And so, after the hiatus, I have decided to shut things down here at My Dining Room Table GloboCorp LTD. I know I promised in the last episode that I would be back after the summer with your regularly scheduled MDRT’s, but the fact of the matter is I’m a liar. A goddamn, bald-faced, liar. Except my face isn’t bald. I have a beard. A mighty beard! But regardless, this will be the final episode. Most likely.
If asked, I may do this podcast live at comedy festivals. Perhaps when I feel the need I’ll do an interview and just put it out there, random-like, just because. But all that is pretty unlikely. It feels like the time has come to move on, to hang up my podcasting headphones and call it a day. All good things must come to an end, I suppose. I’d like to thank everyone who ever listened to MDRT. That you would choose to spend some of your time sitting down with me at My Dining Room Table means the world to me. So thank you. Thanks for listening to my podcast. Truly.
And just like that, My Dining Room Table is officially on summer vacation. And by “summer vacation” I mean working harder than I’ve ever worked in my life on the production of Those Who Can’t. Alas, it is so dear listeners, I do not currently have the time to commit to this podcast that it deserves so I’m taking a breather for the summer. But fear not! My Dining Room Table will return! This is not the end, just a break. I’ll be back with new episodes come August of this year, September at the latest. So be on the lookout for those. In the meantime I hope you have the best summer ever and keep in touch! See you next semester, gang!
I met Noah Gardenswartz backwards. That is to say, I don’t know how we didn’t know each other earlier on in life. He grew up in the Jewish community in Denver, Colorado – a smaller Jewish community as far as they go, that I was, at the very least, tangential with as a shitty half-Jew who never went to synagogue but was fluent in bar and bat mitzvah parties. Then he went on to East High School, my beloved alma mater that I won’t seem to shut up about. But it wasn’t until stand-up that I ever met the dude. And even then, it was in a round about way. My buddy Ben Roy met him at a comedy festival in Atlanta, where the two bonded over their mutual Denver connections. Ben told him to come do the Grawlix should he find himself in Denver, and like that I met Noah for the first time backstage at our monthly show at the Bug Theater. And then the connections became even stronger. He knew my little sister, went to East with her. We had a ton of friends in common. I was already a fan of his comedy after watching his set, but those common interest made me a fan of the guy, because what are we but naval-gazing entities wandering the planet looking for someone who’s interests/geography/experiences somewhat mirror our own?
But then Noah and I sat down for this podcast and I learned so, so much more about him. And now I feel that shared connection even deeper. He taught for awhile, like I did. He wrote for an alt-weekly for awhile, like I did. But also, sadly and more profoundly, he’s had to experience tragic loss in his life. Like I did. So we talked about it. And much, much more. And you’d be amazed how helpful that simple act can be. I walked away from recording this episode feeling somehow cleansed. I guess in a way I needed it. I hope Noah felt the same way. Simply put: this is probably one of my favorite episodes of My Dining Room Table we’ve done. I really hope you enjoy it.
For his video Noah decided to go with a Denver deep-cut, “Handlebars” by my friends The Flobots. You know I can get down with that.
The last Sunday of every month Kevin O’Brien runs a show called Arguments and Grievances at Vine Street Pub and Brewery. It’s one of the best shows in Denver. Comics consistently turn in some of the most inventive performances you’ll ever see them do at that show. Seriously, over-the-top, balls-to-the-wall performances. And I’ve always wondered why? The pay is relatively little – a few beers here, a few bucks if you’re a heavy hitter – so why do comics try so fucking hard at that show, consistently dressing up, humiliating themselves, and writing large swaths of new material? Maybe it’s because comics are competitive people by nature; or maybe it’s because comics are tired of throwing fastballs down the middle of the plate and the show gives them an opportunity to think outside the bun, but still – the lengths comics will go at Arguments and Grievances seems disproportionate to the pay-off. And I think a big part of that has to do with Kevin O’Brien. I think comics just want Kevin to like them.
Because as a personality Kevin O’Brien has somehow manged to fashion himself as both the older brother who turns you onto cool music as well as the little brother who obsesses over it. It’s an impressive feat and I think people are drawn to that personality. Because simply put, he’s just a cool guy. There I said it. Put it on your bio, Ole Kev!
“Cool Guy” – Adam Cayton-Holland.
