A Brief History of Never Not Notes

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I apologize for this photograph.

There’s a lot of wonderful reminiscing going on over at the Facebook Never Never Funny group (not to be confused with the Never Not Funny fan page), and Eliot gave us a great write-up of his own history with Never Not Funny and Andrew Koenig. On top of that, the Earwolf connection has brought in a lot of new listeners. Plus, Matt “The Honcho” Belknap, on the most recent Never Not Funny (#1501 with Maria Bamford) viscously and callously (and accurately) accused me of coasting on Garon’s work since he has been taking in-studio show notes. He also gave me a nice shoutout for “getting back in the saddle” to do my old-school version of show notes for the re-release of episode 302 with Andrew Daly, so I won’t hold too much of a grudge. Also, I don’t think I ever told him that I wrote my show notes while riding a horse, so it’s a little creepy that he knows this. Maybe because I live in Montana he assumed it was a safe bet.

All that to say, it’s been a long time since I wrote a “note from Darryl” here, so I think this is a good time to fill everyone in on my involvement with Never Not Funny and Never Not Notes.

I started listening to Never Not Funny in Season 2 and it immediately became my favorite podcast. Frankly, it was my only podcast, but even after listening to many others, it has remained my favorite. There was something about the quick wit, and anything-goes style that resonated with me and helped my during a very stressful time in my life. There are few shows of any kind make me laugh until I have I tears, and Never Not Funny is the only one that does that on a regular basis.

In Season 2 or 3, Jimmy would regularly rant about people who try to tell you some juicy trivia, usually about show business, that is actually something everyone already knows. This most often came up when his lovely bride Danielle Koenig was on the show, and they would joke about compiling all these things into a book called “Yes, I Know!” I started keeping track of them, and asked Matt if it would be alright to make a website to document them, thus Obvious Trivia was born. I don’t remember if that was a name that came up on the show, or if I just named the website that, but in any case, I registered ObviousTrivia.com and began curating the obvious trivia in the form of polls. Although someone sniped the ObviousTrivia.com domain out from under be during its dormancy, you can always get there at ObviousTrivia.com. Take some time to browse and even participate in the polls if you want. It’s fun! (“Fun” is a strong word, as Jimmy would say.)

singalongSome time in Season 6 it became common for the fans and performers alike to want to find some piece of past Never Not Funny gold, but there was no way to do this aside from collective memory or scouring the archives. I also happened to be embarking on assignment for work that would entail many hours of idle time. (Sounds weird to get paid for idle time, I know, but I had to be on duty in a remote location with no internet or phone access, just in case of an emergency. The details, like the assignment, are boring.) I proposed to Matt that I could use some of this time to make official show notes. So, I started re-listening to Season 6 episodes up to that point and making my notes.

mfchealth1If you look at my old notes (and the recent entry for #302) you’ll see I used them to poke a little fun at our heroes, add a few snarky comments and inside jokes of my own, and try to flag running jokes with special icons. (Thus Matt’s comment in episode 1501 that might already be working on a “Cooz in the Carpool Lane” graphic. I am.) I also made some cryptic jokes that can only be understood if you happen to be reading the notes while listening to the episode. That was probably a mistake, but some people found it funny. Mostly me.

It was also common at the time for Jimmy to start the show with a little info about the weather, and how he was feeling. Since he used to be a way worse hypochondriac than he is now, that allowed me plenty of use of my Health Update icon. (For your convenience, I have put all of the Health Update icons I created in its own post here, and all the weather icons here.)

I had a blast doing the show notes, but once the “idle time” assignment ended, it became more difficult to do them. Like most of you, I listened to Never Not Funny while doing other things. Doing the notes required listening whiledarrylshoutout just taking notes. I did quite a few notes while triple-tasking, but it was not a sustainable solution, so I had to find time each week to set aside just to do the notes. This usually took about 4 hours total between pausing the episode to write, making icons, finding images, creating links, etc. It was great fun, but I also would listen to the episode again once I was done with the notes just so I could enjoy it on its own.

Dan Katz

Dan Katz

Once Jimmy saw the value of the notes (and gave me plenty of Never Not Funny shout-outs, to the point I created a “Darryl Shoutout” icon and tried to pretend the show was actually all about me) he brought an intern in-studio to take notes. This was the wonderful Dan Katz. Dan, like anyone else in a room with Jimmy, became a great target of his hilarious faux rage. Dan was and is such a sweet, soft-spoken, and kind man, but his penchant for wearing ironic hipsterish clothing, fake glasses, and skateboarding was too perfect a target for Jimmy to resist. Dan took notes in-studio, and I added them to my (more detailed) notes.

If you look for the “Notes from Darryl” category in this blog, you’ll see numerous times where I had to apologize for not keeping up with the notes, even though my love for the show has never waned, and, in fact I travelled to L.A. several times for MaxFunCon, Pardcastathon, and other Never Not Funny-related things. It was good to meet Jimmy, Matt, Pat Francis, Andrew Koenig, Dan, Eliot, and several of the guests. (Garon vanished from the last Pardcastathon I attended before I could meet him. Head in the game, Cockrell!) I was even thrilled to be in-studio with my lovely bride Jenn for episode #823 with Joe Lo Truglio. Note that we did this on our honeymoon! And she stayed married to me!

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The lovely Jenn.

As we all know, life happens, and although I have never missed a week of Never Not Funny, and never lost my love for the show, seasons change. One big change was, of course, meeting my beautiful bride in November of 2010. After what can only be described by the cliche “whirlwind courtship,” we got married on St. Patrick’s Day, 2011. During our courtship, I was too busy, um, courting to keep up with the notes. My lovely bride is not demanding or selfish, and never prevented my from doing anything I enjoy. In fact, during our dating she would often remind me to do the show notes, saying “I don’t want to be the Yoko Ono of Never Not Notes!” (Google it, young people.) But in any case, I was busy! I have also been putting more time into my photography, which leaves little time for other creative pursuits.

garon-iconThis also happened to be around the time that Dan Katz moved on, taking a job in elementary education. Jimmy brought Garon on board, and Garon is such a prolific and detailed note-taker, that I felt any contribution I would add to the notes would just be too much. Although I occasionally throw in a “Darryl Shout-out” icon or some smartass comment or graphic, Garon is so thorough that I can, as Matt said, coast on Garon’s work. Thanks for doing such a good job Garon! At this point, I run the Never Not Notes website, and Garon emails me his show notes for editing and uploading. Besides the aforementioned additions, I post them pretty much as he sends them.

There is still a great back-catalog of shows that have no notes. I wrote notes for some of the pre-Season 6 episodes, especially ones that are considered classics, but there are plenty more to go! This is something I have not totally ruled out taking on, and if any of you fans want to pitch in and do an episode here or there, just let me know. Your payment will be getting your name on this blog in your notes. Hard to resist an offer like that, isn’t it?

In the meantime, the world should know that I am still a Never Not Funny superfan, and I look forward to each new episode more than any other show of any kind (except maybe when Breaking Bad was airing). But for now, my contribution to the Never Not Funny universe (aside from some behind-the-scenes stuff) will be running this site, adding a few notes or graphics as I can, and beating Jimmy at Words with Friends as often as possible.

And if you don’t do so already, friend me on Facebook, and you’ll see my update any time new show notes are up. You will also see occasional pictures of kitty cats.