Great news for fans of Paul Scheer and pop culture podcasts: Today is launch day for Scheer’s brand new podcast network Wolfpop, a media and pop culture-focused Earwolf spin-off of sorts from the same parent company Midroll Media. Wolfpop has launched with an initial lineup of 13 podcasts featuring W. Kamau Bell, Leonard Maltin, Sarah Thyre, Nate Corddry, and more all curated by Scheer with a focus on “presenting world-class and rising talent, providing them with an unfiltered platform to share their passions and stories with humor and depth. Wolfpop features host-driven programs that permit brilliant analytic and comedic minds to dig deeper into Hollywood and entertainment than any network has ever dared.” Ahead of Wolfpop’s debut, I spoke with Scheer about how the network was born, what his plans are for its future, and how The Sylvester Stallone Show came to be.
Why did you want to start a podcast network, and how did Wolfpop come together?
Well you know, I’m a huge podcast fan and I just have loved my experience with Earwolf, so when those guys asked me if I would be interested in helping them create and curate this network, I really jumped at it because I love the theme of it, which is a whole pop culture-y network. And there’s a whole bunch of people out there who I love that are awesome and doing great podcasts, so I just brought a bunch of shows that I would like to hear.
How did you choose the lineup of the initial 13 podcasts?
Basically between Adam [Sachs], who is the head of Midroll/Earwolf and Matt Gourley, who you might know from Superego and James Bonding and a bunch of other different stuff, we all kind of sat together and just started figuring out what the actual voice of this network is. In my opinion, Earwolf is very comedy-forward, so basically it’s coming from a comedic premise for the most part, so for Wolfpop we wanted to open it up a little. Obviously there will be funny shows, but we also wanted to make it shows that are just really fun, because so many of the podcasts I listen to – like Serial or Freakonomics and stuff like that – those are some of my favorite podcasts, but they’re not necessarily comedy-centric. So I just kind of went down the list of people I liked and thought I’d do some big asks of people and see if they would be interested. And we have some more interesting people coming up as we continue on – these 13 are just the launch lineup.
There’s an interesting lineup of hosts – you have comedians, writers, actors, critics.
Yeah, we wanted to keep a diverse group. Like Josh Horowitz – he’s a guy who has interviewed me a bunch of times over the course of the last five or six years and he’s really funny and just a great interviewer, and I listened to his podcast and he even had Woody Allen on there and I thought it’d be great to have him over here because he’s done interviews you’ve never heard of with huge celebrities. And Jensen Karp does that show Get Up On This, which is a show that was over on SModcast for a while, and I felt like that show could get so much more love so I brought it over here to us. Then there are people like Sarah Thyre who I just think is so immensely funny, so bringing her and Susan Orlean over here…and Leonard Maltin getting his own podcast…it’s all been really fun. And my hope too in the future – and we have about three other shows in the works so far – is to get more of a music influence, which we have a really good person lined up for. We also want to get a little more nerd culture and we have a really great group of people for a much more nerd-centric show. But I want it to eventually be TV, movies, comics, board games, video games, everything – I want it to be a fun source of every area of pop culture, not just movies and TV. I want it to really branch out and become this monster.
Do you have plans for how you want Wolfpop to develop in the future?
All we want to do is just make good shows. Earwolf has been so successful at creating shows with great hosts, excellent guests, and people who are really excited to be doing this that that’s all we want to continue here. As long as we can find a great host who really wants to talk about what they’re talking about then I think we’ll be doing something well, because I feel like all the shows share that sensibility. So whenever there’s a good idea, hopefully we’ll be able to get it and do it over here.
The Sylvester Stallone Show sounds pretty amazing. How’d that happen?
It kind of came about through How Did This Get Made? Obviously we talk about Stallone movies a lot, and I offhandedly made some sort of comment about how it’d be great to get him down to do a Q&A thing. We were kind of connected to his people to do the Q&A with him, so it’s basically me sitting down for a fan Q&A with Stallone. We’re actually going to record with him today, so we’ll see how it goes.
How will the episodes work?
The way that I feel it’ll be fun to do is just a question a day. So we’ll knock them all out pretty much in two recording sessions and that’ll get us maybe about 30 episodes.
How long is each episode?
Three to five minutes. I’s gonna be a real quickie. It’ll be a daily podcast with no ads, and that was a cool thing that we were really excited about too. It’s gonna be a fun one.
That’s so great. Sort of like your daily motivational dose of Stallone.
[laughs] Oh my gosh, I know. Your positive push for the day.
