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Longtime journalist Nick Zaino interviews the people who create what he loves -- comedy, horror, and music on this weekly podcast. Plus a featured song or comedy routine on every episode! Visit the blog at

Longtime journalist Nick Zaino interviews the people who create what he loves -- comedy, horror, and music on this weekly podcast. Plus a featured song or comedy routine on every episode! Visit the blog at
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Longtime journalist Nick Zaino interviews the people who create what he loves -- comedy, horror, and music on this weekly podcast. Plus a featured song or comedy routine on every episode! Visit the blog at








DoT EP93: Horror Author Nathan Ballingrud On His Creepy Fun Collection "Wounds," plus New Music from Bernard Fowler

Nathan Ballingrud has a wonderfully demented imagination. He has a way of reaching into your brain and finding all of those creepy little corners where you hide the things that make you cringe and make your skin crawl. In his first collection of stories, North American Lake Monsters, there was a bit more realism in his stories and characters. Hulu has optioned that, and will start shooting an anthology series this summer. In Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell, he goes for broke, to...


DoT EP92: Satirist Jimmy Tingle On Politics and Optimism, plus Audio Excerpts from Nathan Ballingrud's Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell

Jimmy Tingle is one of the first people I interviewed in the Boston comedy scene years ago. He was hosting and producing a stand-up show on race relations that featured, among others, Patrice O’Neal and Sue Costello. During my twenty years covering this scene, Tingle has always been a community-minded guy, whether it’s been as a theater owner for five years or his Humor for Humanity comedy benefit shows. So it wasn’t a surprise when he declared his candidacy for Lt. Governor of Massachusetts...


DoT EP91: Comedian Erica Rhodes On Art, Discipline, and Her New Album Sad Lemon, plus New Music from Cate Le Bon

If you have not heard Erica Rhodes’s comedy, you have the perfect excuse to dive in on June 18, when her new album, Sad Lemon, comes out. Rhodes has been performing in some fashion since she was a kid, modeling at five and playing the voice of Garrison Keillor’s conscience on Prairie Home Companion at ten. She was a dancer as a child, then dedicated herself to playing cello before discovering acting and attending the Atlantic Theater Conservatory. That’s where she got some advice from David...


DoT EP90: Funny Women of a Certain Age with Carole Montgomery, Andrea Henry, and Christine Hurley, Plus New Music from Lucette

Carole Montgomery is 61, and she won’t hesitate to mention her age onstage. That is somewhat unusual in an industry obsessed with youth. But Montgomery is proud of her age. She has been doing comedy for roughly forty years, slugging it out in the clubs and balancing stand-up and family. She told Forbes online she once had to leave her baby son with a bouncer while she did her set, and found the bouncer rocking him in his car seat afterwards, afraid to pick him up to comfort him. That’s part...


DoT EP89 Indie Rock Oncologist Karen Haglof with New Music from The Woolly Bushmen

There is so much to explore in Karen Haglof’s career. She started out playing with a band called The Crackers in a Minneapolis scene that included Curtiss A, The Suicide Commandos, The Suburbs, and Flamingo before bands like Soul Asylum, the Replacements, and Husker Du put that scene on the map nationally. If, like me, you’re unfamiliar with that bit of history, seek out a new documentary called Jay’s Longhorn, for which Haglof is interviewed. It’s the most Midwestern story you could imagine...


DoT EP88: Horror and Comedy with "About A Donkey" Director Christina Raia, plus New Music from Karen Haglof

If you follow the Department of Tangents Blog, there’s a good chance you’ve seen some of Christina Raia’s work. I featured her delightful ghost story Hello on October 23 of 2017, and another of her horror shorts, Night In, a month later. This past November, Raia debuted a different kind of film for her, a heist film called Enough with an ensemble cast. Raia says she loves to direct horror, and she’s got a new horror short called “Gaze” and a new horror/comedy feature called “Silent Night” in...


DoT Minicast: Love and Death with Jim Breuer

I have been working on this one since last fall when I saw Jim Breuer at the Comics Come Home benefit show in Boston. For those of you unfamiliar with the event, it’s an annual event hosted by Denis Leary with an all-star lineup of stand-up comedians, many of whom have local ties. Lenny Clarke is there every year, and the 2018 edition featured Brian Regan, Robert Kelly, Jessica Kirson, Billy Gardell, and Christine Hurley, who will be a guest on next week’s full episode. Since it’s a benefit...


DoT EP87: Nat Freedberg from The Upper Crust to Better Late Than Never, plus New Comedy from Jim Breuer

If Nat Freedberg’s voice sounds familiar, it may be because you’ve heard him on this podcast way back on EP32, when I interviewed his band, The Upper Crust. Of course, back then, he wasn’t speaking as Nat, he was speaking as his character, Lord Bendover, the snarling 18th century aristocrat in a powdered wig and finery that wielded his Gibson SG like a rocque n’ roll weapon. That band got some national exposure on the late night talk show circuit, opened for Tenacious D, and, as Nat mentions...


DoT EP86: "Walk This Way" Author Geoff Edgers with New Music from Nat Freedberg

If you are a fan of music or comedy, you should already know Geoff Edgers. He was a longtime arts writer with The Boston Globe before moving to The Washington Post, where he has written some extraordinary pieces on Roseanne Barr, Chevy Chase, Norm Macdonald, and the article that his new book, Walk This Way, is based on. He makes it clear he is a reporter, not an analyst. So what you get from his writing is the facts about fascinating subjects. You hear from both Chase and his detractors. You...


