It is Podcast Month which means that we will be bringing you all the fun shows you should be carrying around in your back pocket on a phone. Today we speak to a podcast that is all the way from Australia! In each of the episodes Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall and Andy Matthews try and come up with five sketch ideas. To find out more, I caught up with the guys to talk all things podcasts.
Hello Alasdair and Andy! Can you tell us a little bit about the team behind Two In The Think Tank?
We are Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall and Andy Matthews, two comedy writers and performers from Melbourne, Australia. We met doing community radio about 10 years ago and we’ve been working together in various ways ever since. We spend way too much time together already, and the show was a way to record some of our rambling bullshit conversations so they can be sifted through by us and the listeners just in case we ever say anything of value. This happens more than occasionally.
What is the show all about?
In the show we come up with sketch ideas, we aim for five but usually get a few more in roughly an hour, although what’s considered an ‘idea’ and what’s considered a ‘sketch’ is pretty flexible. A lot of it is just conversation about things that interest us, but after doing the show this long (five years, on and off), we generally are able to find an idea in almost anything.
“We’ve had a few [sketches] produced for different TV shows…” – Alasdair and Andy, Two In The Think Tank
How did the podcast come about?
We were living together in a converted warehouse. We had bought some audio equipment for another (short lived) podcast we did with friends, but that required a lot of production work. While the equipment was sitting around unused, and we were sitting around not doing anything, we decided to just switch on the recorder and make the simplest, easiest to produce show we could imagine. That’s why we don’t really edit the show, and there’s no intro music or anything, we improvise a song each episode to open and close the show.
How do you decide what each of the episodes are about?
If they’re about anything, we won’t know until afterwards. Topics of conversation emerge, diverge and trail off throughout the show. Over a few weeks sometimes themes emerge that probably reflect what’s on our minds. We had a run of episodes recently that had recurring sketches about machines or strategies where someone else would live your life for you while you sat at home. That probably indicates we needed a holiday.
How did you both get an interest in sketch comedy?
Alasdair came at it from a stand-up comedy angle. I was raised watching a lot of British comedy like Monty Python. We’re both huge fans of an Australian comic called Shaun Micallef (whose show we now get to work on) whose sketch shows in the early 2000’s were a huge influence as well. (Check out The Micallef Program online).
What have been some of your favourite sketches you have created so far on the show and why?
There were a few early hits. Under Arrestaurant, about a restaurant under a police station and above a bowling alley in the site of a former petting zoo is a bit of a listener favourite, I think. Recently we’ve really enjoyed some of our science fiction themed sketches – there have been a few about cannibals, and one in particular about a living man made out of tofu for the ethical cannibal, that I particularly like)
What have been the worst?
Probably too many to mention. We had a rough episode recently where there were audio issues and we couldn’t get ‘on a roll’ which seems to be important. I’m not convinced our idea about a monster truck made out of bread has huge potential.
When you come away from the podcast – what do you do with these sketches – do you try and produce any of them in reality / on video?
We’ve had a few produced for different TV shows. We made our own show called “Australia Get It Up Ya” which included quite a few. We also did a live show featuring them at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival a few years ago, and we’re doing a new show “Andy Matthews and Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall Sci Fi Sketch Experience” this year, in fact it starts on the 28th of March. It’s going to feature a lot of sketches from the show.
What make you different to other podcasts out there?
Ours is very relaxed, very conversational, and we really can go anywhere with the ideas. We’ve had people tell us it helps with their own creativity and helps them work, and other people who tell us it helps them go to sleep. We’ll take anything really.
“what’s considered an ‘idea’ and what’s considered a ‘sketch’ is pretty flexible…” – Alasdair and Andy, Two In The Think Tank
What other podcasts are you a fan of and why?
Oh man. There are so many. We listen to a lot of comedy podcasts, and ones that have interviews with comedians. Our friends do a podcast called Do Go On which is comedy and fact based. We’re on a network with The Weekly Planet, which is about comic book movies. It’s also excellent. Everything on the Planet Broadcasting Network is great. Check them out.
What are some of your favourite sketches by other comedians?
Andy: Some of my favourites are from Mr Show with Bob and David. I really love the “24 is the Highest Number” sketch and the “Lie Detector” sketch.
Al: This is a deep dive, but the Mitchell and Webb Sound’s Cash Register sketch is pretty amazing.
Are there any plans or have there been any live versions of your show?
As mentioned above – we have a show opening here in Melbourne on the 28th of March.
What advice would you give for people thinking about starting a podcast?
Just do it. Make it as simple as possible for yourselves and make it happen. Then if you want to add elements later on, great. But the important thing is to start.
If people want to find out more about you where can they find you on social media?
You can find Andy and Al on twitter at @stupidoldandy and @alasdairtb
If people want to find out more about your show where should they visit online / social media?
In three words why should people listen to your show?
We’d appreciate it.
To find out more and listen to the podcast at http://stupidold.com.au/podcast/