Tuesday, February 10, 2015

It's All True

There is something about being in a new place with the threat of moving back home to your parents that just makes things happen. When I moved to Chicago from California in 2012 the only things I knew about the city were The Blues Brothers, This American Life and some place called Second City.

I had absolutely no attack plan or frame of reference on how comedy works. I’d go to shows just to watch, volunteer at different organizations just to feel useful and maybe do a few open mics... all with the hope that through osmosis I’d figure things out.

If you were to time travel back to 2012 and tell me that in three years I’d be hosting/producing a podcast through WBEZ or listed as one of the 16 comics to check out in Chicago Magazine I’d say, “I’m sorry, but you must have mistaken me for some other black person. It’s okay, it happens to the best of us. What’s your name? I’m Tim.”

The truth is that the “non strategy” works. Here’s the part of any article where I’ll usually get bored then skim a little bit but ultimately give up and browse for something else so I’ll get to the meat of this by focusing on how I got into pod-casting/radio type stuff.

How I started pod-casting:
I started a podcast called “It’s All True!” in 2013 1) because Kyle Scanlan (creator of the Whiskey Journal) had some equipment and said, “If you ever have an idea for a show feel free to use it. 2) Because I’d built up an addiction to creating weekly content (I had two web series that I co-created with Ian Abramson under my belt.) 3) Because what else did I have to do with my time? See!! You don’t even have an answer!

How I got involved with radio:
I went to Entertaining Julia once and Brian Babylon was there. He confronted me with a question that must have been festering in his mind for a while. The question was: “Who the f*ck ARE you?” For a year already he had seen me at various comedy/WBEZ affiliated events because I was just volunteering and watching shows. I told him I’m a comic and have an interest in radio, and suddenly I was an intern for his radio program on Vocalo.org.

How it became a part of the WBEZ family of podcasts:
When the internship with Vocalo was ending, another internship opened up at WBEZ for podcasts. WBEZ and Vocalo are part of the same company but I honestly don’t know how that stuff works. They should switch names for a day and see what happens. During my interview I mentioned the podcast I was producing on my own. I got the internship, and at some point they actually checked out the podcast. They had a few notes, but really liked it and there was interest in adding it to the WBEZ podcast network. I said yes. I think. That’s it!

Wyat Cenac on "It's All True"
Here’s how Joe DeCeault (Head of WBEZ Podcasts) recalls the meeting: “You mentioned your podcast a few times. We then had that pledge-free stream and you were cool letting us give it a shot there. It was then that I really got a chance to sit down with it and gave it a real thorough listen, and passed along some suggestions. I was really excited about how unique and creative and fun it sounded, and how it was so different than any of the other comedy podcasts out there, and our own podcasts, and how great you were (are) as a host.”

Here’s one of my favorite interviews on the show so far with Dwayne Kennedy:

What’s the moral of the story? Wander around with the threat of moving home in your heart and let the universe guide you.

Come to my live podcast recording Feb. 25th. The line-up is cool and I think you’ll have fun.

It's All True! is a podcast hosted by comedian Tim Barnes in the WBEZ podcast network. You'll see live performances, interviews and funny personal true stories from these special guests:

Maz Jobrani (Axis of Evil Comedy Tour)
Nathan Rabin (The Dissolve, The A.V. Club)
Lili K. (SXSW, Pitchfork)
Brian Babylon (Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, NPR)

+ comedy from The Whiskey Journal!

$10 Tickets: Online.

Contributing Writer Tim Barnes
Tim is a comedian, writer and producer trying to make it in Chicago.