This week, we switched it up a bit to give you a super fun two-part episode featuring Josh Poole, Development Manager and Producer at Above Average, as well as a look into his favorite post-work hangout spot, Palmer's, located in Ft. Greene. Check out the hilarious Q&A with Josh below, and tune in to my interview with Jared Lewis, co-owner of Palmer's, about what makes his awesome new restaurant tick. (Side note: they have hand-crafted tea sodas! Oh, my heart!)
Two-part episode meant TWO opportunities to color in this delightful comic from Eat More Bikes illustrator, Nathan Bulmer. Check out his new book here!
This episode was sponsored by Bacon™.
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Q & A WITH JOSH POOLE!
You're currently the Development Manager and Producer at Above Average. That is the coolest. How did you get there?
Josh Poole: In all honesty, it’s disorienting every time someone says something like that. I’m very, very lucky. The short answer to how I got here goes something like this: I went to Vassar and studied nothing related to any field I planned to enter. I worked in publishing in NYC and then got “laid-off” -- a version of getting fired, in which they agree not to use they words “you’re fired” and then immediately hire your intern. I went back to grad school for TV/Film production, and an internship at Comedy Central led me to jobs at MTV in comedy development and production. While at MTV I made a lot of sketch videos for a YouTube partner channel I started with a grad school friend, and now I’ve been at AA as a producer and working in development for almost half a year.
The longer answer involves nearly dying in a tropical storm in the Caribbean while covered in malt soda and chocolate…But we can leave it there for now.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
JP: For the majority of my childhood, I wanted to start a roller coaster park with my best friend Nik. Then at 14, we got sensible and decided we wanted to open a nacho restaurant. I kind of love how simple careers were in our kid brains: roller coasters and nachos are effing sweet, so obviously those will be our careers. Now we both work in TV/film, so maybe there’s some lesson in following your dreams or creativity that someone smarter than me can interpret. Also, we’re both 100% positive we’re still going to open that nacho restaurant.
Who are your role models?
JP: I’m going to get super sappy on you and say my parents. My father is an opera singer and former professor of music, and my mother is a criminal justice expert and former director at the Department of Justice. They taught me how to relate to people through humor, how much hard work goes into giving the appearance of natural talent, and that there are no rules against putting a hot tub in the middle of the living room if that’s what you want to do. They also taught me that nothing is more important than family dinnertime…unless Seinfeld is on.
There is so much video content online. What sets Above Average apart from everything out there?
So many people and companies are doing amazing things right now. I think this last year was one of the first years that the industry started taking digital seriously and investing in it. So it’s exciting to be a part of it. But I think a couple things set us apart. We’re trying to walk the line between producing broadcast quality content and content that is specifically intended for an online audience. So we have near broadcast level standards & practices, which is unusual. We have a fairly consistent and curated voice to our content, which is mostly character-based, non-serialized sketch comedy, largely grouped into 6-episode series. We do tend to have some familiar faces in our videos as well. Also, we love up-and-coming NYC comedy talent. There are two of us who are constantly out at shows and meeting with people who make us giggle. It will be fun to watch our content five years from now and see where everyone is…Probably in LA [sigh].
Is there anything coming up on the channel that you are specifically jazzed about?
JP: SUGAR BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOYYYYYYYY! Sugar Boy. We’re incredibly psyched about that series. Give it a watch.
**SUPER SILLY NOT-SO-RAPIDFIRE-QUESTIONS**
Q: What's your favorite movie:
JP: “Magnolia” if I feel like a cry. “The Big Lebowski” if I feel like uncontrollable giggling for 80 straight minutes. “Paradise Lost” 1, 2 and 3 if I feel like getting outraged.
Q: What's your favorite book?
JP: Catch-22. Yossarian is my spirit animal.
Q: What would you do if a stranger threw an open-faced PB&J sandwich at you and then walked away without saying anything?
JP: WAS THIS A PLANTED QUESTION? ARE YOU TRYING TO PROVOKE ME? DO YOU KNOW HOW PASSIONATELY I FEEL ABOUT PEANUT BUTTER? Holy crap, I’d eat the shit out of that sandwich. And then feel ashamed.
Q: You wake up in a kiddie pool full of jello. You look around and realize you are in the middle of a jello-wrestling match and someone is charging at you. Do you jump out or fight back?
JP: Again, I’d focus on eating any and all food stuffs around me. I have self-control problems, OK?? Also, how big is this kiddie pool, if someone is “charging at me”? I question the premise of the question… And by that I mean: I’m hungry, stop teasing me.
Q: Abe Lincoln or Justin Bieber?
JP: …In a fight to the death as vampires? Abe Lincoln. The Bieber has way too much exposed neck. He’s like a delicious, pre-pubescent vampire magnet.
Q: You're invited to meet with President Obama. You walk into the Oval Office and he is nowhere in sight. There is a hedgehog sitting at his desk. What do you do?
JP: Ask Joe Biden what he’s doing in Obama’s chair.