UsedWigs Radio

Comedy and pop Culture Podcast


Russ Starke

UsedWigs Radio 99: Comedians Gregg Gethard and Jim Grammond


Guests: Comedians Gregg Gethard (Bedtime Stories, The Best Show on WFMU) and Jim Grammond (Reasonable Discourse with Jerks)

Topics: Failures! Trumpet Failure, Flugelhorn Failure, Work Failure, Greeting Card Failure, Comedy Failure, Matching Hats Failure, Mütter Museum, Marching Bands, Pica, Charlie Chaplin, Back on My Feet, Ben Franklin plus Stories of Triumph!

Playlist: “Oh Canyon” by Fenster, “Sail to The Sun off of Afraid of Heights” by Wavves, and “Bellio” by Dutch Uncles.

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UsedWigs Radio Podcast 93: Guests Eric Smith of Geekadelphia and Artist Yis Goodwin (Nosego)

Guests: Eric Smith and Yis Goodwin (Nosego)

Topics: New Orleans, Prostitutes, Video Games, Designing iPhone Apps, Murals, CosPlay, Horrible Weight Loss Tips, Geekadelphia, Tattoo Conventions, Tertiary Star Wars Characters, Chip Tune Music, Master Chief Armor, Penguin Disbelief, “Hunger Games,” and Art Inspirations.

Playlist: “Ruby” by Cheap Girls, “Chi-Town” by The Cribs and “UsedWigs” by Eli Braden.

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UsedWigs Radio Podcast 92: Bands Overcoming Novelty Songs, Bridesmaids, Technology Overload and Terrible Product Placements

Topics: Bands Overcoming Novelty Songs, Bridesmaids, The Oscars, Technology Overload, Answering Machines, Party Lines, NPR Slinging the Guilt, Russ’s Spreadsheet Update, Punk Bands and Terrible TV Product Placements.

Playlist: “Waiting for Something” by Nada Surf, “Lightshow” by Plants and Animals, “Forever Won’t Wait” by the Steve Adamyk Band and “UsedWigs” by Eli Braden.

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UsedWigs Radio Podcast 91: Holiday Show with Molly Davis and Anna Goldfarb

Topics: Holiday Fun, Worst Gifts Ever Given, Worst Gifts Ever Received, Dating Do’s and Don’ts, Gift Cards, Homemade Bikes, Fruit Presents, Hiding Twitter from Coworkers, People Being Horrible on Twitter, Men’s Fragrances, Tiny Husbands, Awkward Hugs, Best-Selling Christmas Music, Uncanny Valley, New Year’s Eve Hookups and The Kinks.

Guests: Anna Goldfarb and Molly Davis

Teaser: Yankee Candles, they say “I hate you!” and “She likes light!”

Playlist: “All I Want is Truth (For Christmas)” by The Mynabirds, “Winter Vacation” by The Subjects and “Only at Christmas Time” by Sufjan Stevens.

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UsedWigs Radio Podcast 89: Guest Jon Solomon

Guest: Jon Solomon has been playing and promoting top-notch indie music for years on the mighty WPRB. He can be heard every Wednesday night from 7:00 – 10:00 pm ET. Listen at!

Topics: Pumpkin Chucking, Russ “Fireballer” Starke, Fruit Slingshots, Halloween Superstores, Gig Posters, Jon’s 24-Hour Holiday Radio Show, Lenny & Squiggy, Ric Flair, The Misfits, Big Efforts to See a Band, Merch Tables, Owning a Record Label, Long Songs, Bands Reuniting, Digital Downloads, Jam Bands, Top Scary Movies, Drive-Ins, Bad Date Movies, Benjamin Linus and BBC’s Sherlock!

Teaser: “What’s your noodle song, Jon?”

Audio Note: We used a new audio rig and had a little sound problem, you might need to pump up the volume a bit. Sorry!

Playlist: “Drawn Down the Moon” by Edsel,  “Under Heavy Manners” by Dissociates

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Giveaway: Thanks to our friends at Quirk Books for the super cool “Gig Posters Volume 2” book by Clay Hayes we gave away to a lucky audience member.

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UsedWigs Radio Podcast 87: Guests Kelly Vrooman and SM Shrake

Guests: Actress and TV host Kelly Vrooman and “The Pint-Sized Storytelling Powerhouse” SM Shrake.

