The Hound Tall Discussion Series is a monthly comedy podcast hosted by comedian Moshe Kasher at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles.
Hound Tall, which is a spoonerism of “town hall” and a pun of “town hall meeting”, usually begins with Kasher introducing his panel. There are experts in the field of the chosen topic and two to four comedians. Reoccuring experts include astrophysicist Dr. Sean Carroll and animal brain expert Dr. Aaron Blaisdell. Reoccuring comedians include Reggie Watts and Jenny Slate.
For the next hour, Kasher and his panel delve into the topic of the discussion. These topics have been an eclectic mix ranging from homosexuality, history of hip hop, scientology, sex, and the occult. Kasher offers thought-provoking questions that engage the audience with the topic.
Though the discussions sometimes verge on sombre subjects, like the third episode on death, it doesn’t bore the listener. Kasher is deft in asking the expert, whether a professor from the University of California Los Angeles, or a mortician, a serious question about their field of expertise and getting his panel of fellow comics to make humour of the discussion.
This balance of education and comedy can be found in perfect form on episode 35, “Time Travel”. On the panel is UCLA philosophy professor Katie Elliott, who is joined on the stage by comics Kurt Braunohler and Nate Bargatze. Kasher doesn’t even finish introductions and all of them have already dived right in, talking about the tragic nature of romance in time traveling universes.
Professor Elliott, who specializes in time travel and metaphysics, excellently sets up the discussion by simply laying down the foundations of metaphysics, which gives both the comedian and audience members the background knowledge needed to follow the discussion w ith ease.
This is the key element to Hound Tall’s success. The experts’ knowledge make the esoteric topics seem understandable to the everyday listener; the comedians’ relentless jokes and absurd what-ifs posed to the expert make learning about these topics interesting and gut-wrenchingly funny. However, what pulls the show together from tangential rants and sometimes jargon-heavy explanations is Kasher and his skill in guiding the discussion. He provides insight that pulls from both the expert’s information and the comics’ punchlines in a droll and a pun.