Speaker phone interviews, even in 2017, can be fraught with possible distractions or malfunctions.
During a recent talk with Blaire Postman and Gary Haymes, my laughter was so loud it caused occasional 5-to-10 second lapses in the recorded interview. Sometimes when either Postman, Haymes or both said something into Postman’s phone that made me laugh, which happened often, the recording would go silent and I would freak out. These freakouts were marked by me freezing for a second, then doing the universal “look at your phone to see if it dropped the call” move and finally breathing a sigh of relief when I could hear Postman and Haymes again.
Despite those temporary setbacks, Postman and Haymes were fantastic during our discussion of the “My Fantasy Wife” podcast, which will be taped live on Sunday at the DSI Comedy Theater in Chapel Hill as part of the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival. Postman, a longtime improv performer who booked comedy festivals and shows before starting stand-up comedy almost four years ago, lives in Wilmington with Haymes, her statistics obsessed husband who is self-employed and was once one of the world’s leading purveyors of cookie jars.1
Haymes is also very active in the fantasy sports world, although Postman and Haymes brought up a “Game of Thrones” league they were in, and while I want to mock that, I was the commissioner of a league based on MTV’s “The Challenge,” which means I should never make fun of anyone for their TV or fantasy league choices.
Postman and Haymes created a lot of funny in our Friday afternoon chat as they broke down how another Wilmington comic steered the podcast in its proper direction, how they get guests, Haymes’ unwavering dedication to fantasy league drafts and much more.
Enjoy the interview, follow Postman (@bpostmancomedy) and My Fantasy Wife (@MyFantWife) on Twitter and don’t forget The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes at the end.
Tony Castleberry: Who came up with the idea for the podcast?
Blaire Postman: It was a group effort, but I decided a little over two years ago that I wanted to do a podcast. I had an idea, which in retrospect seems really weird, that I was gonna interview people with normal day jobs, but with interesting hobbies. Maybe because I considered myself one of those interesting people. I had a normal day job, but I had this other life.
I was taping two episodes my first day and (Wilmington comedian) Louis Bishop used to be in radio. He’s got a whole home studio. He used to do other podcasts. I went to him and said, “Hey, I’d like to do this” and my second guest, because all those years of talent booking really paid off, was my husband. That was in part because he has his day job/career, but he used to be one of the largest dealers of cookie jars.
(The discussion) got to sports and he’s a sports stat expert. He was the kid who knew every stat on the back every baseball card and that kind of thing and we started bickering in this way of, what if he’d spent all the energy he spent on fantasy leagues over the years on, oh, I don’t know, picking stocks. Louis Bishop said, “That’s the podcast.” … Louis Bishop was the one who brought it together.
TC: Gary, I’m guessing you are a fan of comedy. Are you a fan of Blaire’s comedy?
Gary Haymes: I’m gonna answer this one, honey. Is that OK?
BP: Yes, by all means. [interviewer laughs]
GH: She’s been doing improv for a long time and I’ve been to every bad improv show with like three people in the audience. I’ve hired fellow improv people to work in my store. I’ve done taxes for people who it turns out now can afford their own taxes so I’ve been in it for a long time. I think she’s really funny. I went and saw her the first couple of months and I see her now and it’s light years ahead of where it was.
TC: You did the 100th episode recently. When you started, did you think you’d reach No. 100 and do it pretty quickly?
GH: I was there to do one. [interviewer, Postman laugh]
BP: My past life as a booking agent/manager/producer/whatever and seeing comedians come through, I always believe it takes a while to implement it in your life. It became very clear to me that if you just keep doing something, you’re gonna get better at it and it’s gonna evolve. If you’re gonna quit after five or 10, don’t even bother. I committed to doing a minimum per year, basically weekly episodes. If Christmas falls on a Sunday, we take that off. The Fourth of July. But I committed, mentally, to myself, that we’re gonna do a year and then we’re gonna see what happens and at the end of that year there was no way we were gonna stop.
TC: The guest list has been top notch with Aparna Nancherla, Rory Scovel, Michelle Biloon, Nick Vatterott, etc. Blaire, with your booking background maybe it’s not too difficult, but has it been pretty easy to get guests to join you guys?
