Hey readers! Just a little content warning to let you know that there could potentially be some swearing in the interview you’re about to read. Probably not, but it’s totally possible. Put the kids to bed and keep reading!
I’m with Trevor Poelman and Dave Stoneburgh at Lazy Daisy’s Cafe. Let’s get into it!
Are you guys brothers?
Dave: In a way!
Trevor: From different mothers.
And you do a podcast together called The Books Are Boring Podcast. Tell me about it.
Trevor: I guess it started with us being like, “Hey, let’s start a podcast!” But we didn’t know what to talk about so we just tried talking for half an hour to see what happens. So, we talked about projects we were working on.
Dave: Yeah, it began as us talking about what we were doing—our videos, the play—
Right. Because you guys write together.
Dave: Yeah. But, over time it changed into something of an improvised—almost like a narrative.
Now you do a different bit for every episode.
Dave: Every time it’s a different bit or sometimes we won’t feel like doing bits and we’ll just talk. It’s a very loosely-structured comedy, improvised, storytelling, miscellaneous…
Trevor: I’ve heard it described as “a celebrity podcast by non-celebrities”. Like, no one would really want to listen to this unless they knew who these people were and nobody knows who we are, so…
Dave: It’s a long-winded way of saying the type of podcast no one would want to listen to [laughs]. Does that answer your question?
Well, I enjoy it! I’ve said before that it reminds me a little bit of Hollywood Handbook. Two funny guys with great chemistry and with a very loose plan for every episode.
Dave: It can come off as a little chaotic to some. If you don’t know what you’re in for.
Yeah, it’s one of those things where you have to listen to a few episodes to get the chemistry. And once you’re in on it, it’s great.
So, “Books are Boring”. Do you guys hate books?
Trevor: Nope. That was my company. I needed a production company name for something I made years ago. We were trying to think of names and everything was just really stupid. A friend of mine said, “Why don’t you just call it ‘Books are Boring’?” He said it as a way to make fun of us. But, I kept thinking about it and I realised it kind of works. It’s like saying, “Don’t bother reading or doing something that might improve your life—watch our stupid thing instead.”
Dave: I would go so far as to say that I like books!
Trevor: Yeah, Dave’s the one who can actually read. He can put letters together into sentences.
Dave: I know several words.
What was the last book you read?
Dave: I’m currently reading Stephen King’s The Stand.
Nice! Every white dude I know is reading Stephen King these days. It’s like you’re all in a book club.
Dave: Yeah, we meet up every second Saturday of the month.
Trevor, tell me something cool about Dave.
Trevor: Uh, he has two podcasts. He’s a very nice guy. He enjoys beer.
Dave: Wow, you let me down, man.
Trevor: [Laughs] I don’t know! He’s like, the funniest guy I know. Oh! I know this one. Something cool about Dave is that he has hermit crabs. And they’re named Crabitha, Crabriella, and… Steve?
Dave: Not Steve. Crabigail, Shellany, and Clawdrey. I have five. And they all have crab pun names. And I have a cat. And apparently that’s the coolest thing about me. That I bought small crustaceans from a store.
What’s your cat’s name?
Dave: Benny. Not a pun. I wanted to call him Egg, as in Eggs Benny. But my girlfriend didn’t go for it. I still call him Egg sometimes. Although, as a rule, I’m generally against puns and I don’t like them.
That doesn’t come across at all.
Trevor: I love puns. They’re like my favourite thing.
You heard it here first, folks! What a divide.
Dave, tell me something cool about Trevor.
Dave: Trevor is a really great, versatile writer. When I met him, he had already participated in writing a movie. He also wrote a play, transitioning formats. He wrote a very successful play for Toronto Fringe in 2014 called If It’s Not Too Much Trouble. Then he wrote another play. He’s put together all of these skits and videos and sketches. So, as a writer he’s able to do many different comedic things really well. Also, he has three feet.
Trevor: I feel bad about the crab thing now.
Dave: The best way to get Trevor is to compliment him genuinely.
You’re both very apologetic.
Trevor: Yes, we apologise every episode.
