Podthoughts by Ian Brill: “Hey We’re Back with Jonathan Katz”

Posted by Maximum Fun on 28th August 2007

I have a rule on Podthoughts that I don’t review a show until it has a solid back catalog. I don’t want to lead people to a show and then have it become yet another podcast where the host just hangs it up for whatever reason. This time I make an exception and I think you’ll understand why.

Our own Jesse Thorn [guilty as charged – ed.] has apparently convinced Jonathan Katz of “Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist” and “Home Movies” to break into the podcasting game. Now Katz gives us “Hey, We’re Back,” two episodes of which have been posted as of August 25th. When people think of Katz they think, mostly because of the way he talks, of comedy where the jokes come out softly and slowly. It’s a surprise then that “Hey We’re Back” (iTunes) is a show that moves incredibly fast. Both episodes are about six minutes but crammed with a handful of sketches. The frantic pace of the show, it’s brilliantly edited, gives the each episode a lively feel. There’s simply no room for a dull moment or jokes that don’t land.

The pace might be a change for those used to Katz’s television work but the humor certainly isn’t. Katz’s demeanor and choice of subjects has his come off as an NPR host who has gone a bit of off-kilter. He’ll introduce the premise of a sketch in his soft voice, most of the time with a question he has. The last sketch of the first show has Katz interviewing actors who are “reenactors” (this includes Katz’s television collaborator Tom Snyder, who also appears on the second show). Both shows have started with prank calls to telephone director operators, and they have to be the smartest, most inventive crank calls recorded. Even a comedy trope based around annoying people sounds sweet and comfy when Katz is in control.

I look forward to more episodes of “Hey, We’re Back.” Katz has already established his own strange radio universe, just listen to how he starts every show as if it’s already in progress. If you’re looking for something that’s very funny and you can listen to in its entirety on a smoke break then “Hey, We’re Back” is for you.