Comedy

Podcast Profiles: Haley Driscoll and Christie Buchele Get Personal on Empty Girlfriend

Podcasts are in tune with the democratized spirit of Internet media; anyone with a microphone and a computer can offer their listeners unlimited hours of recordings, usually for free. Limited only by their imaginations, podcasters have a freedom of expression unrestricted by commerce, censorship or geography. Several great podcasts have blossomed in Denver's flourishing arts community; here to celebrate them is Podcast Profiles, a new series documenting the efforts of local podcasters and spotlighting the peculiar personalities behind them.

Releasing weekly episodes since August, Empty Girlfriend came out of the gate fully formed. The brainchild of local comics Christie Buchele and Haley Driscoll, the podcast interviews local comedians, musicians and veterinarians about their relationship histories, offering "love tips and love quips from unqualified professionals." Buchele and Driscoll are charming and disarming co-hosts who put their guests at ease for surprisingly revealing interviews. Though unafraid to delve into more somber topics like heartbreak, disease and personal struggle, the podcast is always leavened by their quick wit and sentence-finishing chemistry. Westword caught up with the Empty Girlfriends to discuss rising from the ashes of an attempted sketch show, asking personal questions and doo-doo pussy.

See also: Podcast Profiles: Adam Cayton-Holland and My Dining Room Table

Westword: I haven't transcribed a dual interview before, this should be interesting. You guys have pretty distinct voices though, so it should be fine.

Haley Driscoll: Yeah, Christie sounds like a man.

So, did you guys come up with the idea for the podcast together?

Driscoll: We originally tried to start a sketch group called "Fourth Beer." And what we wanted to do was have a monthly sketch show with comedy videos.

Christie Buchele: Sort of like the Grawlix, but with less emphasis on standup. We'd have more live sketch and then a video so we'd have to practice writing scripts and developing that stuff.

Driscoll: And like interaction games with the audience.

But then you decided, "Fuck it, podcasts are easier?"

Driscoll: Kind of.

Buchele: It definitely was. We did write a sketch, and then we filmed it. We put it out a couple weeks ago, but we didn't really love the editing.

Driscoll: It was kind of hard to work with the dude.

Buchele: We found him on Craigslist. He was looking for people. He was really good at first, I think he just over-promised time-wise and then under-delivered. He still did good work, but when it came to the final edits he sort of missed the mark as far as our vision. It came out a little creepier than we intended.

Tight editing is pretty crucial for comic timing.

Driscoll: Yeah, it got really frustrating.

Buchele: A lot of it was still funny to me, but we just needed to change the music and the timing. But he was just done. He thought we were too demanding of his time, even though it had been like four months since we shot it. I don't know if the Nix Brothers have just spoiled everybody. They're just super-efficient, so maybe that's how we think these things should work.

Driscoll: It took like half a year though to make a five-minute short! I ripped him like five new assholes.

Buchele: Yeah, Haley got really mad. It was a good first experience for us writing and working together. And then the live show never really got off the ground. Haley's main objective was to do more live sketch and my main objective was to do more video stuff, but if we couldn't find somebody to really work with then that wasn't going to be able to come together.

That's when the podcast idea comes up?

Buchele: Well, I'm a huge podcast fan. "Empty Girlfriend" was a name that we had...

Driscoll: ...for the sketch show. It was one of the ideas.

Buchele: Yeah, before we came up with "Fourth Beer" it was one of the titles that we had thrown around a little bit. Then we realized that we're just talking about relationships and all this stuff together all the time, anyway. We're also both pretty unabashed when it comes to discussing ourselves, so we thought "we should just be talking about this."

It's a really personal subject to ask people about. For example, I don't know how well you guys know Dr. Kev, but I imagine it'd be a little weird to ask him about his sex life. You're transgressing a boundary for sure.

Driscoll: He was so open!

Buchele: He actually approached us to do the podcast. That makes it easier. Other people that we've had on are pretty close, though, and that is actually just as interesting because you see what they're really open to talking about.

Driscoll: Some people are way more open than thought they would be.

Who surprised you with their openness?

Buchele: Just the people that we really didn't know that well who still did pretty good. Mike Marchant did really good, he talked about his cancer. Haley had just met him the day he walked into the apartment. I also had a high school friend who was in the Epilogues, Jason Hoke, who was really open.

Driscoll: Justine Marino. You didn't really know her.

Buchele: Yeah. So there's a lot of instances where one of us doesn't know the guest at all, so we've been really happy about how much they share.

Was anybody more reticent than you expected?

Buchele: I thought Greg Baumhauer would be a little bit more open, just because of the myth and legend of Greg...

Driscoll: ...or at least kind of nastier about sexual stuff.

Buchele: And he really wasn't. He wasn't into divulging his discretions.

Well, this is a new and improved Baumhauer.

Buchele: That's absolutely true. That's the interesting part of that dynamic with people. Then there's other people who'll talk, and it'll be a really good conversation, but then we'll walk away and realize "wait, they didn't mention their current girlfriend even one time."

Driscoll: Stephen Aygei didn't really...

Buchele: He had a hard time. It was funny.

Driscoll: It was hilarious. All he talked about was doo-doo pussy. And nothing else.

Keep reading for more on Empty Girlfriend.

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Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham

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