PODCAST PURVIEW: FITZDOG RADIO
BY Sam Webb
Fitzdog Radio is the podcast baby of comedian Greg Fitzsimmons. Initially a postscript to his ‘proper’ radio broadcast on Sirius XM, it has since developed into a fleshed out show that retains that specific ‘end of the night’ type feel. As the host, Fitzsimmons leads with a trademark combination of hilarity, aggression and heart, forming a show as much in his image as is possible, with guests from throughout the comedy world, self-parodically mean questionings and an ever present willingness to delve deep into psyches, environments and conflicts with a very certain joie de vivre.
Fitzdog Radio possesses a very certain energy that is almost certainly derived from its origins as an after show. This comes across in a translated feeling of slight giddiness, which combines perfectly with Fitzsimmons aggressive inquisition, offering a counter-measure through providing a humour and a freedom that might get lost in a show where Greg was more amped up. This loucheness doesn’t stop the show from frequently getting deep into meaningful discussion though. Frequently the middle segment will revolve around Fitzsimmons and the guest discussing modern comedy, the nature of being an artist or where their careers are going and have been. Due to a propensity of comedy guests on the show, this gives them a simpatico with Fitzsimmons, meaning that their shared experiences feed into having similar ideas to talk about, but all do so in very different ways. That they are comedians also means that this depth isn’t a one-dimensional introspection, as they also combine their revelation with veins of humour and laughter, sparring with Fitzsimmons over his own bullshit or committing to a bit that Greg initiates. This is one of the key elements enabling the show to become the outlet that Fitzsimmons seeks, as he unearths the things that are rarely discussed by the bigger podcasters on the bigger podcasts; and takes the show way beyond the personal, instead forming itself into a whole broadcast. This lack of fear over getting deep is a rare gift gives the show a particular depth itself, with it’s meshing of the light and heavy allowing Fitzdog Radio to really make a stamp of it’s own. It stands almost individual, as a show heralded by someone who demands answers, of guests who are equally as hilarious as he is and retains an ease of nature and conversational freedom that allows the discussions to go wherever Greg wants it to.
It’d be all too easy to take a sidelong glance at Fitzsimmons and presume he was just a promoted flamer, someone getting off on being a douche to the people who agree to be on his show, saying something offensive just so people would shout at him. But there is so much more to what Fitzsimmons does than this. There is a reason these guys come on his show, there’s a reason why people like him and there’s a reason why he’s hilarious: and that is that he cares. He won’t rant and rave because he doesn’t care about his guest, instead he prods and probes with an unusual vigour and intensity because he wants to see where the lines lie, where the guest’s boundaries are and what has turned them into the people they are. What Fitzsimmons seeks to channel is not only his own emotions, but also more importantly those of his accomplices in comedy. In a sense the show acts as if a test, of these respondents humour, their character and their personality. Testing how they cope under his frequently vehement questioning, so that he can know that his friends, the people he admires and his peers are worthy of such a position in his life, whilst offering a perspective toward their own lives at the same time. And it’s not like his questions don’t frequently border on the hilarious. Oftentimes the peculiar violence he channels into the most basic of questions, making even an asinine inquiry transform into a virtual interrogation is so thoroughly overblown it cant but be laugh out loud funny. Greg is also unafraid of his own laughter, happy to almost completely melt down in the podcast at a moment funny enough. The combination of his own sense of humour, his love of comedy and the fact that at the centre of it all he gives a damn makes Fitzsimmons someone who is possibly initially difficult to love as a host, but one whose qualities shine through exponentially the more you hear from him.
What with a host so individual, particular and specific, Fitzdog Radio can’t but be a blessing to podcast rosters. Abrasive, hilarious, ambitious but most of all granted a huge heart, this show is one that offers more than your average show, bringing with it a weight of perspective, of humour and depth that prove Fitzsimmons is well on his way to making a defining addition to the market.