Welcome to the 15th podcast episode of this side series, the Podcast Spotlight. In this episode, we talk with Gary Tan, local comedian and host of the podcast Not Again Podcast.
DISCLAIMER: This is not your typical Podcast Spotlight interview.
Gary is… quite a character. Not in the sense of someone who is overtly eccentric or bizarre, but more so that he comes off as vulnerable. Too vulnerable. Almost uncomfortably so.
It is a trait that he has adopted as part of his comedy routine, baring himself on stage – failures and disappointments in abundance – all in a bid to make it in the industry. And unsurprisingly, his podcast is also presented in much the same vein.
Primarily, it is a conversational podcast. One where Gary brings on a guest for each episode, from musicians, comedians, to authors, and gets them to open up about their lives. In this sense, this is not your typical interview show. More than just light-hearted filler and self-promotion, the topics often delve to hard hitting areas like dealing with failure, struggling for success, and basically just trying to survive in a world that is often harsh and difficult.
Often times listeners will find this style uncomfortable, if only because it forces self-reflection and honest admission. But rarely will you find Gary putting on a f ront or diverging from this convention. And in his own way he stands out by being vulnerable and being himself, as himself as he possibly muster.
Personally speaking, I cannot stand for this sort of style, being a strong advocate for how the story is being conveyed as much as the what. Listening to Gary however, I will admit that I have had second thoughts about this. All things considered in the big ocean of podcasting, this may be a bold strategy, but I doubt that Gary would have it any other way.
In this podcast spotlight, Gary introduces us to The Breakdown, an interview podcast hosted by British comedian Jamali Maddix. Truthfully speaking, there is nothing inspiring about the podcast. In terms of style and structure it is similar to any number of interview/conversational style podcasts from other comedians such as BertCast with Bert Kreischer, Unqualified by Anna Farris, or WTF by Marc Maron. The one saving feature about this particular podcast perhaps, is that it specializes within the UK comedy scene. Therefore, if you are interested in learning more about the lives and careers of British comedians such as Mo Gilligan, Tom Davis, or Stewart Lee, which we discussed for this episode, then this could be the show for you.
Perhaps because of the ubiquity of shows like The Breakdown, the conversation with Gary rarely stayed on the actual podcast itself. Rather, as Gary himself is privy to from his own show, we dove into the deeper tangents: the struggles of the working world, dealing with competition and jealousy within the industry, and so on. As I’ve warned at the top of the page, this is not your typical podcast spotlight interview. You have been warned.
In case you are interested in listening to The Breakdown episode with Stewart Lee, you can find the link here.
Music by Pandrezz: Takin’ you for a ride
Special thanks to Gary Tan for taking the time to do this interview. It was quite an experience trying out the conversational style for a change and opening up more during the interview. Also, fun fact, this interview was recorded back in March, and some of the topics discussed around work foreshadows more recent episodes of the Economical Rice Podcast such as In the Pursuit of Happiness and Meaning, Purpose, and the Singapore Dream. Yeah… Just some context in case you were wondering where those episodes came from.