Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wrestling With Depression

Seems like everyone and their momma has got a podcast nowadays. This feels especially true for Chicago comedians. While some are quite good... most are mediocre. Matter of fact I only listen to one with any kind of regularity right now and that's the "Wrestling with Depression" podcast hosted and produced by local comic Marty DeRosa (DeRosa is a huge wrestling fan, thus the title).

Although WWD is about depression and mental-health, the podcast is actually kind of hopeful and funny rather than dark and depressing. The whole premise of the show is simple actually: DeRosa interviews creative people who discuss in detail the depression related issues they've faced over the years. That's it. Simple yet surprisingly listenable. Frankly it's entertaining and informative, some moments are even laugh out loud funny. Again, not what you'd think would be a fun way to spend an hour, but you'd be surprised. 

DeRosa interviews both peers and colleagues in the Chicago comedy community as well as the occasional superstar WWE wrestler (yes for real). What was really surprising for me was how honest and open everybody is. The guests speak very candidly about all kinds of personal issues, but it never gets too heavy or dark, which for the most part has to do with Marty DeRosa himself since he's the perfect host for this type of show. DeRosa, has a calming, warm presence with a winning smile that seems to say "it's OK, were going to get through this together buddy". Plus I know Marty and the man has a super freakish sense of timing. He knows when to crack wise and keep things from getting too somber as well as when to hang back and let the guests reveal their intimate sides.

I was invited to sit in for one of the shows. It was an interview with local comedian Dan Friesen. The whole thing was a bit weird at first but after awhile they forgot I was in the room and things became very relaxed and candid. I wont get too far into the details since the interview is up (so check it out), but suffice to say I was Glad I had the opportunity to be there.

WWD as a podcast has been favorably reviewed by both Time Out and the AV club. Check it out sometime.

James Allen Kamp