Two Fredericton comedians deliver their take on current affairs with the bi-weekly podcast, Blowing It.
There’s a podcast for everything these days. With more than 700,000 podcasts now available through a plethora of websites and hosting platforms, it can be a challenge to narrow things down and decide what new program you’re going to commit to. There are options. Lots of options. But when it comes to podcasts, we don’t often think to look to what voices are being shared from our own community. But maybe we should.
Despite the thousands and thousands of podcast options available, podcasts, at least on a local level, are still a bit of a rarity. But that’s slowly changing. Fredericton is home to a small mix of entertainment podcasts (check out Surgery Radio and Wasting Life) and a handful of others, including some produced by the local CBC and our community/campus radio station, CHSR.
Last April, another regular podcast was welcomed into the fold when two comedians, Nat Armstrong and Mary Green, decided to try their hand at producing a show that touches on current affairs with a focused eye on who’s blowing it and who isn’t. Their show, Blowing It, delivers a bi-weekly take on politics, events and newsmakers with a distinct local flair.
“I’d been thinking about starting a podcast for a while and I find talking to myself in front of a computer super awkward, so I was looking for someone to co-host with me,” said Green. “Based on her standup material, I had the sense Nat kept up on politics and current events, so I figured she would be a good candidate.”
For the last nine months Armstrong and Green have been getting together regularly to chat about politics and local news to share their views on the good, the bad and the ugly. To date, they have produced a total of 16 episodes that move through the most recent headlines in point form with each adding their thoughts on the topic at hand.
Each episode of Blowing It plays through like an informal conversation. And while the jokes are fewer than you might expect to hear from a pair of open mic regulars, the show’s strength comes as a result of two friends looking for answers through an open and honest conversation about the shit state of the world.
“Mary will setup a Google doc and we’ll just add stories through the week before we record on Saturday afternoon, leaving short notes on what we want to bring up about a particular topic,” said Armstrong. “Then we just go. Sometimes it goes right according to those notes and other times there’s a story or an anecdote that gets brought up on the spot. It’s great.”
“We set-up and record in my kitchen,” said Green, “which is why you can hear my cats meowing or my fridge clicking on sometimes.”
Armstrong and Green both agree that by simply making the time to talk every other week and to examine the headlines on a more indepth level, their conversations act as a tool to help them both try to make sense of the world.
“I actually find it super therapeutic to reframe a lot of these stories about political gaffs or terrible things going on in the world,” said Armstrong. “Journalists have this responsibility of presenting information as it is, where we can tell the stories with a slant of, ‘Wait a minute. This is actually messed up.’ It kinda helps keep me sane in a way.
“I’m super stoked just to have it as an outlet. I love having guests on cause just adding a third voice in usually makes for more stories and takes on a topic,” she said.
“The thing about standup comedy is that it has to be funny, and I have a lot of reactions to what’s going on in the world that are more frustrated and angry than funny,” adds Green. “In my experience, those sorts of feelings can sometimes be molded into comedy over time, but it’s also been really great to have an outlet where we can just comiserate and be like, ‘Can you fucking believe this shit!?’”
Blowing It is available through Apple Podcasts with new episodes dropping every few weeks. You can also follow them on Twitter at @BlowingItPod.
Looking for other interesting podcasts from the region? Who isn’t, right?
Nat Armstrong recommends: Elm & Ampersand. “This is a rad (accessible to non-poetry fans) poetry podcast done here in Fredericton.”
Mary Green recommends: LOL Ur Gay. “I really love LOL Ur Gay with Adam and Lisa, which is based in Halifax. It’s Adam Myatt and Lisa Buchanan, who are devastatingly talented queer standups/filmmakers. If you go back a ways in the catalogue you’ll even hear me on an episode.”