DoT EP85: Disney and Hanna Barbera Animator Philo Barnhart plus New Music from Matt York

This is the last of the four podcasts I taped last November at the NorthEast Comic Con and Collectibles Extravaganza, which happens twice a year out in Boxborough, Massachusetts. Philo has had a long and varied career, and we get into his resume straight away in the interview and drill down from there. You’ve seen his animation work on Disney’s The Little Mermaid, The Smurfs, Super Friends, and more. You may even have heard his voice if you’re a fan of early animated video games, but I will...


DoT EP84: Musical Alien Micropixie Explores the Dark Sight of the Moon, plus New Comedy from Jess Salomon

If you are used to our usual theme song, do not adjust your iPod at the beginning of this episode. This week, we open music from this week’s guest conversationalist, Micropixie. It is the title track to her latest album, Dark Sight of the Moon, and yes she does realize that sounds like another album you may have heard of. Throughout this episode, you will hear a few other songs sprinkled into the mix, including “Nocturnal Concrete Mountaineering” from her first album, Alice In Stevie...


DoT Minicast: Daniel Sloss On Offensive Jokes, "Dad" Jokes, and Why He's Not a TV Comic

I interviewed Daniel Sloss a few weeks back for the Boston Globe when he came to town with his new show X, a deeply funny and sometimes devastating look at masculinity and the #MeToo movement. You can find that piece in the archives at in the February 21 edition. There are two segments I wanted you to hear that didn’t make the final story. The first is about offensive jokes, and the second is about “dad jokes,” some of the dumb things that make Sloss laugh, and why didn’t...


DoT EP83: American Bystander Publisher and Editor Michael Gerber with New Music from Micropixie

This week's episode is a conversation with Michael Gerber, publisher and editor of humor and satire magazine The American Bystander. There are hundreds, maybe thousands or more places to get satire and humor online. But The American Bystander is the one place dedicated to it in print. You can subscribe to a PDF version, but everything flows from the print version – its design and construction are part and parcel of its identity. It’s a throwback, most recognizably to The National Lampoon,...


DoT EP82: Musician and Journalist Ted Drozdowski plus an Audiobook Excerpt from Sarah Moss's Ghost Wall

I first became aware of Ted Drozdowski when I was working at the Boston Phoenix, reading his reviews and features as I helped to transfer them from the print edition to the Web. It wasn’t until later, when I put together a benefit show and Ted stepped in as a player and an organizer, that I really got to see how powerful a guitar player and songwriter he was and is. Then I got to see how he put the two together, doing a show on the history of the blues at a local museum, and using his guitar...


DoT EP81: Comics Artist and Musician Guy Gilchrist with New Music from Ted Drozdowski

This is an inadvertently Nashville-themed edition, as featured interview subject, comics artist/creator and musician Guy Gilchrist, and the musician behind this week's featured track, Ted Drozdowski, ply their trades in Music City. And for the second week in a row, the featured guest has a Jim Henson connection. A bit from his bio – Gilchrist created the Muppets comic strip and worked on Fraggle Rock and The Muppet Babies. But he also took over the comic strip Nancy for a number of years and...


DoT EP80: Writer/Producer/Puppeteer Bill Diamond with New Music from Teardrop City

Greetings and welcome back to the Department of Tangents Podcast! We are turning 80 today with this episode, featuring an interview with writer, puppet creator, producer, and all around problem solver Bill Diamond, whom I interviewed live back in November at the NorthEast Comic Con & Collectible Extravaganza, which is happening again next week out in Boxboro, Massachusetts. Diamond had a wonderful room full of puppets, from a giant Audrey II used in stage productions of Little Shop of...


DoT EP79: Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola Discuss 2018 Horror Films and Their Latest, Clickbait plus New Music from Whispering Sons

This is a special edition of the Department of Tangents Podcast, a look back at the year in horror films with filmmakers, musicians, and writers Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola, who released their own horror film in 2018 called Clickbait. We talked about the best, the most disappointing, and a few mixed reviews, including bigger releases like Hereditary, A Quiet Place, Halloween, Sorry To Bother You, the Suspiria remake, Annihilation, and Mandy, as well as some indie releases like the...


DoT EP78: North East Comic Con Comedy Panel w Carolyn Plummer, Kathe Farris, Erin Spencer, and Emily Ruskowski, with New Music from illuminati hotties

This week's episode is a panel discussion with comedians Kathe Farris, Emily Ruskowski, Erin Spencer, and Carolyn Plummer with new music from illuminati hotties. It's the very first time the Department of Tangents was recorded live in front of an audience. The North East Comic Con and Collectibles Extravaganza expanded its podcast panels and its comedy offerings this year, and I was lucky to nab all four comedians on the Friday night show presented by The Boston Comedy Festival before they...


DoT EP77: Celebrating 30 Years of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Kids In the Hall on TV

This week’s episode is a bit different from previous episodes, in that it doesn’t feature an interview with one person about their work. For the Thanksgiving week episode, I am celebrating a couple of things for which I feel very thankful, and that it the existence of The Kids In the Hall and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Both happen to be celebrating 30th anniversaries in television this year, so it seemed fitting to put them together. The Kids In the Hall first came together as a group in...


DoT EP76: Ryan Lee Crosby Talks Raga Blues, plus "I'm Dissatisfied"

I’ve written about Ryan Lee Crosby’s music in the past. I’m not sure when the first time was, but back then he had finished playing with his rock band, Cancer To the Stars, and had moved on to a more acoustic singer/songwriter sound. He has been the type of musician that, if you lose track of him for a little while, he may be doing something completely different when you find your way back. That’s what I found with his new album, River Music. Crosby moved on from singer/songwriter mode to...