|Photo Credit||The Hip Photo|
There are those walking among us that don’t believe in serendipity. As it turns out, one day I was sitting, staring at two loads of unwashed clothes needing attention, thinking “why isn’t there content that is specific to this activity, even capable of providing me enjoyment whilst doing it?”. At that very moment (roughly, but for the purposes of this story, it was instantaneous) Valerie Lopez reached out to let me know we’d be interviewing Brett Davis. Davis, as many of our listeners probably know, has a podcast called The Podcast for Laundry. If that isn’t a serendipitous, bordering on miraculous, nudged right up against ridiculous, story, then I don’t know what is. But I digress.
New Jersey native Davis is one of a very short list of Andy Kaufman award winners, alongside everyday comedy names like Kristen Schaal, Reggie Watts, and Nick Vatterott. Beyond what some would call the preeminent podcast about cleaning your attire, he also runs many comedy shows and specials, including The Special Without Brett Davis , which airs weekly as a public access show.
We hear a healthy variety of backstories in the performers we speak to, but Davis easily takes the award for “earliest career epiphany” with a memory of a preschool admission of movie star aspirations. So at a young age, he began the baby steps (sorry) of working towards the stage, tweaking characters, like his middle school play rendition of the Tin Man, into ever comedic versions of themselves. A bit of a self-admitted loner during school, he turned to dialing into the well known radio show The Best Show with Tom Scharpling, debuting a character of his own: MC Steinberg. As fate would have it, Tom Scharpling later ended up being the first guest on The Podcast for Laundry.
Steinberg was a vehicle for Davis to test the boundaries of his skills and comfort, and led to calls into the Jake Fogelnest show as well, before being retired in favor of the next persona: a perennially optimistic wrestler, Bobby Blaze. Pivots like these are commonplace in Davis’ life. “I’m a bit of a workaholic…as far as performing and writing goes…I’m like, I have to create something new now!”, he tells Valerie.
In the arts, this form of content-driven obsession is a boon, and one that has served Davis well. Whether it’s finding ever more inventive ways to build a relationship with a bottle of Tide (listen to the Laundry podcast, you’ll get it), or creating an eponymous special about a somewhat historically accurate–but fictional–version of himself, he’s willing and ready to try anything. On becoming more familiar with the deeper story of Andy Kaufman, Davis devoured everything he could on the legend’s craft and continues to take inspiration from the liberties and risks that made Kaufman’s career. “I’ll say ‘yes’ to any show out there,” Davis quips, a perfectly succinct way of describing his openness to new opportunities and challenges. (Sometimes for growth, sometimes to put Tide on the table.) He shares with Valerie how this attitude has led to some of the best shows he’s had, in the most unexpected of places.
At this point, it should come as no surprise that Davis has even more in the works, and he gives Valerie a glimpse into some of the shows and characters he’s next bringing to life. There’s plenty more to come from him, along with a truly unique and diverse back catalog. Make time in your life, and your basket, to listen to The Podcast for Laundry, and keep an eye out for an opportunity to catch The Special without Brett Davis live, in-person or online. Find even more videos, projects, and general creative diversity, at BrettDavis.rip.