Q&A with Josh and Chuck
How did you guys get started in the podcast business?
Josh and Chuck: We were thrown into it by our boss at HowStuffWorks.com, Conal Byrne, on whom the character of Steve in the show is loosely based, except that Conal is not a woman or an amoral task master. Conal was looking to repurpose articles on the site and podcasts seemed like a good idea. In classic “Steve” fashion, Conal asked us to do a podcast, which we did and it caught on very quickly. We have been growing ever since and in every way that initial assignment – to just go off and start a podcast – has led us here.
What are some topics that you would like to tackle that you have not explored?
Josh: There are a few ideas we have not tackled yet that I’ve wanted to look into; chiefly paraphilias, or deviancies in sexual proclivities. Not having any myself, I think paraphilias are fascinating. Being sexually attracted to your car, a horse, a dead body or calling strangers and breathing heavily into the phone? I find the subject fascinating.
Chuck: I have always wanted to tackle Scientology as a topic. It is such a hot topic.
What are some of the most interesting facts you have learned throughout your podcasts?
Josh: There are so many but here are a few: LEGO is the world’s largest manufacturer of rubber tires (they are just very small); in New York in the 1890s, about 200,000 horses were in use and each one produced about 25 pounds of poop a day; it takes about 100,000 years for a photon to make it from the core of the sun to the surface and about 8 minutes from the surface to the Earth; Louis Braille was just 15 when he developed his system for a raised alphabet - I could go on.
Chuck: I would have to add to Josh’s list with these facts: that real zombies exist in Haiti, that there is one tribe in the world that practices the lost art of head shrinking, and that castle steps were built in varying heights to confuse attackers who ascended them.
Favorite podcasts you have done so far?
Josh: Our 500th episode comes out at the end of January. I’ve never made 500 of anything, so I’m kind of proud.
Chuck: We get asked this question all of the time and I always have a different answer. Today I am going with cannibalism, Typhoid Mary, and Ninjas.
How does it feel to go from the world of podcasts to the mockumentary world of television?
Josh: I play myself, but I am also playing a characterized version of myself. So, that one slight degree of removal makes a world of difference in making fun of myself, or reacting to situations in ways that are a little different than I would act in normal life. When recording the podcast, I am aware people will eventually listen to it, but I am still myself while doing television has been different and I have to say I have enjoyed the process.
Chuck: For me doing the series feels the same as my entire career has felt up to this point - like a gift. It is a gift that I wake up to each day and am very much appreciative of and I am really enjoying it all.
What is your favorite episode of the show you have shot so far?
Josh: For me, it is definitely the Alien Hand episode. The actor who played Neil, the man afflicted with Alien Hand Syndrome, was actually beating me up throughout the shoot. He was holding back at first and I encouraged him to really let me have it and he did. What you see in the episode is me holding back from smacking him in return. It did not require much acting on my end!
Chuck: I would have to say the Personal Space Travel episode featuring John Hodgman as our guest star. I am big fan of John’s and really enjoyed shooting that particular episode.
You guys have a lot of celebrity guest appearances on your shows, who is on your wish list of dream guests?
Josh: I would have to say Tom Selleck. I’m a huge Magnum PI fan and that comes through in the TV show from time to time. Having Selleck on would be cowing.
Chuck: My dream list would consist of mainly comedy actors – Jack Black, Ken Marino, Paul Rudd, Zack Galifinakis, Rob Huebel, Malin Akerman, Megan Mullallay, Amy Poehler - to name a few!
Why the Science Channel for your transition from podcast to TV series?
Josh: I cannot think of a better network – in or out of the Discovery family – where we would be a better fit. The risks that Debbie Myers (executive vice president and general manager of Science Channel) of and her are willing to take and the support they give us makes Science Channel feel like another home to us. Because of all this, Science Channel feels like the perfect platform to learn and grow and get better along the way.
Chuck: Science Channel is a great fit for us because we try to cover the cool scientific aspects of most of the topics that we explore. And the network is very forward thinking and inspiring in the content they are putting out into the world.
What is next for Josh & Chuck?
Josh: If we are following the trajectory established by Bob and Doug McKenzie, as I suspect we are, then I would guess a feature-length movie involving us and brewery will be next.
Chuck: Continuing with our podcast, and fingers crossed a season two of STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW on Science Channel!