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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.

Nov 7, 2016

Anyone who has Reggie Watts spin beats and jokes onstage will tell you he is a comic, musical genius. With  a microphone and a couple of effects and loopers, he can build a sonic wall of melody and funny unlike anything you've heard. Currently he is the bandleader for "Karen," the house band at The Late Late Show...

Aug 11, 2016

<a href="" target="_blank">Billy Connolly</a> is a true legend in comedy. Rambling, profane, and hilarious, he allows himself to go wherever his brain will take him onstage. I've spoken with him a few times over the years, starting with an in-person interview in 2007 when he played the A.R.T....

Jul 15, 2016

My guest for Episode Ten is Tom Snyder, co-creator along with Jonathan Katz of Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, musician, producer, and comedy writer. His latest project is a fully-produced musical on audiobook called Is Anyone All Right? which is available now on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. It's a throwback to...

Jun 1, 2016

I've interviewed Steven Wright for a couple of different publications over the years and always enjoyed the strange and wonderful twists in the conversation. He's one of the reasons this podcast and site exist as the Department of Tangents - some of the most fun I've had is getting off topic with him. I sat down with...

Mar 18, 2016

In this bonus episode, I interview Noel Fielding from the Mighty Boosh and Luxury Comedy about his latest tour, An Evening With Noel Fielding, currently playing across America. We talk about the intimate feeling of the Boosh, where comedy turns to horror, what Fielding would look like if he went mad, and putting Gary...