Hello from the Magic Tavern

Max Temkin
Nov 9, 2015 · 4 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Arnie, Chunt, and Usidore sit down to record.

Hello from the Magic Tavern is a new podcast being recorded in Chicago, and it’s probably my favorite comedy thing happening right now. The show is completely improvised, but the world they’re building is remarkably cool, and also so funny that I’ve had to pull my car over to the side of the road because I was laughing too hard to drive.

Admittedly, the idea for the show is a little high-concept. When I first heard about it, I was pretty worried that it would never find an audience. But now it’s only 30 episodes in and blowing up — Magic Tavern was recently profiled on Buzzfeed, performed live at XOXO Fest, and named one of iTunes’ best podcasts of 2015.

In this blog post, I’ll tell you everything you need to start listening, walk you through a few of my favorite clips, and recommend some episodes to start with. Each episode of Magic Tavern is only about 20 minutes long, and it’s not difficult to power through the whole thing (which I highly recommend!) but this will at least give you a place to start.

The Premise

Arnie’s regular co-hosts on the podcast are Chunt, a talking badger played by Adal Rifai, and Usidore the Blue, an ancient (and occasionally bumbling) wizard played by Matt Young.

The secret of Magic Tavern is the special comedy relationship between Arnie, Adal, and Matt. These guys have improvised together for a long time. I used to sneak into their show Whirled News Tonight when I was in middle school (the Del Close theater at the old iO was easy to sneak in to if you were under 18) and watch them improvise off of newspaper clippings with the late, great Jason Chin. Needless to say, their instincts are incredible, and they have the kind of rapport that only comes from a decade of working together. These are comedy heroes of mine, and it’s a special pleasure for me to hear them play together and get to share it with you.

Getting started

Usidore: I am Usidore! Wizard of the 12th Realm of Ephysiyies, Master of Light and Shadow, Manipulator of Magical Delights, Devourer of Chaos, Champion of the Great Halls of Terr’akkas. The elves know me as Fi’ang Yalok. The dwarves know me as Zoenen Hoogstandjes. And I am also known in the Northeast as Gaismunēnas Meistar.

Chunt: …and I’m Chunt.

After this episode, the guys are generally joined by a different Chicago improviser each week playing a new character passing through the tavern. I’ve cut together a few short excerpts that will give you a taste of the podcast.

Episode 5: Foon’s Greatest Swordsman

This episode starts with a wonderful piece of improv between Arnie and Matt that I think shows off the brilliance of the podcast’s premise:

And then turns to an interview with Jak Vorpal, who discusses his last adventure:

Episode 6: The Vermilion Minotaur

Episode 7: Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth

Episode 13: Boys’ Night

Episode 16: Spintax the Green

Episode 30: The Midwife

Episode 32: Offices and Bosses

Magic Tavern illustration by Mackenzie Schubert. Audio clips used with permission. Learn more and subscribe to the podcast at HelloFromTheMagicTavern.com.

Maxistentialism Blog

Longish writing from Max Temkin, a designer in Chicago, Il.

Max Temkin

Written by

If there’s one thing that really honks me off, it’s the hopelessness and futility of the human condition.

Maxistentialism Blog

Longish writing from Max Temkin, a designer in Chicago, Il.

Max Temkin

Written by

If there’s one thing that really honks me off, it’s the hopelessness and futility of the human condition.

Maxistentialism Blog

Longish writing from Max Temkin, a designer in Chicago, Il.

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