Ear Candy: Drifting Off with Joe Pera

Ear Candy: Drifting Off with Joe Pera

Wednesday, 10th May 2023
Drifting Off with Joe Pera. Credit: Chestnut Walnut
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Joe Pera is a walking, talking anachronism. 

Languid in speech and manner, with a keen eye for the small wonders of life, he resembles an old preacher more than a young comedian.

In his Adult Swim comedy Joe Pera Talks with You, he starred as a semi-fictionalised version of himself, living in smalltown Michigan and talking us through his favourite, ostensibly mundane, subjects.

It was, for many, a beacon of calm in a world spinning far too fast, and they were devastated by the news of its cancellation in 2022.

Thankfully, Pera’s new podcast, Drifting Off with Joe Pera, has picked up where the previous show left off. There is no narrative this time, just a loose theme for each 20-minute episode, but his bountiful positivity and dulcet tones remain a good alternative to ASMR for anyone like me who finds the latter more creepy than relaxing.

So far, Pera has waxed lyrical about soup, clock chimes and video games, with the help of some friends who call in at various points for relaxed conversations and gentle banter. Their words resting on the soft ambient soundscapes of his trusty composer, Ryan Dann.

Episode 3, the one on video games, is the best yet, but it would be impossible to do it justice here. I'll just say that Pera segues back and forth between his memory of an airport shuttle bus he once took in Arizona, and a conversation about the Wild West video game Red Dead Redemption 2 with one of its voice actors, Roger Clark. And it makes for a moving meditation on loss, fate, the life-affirming power of sunrises and the perspective-altering power of video games.

The one downside is the month-long gap between episodes. But, if anything, the wait only heightens the sense you get of the deep care that Pera and Dann take as they slowly carve out another oasis in the endless tsunami of slapdash content.

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