Why So Serious, Jonathan Larroquette and Seth Romatelli?By John Wenzel | June 5th, 2013 | 14 comments
Comedy podcasts are as common as our Lord’s image in potato chips and soapy windows these days — if not more so, really — and it’s increasingly hard to stand out from the thousands of them choking the iTunes pipeline.
That’s not a problem for “Uhh Yeah Dude,” a wry, stream-of-consciousness, at times surreal podcast that dispenses with the usual jokes and inside-comedy banter in favor of free-form discussions that veer wildly and entertainingly from topic to topic.
Launched in February 2006 by young Hollywood dudes Jonathan Larroquette (yes, the son of “Night Court” actor John Larroquette) and Seth Romatelli (who was oh-so-briefly in the Britney Spears movie “Crossroads”), “Uhh Yeah Dude” has amassed a hardcore following online and, increasingly, in concert as the duo travels the country recording sold-out episodes in front of audiences.
We caught up with the guys via e-mail in advance of their Oriental Theater show on Saturday, June 8 to talk about their favorite shows, podcasting milestones, haircuts, sweat, “Night Court,” getting embarrassed and all other manner of tomfoolery.
Can you give our readers some background on the show and its hosts? I realize that’s my job but I’m asking you to do it for me.
Jonathan Larroquette: Seth and I started the show over 7 years ago. It’s basically a current events (the week that was) type format with two hosts with no guests. My name is Jonathan Larroquette I’m from L.A. My father is an actor and I grew up watching him on television, etc. Seth is from Haverhill, Mass. His father was a firefighter. He went to Emerson and moved to L.A. to become my dad. We started the show at a time when we both felt a bit disenchanted with Hollywood and life in general and also were a bit unclear what we wanted to do next. I am and have been a musician since I was a kid but have always had a deep connection with comedians and actors I suppose that the podcast felt at the time like a place we could kinda hide out and try and make a funny show without a whole lot of pressure or expectations. It felt safe and new.
Seth Romatelli: See Jonathan’s answer above.
You’re about to hit 375 episodes. What’s kept you fresh and clean this whole time? How do you stay motivated to record each new episode? Doesn’t it get sweaty down there, in that place where you’d like to keep it fresh and clean?
JL: Talc seems to work well for me. However a grown man that smells like diapers has its own unique drawbacks. Yeah, we are looking down the barrel at 400, which I think is incredible. It may very well be the only consistent thing I’ve ever done for this long. Save for like washing up and eating, etc. Seth helps keep it fresh by constantly providing peculiar and rich stories week in and week out that serve as a platform for us to hopefully get to somewhere in our running dialog that we haven’t up to that point. That and I usually have something pseudo-tragic happen every couple weeks.
SR: 1.) Hard Work 2.) I love the podcast 3.) I am always camera ready.
You’re one of the earliest and best-known comedy podcasts, and comedy is arguably the genre that podcasting has most latched onto and benefited from. There are countless comedy podcasts out there, so I’m curious which are your favorites? Have you found imitators?
JL: I don’t listen to them all that much to be honest. If I’m in headphones I’m either working on my own music or listening to the Grateful Dead
SR: I have never listened to a podcast not called Uhh Yeah Dude.
When did you start venturing into live shows and were you surprised by the feedback?
JL: That first show we did in Brooklyn (October of 2009) was a huge turnout. We were blown-away shocked. I think since then we’ve come to accept that there is an audience out there, faceless most weeks, but given the opportunity they like to come out and see us and sorta check in. If I could I think I’d do every episode live in front of people. I think Seth might hate that idea but I wouldn’t mind.
SR: We did the podcast in my living room every week since February of 2006 before we did our first live show in the Andy Dick Black Box Theater at I.O. in Hollywood in May of 2009. It was a free show but when people told me they had flown from Chicago and driven from Arizona I was curious.
Going back even further, when did you start to know you had a solid fan base for the show? You both seem to have entertainment industry connections outside the show. Have those helped or hurt the development of your audience?
JL: Perhaps some people have seen my last name and clicked on us thinking they were gonna get regaled with stories about “Night Court.” Outside of that I don’t think any of those “connections” have helped or hindered. I think a couple years in we knew something was happening just based off the bandwidth and numbers, etc.
SR: Industry connections? For real? Who? Please tell me who these people are. I’m dying over here. I deal with the voicemail we have for the show (888-842-2357) so I think after a few months of episodes we had gotten a call from all 50 states, which told me we needed to continue.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever felt bad laughing about? I realize that’s a rabbit hole. Did you ever listen to an episode and think, “oh shit we killed Jesus or something similar to killing Jesus”?
JL: I am regularly embarrassed by things I say or attempts I’ve made to be funny or provocative. I try not to listen to them too much. I stand by the concept, (but with) the approach I don’t always feel as strongly about the results. Not to say I don’t think we hella funny. Seth makes me laugh more and more often than anyone else I’ve ever met pretty much.
SR: We are here to build things up not tear them down.
When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried, and why? You guys seem generally unflappable on the show.
SR: Watching “What Would You Do With John Quinones” last week and remarking to my girlfriend that a middle-aged woman in one of the scenes looked like a small version of my father. Not a female version, just my old man but smaller. Watching her crying and telling me to stop or she was going to puke made me cry.
Who are some of your favorite current comics? Dead? Alive? Zombie comics? Is that a thing?
JL: Riff raff and Spalding Gray (rips)
SR: The Good Morning America crew. Idiots!
Do you have any superstitious traveling rituals? Inexplicable items in your suitcase/duffle bag/armadillo purse?
JL: I’m fairly superstitious I suppose. I carry rocks around with me. You know the magical and powerful kind that deflect bad vibez.
SR: I carry a photograph of the Hollywood sign I took when I was 14 visiting Los Angeles with my parents during a vacation.
What’s your favorite joke of the moment? (yours or someone else’s)
JL: Real estate is booming in L.A. again.
SR: We don’t really do jokes.
Do you think that writing seriously about comedy takes the fun out of it? Or do you think it has some merit, the way music journalism and criticism does in turning people onto new things?
JL: I think funny people talking about why they think they’re valid or funny saps the appeal out of it a bit for me. I don’t mind other people talking about how amazing and funny and handsome we are. For the record I hate music criticism on a whole. I do appreciate people who like something enough that they try and share what it is that is so good or effective for them. It’s always deeply flattering to hear or read something like that about yourself.
SR: Of course not. Writers write. Any discussion, criticism, theory, history, etc. about anything helps to understand it. Helps to put it in context. Right? I suppose it depends on what is written. Everyone would love to read someone write something nice about them. And would want to egg the house of anyone talking shit.
Outside of clubs, comedians spend lots of their stage time at festivals. But what about podcasting festivals? Is that a thing? Do you guys “do” festivals? Incidentally, Do the Dew!
JL: I do occasionally. Seth does the DMD (Diet Mountain Dew). We did a small L.A. podcast fest last year that seemed to be well-attended and received. I believe they are doing another one this year.
SR: We participated in the first podcast festival last October in Santa Monica. The magic of “Uhh Yeah Dude” doesn’t really come across in a hotel conference room.
What else should our readers know about your upcoming projects and haircuts?
JL: My shit is long and luxurious. Seth is quaffed and classy. We are both becoming silver foxes. We will hopefully be doing some more live events throughout the country in the coming months. Stay tuned.
SR: See Jonathan’s answer above.