Tuesday, August 2, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show triple-shot

Iglesias talks about his john
Photo Credit: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Steve Austin Show
Episode: 341 (July 12, 2016)
Run Time: 1:32:26
Guest: Chip Foose (15:55)

Summary: Steve Austin heads down the road to Huntington Beach, CA, to visit Foose Design, home base of Overhaulin’ host and renowned car builder Chip Foose. The talk is heavy on Foose’s personal history with cars, with sections focusing on his preference for working aesthetics over mechanics, how he deals with ADHD, the death of his teenage sister, who had progeria, and tracing his life in and out of school and his fledgling career, which is tied to his relationship with his wife. They also talk about the process of developing his TV shows and how his work continues off camera. The last segment is Foose recalling some memorable builds as well as his affinity for bikes.

Quote of the week: “I don’t ever remember being introduced to the automotive world, I was born into it. And it’s something that I have been passionate about all my life. I mean, just from the time that I remember, like three years old, my dad’s working at AMT, just the fact that I could hold that little Hot Wheel of the car that my dad had just built, that was the coolest thing in the world to me, and I wanted to do what my dad did.”

Why you should listen: I almost always ignore the open and close to these podcasts, figuring the guest is the main attraction regardless. Still, after the Foose interview ends, Austin delivers a sad update about his dog, Shona, the kind of humanizing real talk that shows both why Austin is a runaway success as a podcast host and also what made him such a legendary entertainer in and out of the ring. Beyond all that, uh, there’s lots of car talk, so if you like cars, you should listen to these guys talk about cars.

Why you should skip it: Did I mention all the car talk? Because there is a LOT of car talk. Like, a lot a lot, and none of it is softened by the other guy also being a legendary pro wrestler. So, uh, just cars. And TV shows about cars. Did I mention the cars?

Final thoughts: Not a ton to say here, because you ought to know by now what you’re getting when Austin conducts one of these interviews. In this case he even acknowledged it would have been better with a video crew. But likely there’s a large segment of the regular podcast audience for whom this is a smashing success. It wasn’t a bad time at all, just utterly boring to someone who only owns a car because he has to.

• • •

Show: Steve Austin Show
Episode: 343 (July 19, 2016)
Run Time: 1:26:27
Guest: Ted Fowler (16:46)

Summary: It’s an odd family-friendly Steve Austin Show appearance from Ted Fowler, but he needs to make a call to update Stone Cold on the aftermath of a power outage at the Broken Skull Ranch. He also has some information about the ranch’s destructive raccoons and old Ford Broncos. There’s a lengthy story about a rare Fowler trip to see doctor, then they get back to the ranch to discuss alligators and pheasant hunting before more small talk to wind down the call.

Quote of the week: “I notice there’s a big pile of raccoon poo up on the hood, and I’m like, ‘Dude, you’re kidding me.’ … And that hood goes up and he looks at me and I look at him and I’m trying to back up over the top of those forks, about fall to the ground, ’cause I can just see that thing making a lunge, you know, towards my throat — and I’m such a sissy about that stuff — that coon is lookin’ at me like, ‘Dude, you’re scaring me!’ ”

Why you should listen: Have you been wondering how things are down at the ranch? While that might seem like a weird question, I’ve been listening to this show twice a week since April 2013, and it turns out over those three-plus years I’ve come to feel a strange connection to the BSR, and while I can’t actually picture any of it, Fowler’s stories of havoc-wreaking raccoons and freezers full of rotting goods are in an odd way audio comfort food.

Why you should skip it: The flipside is if you’d rather hear Austin talk about cars with Goldberg or check in with a comic or musician or knife maker or what have you, then you don’t really need another Fowler phoner. Even if you do like Fowler, I don’t think his story about the visit to an urgent care clinic is nearly as amusing as he does — certainly not in a class with some of his other tales — and even though this is a shorter episode by Austin standards, there’s still an awful lot of purely wasted time with idle chatter between the two (even more idle than usual). Also, in case this doesn’t go without saying, Fowler is able to go about 75 minutes without working blue. For a certain type of listener, this will be a serious letdown.

Final thoughts: Of the recent run of non-wrestling guests, I enjoyed this one the most. Sometimes good ol’ Teddy Fowler is a bit too much for me, such as every December when I get to hear him drink and cuss for four hours a week, but absence makes the ear grow fonder, and this one caught me in just the right mood. It’s utterly skippable if you have better things to do with your time, but especially at double speed, you won’t regret listening to the meat of this one.

• • •

Show: Steve Austin Show
Episode: 345 (July 26, 2016)
Run Time: 1:23:27
Guest: Gabriel Iglesias (10:25)

Summary: Austin makes sure to hit the record button for his most recent conversation with Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, this time at the comedian’s Signal Hill compound. After talking about haircuts and Iglesias’ fitness routine, Austin asks how Iglesias decides what to discuss on stage. That leads into a riff on Pokemon Go, which somehow turns to talk of feeling safe while traveling and performing. Iglesias recalls his high school days, explains how he tries to improve his act and tells stories of a few memorably bad charity shows. After a pooping story, Iglesias explains the peculiarity of having Latino heritage but a fully American background and how it’s hard to translate his act to different languages and cultures. After the guys bond over their love of old cars, Iglesias runs down his current film and TV projects.

Quote of the week: Iglesias: “We were drinking — a lot — and I had to go No. 1. And that’s really the case, I really had to go and I asked Steve, and I says, ‘Hey, can I use your restroom?’ First thing you say is, ‘No. 1 or No. 2?’ and I go, ‘Just No. 1’ ‘OK, You can use this one right here.’ ‘OK, cool,’ so I’m in there and, you know, nature had a different plan, right around the 15-second mark. And I’m like, ‘There is no way I’m gonna make it out of here without freakin’ dropping deuces.’ I tried to take the quickest dump of my life and Steve was standing outside the door. And you was just like, ‘Hey Fluffy, you takin’ a dump in there?’ [Laughter.] Oh my god! I felt terrible. I was buzzed though, so it was kinda funny.”

Austin: “You didn’t drop a deuce, you dumped a quatro.”

Why you should listen: Stone Cold loves him some Fluffy. The humor doesn’t quite land with me, but if you’re in the mood to hear Austin bust a gut (and haven’t yet downloaded the two-parter with Bill Burr) he does chuckle a time or two. If you’re not a fan of Iglesias’ comedy, it should be noted this comes off as more of a legitimate interview about his life and career than some of his earlier appearances, which were much more juvenile and laugh addled.

Why you should skip it: I like standup comedy way, way more than I like cars, but I wasn’t much more interested in this episode than I was hearing Austin chat up Chip Foose. Iglesias just isn’t my cup of tea, and other than being a huge fan of Attitude Era Austin, it’s never been quite clear why he’s a fit on the show. There are some legitimately interesting moments in this interview, but they’re surrounded by a bunch of nonsense that absolutely detracts from the overall experience.

Final thoughts: Austin released this episode two days after Battleground, after the first live RAW of the post-draft era. It’s clear by his recent guests that he’s far too busy to watch WWE these days, but it’s still pretty disappointing to have him stay on the sidelines while WrestleMania-grade happenings are electrifying the wrestling world. Also poop stories. Hard pass.