Picture the setup. You have a group of seven to eight hardcore members huddled around a custom-made bar, drinking beers and raving from 9 p.m. to midnight. One-liners, ad-lib enforcement and laughter fill the space. It’s longer than the length of a Bruce Springsteen concert, and twice as interesting. This is no amateur group of gossip mongers. This is a professionally tuned band of individuals that know their subjective game and come together like a well-oiled machine to dish hours of highly engaging entertainment. I was fortunate to be a guest last year, and it was one of the most memorable off-the-cuff talk sessions that I’ve ever experienced. I’m now a bona fide follower of their special brand of high-octane tutelage.
Awesome Talk! is a passionate group of 20-something social media mavericks that fire off hilariously timed jokes, drink beers (all on camera) and chew the fat on just about every subject on the planet. As all of this is going on, they have rotating cameramen buzzing the table at all angles, capturing the vitality and sending it to the huge screen TV filled with the online interaction of die-hard posters. This crowd is extremely important to the pace of Awesome Talk! and they are part of the show. And while there are some serious discussions dealing with the world’s woes, the Awesome Talk! clan keeps the real focus on an agenda of offerings from local and national artists, musicians, comedians, actors and other intriguing contributors.
Some of the more notable names they’ve had on the show include Trevor Moore from The Whitest Kids U’ Know, Rodney Rush from Breaking Bad, Naomi Grossman who played “Pepper” on American Horror Story, TM Stevens of Shocka Zooloo, Amazon Amanda who is a famous fetishist, and a veritable “who’s who” of original new Jersey rock and roll personalities. Band members such as Dan and George from Negative Sky, Brandon and Ian of Negative Traction, Michael “Mayhem/” of Park Ape, Mudd from Turtle Soup, Dan Ridenour of Chemtrail, Mike Depko of Tórild, and many more.
Awesome Talk! has also featured several stand-up comedians, Mike Sgroi, and Foster The Genius join the fray as well as Beatboxer, B-Tre.
The group continues to highlight guests from local budding podcasts like Rene and Chanse of “Sherman Tanks: A Podcast” and Matt C. Hill of “Chillside Podcast.”
I took a few minutes to speak with head honcho Rick Carr about some of the interesting features, inner-workings, and one-of-a-kind people that make up New Jersey’s most original, live action talk show.
What led to the idea for Awesome Talk! and when did it start?
T.W.i.N.E. hadn’t been active for about four years [several Awesome Talk! members were part of that band). I put on weight, became depressed, and due to some other personal circumstances, I was completely stagnant. I had reached the end of my rope. Even with all these ideas in my head, I didn’t have the confidence to give it a try. Then I read a simple tweet from Kevin Smith that said something like, “It doesn’t matter if you think you can do it or not. If you have a creative idea, just go for it.” That’s not verbatim, but you get the gist. I had had enough of cowering from things. The journey began right there.
What are the show’s influential inspirations?
I have always been a fan of stand-up comedy, sketch comedy, talk shows, and talk radio. I was raised on Howard Stern, George Carlin, Eddie Murphy, and Andrew Dice Clay. I loved shows like The State, In Living Color, Mr. Show, etcetera. Being a writer and not having T.W.i.N.E. in my life for a few years, I began to piece together what I needed to record music and begin adapting a short story that I had published into a short film. That said, Ryan and Andrew [both from T.W.i.N.E.] joined me, and we started designing and building a bar in my apartment that would serve as the centerpiece for our studio.
How did you come upon the inspirational style and name for the show?
A bar seemed appropriate as we do some kick-ass drinking (laughs). While all of this was going on, my interest in film and broadcasting was growing, and I wanted to do something different…something which no one else, at least around here, was doing. Self-broadcasting and podcasting had piqued my interest! One night, I was sitting with Andrew at our unfinished bar [the bar has since become integral, even going as far as taking it on the road for shows] and we were having a few beers. We were cracking jokes the way a lot of people who sit around drinking do, and I drunkenly said, “We talk awesome.” He replied, “That should be the name of the show.”
All of a sudden, it got me thinking back about a decade ago when Sarah and I were talking about creating a comedy radio talk show called Ice And The Face for her website, spookymeat.com. But years went by, and we never pursued it for many reasons. Then, in December of 2012, my father passed away. I was already in the middle of creating music and art, and I believe creativity not only got me through that hard time, but it lit a fire under my ass to get the ball rolling and keep it rolling.
All these things got me thinking about the technological services currently at our fingertips, many for free. I called the best team of talkers I could think of, pulled together what little technology we had to work with, which included an out of date broadcasting program, one condenser microphone, and some very cheap webcams and we started getting together for some trial runs.
In July of 2013, we went officially live for the first time. Six months later, Sarah and I launched Ice And The Face, which we always refer as the “sister show” of Awesome Talk! And now, we are currently approaching episode 45 of Awesome Talk! and episode 50 of Ice And The Face. We air videos for local bands, fundraiser, and artists, and we film and air our own content we make in-house as well.
Tell us who your top five guests have been over the years.
Stephen van Vuuren, the creator of the IMAX film, “In Saturn’s Rings.” Rodney Rush, who plays “Combo” on Breaking Bad. Brian Dooley, who is the creator of creature effects studio, “Shrunken Head Studios.” Trevor Moore, from the TV show The Whitest Kids U’ Know. Jamie DeWolf, great grandson of L. Ron Hubbard, poet, filmmaker.
What interesting subjects can we get a peek at for the upcoming Awesome Talk! episodes?
We are always in the process of booking guests. Right now, we are in the middle of Season 4, and it is looking very exciting. As far as special appearances for 2015, we will be doing our thing at the “Scars Of Envy’s Damnation Fest 2015” at Roxy and Dukes Roadhouse in Dunellen, NJ on May 9.
We will be doing another Awesome Talk! fundraiser at The Saint, sometime in July of this year. Also, we’ll be back at the “Souper Groove Festival” hosted by the band Turtle Soup at the end of September.
Awesome Talk! is a fresh and captivating live show that takes the best of New Jersey talent and rolls it into a multi-hour presentation of unique and original content. Tune in for a guaranteed experience of invigorated passion, witticism and fun.
They are constantly updating social media with new announcements, so people should feel free to friend, follow, and subscribe over at AwesomeTalkTV.com, Facebook.com/AwesomeTalkTV, Twitter.com/AwesomeTalkTV, Instagram.com/AwesomeTalkTV, and YouTube.com/HomeBarProductions.