Topics: Novelty Sleeping Bags, Bad Camping Tips, Children’s TV Hosts’ Clothes, Comedy Improv, Puppet Hands, Junk Drawers, Story Telling, Barbra Streisand, Washington D.C. Etiquette, Adam West, Eyebrow Plucking, Joke Thieves, David Bowie’s Patented Brush Off Technique and so much more.

Playlist: “Philadelphia (The City of Brotherly Love)” by We Are Augustines and “Bobby” by Butcher The Bar

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UsedWigs Radio Podcast 86: Guests Doogie Horner and Maggie Serota

Guests: Comedian & designer Doogie Horner and writer & myth maker Maggie Serota.

Topics: Monster-Mash Genre, Hot Tub Accidents, Summer Jobs, Boardwalk Panther Tattoos, Urban Legends, Right Said Fred, Beach Cleaning, Comedian Walk-Up Music, Book Cover Design, America’s Got Talent, Last Comic Standing, Working out New Material, Friday The 13th Part IV, Manic Pixie Girls, Alan Alda, Celebrity Impersonators, Shirt Tucking and Danzig.

Playlist: “New Year” by FM Belfast, “Wild in The Streets” by Circle Jerks, “Concrete And Clouds” by Kevin Devine.

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Maggie Serota photo by Mindy Tucker

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UsedWigs Radio Podcast 80: Talking Advertising and Fall TV with Mike: Modern Family, Mad Men, Glee, Running Wilde, Todd Margaret and More!

Listener Appreciation Show #2: Mike Pierantozzi

Topics: Fall TV: Loving Modern Family, Enjoying Mad Men, Defending Glee, Ending The Office, Looking forward to Todd Margaret, Hating Guest Stars… also Talking Advertising, Smashing iPads, Viral Videos, Handsome In-Laws, Peter Billingsley, Robert Pollard, Delivering Beer & Getting Robbed, Shaving Stashes, Rob Sheffield, Superchunk and More!

Preview: “I’m like a little piece of Japanese animation” and “Jeff… you look like an Irish grandmother.”

Playlist: Boston Spaceships, Pico vs Island Trees, The Octopus Project

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Watch: Video of The Show

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UsedWigs Radio Podcast 78: Keeping Twitter Fun and Informative, Tweeting Comedians, iPad Flipboard, Scott Pilgrim, Expensive Guitars and The Worst Song in The World

Photo: Todd spills beer. Awaits the wrath of Russ.

Topics: Keeping Twitter Fun & Informative, Tweeting Comedians, Bad College Beer, iPad Flipboard Review, Todd Defends Foursquare and Gowalla, Russ Defends DJ Music, Jeff Reviews Scott Pilgrim, Arcade Fire Hype, Comedy Central Roasts, Viggo Mortensen, Frank Zappa, Poop Book, Thin Magazines and Cool Yeasayer Video and The Worst Song in The World (Hi, Train!).

Preview: “C’mon Todd, the band X! John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom??” “As far as I know you are making this band up.”

Playlist: Javelin, Bottomless Pit and The Young Veins

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Video: Watch Todd spill a beer and Russ clean it up! (24:39)

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UsedWigs Radio Podcast 77: Chat with Pop Culture Scholar Colin Helb! Comic-Con, Reality TV, 3-D Flicks, Canned Beer and Philly Celebs!

Guest: Colin Helb

Topics: Joys of Canned Beer, Pop Culture, Reality TV, Old Guy Section at Rock Shows, Musicians’ Day Jobs, Comic-Con, Green Super Heroes, 3-D Movies, Jeff is Not a Fan of G. Love, Local Philly Celebrities, Crying During “Annie,” Michelob Ginger Wheat Detergent Beer.

Playlist: We Are Scientists, 1000000 A.D., Adam Franklin and The Bolts of Melody and Vertinsky Dogs.

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UsedWigs Radio Podcast 74: New Babies, New Studio, New Format and Lots of TV Talk

Topics: New Babies, New Studio, New Format, Entertainment Consumption, TV Talk, Guest Stars Ruin Everything, Avoiding Facebook Friend Requests, Daytrotter Downloads, Axe Cop and Video Self Defense Training.

