Sunday, March 15, 2015

Episode 21: Seinfeld, Rivers, Chappelle, et al. - A Radio Laughingstock Experience

It's been said that comedy and tragedy occupy obverse sides of the same coin. Fitting, then, that we should take on a survey of stand-up comedy over the past three decades or so, seeing how our focus at The Bare Knuckle is so often on the darker world of terrifying fiction.

The long and short of it is that we've put together a laugh riot for you with our very first Radio Laughingstock episode, so make sure you're buckled in tight as your host, Pete Mesling, takes you on a tour of the comedy landscape of yesterday and today. You won't agree with all of his assessments, but you're likely to laugh at all the right moments.

You'll want to be prepared for some coarse language this time around, incidentally. Many styles of comedy are represented, and that includes the raunchy and off-color as well as the clean and family friendly. This one's not for the kiddos.

Obviously, it's not possible to include everything worthy of consideration in a single episode, so the comics you'll hear from in episode 21 have been selected from a much larger preliminary list. Here, in fact, is that list, which Mesling has chiseled away at to reveal the angel in the marble ...

Bob Newhart, Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld, Garry Shandling, Dave Chappelle, Bill Hicks, Joan Rivers, David Brenner, George Carlin, Robin Williams, Paul Provenza, Tom Dreeson, Jim Gaffigan, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Mitch Hedberg, Maria Bamford, Louis C. K., Chris Porter, Jay Leno, Doug Stanhope, Chris Rock, Patton Oswalt, Rob Corddry, David Cross, Sarah Silverman, Don Rickles, Henny Youngman, Jon Stewart, Red Foxx, Peter Kay, Robert Klein, Bill Maher, Jimmy Walker, Denis Leary, Alan King, Shelley Berman, Jeff Foxworthy, Greg Giraldo, Andy Kaufman, Tommy Cooper, Dick Shawn, David Steinberg, Ricky Gervais, Johnny Carson, Craig Ferguson, Sam Kinison, Sandra Bernhard, Rodney Dangerfield, Jim Carrey, Kathy Griffin, Roseanne Barr, Bobcat Goldthwait, Steven Wright, Jimmy Kimmel, Howie Mandel, Richard Lewis, Ellen Degeneres, Freddie Prinze, Louie Anderson, Drew Carey, Steve Martin, Paula Poundstone, Stephen Colbert, Gallagher, Billy Connolly, Kevin Hart, Mel Brooks, George Burns, Jonathan Winters, Bob Hope, Richard Jeni, Tim Allen, Phil Hartman, Dennis Miller, Gilbert Gottfried, The Smothers Brothers, David Letterman

It's also worth mentioning that Mark Malkoff's Carson Podcast figures into this episode, as does The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Carson's influence on the world of stand-up comedy is impossible to overstate, and if you have any interest in learning more about the value of his contribution to the form, consider Malkoff's podcast your Carson 101.

Oh, and as for the eight-minute montage that kicks off the episode, here's the run-down: Rodney Dangerfield, Eddie Murphy, Joan Rivers (1/2), Bill Hicks, Joan Rivers (2/2), Mitch Hedberg, George Carlin, Robin Williams, and Jerry Seinfeld.

There you have it, folks: a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the impetus for The Bare Knuckle's first-ever special devoted to the art of stand-up comedy. Trust us, there's enough fun in store to keep even the most sullen Knucklehead in stitches. So don those headphones and massage those laugh muscles. God knows, you're going to need them.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Episode 20: Morgan, Martin, Mesling - Stomping Grounds

Welcome to a rather special episode of The Bare Knuckle Podcast, ladies and gentlemen. If you aren't already familiar with the fiction of Edward Martin III or Christine Morgan, we have the distinct honor of introducing you to their work. Tune in as your woe-inspiring narrator, Pete Mesling, reads Morgan's "The Humming" and Martin's "The Knot," as well as his own chilling tale, "On the Strangest Sea."

What these three yarns have in common is that they all appear in the recent Stomping Grounds anthology of monster fiction from April Moon Books. (If you haven't already, snag a copy at a once; here's a review from Albedo One, if you need further persuading.) Any sense of wonder, dread, or delight that you derive from Morgan's and Martin's narrated stories is owing to the skill with which the pieces were crafted. For blame should any deficiencies present themselves, I would direct you to the narrator himself.

Now then, a few words about our illustrious guest contributors ...

Edward Martin III is a writer and filmmaker scrabbling together a semblance of home in the Pacific Northwest. He's surrounded by looming evergreens with sullen boughs, mountains that ponder the nature of death, and a relentless sea that dissolves everything it touches. Also, there's a cat, primarily to offset all that rich delicious goodness. Edward's first novel, Through the Night, is being adapted to a feature film, and he is currently in production on several new films. His two most recent movies are The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (an animated adaptation of the Lovecraft novel) and Flesh of My Flesh (a bizarre zombie horror set in the too-near future). Find him online at

Christine Morgan works the overnight shift in a psychiatric facility, which plays havoc with her sleep schedule but allows her a lot of writing time. A lifelong reader, she also reviews, beta-reads, occasionally edits, and dabbles in self-publishing. Her other interests include gaming, history, superheroes, crafts, cheesy disaster movies, and training to be a crazy cat lady. She can be found online at

As for Pete Mesling, a good place to familiarize yourself with some of his published work is on his Author Central page at Amazon. He also recently opened the portcullis on a new Twitter profile and a Facebook page, so please feel free to show him some love there, as well as at any of your favorite Bare Knuckle outposts (see top of page). In this episode, Mesling mentions that Neil Baker and company over at April Moon Books have acquired a story of his that he considers to be something of a thematic companion to the one he reads for you here. It might also be worth noting that both stories take their titles—"In the Chillest Land" and "On the Strangest Sea"—from the same Emily Dickinson poem. Look for the former in the upcoming Ill-Considered Expeditions anthology.

That's it for now, Knuckleheads. Tune in next time, when we take you 180 degrees from the world of terror to survey the last several decades of ... stand-up comedy! You won't want to miss it.