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05 Jul 2022

ON THE RIGHT TRAX: Offaly comedian reflects on his new podcast

NEIL

Edenderry's Neil Delamere speaks about his new podcast

One is instantly recognisable as being among Ireland's greatest comedians, selling out shows wherever he goes and regularly lighting up our TV screens with his appearances on The Blame Game.

The other co-hosts one of the biggest radio shows that the people of Ireland have ever tuned their dials to, starring alongside Dermot Whelan on Today FM's Dermot & Dave show.

And now, NEIL DELAMERE and DAVE MOORE have teamed up to create a podcast like no other! If you haven't already added WHY WOULD YOU TELL ME THAT?! to the podcasts you're following, then right that wrong as soon as you get a chance to, and enjoy catching up on what has been a hilarious and entertaining first series so far. With the subjects and special guests that Neil and Dave have already featured on the show, and with those they have lined up for Series Two, Why Would You Tell Me That?! will quickly become one of the highlights of your week.

While most of the country spent Saturday evening wondering how we managed to lose 1-0 to Armenia in the Nation's League, thankfully for me, I had the ideal pick-me-up waiting for me just after the final whistle... a sit-down with Neil and Dave for a chat about their new show. 

Understanding the context of the title - Why Would You Tell Me That?! - is important to grasping the whole idea and concept of the show. Far from it being delivered in a dismissive or "would you stop wasting my time" kind of way, "why would you tell me that?!" - where this show is concerned - is both the granting of permission to teach, and the acknowledgement of a willingness to learn. With, of course - and as you'd expect from these two gents - laughter generally sign-posting the way. 


DAVE
"Well, just to clarify, sometimes it can absolutely be, 'WHY would you tell me that?!' [Laughs]. Particularly when Neil presents something so utterly disgusting that you're like, 'Whaaaaat?!' [Laughs]. We can both be guilty of that! But yeah, I suppose it comes from the fact that Neil and I both enjoy...facts! We also enjoy the competitive side of trying to out-fact each other. We've spent many years doing that. I always give the example of when we would do interviews with people on our current show - the radio show I do with Dermot ('Dermot [Whelan] & Dave' on Today FM) - there'd be a time-slot which would traditionally be offered to people, which would be half-past-eleven. But Neil Delamere knows that at ten-past-eleven, I do Dave's World. So he would always ask our producers could he come in early, sit-in and out-fact me on Dave's World, and then do his interview to promote his gigs and whatever else. And they'd always say yes. Then Neil would come in and routinely embarrass me in front of my work colleagues where I'm supposed to be the brainy one! [Laughs]. So yeah, the podcast comes from a place where we're both quite familiar with each other in that space..."

NEIL
"We wanted to do something [together]. We wrote a sit-com pilot together before, and we wanted to work with each other for a while. I'm always pitching ideas to Dave, trying to draw him to the big, bright lights of television, but he's like, 'Nah, it's grand, I've got the most successful commercial radio show in the country, so you're gonna have to really tempt me with something amazing!' [laughs]. And it turns out that horseshoe-crab blood being blue [covered in a recent episode] is the sort of stuff that tempts Dave into having a chat! [Laughs]" Dave laughs in agreement in the background.

"We found that we worked really well together", continues Neil, "and had the same sense of humour from doing interviews and also from doing the sit-com pilot. So when we started to chat about doing a podcast, this seemed to be a natural [fit for us]. Some podcasts are about interviews with somebody famous. Now, if you look at the guests that 'Dermot & Dave' get, they're so massive! If you're going to put a film in Ireland, the two lads chat to them [the stars]. So that wasn't a natural space for us. A natural space for us, was us in a pub goin', 'Well did ya know this? And did ya know that...' But then as you know, what we actually do is get someone who does actually know what they're talking about in for the second half of the show to back up one or the other of us. So it's been getting a great response so far. The people who like it, really like it. And that's the podcast world, I suppose." 

