Bad or Not Bad podcast gives a pass-fail grade to everything

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Sometimes the simplest concepts are the best -- and you don't get much simpler than the concept of the new podcast Bad or Not Bad. The name says it all, really -- things are discussed and a verdict rendered: bad, or not bad?

"That's the short version, and what I hope will bring people into the show," says BONB mastermind Erik Isaac. "Bad or Not Bad is really a comedy show at its core, [but] I didn't want it to just be straight comedy. I didn't want it to just be people sitting around, talking about the news, that kind of stuff. I wanted it to be more about the process of making decisions."

See also: - Kevin O'Brien on the These Things Matter podcast and Mile High Sci Fi - Chelsea Peretti on writing standup and talking to creepy podcast callers - RiffTrax's Kevin Murphy on Birdemic and Mystery Science Theater 3000's legacy

That process is driven by the show's trio of hosts: Isaac, Andrea Li and Josh Mattison. Together, the three hash over a wildly diverse range of topics, from high-brow intellectual ideas to low-brow pop culture. Last week's show, for instance, opened with a discussion of the philosophical concept of essentialism and worked its way through a spirited discussion of everything from your boss telling you to "play" to blood pudding.

"It's really the surprise of what a host will bring to the show. It's anything -- any person, place, thing or idea gets put to the test," Isaac says. "It can be something as specific as an individual person, or a concept; something new, or something that's been around for a while."

The three-host format and diverse personalities and backgrounds -- Isaac is a new media entrepreneur who used to design tabletop games, Li is a jewelry designer who also works in social media, and Mattison is a graphic designer who's also a new dad -- make for an unpredictable and lively format. Discussion tends to skew off on weird tangents, and it's not unusual for the hosts to talk themselves out of the position they initially held in the process of of hashing things out.

"It's sort of like an improvisational game, where we get a subject and we're in that limited capacity where we have to just give it that pass or fail grade," Isaac explains. "I really wanted to demonstrate [that] when you have smart and intelligent people together, how difficult it really is to sort of choose a pass fail on really anything under the sun."

The hour-long shows are recorded live and posted at the website each Wednesday morning. Currently, that's the only way to get the show, but Isaac says it should be available via iTunes and live streaming by the end of the month. There are also future plans to expand the show to multiple days a week and do the occasional live-show event in front of an audience, possibly in the MCA Denver cafe.

If you like Bad or Not Bad -- and in fact, it is not bad at all -- you can get more of Isaac via his original podcast venture, The Untitled Art Show, an interview-format show focused on the visual art world. His production company, Erik Isaac Media, is also working on several new shows, including an environmental show, a design-focused show and a show about high-end cars. It's an ambitious slate of programming, made possible by the flexibility of the still-growing popularity of the podcast format, according to Isaac.

"[Podcasting] is a great way to get your own stuff out there immediately," he says. "Having my [own] studio ... and then coming up with a idea and a concept and going to pilot, to see what works and what doesn't work, it's really a nice thing," he says. "It really allows for that creative energy, where we don't have to have all those meetings with the corporate types to see if we can even launch it."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.