Pod-Canon is an ongoing tribute to the greatest individual comedy-related podcast episodes of all time.
The world may a cesspool and the future unbearably grim, but there are nevertheless ample reasons for comedy podcast lovers to rejoice. Scott Aukerman and Adam Scott recently launched an R.E.M-themed podcast, to the delight and edification of the masses. The “Pro Version” recently became a glorious reality, bringing substantially more Hollywood Handbook into the world every week in the process. Perhaps most excitingly, the impossibly named, tongue-tyingly titled The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project recently roared back to life for a tardy second season after debuting as a podcast mini-series in 2014 to promote creator and star Andy Daly’s then-new Review.
The beloved and consistently hilarious first season of The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project took the form of fake podcast pilots for shows delivered on cassette to hosts Andy Daly and Matt Gourley featuring the wide array of kooky characters Daly created and perfected both during his many scene-stealing appearances on Comedy Bang Bang and his classic 2008 comedy album Nine Sweaters. An unforgettable highlight of the Podcast Pilot Project’s inaugural season was a faux pilot called “Eye on Theatre” hosted by theatrical impresario, appreciator/abuser of the female form, and de Sade/Caligula-level degenerate Don DiMello, of the Rockettes, Pasadena Fairy Tale Theatre, and many other less responsible, more criminal and unforgivable endeavors involving children, “girls,” animals, and weapons in unwholesome and criminal combinations.
Andy Daly has played a lot of sick fucks in his time. That’s one of his specialties. DiMello could easily be the sickest and most demented. Only someone as likable and appealing as Daly could create and breathe life into a creature as singularly unlikable and unappealing as DiMello.
As DiMello, Daly just plain sounds dirty. He gives the character the heavy-breathing, degraded menace of an obscene prank caller whose erratic breathing patterns make it horrifyingly possible that he may be feverishly pleasuring himself at any given time.
DiMello’s essence is so unclean on a biological level that it sounds like he’s being dirty no matter what he’s saying, but what he’s saying is generally filthy as well. He’s a theatrical director, but his conception of theatrical spectacle looks an awful lot like the legal definition of sex crimes and also human trafficking.
On “Eye on Theatre” he’s joined by super-fan Mal Bachman, whom a disgustingly game Matt Gourley plays as a fellow degenerate who gets his rocks off on DiMello’s sex-saturated, wildly inappropriate, almost assuredly criminal brand of theater in more ways than one. As DiMello brags of his icky oeuvre: “It’s art! It’s theater! It’s provocative! You can fuck the girls after the show if you want to! It’s a terrific, full, theatrical experience!”
Bachman and DiMello use their podcast pilot to survey the theatrical scene and introduce improvements. DiMello, for example, proposes adding a thrilling element of living theater by introducing a production of Oedipus where every night a new actor playing Oedipus plucks his eyes out for real and, for good measure, actually fucks their own mother onstage for verisimilitude and also because DiMello thinks that’d be hot.
DiMello is keen on mounting as many shows as possible on open water, a supposedly law-free no man’s land where a theatrical maverick like DiMello can provide particularly perverted audiences with bestiality, death, and sex-drenched productions they’ll never forget, or possibly even survive. He isn’t just a man horrifyingly eager to subject beautiful “goyls” to nightmarish ordeals for the sake of his fellow perverts; he’s also very chill with his female collaborators either not surviving their collaborations or surviving in ways that make death seem like a mighty appealing option.
“Eye on Theatre” grows more and more horrific after Jason Mantzoukas is introduced as a sadist who runs a farm for “retired” Rockettes who’ve “lost too many teeth” and maybe gotten a little addicted to heroin. In one of the many lines that would be bracingly dark in any other context, but is par for the course here, DiMello grouses of “girls” too heroin-addicted to be of much use to the Rockettes organization come Christmas time: “Nobody wants to see track marks next to Santa Claus.”
Just when it seems like the podcast pilot has grown almost unbearably grim, Marissa Wompler shows up as DiMello’s oblivious protege for a segment that takes the ghoulish dark comedy in a sunnier and less apocalyptic direction. But this is still dark and filthy even by Don DiMello standards.
You may want to disinfect your laptop or iPod after listening to this. You may need to, to get its evil mojo out.
Despite the character’s many repellent characteristics, DiMello has emerged as a fan favorite so it should not be surprising that, among the many wonders we have to look forward to from The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project’s second season, along with a late 1960s-era pilot from L. Ron Hubbard, is another episode from the irrepressible DiMello, this time focussing entirely on the Donald Trump piss tape.
If the first go-round is any indication, Don DiMello’s commentary on the piss tape will be absolutely disgusting. And absolutely hilarious.
Nathan Rabin is a father, the author of 5 books, a columnist and the proprietor, owner, Editor-in-Chief and sole writer for Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place, which can be found at nathanrabin.com.