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Jun 17, 2016

Radio sitcoms were read their last rites back in the 1950s when Jack Benny, Burns & Allen, Bob Hope and all the rest gave up the original broadcast medium for TV. And yet it seems like every modern comedian now has his or her own radio-like podcast where they typically talk to other comics about, uh, being standups.

ROB KUTNER podcast excerpt: "I think, in almost any case, you can say, 'Why NOT Weird Al?' I've been trying to work with him for quite a few years. I think his nerd credit -- he's into people and robot stuff. He has a fun, cartoonish style to himself so I thought he'd be a great candidate to ('Jeopardy' champion) Ken Jennings' straight-forward style."

Comedy writer Rob Kutner, for whom writing jokes for Conan O’Brien has never been enough to satisfy his fertile mind, must have received a different memo, however: he’s bringing sexy back to the radio sitcom.

“Runaway Brains,” a new original audio series now available on Howl.Fm, is essentially a buddy comedy that follows the misadventures of “Jeopardy” game show champion Ken Jennings – played by Ken Jennings – and his rival, IBM supercomputer Watson – played by Weird Al Yankovic.

JOSHUA MALINA podcast excerpt: "As I age, I'm constantly trying to counter it it with changes to my appearance. Between seasons, I'm always emailing ('Scandal' showrunner) Shonda Rhimes. Between seasons one and two, I send her pictures of me with glasses and said, 'C'mon, how about glasses?' Now, as I lose my hair, I want to push her toward shorter hair for my character. The less hair I have, the less obvious it will be that I'm losing my hair. There may be a logic flaw there. I think the short haircut works for the attorney general; but I might be out of a job."

While on the run, the pair encounters Freemasons, the International Gay Lizard Conspiracy, and visits Area 51 and a TED Talk. Guest stars lending their voices in the series include Mayim Bialik, Michael Ian Black, Adam Pally, David Koechner, Lauren Lapkus, and the man joining Kutner here today, Joshua Malina, star of “Scandal,” “Sports Night,” “The West Wing” and his own podcast, “The West Wing Weekly.”

You can catch up on the first three episodes of “Runaway Brains” at Howl.FM.

JOSHUA MALINA podcast excerpt: "We are in talks with the Big Dog. Hoping to have Aaron Sorkin on The West Wing Weekly podcast to discuss the finale of season one."

By the way, this is Kutner’s fourth appearance on Mr. Media.

Key interview moments:

• 4:25 “Runaway Brains" creator Rob Kutner explains that he sought to introduce more “narrative scripted fiction into the podcast world" by writing a buddy comedy radio sitcom that features “Jeopardy” champion Ken Jennings (played by Ken Jennings) and the IBM supercomputer Watson (played by Weird Al Yankovic);

• 16:25 Kutner explains his choice of Yankovic for the role;

• 27:27 “Scandal” star Joshua Malina — who guests in the third episode of “Runaway Brains” — talks about what might be ahead for his attorney general character in the show’s sixth season — or does he?;

• 31:10 Malina talks about what drew him to co-host a podcast about one of his earlier series, “The West Wing,” and whether that show’s creator, Aaron Sorkin, might soon be a guest.

Joshua Malina The West Wing Weekly WebsiteFacebookTwitterVine • Tumblr • Instagram • WikipediaIMDB • Scandal on ABC • Scandal Wikia

Rob Kutner Website • Facebook • Twitter • YouTubeTeamCocoEmmysLinkedInWikipediaIMDBGoodreads