There aren’t many situations where you’re simultaneously glad something’s not happening to you and yet you can’t look away. But The Phone Hacks podcast isn’t like most things. Nick Capper and Mike Goldstein’s show is undeniably brutal. It’s all about technology and the love of a good prank, where the results are some rough and raw practical jokes.
It’s hard to imagine how Capper and Goldstein can convince people to join their podcast. The guests are very good sports because they have to turn over their mobile phones for closer examination. The whole idea is not for the faint-hearted because the proceedings could go anywhere. At the live show, Capper’s mate Dave was recruited to send a message of support to Fraser Anning while Capper himself had to perform a rap in order to show support to pro-lifers. At least Capper receives as much shit as he gives.
The two guests at the Sydney live pod were Nina Oyama (“Utopia”) and Scottish stand-up, Gareth Waugh. Capper controls a digital chocolate wheel that determines whether it’s one’s Twitter drafts, camera roll or Facebook posts that are “hacked”. This yields some surprising results, like Oyama’s questioning whether the Big Bang theory is taught on the eponymous TV show. She also had the funny line: “Pad Thai ‘til I pad die.”
There are moments where bridges are burnt. It’s also the kind of thing not a million miles away from that Seinfeld episode when George tries to get himself fired from the Yankees. This show certainly appealed to comedy fans. There were pranks and anecdotes that involved Gatesy from Tripod, Dave Hughes and Daniel Sloss, to name a few. There aren’t too many situations where you can rick-roll so much talent in the one hit.
The Phone Hacks podcast feels a little similar in approach to commercial radio in that shenanigans ensue and the stakes can be high. The concept yields varying results that can be funny, tense, raw, and downright strange in equal measure. If you like things that are a little off-beat and you don’t mind witnessing the odd car crash, then this podcast is definitely one you should check out.
Natalie Salvo is a foodie and writer from Sydney. You can find her digging in vinyl crates at good record stores. http://nataliesalvo.wordpress.com
The Phone Hacks Live Podcast series played as part of The Sydney Comedy Festival, which concluded on 19 May.