And that very point - the construct of the show - was what I wanted to ask Neil and Dave about next. On alternating weeks, one or the other of the two will have no idea what the subject matter of the show is going to be. But what that also means, of course, is that every other week each of them needs a topic to dazzle their co-host and their listeners. So for the subjects they've been covering so far, I wondered if they've both been turning to things they already knew something about, or have they been hunting down new themes and talking points? 

DAVE
"Oh we're hunting. We're hunting! It's non-stop now. I mean, my YouTube history has gone from non-stop guitars, sneakers, DIY, to [stuff like]...'the map of London is slightly irregularly shaped compared to the map of Southampton'...fourteen hours of THAT researched! [Laughs]. The competitive element, and that alternating week, for me, certainly was a key part of the show's identity and the show's personality. Because as Neil said, there are so many podcasts, and there are so many that follow a loose format of two people having a chat. And that's great, I listen to lots of them. It could be three people talking about your favourite football team, or a very structured interview where you go, 'Ok, today we've got Tom Hanks on the show', and I also listen to them. But I suppose when we sat down and started to consider what would excite us, the competitive element had to be part of it. The easiest way to achieve that was for one of us to go and do the work and do the research, and ask the correct questions. And then for the other person, who has never heard of the topic or the subject, or may have vaguely been aware that this is something in existence, you're kind of asking the questions that maybe the listener - the audience - is thinking of." 

NEIL
"It's the definition of 'down the rabbit hole'. When we started chatting about this first, I think we probably both had an idea of what we'd do. Just stuff that stayed in your head for years, maybe from gigging somewhere or you'd meet somebody and they'd tell you something bizarre. Like, I did Australia years ago on tour, and I read a book about something called The Dig Tree. Now I know I'm gonna do an episode on that with Dave..." 

DAVE
"And I have no idea what that is..." 

NEIL
"He has no idea what it is. So a lot of the time, if we can summarise the episode in one sentence...so if I say, 'Dave, we're gonna do something about the Dig Tree, and he goes 'What's that?...I can go, 'Well it's the saddest tree in Australia, the most tragic tree in Australia.' If you can synopsise the whole of Part 2 [of the show] in one sentence, that's like ok, I'm definitely on-board with this. But now at this stage, we've run through our pre-prepared stuff, so he's on YouTube, and I'm meeting people in lifts goin', 'Do ya have anything interesting to tell me?!' [Laughs]. I'm starting conversations with strangers: 'Tell me your top-ten facts!', while I'm checking in their bag, ya know! [Laughs]. Now we're at the point where we're just mining anything for information!" 

DAVE
"And then you have to go and find the expert! The topics are pretty easily thought of and easily researched, but then it's trying to find somebody who will encapsulate [all of that]. Like, there's an episode coming up on a volcano, and I happen to get - literally - the guy who wrote the book! He is the number-one, preeminent speaker on this particular volcano and its repercussions. It's a huge episode and I can't wait for it! But, you don't always get that guy. You shoot for the stars, but sometimes...! There's one topic, and I must have chased down fifteen academics, and every single one of them, for whatever reason, couldn't do it. One woman said she was jumping into the most complicated Master's she could imagine, so she couldn't do the episode, but in fairness, she also said here's a list of other people who might be able to do it. I think we're finally close to getting the right academic, but it's one of those things where a lot of the stars have to align in order for this all to work. And a lot of our guests are international, so you're also dealing with time-zones on the other side of the world, there's a lot of precariousness sometimes around what seems like a fairly simple topic." 

NEIL
"What happens is it generates its own momentum in a lot of ways. First of all, once we have a body of work now, we can say to an academic listen back to something [that we've done]. I have a person who I've been chasing down, and it's for quite a serious episode, and not necessarily what we would normally do. But I was able to say to him, 'Listen back to this, we're going to treat this [topic] sensitively'. So that becomes easier as it goes on. And the second thing that becomes easier as it goes on is that people have started to contact us, which is brilliant. We now have a little community. And we say listen, give us ideas if you want us to cover something. We had an email the other day, a woman saying, 'Will ye do superstitions? I've grown up in Connemara, I'd love to hear more about superstitions'. And I have a feeling I know who I can get to do that. So it becomes self-generating, which is exactly what we want. We want an army of why-would-you-tell-me-that? people, who just really love the show and want to get involved. We talked about trading-cards [on an episode] and now we have a person who has started to do trading-cards for us. I think that's what really appeals to the two of us as well: this is a thing that has its own personality." 

