Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
RuPaul marches on D.C. circa 1993.

Gay Future is the fictional comedy podcast of Mike Pence’s nightmares

RuPaul marches on D.C. circa 1993.
Photo: Porter Gifford/Liaison (Getty Images)
PodmassPodmassIn Podmass, The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at podmass@avclub.com.

Battlestar Galacticast
Season 1, Episode 1: 33 (with Katee Sackhoff)

Illustration for article titled iGay Future/i is the fictional comedy podcast of Mike Pence’s nightmares

TV writer and Fatman On Batman co-host Marc Bernardin has been threatening to start a Battlestar Galactica rewatch podcast for years. His desire to talk BSG in podcast form clearly comes from his personal love of the show, but it also comes from the fact that he’s friends with one of the show’s stars, actress Tricia Helfer, who played the red-dress-adorned Cylon simply called Six. Together they recently launched Battlestar Galacticast with a couple episodes covering the 2003 miniseries, but now they’ve really kicked things off in earnest with a discussion of season one, episode one. Actress Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck) joins them to talk about “33,” the time-looping premiere episode that expertly established the tone of the series to come. Our heroes are on the run from the Cylons, they’re coming to grips with the annihilation of the human race, and, boy, are they tired. Fans of the show will love hearing behind-the-scenes stories from set, newcomers will be inspired to watch along with perhaps the most binge-worthy sci-fi show in history, and absolutely everybody will get a kick out of hearing Edward James Olmos referred to as “Eddie.” That just never gets old. [Dan Neilan]

Bodega Boys 
Back At 220

Illustration for article titled iGay Future/i is the fictional comedy podcast of Mike Pence’s nightmares

This episode of Bodega Boys is firing on all cylinders. The comedic riffing of hosts Desus Nice and The Kid Mero is so full of energy that the listening experience is akin to the inertia one experiences upon cresting a roller coaster’s highest peak. It can be hard to quantify the brilliance of Desus and Mero’s comedy for the purpose of evangelizing their program, other than to describe it as a display of two minds operating in near perfect synchrony, and it is as mesmerizing a thing to witness as watching magic up close. Bodega Boys gets its momentum from the pair’s free-flowing chemistry, taking listeners on a wildly parabolic ride between the high-minded and the extremely lowbrow. This week’s episode canvasses immense territory in hilarious fashion. It is the kind of show that almost can’t be listened to in public spaces on account of the unhinged laughter it elicits, whether from their dissection of strange bedfellows made by sovereign citizens of color and white supremacists, a discussion of why immigrant families could never be on Double Dare, or the ridiculous beauty of a segment called “Hotep Italian cops.” For anyone in need of a surefire way to jump-start the new year. [Ben Cannon]

Gay Future 
Gay Academy

Illustration for article titled iGay Future/i is the fictional comedy podcast of Mike Pence’s nightmares

The premise of this podcast is a total delight: It purports to be a serialized audio fiction adaptation of a long-lost YA novel written in 2002 by Mike Pence. It plays like a fever dream of all the Indiana politician’s worst nightmares, particularly that in the future, everyone in America is gay thanks to the efforts of the “Gay Agenda.” Children are raised in orphanages before being sent off to Gay Academy, where they are sorted, Harry Potter–style, into one of two houses: Top or Bottom. But the narrative’s protagonist, Mikey (a thinly veiled Mary Sue), soon learns he might be the long prophesied straight hero who will restore straight order. The result is a playfully subversive piece of audio fiction that dexterously utilizes every genre trope from fantasy and dystopian sci-fi for maximum comic impact, filtered through the author Pence’s inability to conceive of gay life as anything beyond pastel pastiche. The meta-narrative framework allows for hilariously dated references like President Clay Aiken, and John Travolta as the Gay Academy version of a Sorting Hat. Gay Future’s excellent writing, performances, and sound design make this perhaps the only time one might look forward to more Mike Pence in their life. [Ben Cannon]

I’m Afraid That
Jordan Peele Is Afraid Of Attention 

Illustration for article titled iGay Future/i is the fictional comedy podcast of Mike Pence’s nightmares

Daniel Zomparelli starts off by relating a mortifying experience from his youth concerning unwanted attention—a perfect segue considering his guest, Academy Award winner Jordan Peele (creator of the masterfully frightening Get Out) is most afraid of just such unwanted attention. Peele tells of a dream that helped inspire Get Out, one that involved walking through the lobby of a bank and turning to the elevators, at which point all the noise and conversation cut out. Turning back, he saw all the people in the lobby standing there, staring at him. It encapsulates the frightening notion that “There’s some kind of collective thought that you’re not a part of.” It’s a feeling and image Peele incorporated into Get Out, tapping into a deeper and more nuanced fear, especially regarding race and being a person of color in white spaces. Peele beautifully articulates the power of fear as an emotion and its key role in his artistic practice. The great thing about I’m Afraid That is how Zomparelli consults experts (in this episode: horror expert Tananarive Due), facilitating in-depth conversations on what fear says about individuals and society at large. [Jose Nateras]

The Adventures Of Memento Mori 
300 Words Or Less

Illustration for article titled iGay Future/i is the fictional comedy podcast of Mike Pence’s nightmares