Wolfpop’s current podcast lineup in addition to How Did This Get Made? and U Talkin’ U2 to Me:
The CanonFilm critics Devin Faraci (Badass Digest) and Amy Nicholson (LA Weekly) have a weekly conversation about a movie: is it “canon” or not? They will put it up to fan vote at the end of the show and then the legacy of each film will be officially decided forevermore. The first episode applies The Canon test to the Martin Scorsese classic, Goodfellas.CrybabiesSusan Orlean is one of the great writers of literary non-fiction, well known for her books and articles in The New Yorker. She joins writer and actress Sarah Thyre (Strangers with Candy), to host Crybabies, where they tackle the things in pop culture that make themselves and their guests cry. Upcoming guests include Lizz Winstead, Christopher Guest, and Neko Case.Denzel Washington is Greatest Actor of All Time PeriodLong-time collaborators comedian W. Kamau Bell (Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell) and comedian Kevin Avery (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver) examine a shared belief that Denzel Washington is the greatest actor of all time, PERIOD! Each week they get into a Denzel movie to prove their point and bring you up to date on Denzel news.Get Up On ThisJensen Karp (a/k/a rapper “Hot Karl”) and Matthew Robinson (The Invention of Lying) help you school that hipster at the coffee shop by letting you in on what’s going to be big, before it is. Murs and Blink-182 lead singer Mark Hoppus are upcoming guests.Happy Sad ConfusedJosh Horowitz (MTV News, MTV After Hours) gets candid with A-listers and Hollywood legends like Jeremy Renner, Michael Fassbender, and even Woody Allen, on Happy Sad Confused. He approaches his guests with a relaxed humor, and doesn’t finish until he asks them to answer a random question picked out of his Indiana Jones hat. These conversations are nothing like your typical celebrity interview. Josh’s first guest will be Neil Patrick Harris, and other upcoming guests include Hugh Jackman, Jon Stewart and Lisa Kudrow.I Was There TooThe singular mind of Matt Gourley (Superego, Drunk History, James Bonding) has been tapped to uncover the stories behind the most classic scenes from film and television, painted so vividly it’s like you were there when they happened. Of course, you weren’t, and neither was Matt. But the the people he interviews–like the referee from Karate Kid–were. Upcoming guests include Paul F. Tompkins (There Will Be Blood), Doug Benson (Michael Jackson’s Captain EO), and Greg Proops (Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace).Maltin on Movies w/ Baron VaughnBeloved film critic Leonard Maltin joins the podcasting world in a weekly series that looks at some of his favorite films—and spotlights some that may have flown under your radar. He’s joined by actor and comedian Baron Vaughn (Fairly Legal, Conan, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon) for a lively discussion of film that will surely make you hit up your Netflix queue.Nerd Machine’s Picking FavoritesThis show explores the idea that everybody has a “Favorite Something Something.” Each week Nerd Machine founders David Coleman and Zachary Levi (Chuck, Thor: The Dark World) join Tyler Labine (Hulu’s Deadbeat, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil) and stand up comedian Razzle to sit down with a very cool guest, discussing and judging their favorites.Off Camera with Sam JonesPhotographer and director Sam Jones created the show out of his passion for the long form conversational, and intimate, interview. He approaches his guests with a warm manner that comes from his experience as a successful portrait photographer, building a comfortable rapport with his subjects. Matt Damon will be Sam’s first guest with Wolfpop. Past guests include Martin Short, Judd Apatow, Sarah Silverman, and Robert Downey Jr.OMFG!If OK! Magazine reads more like a “who’s that?” than a who’s who, if you have zero clue what #ILY stands for, if you wonder why that cute lesbian keeps getting into trouble, only to find it’s Justin Bieber, then you need a shot of OMFG! From the world of Hello Giggles, Deanna Raphael (Funny or Die, HGTV) and Emily Foster (Love You, Mean It with Whitney Cummings, Talking Dead) are in their 30s but are trying to stay relevant in a world that’s constantly is changing. They recruit and interrogate the youth of America to explain their dating rituals, communication practices, and the difference between a Miley and a Bieber. It’s pop culture Botox!Reading Aloud with Nate CorddryNate Corddry (Mom, Children’s Hospital) loves the written word. But he also loves the spoken word! So he brought them both together in a single podcast. It’s a literary variety show of sorts. Reading Aloud presents some of the best live renditions of some of the most interesting works of literature of our time. Singer/songwriter Aimee Mann is the first guest, and actor Steven Weber is on an upcoming episode.Rotten TomatoesRottenTomatoes.com is the singular resource on the web for movie reviews. That’s why Wolfpop recruited Editor-in-Chief Matt Atchity and Senior Editor Grae Drake to bring their specially-calibrated Tomatometers into the studio and deliver the results for all the new theatrical and home video releases.The Sylvester Stallone ShowThe least expendable of The Expendables, Sylvester Stallone, draws podcasting’s first blood with The Sylvester Stallone Show. The show is a daily Q&A moderated by Paul Scheer, where Mr. Stallone will get up close and personal with fans as he takes their questions for a candid look back at his career and what’s ahead.