Podcast of the Week: STREET FIGHT RADIO
The self-proclaimed “number one anarcho-comedy radio show across this flat earth” might at first sound like a podcast for an extremely specific audience. We’re living in an age of over-saturation when it comes to left-leaning political podcasts, and for the most part, if you’re into that kind of thing, you really don’t need someone like me to tell you which podcasts to indulge in: chances are you’ve already found them. STREET FIGHT is a different kind of leftist podcast, though, and it’s one that I find people who generally don’t tune into political content can still immediately latch on to.
You see, Brett Pain and Brian Quinby may hate everything to do with cops, bosses, and politicians, but they’re also incredibly relatable and friendly human beings. So often when you have people wanting to discuss radical political ideas, they tend to be framed from an academic standpoint, or at least couched in terms requiring a hefty familiarity with the writings of European men from the 19th century. Brett and Brian are entirely uninterested in talking to people in these terms; they approach their discussions from as simple and honest a perspective as possible. Both guys are in their 30s, and they’ve both worked a wide array of god-awful minimum wage jobs, which makes them uniquely adept at talking to people about their working lives. These are not men who’ve never had to work who are talking about the working class as an abstract idea, they’re guys who have been screwed over by one too many shitty managers and are now doing their part to strike back.
Brett and Brian don’t just talk politics; episodes can vary wildly from discussions of pro wrestling, to weed, to music, and eventually come back around to politics. On Sunday nights, the guys take calls for three hours and they run with whatever their guests want to talk about. These shows are the heart and soul of STREET FIGHT, as the guys give thoughtful advice and listen to people share terrible work stories and their attempts to unionize their workplaces. The show can be edgy and funny at times, but mostly it just feels like a space for people to share their frustrations at all the things in the world that simply don’t seem to be working the way they could. They’ve had excellent interviews with Juggalos, they’ve talked to people who got fired for trying to unionize their fast food jobs, and they’ve convinced me that nu metal isn’t as lame as I thought it was.
Due to the frequency of the shows (they release three shows a week if you’re a Patreon subscriber), STREET FIGHT can feel like an antidote for the shittier comedy talk shows like OPIE AND ANTHONY or HOWARD STERN. The format may be similar, but the hosts’ attitudes couldn’t be more different. If anything, STREET FIGHT is a testament to how much a person’s outlook can change over time: Bryan at one point was a Rush Limbaugh fan who had “a libertarian phase,” and now he seems to be a man firmly committed to building a more equal world without hierarchies. Brett and Bryan are both inspirations for the podcasting world: they weren’t famous comedians before their podcast became successful, they don’t have a marketing team backing them, they’re just two guys who worked incredibly hard to build up a podcast from nothing and share it with whoever wants to take part. If you’re like me and work a terrible office job you hate, there’s really no better way to grind through your week than to listen to these loveable anarchists mouth off against the whole dang system.