GH: You’re right partially. She does book some guests, but most of the bigger guests, including the ones you just named, came on because they’re physically attracted to me. [interviewer laughs]
BP: (to Haymes) Visual gags don’t work.
GH: All right.
BP: There’s a few people who I knew kind of personally. Not that we’re friends or have been texting each other for the last 10 years, but they kind of at least recognized my name. Maybe I had them in a festival or something else. A few people I knew from being in the D.C. scene and other people maybe I’ve met really recently or I’ve opened for them, like Erin Foley, or I met them at a comedy festival, like Michelle Biloon. There are a lot of people I’ve asked who are not on that list because they’re busy or they don’t care. It’s not worrying too much about any one person saying yes or no, but it’s not a rejection (if they can’t be guests). It’s not like we’re paying them. We’re not “The Tonight Show” and you’ll hear…there’s a couple of episodes where somebody forgot, and we’ll just keep doing the episode.
TC: Are you excited about doing a live taping?
BP: We are excited. We did a couple of live episodes at Dead Crow (Comedy Room in Wilmington) last year and they’re pretty full up with shows so we’re doing like 10 o’clock on a Tuesday. There are a lot of technical logistics to make sure it’s a good podcast for the listeners, and it was just a little too much to do all the time and it’s kind of late, but it’s so much fun. We play these interactive games with the guests that we make up and we’ve done that with audiences, like, best sports movies since 1967. The audience is the judge. Most of the time on podcasts, the comedian is the judge. … That’s so much fun, the live interaction with the audience so yes, we’re very much looking forward to doing it (at DSI).
TC: Gary, how many teams do you think you’ve fielded in fantasy sports, if you could put a number on it?
GH: I used to play Strat-O-Matic baseball in the 70s, long before the internet. Thousands? I don’t know.
BP: To put it in perspective, tell him about the last two years, what you’ve done for the podcast.
GH: I mean, we play fantasy “Game of Thrones.”
GH: I used to have a fantasy athletic crime league where you got points depending on which players were committing crimes. [interviewer laughs] I had 35 fantasy football teams for the podcast this year.
TC: That seems like a lot. Blaire, do you ever tell him to decrease that number or are you like, “It keeps him happy. Let him do it.”
BP: Well, Gary claims it’s for the good of the podcast, which is very convenient. It’s relatively inexpensive. These aren’t really money leagues, but if you’re asking if it ever gets to be a bit much, yeah.
GH: We’ve had a lot of Sundays at 12:30 where Blaire’s sitting in her sweaty yoga pants while I pull over the car to make a last-minute change to 35 lineups.
BP: That’s a hundred percent true. He was doing this before we ever had any inkling of doing anything like this. When we first met going on 14 years ago, he was deep in (fantasy culture). Very deep.
GH: I sat in the hotel lobby in Hawaii on our honeymoon and drafted my fantasy team while Blaire went horseback riding by herself.
(Postman points out a highlights page on the My Fantasy Wife website. One of the entries is from an episode, taped on their wedding anniversary, discussing this honeymoon.)
BP: I’m describing Gary’s most romantic day ever and it’s during our honeymoon in Hawaii eating coconut shrimp and doing a fantasy draft.
TC: If you’re gonna be dedicated to something, damn it, you stay dedicated to it.
BP: You might not be good at it or whatever.
GH: The best thing about that was, every five minutes or so, some other husband in this hotel on his honeymoon would walk by and see what I was doing. I’m sitting there with my umbrella drink and a big platter and I’m a hundred feet above the Pacific and I’m doing a fantasy league draft. They’re like, “How did you get your wife to let you do that on your honeymoon?” over and over again.
BP: It’s because you married the greatest woman of all time. That’s why, but in fairness, I have made Gary go to a lot of improv and comedy shows over the years. There’s some kind of moral equivalency there, probably.
Here it is, The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes:
Women, remember to respect men. They are someone's brother. Someone's son. Walk with them at night to keep them safe. Explain stuff to them.
— your daddy (@Kappa_Kappa) October 4, 2015
- If anybody you talk to this week has a more fun fact that this one, please record them with audio and/or video and send me a link. ↩