By Michael Sonnenschein
The sixties gave us macrame. The nineties, indie rock. In every era, a cultural form emerges that grafts a low-entry-bar means of production to the desires of an eternally replicating mid-twenties to mid-thirties urban cohort who want to create, who want to express themselves, but mostly, who want to hang out with each other and not be lonely. In Los Angeles, in 2012, this sociological process has given rise to Comedy Podkastistan.
Never mind that Marc Maron, Podkastistan’s founding father, is around fifty. Browse through iTunes and you’ll find most of these podcasts produced by groups of youngish adults. And while varying widely in craft level and entertainment value, they pretty much blend together in content and tone, just like the hundreds of records I own that all kind of sound like Pavement. ‘Want to come to Spaceland and see my band?’, the Los Feliz pickup line of 1998, usually delivered while sweatily clutching a Rolling Rock in the crowded kitchen of a house party, has been replaced with the Los Feliz pickup line of 2012– ‘Want to come on my podcast?’ The Rolling Rocks, sweaty clutches, and crowded kitchens remain the same.
How long will Comedy Podkastistan reign before it’s replaced by another participation-driven young adult subculture? And what will that successor be? The smart early money’s on Low Budget Youtube Mockumentary Nation.
Comedy Podkastistan drawing by Ali Rushfield
Michael Sonnenschein lives, writes, and pretends to be an anthropologist in Los Angeles.