Preview: “While most shows are working to polish, we are tarnishing.”

Playlist: Tre Orsi, Blue Giant, Double Dagger, Javelin

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UsedWigs Radio Podcast 69: Talking Music, Radio, Comedy and Wrestling with Guest Jon Solomon of WPRB

Guest: Jon Solomon of WPRB.

Topics: Jon Solomon’s Annual 24-Hour Holiday Radio Show, Reunited Bands (Good Ones), Tegan and Sara Love, Albert Brooks & Comedy Minus One, Old Comedy Records, Gallagher Too, Macho Man Randy Savage & Top-notch Wrestling Music, Professional Radio Voices, Remembering Jerry Fuchs, Horrible All Star Tributes.

Playlist: Tegan and Sara, White Rabbits, Kurt Vile, Obits and Maserati

Preview: “Have you ever been in a fight with another radio guy?” and “I like radio… and basketball… and watching Dr. Who.”

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UsedWigs Radio Podcast 68: Interview with Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio, Rain Machine) and Russ Gets Trapped in a Cave!

Kyp Malone Photo by Tiffany Yoon

Photo by Tiffany Yoon

Interview: Kyp Malone

Topics: Man Chins, Pangaea Beer, Smokey and The Bandit, Shuttered Businesses, Haggling, Car Buying Tips, Scary Movie Trivia, Russ Gets Trapped in a Cave!

Playlist: The Lawrence Arms, The Swimmers, TV on the Radio, Rain Machine and Alkaline Trio.

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UsedWigs Radio Podcast 66: The Men’s Fall Fashion Spectacular!


Topics: Fall Fashion, Stupid J Crew Barn Jackets Revisited, Dungarees, Long Trail Beer, Overly-Coddled College Kids, Classic Childhood Meals, Beatles Reissues and Favorite TV Comedies of All Time!

Playlist: Mystery of Two, Blind Pilot, Anavan, Owen and The Traditionist.

Preview: “What color is your comforter?” and “Just make one new friend every day!!!”

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UsedWigs Live Recap


Photos: Lindsay McIntire

Team UsedWigs, Inc. pulled off our first “live” show this past Friday night and it was a ton o’ fun. Critics raved, “They sure drink a lot, especially in a coffee house.” and “The seats were very comfortable.”

Russ, Todd and I have been doing our podcast for over four years and thought it would be a grand idea to get the hell out of Russ’s home studio for once and enjoy some humanity, interactivity and the deafening thunder of applause and fanatical adulation (we got 2 out of 3, not bad).

We chose MilkBoy Coffee in Ardmore as the venue because Russ and Todd have performed there many times (think Cirque du Soleil on a larger scale) and the owners Jamie and Tommy are great guys who are always up for something different, like a live podcast.

We had a little over a month to organize the show, which was pretty tight considering all we wanted to do: live musical performance, comedian, special guest interview, live science demonstration and some multimedia presentations all jammed packed in a 2-hour show. We envisioned an old-school Mike Douglas Show vibe. After the 3 of us conferred at a kick0ff meeting (McMenamin’s Tavern), we decided we needed some serious help. So we brought in some pros… the After School Specialists.

We enlisted the human firecracker, Kenjamin Franklin Ryzner, to create and serve up the multimedia and Machiavellian martinet, Jandek Phil Charron, to direct the whole shebang (neither asked for money up front, just a piece of the international distribution rights of the DVD and the Spanish language version). Our lovely announcer Lisa signed on too (lucky for us, Lisa and Russ are married, so she could not fib and say she was busy).

That’s a pretty solid crew to stage a performance, but every good talk show needs a house band, so Russ got on the horn and “Rusty Static and The Wig Tones” were born. Part of putting a show together is getting your talented friends involved, and lucky for us, Russell Gellman and Brian Jacobs are two of best musicians and nicest guys around (and are usually up for partaking in our nonsense).

There were rumors  SM Shrake was going to be in town and join the show too… his legions of fans were lighting up the message boards and fan sites.

