Comics host live broadcasts at Brian’s
BY STEFANIE NAKASONE / firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask Los Angeles comedian/filmmaker Graham Elwood what his favorite movie of all time is, and his answer is probably something you’d expect from a self-proclaimed nerd.
‘COMEDY FILM NERDS’ LIVE PODCAST
» Where: Crossroads at Hawaiian Brian’s, 1680 Kapiolani Blvd.
‘GUYS WITH ISSUES COMEDY SHOWCASE’
With Special Guest Graham Elwood
» Where: Crossroads at Hawaiian Brian’s, 1680 Kapiolani Blvd.
“I gotta say, I love ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’” he said during a recent telephone interview from L.A. “I’m a huge Batman fanatic. I think those films are amazing.”
As one half of the comedy podcast pair the “Comedy Film Nerds,” Elwood has equal appreciation for classics like “The Godfather,” lesser known gems like “The Grey Fox,” and today’s fanboy favorites like Christopher Nolan’s latest “Batman” installments. Elwood and co-host Chris Mancini bring a smart, funny and a slightly nerdy enthusiasm to their shows, which they’ve been doing for four years.
Elwood and Mancini started the “Comedy Film Nerds” website, comedyfilmnerds.com, five years ago as a place for filmmakers and comics to write funny movie reviews and sell their merchandise independently.
They’ve now created more than 200 episodes of “Comedy Film Nerds,” dissecting films weekly with great insight and humorous commentary.
(Side note: For an awesomely nerdy shot to the heart, check out the “Comedy Film Nerds” logo. It’s a film strip being cut by a light sabre with the tagline “Han Shot First!” The favorite gripe of all Star Wars fans is the opening line of their theme song as well as their usual sendoff.)
ELWOOD AND MANCINI bring “Comedy Film Nerds” to Hawaii on Thursday, Jan. 9, with an appearance at Hawaiian Brian’s Crossroads showroom. It’s part of a continuing series of appearances for the duo, including stops at film festivals and comedy clubs around the country.
Elwood is no stranger to Hawaii. The Chicago native tries to get to the islands at least once a year; he’s an avid surfer so plans to catch some waves. The comedian last performed here a year ago.
On Jan. 11, Elwood is also headlining the Guys with Issues Comedy Showcase.
The Honolulu podcast will focus on films made in Hawaii, Elwood said. Plans for a special guest are also in the works. (Past podcast guests have included comedians Sarah Silverman, Doug Benson and Janeane Garofalo.)
There also will be plenty of interaction with the audience, including trivia and giveaways.
Through the podcast, the hosts and fans have created a sort of community, Elwood said, that helps drive content such as the show’s popular “spoiler” specials.
During these “spoiler” podcasts, he and Mancini “go into all of the details of the film, the ending and all that stuff,” Elwood said.
“Fans have really resonated with that, because they want to hear in-depth discussions of the movies they’ve seen, as well.” Most recently, “Thor,” “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity” got the spoiler treatment.
PODCASTS have the attraction of a radio talk show, but they are available any time, on any subject you can imagine. Countless titles are available via iTunes.
The platform has caught on on the mainland — Elwood calls L.A. “a comedian podcast mecca” — but has yet to create a splash here.
Local comedian James Mane is hoping to change that. He, Russel Kealoha and Chad Wago created “Guys with Issues,” a weekly comedy podcast mainly produced at Crossroads or an office inside Club 939 — a local strip club.
As the strip-club setting hints, Mane said “Guys With Issues” is made with a male audience in mind and for women who can appreciate “guy humor.”
The hosts talk about topics ranging from the latest headlines to men’s dilemmas and challenges. During a recent episode, the guys discussed how much an engagement ring should cost.
Some topics are not as G-rated. One episode of “Guys with Issues” involved (visiting) Asian porn star London Keyes calling Wago at his bank job, talking dirty as he tried to sound professional.
“She says, ‘What’s wrong, don’t you wanna … ‘ And he’s just stuttering. It was so funny,” Mane recalled.
Freedom to take risks with subject matter is part of the beauty of podcasts, Mane said.
“(Podcasting) is taking the aspects of radio and sort of setting it loose, letting it free,” Elwood said. “The greatest thing about it is you can say or do anything you want.”
That doesn’t only mean using sexually explicit material.
Elwood said podcasting allows him and Mancini freedom to decide content, instead of answering to a corporate bigwig. That’s why they occasionally break from their usual format of discussing the latest releases and do spoiler episodes and genre-specific shows.
If a corporate sponsor came along for “Comedy Film Nerds,” though, “we would sell out like such cheap whores, it’s not even funny,” Elwood joked during a recent podcast.
That’s not a completely absurd thought. Podcasting is continuing to grow in popularity, and so too is “Comedy Film Nerds.” The show averages 13,400 downloads per episode, up from fewer than 9,000 a year ago.
As for “Guys with Issues,” the show averages about 3,000 downloads a month, Mane said. And while the podcast has fans all around the world — including Sri Lanka, of all places — Mane hopes to get more locals listening, not only to his show but other podcasts as well.
“I think we can reach more (listeners), because there are a bunch of podcasts here in Hawaii. It’s just they don’t have large audiences in Hawaii, mostly audiences (elsewhere),” Mane said.
Having started “Guys with Issues” almost two years ago, Mane said the show is still growing.
If you want to hear a sample, though, Mane suggested skipping the first few episodes.
“I will warn you, we just started out, so the quality of the show isn’t that great,” Mane said with a laugh. “The first 10 episodes, you can overlook those, but from episode 15 on, those are good episodes.”
The podcasts are usually done live at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.
MANE and the “Guys” want to expand the local comedy scene because there are few venues for up-and-coming comedians to practice their craft.
“There’s a lot of good underground comedians here that nobody’s ever heard about,” Mane said.
A few of those local stand-up artists will join Elwood at the Jan. 11 showcase. Mane will host the event, which also features Dallas Gwynn, Jonny Sparkles and Wago.
While the title of the show is “Guys with Issues Comedy Showcase,” Gwynn is certainly not coming from a male perspective.
“She’s pretty edgy,” Mane said. “She talks about her experience with men and her experience going on girls’ nights out. … A lot of women connect with her. She’s very witty and she’s a smart-ass.”
There’s also a performance slot open for the winner of a “Guys with Issues” video contest. The comedian with the most likes/shares of her/his video posted on the “Guys with Issues” Facebook page wins. That contest ends today.