As Dave had mentioned, the guys have already started work on Series-Two, and there's still a few weeks left to run in series-one. Apart from volcanoes, which Dave had already touched on briefly, I wondered if the guys could offer any insights or teasers as to what else might be coming up over the next few episodes? 

DAVE
"Well for the week that's coming up, I make the bold claim that we can solve the pollution in the world's most polluted city...with mushrooms!" 

NEIL
"Basically, it's either a very long and detailed episode, or we all just take magic mushrooms and forget how polluted the most polluted city in the world is! [Laughs]. But there ya go, that's a perfect synopsis of an episode, where you're suddenly going, 'Oh God, I really want to know about that!' I have one coming up where we talk to a woman - hopefully, Dave doesn't know about this yet - who will talk to us about a matrilineal society in China, where all of the possessions and all of the inheritance is passed through the female line, and how that affects their power-structures, and their health as well. That's a woman I'm currently talking to, an anthropologist in the University of New Mexico, and that was a slowly-slowly-catchy-monkey [ situation]. It was, 'Listen, this is what we're gonna do, this is how we're gonna do it, and treat it. This is how well researched it's gonna be'. Some people say no to us, as Dave said, but that's starting to get easier and easier." 

I'd been watching a very interesting show on the history of the British crown jewels on BBC the previous night, part of the UK's platinum jubilee celebrations for the Queen. Has either Neil or Dave ever come across any interesting royal related facts? 

NEIL
"There were Irish crown jewels, but they were stolen and they've never been found. But I haven't come across anything royal necessarily..." 

DAVE
"Oh I have! Prince Andrew can't sweat! It's a physiological wonder!"

NEIL
"He said it was from trauma during the Falklands War, wasn't it? You never really saw that in the Troubles. People going, 'Yeah, got PTSD from the bombs and all that, but on the plus side...can't sweat! Swings and roundabouts, it's all worked out well in the end!' [Laughs]. The cool thing about this podcast is that we're enjoying it immensely, and the people who listen to it are enjoying it immensely. And because it's not topical, it sits there. You can discover these episodes in two years. Or in three years, or in four years. We see people listening to different episodes at different times, ya know. And that's by design on our part." 

DAVE
"Yeah, that was a key thing, because for example, I mentioned football, I listen to football podcasts all the time. But most of them come out on a Tuesday and a Friday. If I miss the Friday one, for whatever reason, and then it's Monday, and it was previewing the weekend's football, then I'm not gonna listen to it. Because as much as I love the podcast, it's completely out of date. So we were very conscious [of that] in the design of the episodes. In fact, we learned the lesson on the way. We did an episode about something that was quite topical, and we were still pre-empting it, but we did it and we were hoping to launch at the end of last year. Through swings and roundabouts, we ended up launching this year, making the episode we did - the second half, the expert part - dated! But then, what was actually explained to us was that it wasn't only that we were two months too late, the idea of doing something that is 'happening' is unfortunately, by its very nature, going to date. So even if we had gotten it out, by now it would be out of date. So - that was one of my episodes - so I need to rethink the main thrust of that one, and try and approach it in a different way that is targeting a story within the universe of that topic, with the same expert, but is less time dependent, if you know what I mean." 

