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The Department of Tangents Podcast

Years ago, playing a sort of improv game with friends in which we all picked super powers based on our personalities, I dubbed myself “Tangent Lad.” I was not a very strong superhero, and I could not defeat a super villain on my own, but I could distract them with Monty Python quotes and football trivia. I have many times since apologized to an interview subject in my capacity as a journalist by saying, “I am either very good or very bad at tangents, depending on how you feel about tangents.”

I had a rough time coming up with the concept and naming this blog/podcast. I knew I wanted to create a place where I could address things I’m passionate about – comedy, music, and horror. Finding a name that communicated all three of those things proved a bit impossible. I bugged my friends, and they all tried to help. To no avail. Then I thought, maybe I’m approaching this from the wrong angle. Maybe my lack of focus should be the focus.

As a journalist, I have written for The Boston Globe since 2000, starting out writing CD reviews and then writing a regular column on comedy for seven and a half years. I still contribute there, and to Kirkus Reviews, and other publications. I’m also a musician, and released my debut full-length album, Blue Skies and Broken Arrows, in March of 2015. And I’ve been publishing short horror fiction for a couple of years.

I like to climb into things I love and see how they operate. That’s what the Department of Tangents is for. I’ll be writing regular features, essays, and news bits about the big three – comedy, music, and horror – and offering clips from people I’ve taped interviews with over the past nearly twenty years of writing. Some of the best parts of the interviews I’ve done have been completely off-point and inappropriate for print. I’ll get to explore more of that here. I’m also hoping to convince some friends to tell me about the things they love that I might not even know about, and pass that along to you.

The DoT podcast might be short or long, depending on where the conversation leads. You cant purposefully create an interesting tangent in conversation – it has to happen naturally. But I can confidently forecast that there will be moments in the individual podcasts where things veer off wonderfully.

The main thing here is love. To write about the things that make I’ve loved forever, and some new things that might stand the test and be around, at least for me, for decades to come. I’ve had to be critical in my writing at times, and it might not all be nonstop roses here, but in the end, what I really want to talk about is the good stuff. That’s why I will regularly write about things I think are “Perfect,” even if someone can demonstrate empirically that they are flawed. Still perfect to me.

Also, fish.

I hope you, dear anonymous surfer person, will come to expect only the highest-quality, free-range, grass-fed tangents. And I hope some of you love the same things I do and find it useful. Or at least a welcome distraction until the others get here.

Oct 31, 2016

Tonight, fans of horror and comedy get a Halloween treat when the pilot episode of <em>Stan Against Evil</em> from <a href="" target="_blank">Dana Gould</a> makes its debut on <a href="" target="_blank">IFC</a>. The official premiere happens Wednesday, when you'll get to see the first two episodes, which I previewed for my conversation with Gould for Episode 15 of the podcast. If you follow Gould's work, you probably know first, how funny he is, and second, that he is a big fan of all things horror. That has translated into a show that is packed with laughs, but also takes the scares very seriously.

John C. McGinley plays Stan, a sheriff in a small New England town who is forced to retire shortly after his wife's death. That's when he begins to understand the curse that has been laid upon him and all constables of his town, eternal revenge for the killing of 172 witches. He and the new sheriff, Evie Barret, have to defend themselves against all manner of ghastly attack, and once the storyline is laid out, the war is on.

<img src="" alt="stanbook" width="350" height="258" class="alignleft size-full wp-image-1068" />Gould spoke to the origins of the show, and how Stan is based in large part on his father, who would probably be deeply annoyed if an ancient curse arose to interrupt the Celtics game. I've always loved a good horror comedy, and we talked a bit about the mechanics that make those two elements work so well together. Since is the Department of Tangents, we did stray from Stan a bit to talk about <em>The X-Files</em> and <em>Ghostbusters</em> reboots, and the wonderful promotional items IFC sends out to the press. Gould also mentioned he is working on a new comedy special, so look for that next year. You can find more info about Gould, <em>Stan Against Evil</em>, and <em>The Dana Gould Hour</em> podcast at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.