But it’s true! How do I know it’s true? Because I’m a cool guy.
Oh! Almost forgot! Another thing I have in common with Kevin O’Brien is that we’re both pretentious.
But at least we’re fucking aware of it.
I liked Kevin the first time I ever met him and I’m generally not wrong about these things. It’s part of the burden of being pretentious and cool. So it’s been a lot of fun to watch him figure out comedy and really blossom into the funny comic and pervasive personality that he has become. From his comedy to his podcast to his hosting to his story-telling to his emo-DJing to his occasionally losing his fucking shit on an audience member hinting at a deep, deep reserve of inner rage, I enjoy what Kevin O’Brien does. More than anything, I love talking with the guy. He’s one of the best conversationalists I know. So enjoy this podcast I did with him. We recorded it at ye olde Dining Room Table itself – a nice return to form from having been away from my home for so long.
Kevin wanted you to watch “Honey” by Maria Carey. Add that to the list of things I like about KOB.
Often something insipid like the following will trickle out of my mouth: “Yeah, in Colorado, beer is like a total culture! There’s, like, a legit beer scene going on and stuff! It’s pretty impressive.” Then, inevitably, the person that I’m talking too will have follow-up questions like, “Oh yeah, how’s that?” And then I mutter something about tasting rooms, and IPA’s and like, how it’s so popular and stuff. Then they walk away disappointed. Often they’ll spit or hiss at me too. It’s quite rude of them. And hostile.
But I get it.
Because while I know the sentiment behind my statement is sound, my expertise is far from it. My heart is in the right place, but my PR work lacks efficacy. What a relief then to get someone on the podcast who knows what the fuck they’re talking about when it comes to beer. Now, when I want to talk a big craft-beer game, I can just point to this episode and say, “I may not really know what I’m talking about, but my man Nick Nunns does – so listen to the episode of my podcast I did with him.” Then, hopefully, that person will immediately excuse themselves from our conversation to go listen to an hour long podcast and realize that I’m not as ignorant as they think I am. Or, at least, Nick Nunns isn’t.
Yes, it’s that Nick Nunns. The man behind TRVE Brewing, the beloved sponsor of this very podcast and my favorite craft-brewery in the world. Yes the same TRVE brewery behind all the cool art and satanic iconography like this:
From the very first time I went to TRVE I was in love with the place and once I started sampling their wares with a little consistency – especially those sours that sing their siren song all the way down my throat – I knew I had found my favorite bar. I try to go to TRVE whenever I’m home. I tell beer-snobs about TRVE. I send people visiting Denver there. And not just because they sponsor my podcast. Because I love them. That’s why I asked them to sponsor my podcast. It wasn’t the other way around. And when I did Nick was like, “Yeah, why not?” And then I fell in love with TRVE even more. So I asked Nick, on the spot, straight the fuck up, “Will you be my dad?” And he was like, “Too far, Adam, too far.”
But he did agree to be my buddy. And I’ll take it. So sit back and crack a TRVE beer if you got it, then listen to me and my buddy Nick talk about the amazing craft-beer scene exploding in our fair city, our fair state, indeed all over the country right now. And be happy that someone who is not only immersed in it, but in fact, deeply influencing it – though he’d never take credit for it – is sitting down at the Dining Room Table. Someone who knows what they’re talking about.
Then watch Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden. Because Nick wanted you to.
Well would you get a look at this dreamboat?! It’s Brooks Wheelan! Brooks Wheelan of former-SNL fame! Brooks Wheelan who is probably the only comic out there better on Instagram than me. YEAH I SAID IT, HOMEBOY PROBABLY HAS MORE GAME THAN, ME BUT AFTER HIM IT’S ME AND AFTER ME IT’S A DISTANT, DISTANT FUCKING THIRD. Brooks Wheelan the guy who is fast becoming one of my favorite comics to watch because he’s just so damn effortlessly funny.