Dave: I would say that comes from a sense of social responsibility. Because we’re just two white dudes putting their opinions out in the world. It feels important for us to say sorry. I’m sorry I’ve got a skewed opinion. It’s important for people in places of privilege to acknowledge that fucking constantly. Can I swear?
Yeah. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to include a content warning.
What’s your favourite episode that you’ve done?
Trevor: Mine is The Boatcast. It’s the one that changed the format for us. After that one we started doing more narrative-based things. It was the first one where we were like, “Oh, we have a podcast!” It was kind of far into a podcast to figure out what we were doing. It was Episode 21.
Dave: Yeah, it changed from us having a couple of jokes and talking about nothing to us continuously referring back to our bit. It wasn’t planned. It just became funny. I just said halfheartedly that we were on the ocean. And that was it.
Trevor: It was also the first one where we started using sound effects more.
Dave: Also, I love every single one of our guest episodes. It’s leaps and bounds more fun to do the podcast when there’s a guest. And the conversation becomes less of Trevor and I cherry-picking our comedic styles and more of rolling someone into the fold for making jokes with us.
You don’t have guests very often.
Trevor: No, it’s kind of hard. It’s so easy for us two to get together and do it, but booking a guest is a big extra step when you have so much going on. Early on in the podcast we decided on a “no dudes” rule. Since there are already two of us, we decided if we bring on a guest it should not be another guy. But, then it’s also a little awkward to invite women into your bedroom to record a podcast.
Well, the lights don’t work in your bedroom.
Trevor: Yeah, exactly. And all the knives hanging on the wall. They’re decorative, but yeah.
Dave: Plus the spirits that roam that place.
Which podcasts do you guys like to listen to?
Trevor: The two that I listen to every week are both atheist podcasts. One’s Cognitive Dissonance and the other is Scathing Atheist.
Dave: And what happens on those? Do they just say God’s not real every week? Breaking News: God’s still not real!
Trevor: They talk about current events and how they relate to church and state separation and stuff like that.
You’re super into that! You have another podcast about religion.
Trevor: Yeah, Belief it or Not with Damien Doepping. Also, I listen to Hollywood Handbook, which I didn’t listen to before we started the podcast. I found them after we started. So we didn’t copy them!
Dave: I listen to a lot of Crooked Media’s podcasts. A lot about American politics. And then I also like the whole How Stuff Works panel of podcasts. Learning weird facts and anatomical stuff about animals. As far as comedy is concerned, I listen to a lot of Aunty Donna and that’s a big inspiration for how we do the podcast, too.
Tell me about your web series, Tonightman with Trevor Tonightman.
Trevor: It’s a talk show with a guy who wants to be a late night talk show host. He brings in guests because he thinks that’s what you need to do, but he doesn’t like guests. He’s not interested in them, but he brings them on. They’re more of an annoyance for him.
Why does he want to be a talk show host?
Trevor: He’s just always liked Letterman. He always thought Letterman was the funniest guy ever and he wants to be like him, but he’s not like him at all.
Dave: Yeah, the Trevor Tonightman character is trying to make money, succeed, get famous, be better than others in this very general way. But, he’s just irreverent and disrespectful to guests and just an idiot. And I play Jacob, his co-host.
Trevor: Jacob is… special. The one criticism we get is sometimes people think Dave is trying to play an autistic person. But, he’s not. It’s more that he’s trying to play somebody who was… raised by grasshoppers. Like, came out of the wilderness and figured out life on his own and has no context for anything.
Dave: Yeah, “raised by grasshoppers” is a good way to describe it. A complete lack of any grasp of social norms. So, I play that character and I exist in just outspoken outbursts, shock and surprise, interrupting, and things like that.
How did the show start?
Trevor: It basically came out of us trying to come up with a web series we could do in my apartment. That’s how the brainstorm started.
Dave: Is that how it started? I think it was a random drunken comment that you made.
Trevor: Well, that’s how it started in my mind. And then it was Halloween and I was very drunk and I pitched it to you while you were trying to just get me to lie down on the couch and drink some water.
Dave: Yeah, I was like “Trevor, you’re not lookin’ good, bud. You gotta lie down.” And Trevor was like, “No, no, picture this! It’s like a… It’s like a talk show, but he’s really stupid!”