“Instead of wasting your time writing New Year’s resolutions, why not write your obituary?” This suggestion comes from D.S. Moss, doled out after much thought on the nature of obituaries that began over a decade ago when he wrote a short film about a man who seizes control of his life by penning his own death notice, and which he revisits for this podcast. Moss is obsessed with death, believing that an understanding of mortality will lead to a richer life. Top-notch production pairs Moss’ meditations with illuminating interviews, all helpfully moved along by a macabre assignment: to draft an obituary for his still-living grandfather. Grandpa provides a rough sketch of his long life, and a New York Times obit writer reveals the formula for distilling all biographies, no matter how big or varied. Combined, the show unlocks how proper obituaries encapsulate decades of singular experience in but a few hundred words. The central thrust is broken up by delightful asides, such as scenes from his student film and a shout-out to an Instagram account that curates the most delicate euphemisms for death. [Zach Brooke]

The Episodic Table Of Elements 
Nickel: Face Value

Illustration for article titled iGay Future/i is the fictional comedy podcast of Mike Pence’s nightmares

Podcasts are a natural medium for niche completists, a term that also aptly describes periodic-table obsessives. So it feels right that the two meet here in a series that features all known elements in turn. There’s some discussion of nickel’s properties, and when it was first isolated, but host T. R. Appleton’s approach eschews chemical reactions in favor of human ones. These almost always involve money, of course, but rarely in such an on-the-nose way as this one. We learn, ironically, that nickel was chosen as legal tender because it was considered worthless compared to silver and gold, which hoarders would melt down in times of uncertainty. Not that nickels are cast out of only their namesake; only 25 percent of each coin is made of the metal. Speaking of namesakes, nickel takes its own from the devil himself, bestowed by frustrated German miners who failed to extract copper from a red mineral they excavated in the Ore Mountains. More successful are the modern residents of the remote, furtive Russian city of Norilsk, home to a grisly past and the richest nickel deposits in the world. All this and more is included in a tightly scripted show running less than 20 minutes. [Zach Brooke]

This Podcast Will Kill You 
Scratch And Sniff Diphtheria Membrane

Illustration for article titled iGay Future/i is the fictional comedy podcast of Mike Pence’s nightmares

If it’s possible to have a really funny and exuberant conversation about an unthinkably horrific disease known to sweep across continents leaving innumerable corpses in its wake, then this podcast somehow nails it. And if not, it comes damn well close. This Podcast Will Kill You seems built upon the premise that the world is filled with horrors and if we don’t observe them with a wry smile then we’ll be blinded by our own tears. Erin Welsh and Erin Allmann Updyke are epidemiologists with dark (though never glib) senses of humor and deep wells of empathy who have decided to walk us through the scientific particulars and historic details of some of humanity’s biggest microscopic predators. In this episode, the Erins diagnose the effects of diphtheria—otherwise known as the Strangling Angel—upon society, explaining not just the terrifying, foul-smelling manner in which it presents itself in a victim’s throat and the massive effect it had upon modern germ theory, but also the unlikely way it inspired a ’90s-era animated classic. And if that’s not enough, every episode comes with its own cocktail (or “quarantini”) recipe. [Dennis DiClaudio]

Treks And The City 
“Best Of Both Worlds Pt. 2” (w/ Paul F. Tompkins)

Illustration for article titled iGay Future/i is the fictional comedy podcast of Mike Pence’s nightmares

About an hour into the second part of this two-part episode, co-host Alice Wetterlund ends yet another lengthy tangent by admitting, “This is a podcast in which we have an obligatory thing where we have to talk about an episode of Star Trek.” She’s joking, of course, but that’s kind of Treks And The City in a nutshell. It’s a Star Trek: The Next Generation podcast that admittedly lets the show take a backseat to friendly discussion, tangential rants, and some serious goofing around with the iPad soundboard. Yes, Wetterlund and co-host Veronica Osorio are fans of the show, but that doesn’t mean they have to be nerds about it. The reality is there are already a dozen Star Trek podcasts for obsessive fans, so why not have one for casual viewers who prioritize fun over starship schematics? With returning guest Paul F. Tompkins by their side, Wetterlund and Osorio perfectly capture the feeling of watching TV with your funny friends. And, yes, if you’re really interested to hear about it, they also discuss the season-four premiere episode of TNG in which Jean-Luc Picard is transformed into Locutus Of Borg and attempts to turn everyone into adorably assimilated Locuties! [Dan Neilan]

Try It, You’ll Like It 
The End Of 2018 Gauntlet With Jon Gabrus

Illustration for article titled iGay Future/i is the fictional comedy podcast of Mike Pence’s nightmares

Jon Gabrus’ High And Mighty podcast has been one of the better sources out there for passionate and insightful discussions about food, from Vegas buffets to Long Island sandwiches to fine dining. It was a treat for listeners last October when Try It, You’ll Like It hosts Winston Carter and David Zwick dropped by High And Mighty studios with a smorgasbord of home-cooked meats to chat about barbecue, and now Gabrus returns the favor to sample a prix fixe of acquired tastes. Normally, guests declare a least-favorite foodstuff—like eggnog or beets—in advance, then graze a variety of preparations made by the hosts in one last-ditch effort to win them over. As a self-declared experiential completist, Gabrus puts his belief that he doesn’t revile any single ingredient to the test with nattō (stringy, mucus-y fermented soybeans), chapulines (grasshoppers), and balut (a partially developed duck embryo boiled in-egg). The balut offers a rare Try It, You’ll Like It success story in which a hesitant guest has a genuine food epiphany; the briny, savory liquid and soft solids within the egg are revealed to be a tasty halfway point between poultry and shellfish. Oddly enough, the most harrowing experience on the entire table is just a shot of Jeppson’s Malört. [Dan Jakes]

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