Brooks stopped through Denver to play Comedy Works and I managed to snag him for a bit of one-on-one time in his hotel room before he ran down the street and hopped on stage. And I’m glad I did. Because I didn’t really know Brooks all that well before. Indeed, this is the longest the two of us have ever sat down and chatted but, man, I feel like this conversation could have gone on for hours. Brooks is the type of guy who seems genuinely excited by life and that’s such a rare treat in the cynical world of comics where everything sucks and everything is bitched about. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always down to have those types of conversations – am probably guilty of turning the conversation that way more often than not – so it’s such a joy to chat with someone like Brooks who is just bursting to tell you about all the many things they’re excited about: comedy, traveling, books about old explorers, why you should always rent a car on the road. I couldn’t have enjoyed this conversation with Brooks more and I sure hope you enjoy listening to it. And if you haven’t seen Brooks in person, go out and do it. You’ll thank me. And him.
And Jesus. And then me again.
Brooks wanted you to watch this video. Rod Stewart getting REAL sexy.
I’ve been trying to get Nathaniel Rateliff on my podcast forever. And by forever, I mean since the podcast began. Which was almost exactly two years ago. Which is forever given modern-day attention spans. So forever.
Okay. I’m done qualifying my previous statement.
But unfortunately Nathaniel’s never been able to do the podcast.
“Shoot! Not in town, then,” his text will typically read in reply to my request. “Another time!”
That’s been our game for two years now. That’s how in demand Nathaniel is. He is constantly traveling. Constantly performing. Constantly earning amazing accolades, news of which trickles back to Denver, and every time I’m blown away by it.
Robert Plant said what about Nathaniel Rateliff? Nathaniel performed with Elvis Costello where?
Not that these feats surprised me – Nathaniel is one of the most talented singer-songwriters I’ve ever met in person – but I was always floored that these accolades were being accomplished by the dude that lived down the street. The guy who I run into at the Hi Dive. The guy who I used to watch fronting “Born in the Flood.” It’s always astonished me that this guy has this amazing career and yet still chooses to call the red brick of our Baker neighborhood home, to make his way in the world out of our fair little Denver.
Of course it does. It’s something I’ve been trying to do for awhile now. And something I find myself talking about quite often, more now than ever before. Who knew just trying to make art from your backyard could become such an ethos? Well, Nathaniel does, for one. So what a delight to finally get Nathaniel to make his way over to My Dining Room Table for a good old fashioned chat. If you’re a fan of Nathaniel, I think you’ll really enjoy this talk. If you’ve never heard of him, meet your new favorite musician.
Nathaniel wanted you to watch this video. It rules.
Well, Los Angeles, get ready. Here comes Kristin Rand. A stalwart of the Denver comedy scene – from stand-up to sketch and back again – Kristin got to town and immediately started tearing it up. And while she may have fallen into some of the trappings of the young, open-micer, it strikes me that she left those behind more quickly than usual. It seemed like I would see Kristin Rand doing stand-up and I’d be like, “Yup, funny stuff, there’s Kristin Rand being a good comic.” Then suddenly I saw Kristin Rand and it was like, “Oh wow. When did Kristin figure out her voice?”
She’d be the first to tell you she’s still figuring it out but Kristin is simply a natural. And she deserves all the things she has coming her way.
I’m glad I got her to sit down for the official MDRT Exit Interview before she packs up her belongings and heads west, young man, to make her name and fortune.
A brief anecdote: the day after we recorded this episode we filmed a sketch video, myself, the Grawlix and the Nix Brothers. It’s a sketch about horrible dentists called, “Pulling Teeth.” Kristin played the secretary at the office and there was a scene that she improvised where she’s singing the hold music for the office. Like customers on the phone think that they’re on hold but really it’s just Kristin singing the music. It was her idea. Then she’d abruptly stop singing and say,
“Thank you for holding. How may I direct your call? Actually, what did you think of the hold music? How would you rate it on a scale from one of ten? You know what, I’m going to have to put you on hold again.”
Then she’d just start singing again. She sang cheesy 90’s R&B shit, she broke out Four Non Blondes, she just kept nailing take after take after take. The whole set was crying laughing. It was one of those moments where you have to hold your breath so you don’t fuck up the take. All of us were literally grabbing our sides, trying not to fuck up her hilarious improv. Fortunately we didn’t. And I remember thinking as I watched Kristin do that, “Yeah. This one is ready.” Like some sort of weird, proud parent who had absolutely nothing to do with it. But it made me happy regardless.
So happy trails, Kristin Rand! Don’t be a stranger now, y’hear?
Kristin wanted you to watch this music video by Beyonce. Because of course she did.