Since the start of quarantine, I’ve spent a lot of time listening to podcasts. One of my favorites right now is StraightioLab, a relatively new show where co-hosts Sam Taggert and George Civeris, two gay Brooklyn-based comedians, consider heterosexual culture from a queer perspective. On each weekly episode, a guest is invited to discuss a topic they see as inextricably linked to straightness. Some of the featured topics, like “football” or “the Beatles”, are connected to heterosexuality in an obvious way. But for other topics, such as “lakes” and “bisexuality,” that link is less intuitive, prompting debate which quickly becomes hilarious.
The show is largely free-form conversation, but it does include a great recurring bit called “Straight Shooters.” The segment is similar to a rapid fire game of would-you-rather, supposedly meant to “‘gauge guests’ familiarity with the rich tapestry that is straight culture.” George and Sam go back and forth asking the guest to pick between two or more random options. Some notable examples include “Applebee’s or The Cheesecake Factory?,” “Joe Rogen, Seth Rogen, or Beethoven?,” and “a multinational corporation with terrible labor practices, or a millennial startup with a toxic workplace culture?”
If you’re a fan of Las Culturistas with Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang, there’s a good chance you’ll like Straightiolab. While the hosts of Las Culturistas tap into a dramatic, catty persona stereotypically associated with gay men and knowingly play it up for entertainment value, on StraightioLab, Sam and George embody that gay bitchiness in such an exaggerated, silly way that becomes an endearing spoof. (I can’t help but laugh when, in nearly every episode, Sam puts on a mock-exasperated voice and pretends to be upset at George.)
If you like Las Culturistas but find it a little alienating because you’re not always up to date on every bit of pop culture, then you’ll probably love StraightioLab, which is more relaxed and rarely touches on the latest media news. That’s not to say that you won’t find StraightioLab alienating. You will feel alienated, and that’s the point. Much of the podcast is spent discussing (ie. complaining about) the so-called “Brooklyn alt-comedy scene,” of which Sam and George are a part. It’s often unapologetically hyper-specific (and all the more funny for it). In one recent episode, the co-hosts comment on an anonymous iTunes review, complaining that the podcast “feels like an inside joke that I’m not privy to.”
“I’m sorry,” said George, “if you listen to our podcast and you’re not an alt comedian in New York, we do not want your business.”
Straightiolab has been releasing weekly since March. Find all 27 episodes on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. There isn’t a single dull episode, but “Whiteness” with Ayo Edibiri is an especially funny one to start with.