How Does ‘How Did This Get Made?’ Make a Live Show?

Fans of “How Did This Get Made,” the podcast series where Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, Jason Mantzoukas, and friends joyfully dissect “bad movies” of all shapes and sizes, don’t have to find themselves in a Jacob’s-Ladder-type situation in order to see live tapings of the show. The podcast has toured all over the United States and internationally for a decade and more.

But at the Nantucket Film Festival, the team opened up “HDTGM” to a more general audience — albeit one full of cinephiles who had thoughts about how taking a more “Paul Schrader” approach could have2012’s “Bait,” the live show’s hapless subject.

More from IndieWire

That could create a watered-down or tonally different episode of the series, but the “How Did This Get Made” team found subtle, creative ways to open up their tent wide enough that anyone wandering into the ‘Sconset Casino (it is not a casino) on Nantucket would still be hit with the comedy force of a tsunami stranding multiple sharks inside of a supermarket — which is, of course, the plot of the movie “Bait.”

The film was chosen specifically because the situation is pretty easy to grasp and doesn’t have too many nuances. But host Paul Scheer told IndieWire that, even so, “How Did This Get Made” leaned on clips and an explanatory structure they don’t normally utilize. “A lot of the time, the clips are a special sauce of the actual podcast; it’s like a shared remembrance of this thing,” Scheer said. But for “Bait,” Scheer and the team wanted clips to be more explanatory, guiding the audience from one ridiculous dramatic choice to the next group of characters we actively root for to get eaten.

“Normally at a comedy festival, people know us, they’re ready to see us, they’re excited that we’re a part of the lineup,” Scheer said. “With Nantucket, you know, it’s decidedly not that. We were prepared [for] 30 percent of the audience to be fans, and the other people will come because they’re curious. Some may come under a false notion that it’s a comedy show or it’s gonna be like ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000.’ So what I really tried to do this week was figure out, ‘How can I introduce what this show is going to be? How can we get the flavor of this show?’”

The solution was an eight-minute sizzle reel played before the show that eased the audience into some of the core back-and-forths between Scheer, Raphael, and Mantzoukas across the run of “How Did This Get Made?” — including a montage of characters from the movie “Old” introducing themselves and immediately saying what their profession is. For fans, the introductory clip show is a telling summation of the moments “How Did This Get Made?” itself thinks are core to the podcast. But for newcomers, “it highlights a bunch of funny moments from the show just to get people used to our voices and what we do and how we dissect things.”

Paul Scheer attends the Live Podcast Taping of ‘How Did This Get Made?’ at the ‘Sconset Casino
Paul Scheer during ‘How Did This Get Made?’Stephen Lovekin

That sizzle is the only new addition, but Scheer and the show’s movie-picking producer, Avaryl Halley, always choose the live show movies to subtly support good vibes in a particular live show location. “When we were in Ireland, you know, we did movies that felt like they were more specific to those places. We did a Gerard Butler movie in Scotland… so we try to we try to lean into certain [locations] as well,” Scheer said.

They picked “Bait” for the Nantucket Film Festival in part because it’s good for an island off the Atlantic and in part because it would equally settle an audience into the podcast’s overall premise. Then they tore into the shark attack movie in order to find the structural moments that would help explicate the film as the hosts riffed on it. “Avaryl will pull the clips that are funny. She makes mashups; she does a bunch of different things. She’s pretty much isolated the things that I think are worth talking about [and then] when I see what she’s picked, if there’s something that we’re missing, I’ll say, ‘Hey, maybe add that,’ but that very rarely happens,” Scheer said. “The conversation is incredibly organic.”

The rapport amongst the three hosts is organic, too, as it should be given their pedigree as accomplished comedy performers. Scheer likens the more generalized approach to involve the audience and keep some of the humor local to the way that he approached jokes on USO comedy tours overseas.

“We really try to make it interactive, different, and alive,” Scheer said. “We’re opening up our group and the thing that I love about Jason, June, and I is that we are all live performers. So we understand that we have an obligation as live performers to create something that is unique to that moment.”

“How Did This Get Made?” is available on all podcast platforms. 

Best of IndieWire

Sign up for Indiewire's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.