Alright, well we’ve covered a lot! Let’s move on to some unrelated questions.
What was your last Halloween costume?
Trevor: Ron Burgundy.
Dave: Mine was… a toast phantom.
Dave: Okay, so there’s this dog toy that is a plush piece of toast that has a face. And the pupils in the eyes are looking off to the side, which gives this piece of toast a very shady, conspicuous look to it. So, I put that onto a plastic mask and gutted the foam out of it so I could wear that scary toast on my face. Then I put on a robe that was supposed to be a monk’s robe, culminating in the image of a very scary-looking toast phantom. Is that a good answer?
Trevor: Make sure you ask that after every answer.
Yup! What do you want to be when you grow up?
Dave: Failed podcaster.
Trevor: I want to keep being a server and keep failing at writing.
Dave: And I want to be Brendan Urie from Panic! at the Disco.
Trevor: The real answer is I would like to work on a TV show.
Dave: Yeah, and I would really like to work on a TV show with Trevor. Even early on in our friendship I remember thinking “I want to ride this guy’s coattails to success.”
Trevor: I’m okay with that. Kind of like a fish that attaches itself to a whale or a shark or something like that.
If you had an evil twin, how could I tell you apart?
Dave: I feel like I would be the evil twin of the two. You can’t twist Dave and get a darker version.
You think you are the worst possible version of yourself?
Dave: I think so, yeah. But, if I had a twin and you wanted to tell them apart from me, I would say the haircut.
Trevor: I was going to say the eyepatch.
If you could compete on a reality TV show, which—
Dave: The Bachelor! As one of the women. A man has never won The Bachelor. That’s all I’m saying.
Trevor: I wouldn’t want to be on one of those like Big Brother with all those cameras around.
You want to be on one of those TV shows with no cameras.
Trevor: Or at least minimal. Like that garage sale one. They go to these huge garage sales. You buy things at the garage sale and get them appraised and whoever gets the most value for their money wins.
Dave: You just want to go to garage sales. You don’t want to be on a TV show about them.
Trevor: I think I would win, though. As a kid we would go to garage sales every Saturday. And I am really good at bargaining.
You should do like a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives type of show where you just go around to different garage sales.
Dave: Taking your kids around. You give them ten cents each and say “Get what you can”.
”… or you’re not coming home.”
Dave: “You need to turn this ten cents into rent!”
If you could wade through a pool of something that is not water, what would you pick?
Trevor: Dave has always said entrails.
Dave: Yeah I’ll stick with entrails.
Trevor: Foam balls. Or what about beans?
Dave: What about water? That would be so relaxing. Warm water.
Trevor: With chlorine in it.
Dave: Yeah, to keep the bacteria from forming. Just a nice pool of warm water. Final answer.
Where do babies come from?
Trevor: We were just discussing that this morning.
Dave: We didn’t land on anything. Bear with us for a bit of a brainstorm.
Trevor: The orphanage?
Dave: No, because babies also go to the orphanage. It’s like a baby swap. It’s a baby flea market. That’s not where they come from. Uh, Colorado?
Dave: Some babies come from Colorado. I know that’s true. I don’t know if it’s all babies, but I know that’s partially correct. Final answer.
Okay! If you had one question for me, what would it be?
Dave: Why us?
Trevor: Yeah, good question.
Dave: What’s wrong with you?
You mean why did I pick you guys for an interview? It’s because I like your show!
Dave: Is this ironic? I don’t get the joke.
No [laughs]. The real answer is that I feel your sense of humour aligns with mine. It’s a difficult podcast to market but I think it’s funny. It resonates with me.
Trevor: That’s a good reason.
Let’s end it with apologies in the true Books are Boring tradition. Do you have anything to apologize for?
Trevor: Oh, yes. This interview. The entrails comment.
Dave: I didn’t listen to most of the rules so I said water for that one answer. I’m sorry for that.
Trevor: Oh, and the knife comment.
Dave: Yeah, the knives on the wall. Sorry for that, too.
Apologies accepted. That brings us to the end! Thanks a million to Trevor and Dave for sitting with me.
Check out all of Trevor and Dave’s work here: