the conversations with guests! Like in our chat with David Crabb!
After Episode 32, Delia left as co-host to move to Chicago and work on her own comedy dreams! So we did a little switcheroo and we got new co-host, Patrick Neese! Before Delia actually moved away, we insisted that she come in so we could interview her. This episode (#55) is nothing but bits. It’s hilarious and it really made me miss having co-hosts to riff with. Patrick was a great new co-host and had some funny thoughts about theater to contribute.
In this series of clips, we talk about connecting with the audience. Listen in for thoughts from standup comedian, Symply Courtney, improviser Shyla Ray, standup comedian Ky Krebs, and improviser, Velvet Duke.
Doing a podcast about people in entertainment meant I had the opportunity to interview my theatrical inspiration, my uncle Joe Pacheco. I love him and it is always great to hear his stories!
In this one episode when Wendell and Patrick interviewed Aaron Walther without me, Wendell started this funny game where he asked his girlfriend to marry him at the end of each episode and then we kept doing it…#MichelleMarryMe
Unfortunately after a lot episodes working together, Patrick and Wendell both moved on from the podcast. I was sad to see them go but our schedules just no longer meshed. And that’s when I started doing the podcast on my own. It was scary at first but then I realized that through the podcast, I could reconnect with some of my creative friends from back in the day.
Listen in as I chat with my college pal, Helen Krieger about what it was like for her to break into writing for TV. Here’s a clip in which I chatted with my bestie from my twenties, Irene Carroll, about how she got involved with the NYC improv scene.
At one point, I got to talk to Larry Hankin! And for a huge Friends fan like me, talking to Mister Heckles was a BIG DEAL. I cannot even remember how I was lucky enough to land this guy’s contact info but I did. And what a boon! Turns out Larry was part of the team that started The Committee in San Francisco and he shared his experiences from those early days of improv
Looking for new guests one day, I got connected to a facebook group for improvisers from all over the world. I did a post calling for new guests and got A LOT of response! It absolutely expanded my view of creative perspectives. And since our first 1st international guest, we’ve interviewed almost 50 improvisers from all over the world!
I talked to Christiane Brew, a British improviser in Tokyo, getting the most fun out of the scene. Then I spoke with Matias Avaca about his globetrotting adventures for improv. In this clip, I talked to Aree Witoelar, an Indonesian improviser who runs Impro Neuf International – Oslo, Norway’s first English-speaking improv comedy theater
I didn’t mean it to be, but the podcast is largely focused on improv.
Listen in as Leela founder, Jill Eickmann talks to me about learning the SARK method and how that led her to improv as a calling.
When I talked to Australian improviser Amanda Buckley, she spoke about how improv acting gave her the chance to play characters they never let her play in scripted theater.
Improv teacher from Los Angeles, Jay Sukow talks about what it was like to ride the wave of improv as it got more and more popular over his lifetime.
Just at the beginning of the pandemic, I spoke with Bala Viswanathan from Improv Comedy Bangalore about the new innovation of zoomprov.
I’ve spoken not just to improvisers but to lots of other performers as well. Check out these clips about acting from Tracey B Wilson and Nik Whitcomb.
Throughout all of my interviews, I’ve learned so much from my guests’s adventures. Including this snippet from my interview with life coach, Kelly Hopkins about how she uses art therapy to help her students connect to their authentic selves.
And I’ll never refuse another opportunity to talk about #My18Year Theory once again…Thanks to Gael Doorneweerd Perry for being one of my many guests who discussed it with me.
It’s been a wild journey for the past 299 episodes and I hope you can go back and check them out now with a more informed view of what was going on. You’ll understand who the other voices are and why it’s so DANG LOUD all the time. And you’ll meet artists from all over the world who are out there making art and trying their best and I think that’s pretty great.
It’s been a long time. And I’m happy for what this podcast has put out in the world. Thanks for sticking with me all this time.
And here, at the end, I will leave you with the immortal words of Rachael Mason.
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