YouTube Brings Gem from Ireland

By Richard Menta 11/1/06

As I got off the plane from Dublin, Ireland I couldn't wait to get home and logon to YouTube. While overseas I was introduced to a relatively new program on the island and I just had to somehow figure out a way to view more than the two episodes I caught on RTE Television. Naturally, YouTube was my first stop and it paid off.

The program is called The Podge and Rodge Show, a hilarious talk show staring not some minor celebrity, but two vulgar and funny puppets. Think South Park meets the Muppets and then replace Megan Mullaly or Tony Danza on their shows with these two creations. The results are great. You know they are doing something right when a show interviews celebrities no one in the States have ever heard of and yet it still works for an American who gets culture shock in Pennsylvania.

Podge and Rodge

A couple of weeks ago I gave my two cents on the value of YouTube in a mostly non-commercial sense. I wrote that article from a US perspective, but as I ran through dozens of Podge and Rodge interviews upon my return I realized YouTube is doing more than I thought. It allows the exploration of programming that we in the US are otherwise completely shut out of. Thanks to my subconcious jingoist TV tendencies I incorrectly treated YouTube as a one way track. One where the rest of the world was gets all the good Yank television programs without giving much back. Podge and Rodge, a show just starting its second season, proves there is good English language programming beyond the US and England.

Podge and Rodge should be on Comedy Central where I have no doubt it would succeed. It is the second most watched program in the Republic of Ireland despite its 11:00 PM broadcast time (It's not for the kiddies). Of course, it probably will never come overseas and that is why YouTube becomes important. Unfortunately, Google has already announced it will begin to remove copyrighted content from YouTube. Unless RTE gives open permissions for these clips to remain, they will probably disappear.

That would be a shame. If you need to be convinced, just check out The Podge and Rodge Show's three minute test on Irish slang or their seven minute interview with PJ Gallagher. Their interview with a barely intelligible comic named Johnny Vegas (who THEY seem to barely understand) illustrates Podge and Rodge's strong points. It took a minute to take off as the voices behind the characters try to figure out how to deal with a barely coherent Vegas rambling off the topic in a thick scouse accent. But once they choose to play off Johnny Vegas' chaotic rants the segment builds into a frantic riot. I laughed like hell.

So go to You Tube and enjoy these Podge and Rodge clips while you can. They will most likely be gone soon, an act that will demonstrate one of YouTube's lost promises. That promise is as a venue to launch otherwise obscure professional television content to American broadcast TV. In other words, bring commercial US viability to a foreign product by giving away older episodes for free to build demand.

Here's an idea. If after watching these episodes you also believe this show should be brought to the US, let Comedy Central know. The program would be a match for other cable outlets, but Comedy Central seems the most likely fit to focus on. I'm curious if YouTube can really create a grass roots campaign to bring strong overseas programming here.

If it can then there is another new business model for the folks at Google to develop.

The Podge and Rodge Show: Irish Slang with Podge and Rodge
The Podge & Rodge Show: PJ Gallagher
The Podge & Rodge Show: Johnny Vegas

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