So we got the team together and then assembled a stellar line-up of super fun guests:

  • live music by Philadelphia’s Audible
  • literary musings by “Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook” bestselling author Josh Piven
  • knee-slapping humor from comedian Don Weir
  • thrilling science demonstration by PuttyWorld’s Crazy Aaron
  • Philly art give-away by Michele Melcher

Another excuse to drink planning meeting took place (Earth Bread + Brewer) and we nailed down each show segment to specific time and doled out the duties. Everything went along swimmingly until the day before the show when the schedule band Audible (new CD is outstanding!) had to pull out due to a medical emergency. Uh oh! We’re screwed. “Can anyone do magic tricks for 25 minutes?”

I mentioned earlier about getting friends to help out, yeah, well this is one of those times when you find out just what great friends you have. I’ve been a huge fan and friends with the Philly band The Grundles for many years, so I contacted Tom Jadico (bass and surfboard) about our dilemma and he quickly got on the Grundle Hotline. Less than two hours later, Grundles Ted, Andrew and Tommy agreed to play the show. How cool is that? Very very cool, indeed. Fonzie-freaking cool.

Andrew Dolan of The Grundles

It’s 7:00pm on June 12 and a growing crowd at Milkboy assembles while Kenjamin Franklin’s dynamic video presentation of magic, spandex and teen drinking explodes on screen. Everyone’s in a fine mood. Beers are cracked. Lattes are sipped. Cheeks are kissed. Then 8:15pm hits! Director Charron barks out orders, Ken fires up the video introduction, Lisa takes the stage for the announcing duties, The Wig Tones grab their instruments, and after 40 glasses of water (just a little dry mouth) me and the boys take the stage. Shenanigans, awkward pauses and paper shuffling ensue!

It went pretty darn well from then on. We popped some beers, chatted a bit, gave away a UsedWigs Live Swag Bag to a lucky audience member and then treated the crowd to a PowerPoint presentation on Facebook detailing “how old people (like us) have ruined it!”

At the beginning of this segment we were surprised by a cleverly-disguised SM Shrake playing maracas and wearing a creepy wig. Shrake, a Facebook etiquette expert, sat down and joined the lively discussion. Segment ended, a new one began.

Bestselling author Josh Piven then joined us on stage for an amusing chat about his “Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook” series and his upcoming book “This Green House” (September 2009). Josh was a funny guy and thankfully, tolerated his hosts who peppered him with barrage of hard-hitting questions. As Josh left the stage, Lisa presented him (and all our guests) with a UsedWigs Live “Home Version” game:

Next up, our pal Michele Melcher gave away one of her lovely illustrations to another lucky audience member while the band set up. The high-energy and charismatic Grundles rocked out as expected. They chatted with us for a bit before leaving to “wing on over to London and jam with the Stones!”

While the rocking may have ended, the rolling continued in fine fashion when comedian Don Weir made a triumphant return to his homeland from Brooklyn, NY. Don killed! 911 received numerous calls immediately after his set about severely strained laughing muscles.

Don Weir

Throughout the night Todd was busy drawing the guests on his trusty pad and displaying the art on a little easel for all to enjoy. The guest was then given his personalized piece of art to take home. Pretty sweet, huh? You would pay damn good money on the Wildwood boardwalk for that honor, but at UW Live… absolutely free! Rusty Static and The Wig Tones kept everything moving and grooving during the show too, creating a chill vibe to temper some of the between segment nuttiness.

UsedWigs Live inaugural show sadly had to end (a senior citizen puppet show was scheduled for 11:00pm sharp), but not before Crazy Aaron pounced on stage and administered some serious pickle electrocutions (not a euphemism) with some old-timey contraption, dazzling and endangering the excited audience who were clamoring for more pickled-fried goodness. It was a sizzling good ending to a fun-filled night.

Many thanks to the above-mentioned UsedWigs Team members; the wonderful guests; the awesome staff at Milkboy who were insanely accommodating; the many fine folks who helped us promote that crap out of the show (Chris and McG at, Eric at, Dave at and Jon Solomon of WPRB); photographer extraordinaire Lindsay McIntire, artist Bevan McShea; Aaron and Elizabeth at PuttyWorld; wives Heather and Kelly; and of course, all you good people who came out and showed us a lot of love. As Hammer would say, “Proper!”

Enjoy some More Photos!

hugs! Jeff

Oh, and many thanks to McCloskey’s Bar (next to Milkboy) for the after party! My booming hangover was well worth it.

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