NEIL
"There's a couple of things that I enjoy about the project as well. I don't know how Dave feels, but he's doing topical radio. I do topical comedy on 'The Blame Game' obviously, and then I do shows. But unless a stand-up show is specifically about something, well then, they can almost kind of be transitory. Almost like...great entertainment, but bubblegum, [there] then just gone. Whereas these things [the podcast episodes] sit. We have made these things to sit. There's something concrete at the end. It's not a brilliant piece of improvisation where Dave talks for five minutes about not washing his legs in the shower or something, which is golden on the radio! But it doesn't sit there in the same way as an episode of this that he might produce. I'm bringing comedy sensibilities to this, and not necessarily jokes, but I mean that I want this to be like a comedy club. I don't want it to be like a comedy venue. And the difference is a comedy club you go to when you don't know who's on, because you trust that the comedy club puts good people on. We want this to be a situation where you might listen to one, for example, because you're interested in EPO (erythropoietin). We had Dr Lara Dungan on the other day talking about that as a performance enhancing drug. But we want you then to listen to ALL of what we do. We want you to trust us. So, if we do a show about the most important number in the world, and you go, 'Well, I don't really like maths, but I like the two lads...', that's what we want. It's our treatment of a subject. That's why we're deliberately doing subjects that interest us - languages, economics, science, psychology, anthropology, business, all of these things..." 

Dave chimes in, "And sneakers!", in reference to last week's show and to one of his own favourite hobbies! 

Both from listening to Why Did You Tell Me That?! and from chatting to the two lads, it's clear that they both have a deep thirst for knowledge and are genuinely interested in finding out all kinds of new information about all kinds of different things. That being so, I wondered if perhaps the show filled a space in their lives that maybe nothing else did, in the sense that they might each have told others in their lives about some amazing fact they'd just discovered, only to be met with a shrug of the shoulders or a roll of the eyes. But with each other, that sharing of knowledge is not only mutually appreciated, but tends to lead on to something else as well? 

DAVE
"Yeah, in episode one I think Neil explained that we're both extremely tedious men [laughs]. Who don't find each other tedious! But we've used up all the patience of our wives and friends! And I'm lucky, I have four kids. I can start spewing facts at them and they're just too small to run away, they just sit there and sponge it up. But you certainly want an adult response to these things, and usually that's, 'Stop telling me, I'm not interested.' So it is brilliant that you can have somebody who you can have a relationship with, have some fun with, have a great time making this thing, but also someone who appreciates the fact that you think moths are incredible creatures that people don't understand, and that they need to be informed about these amazing creatures. That is brilliant!" 

NEIL
"When I do a stand-up show, I just write the show, then go out and do the show, ya know. There's only so many times you can say to your wife, 'Oh, I've come up with a really good joke', without her going please don't treat me as an audience member! [Laughs]. Whereas with Dave, I'll send him a text going I have an idea for something, or there was a spike in numbers when we mentioned it [the podcast] on this radio show, or did you see somebody tweeting that they really like the show, whatever. It's just really nice working with somebody else, particularly after Covid. It's one of the things I love about doing the panel show in the north, it's kind of a collegiate atmosphere that you don't necessarily get when you're just doing stand-up. I very much enjoy that element of it as well. And Acast, in fairness to them, have been brilliant, they're very supportive. We can have a chat with them and ask them what they think about anything. It was very important to us that we did different subjects, with women and men equally, and that would sit there and remain relevant." 

With the show growing and, as Neil had mentioned, with people not getting in touch with them much more, that also opens up the possibility of more doors opening when it comes to potential guests as well. If both gentlemen were to choose a dream subject to talk about, and a dream guest to chat about it with, would they already have people in mind? 

NEIL
"Well I have one, and I think we might get her! Susie Dent, from Dictionary Corner on 'Countdown'. I did 'Countdown' with Susie, and she mentioned it, about the podcast. We were talking about it and different bits and pieces. I was talking to her about Hiberno-English, and how we speak English versus how English people speak it. Like, the sentence structure, 'I'm after closing the window', that's something they don't say over there, it's more of a direct movement from Irish. So I'd love to get her on language, but I think she'd be interesting on anything. Dave would go to me, 'What's this episode about?' And I'd just go, 'Susie Dent', and that would be it [laughs]. Susie then comes along and reads out her washing-list, or what temperature she washes her clothes at, I don't care, she'd just be amazing. So I'd like her, I don't know who Dave would like...?"

DAVE
"Well, I'll be honest with ya, I've kind of already got it. The episode on sneakers that we did, there's a guy called Josh Luber who was the guest. To try and put him into perspective for someone who is a sneaker-head, like I am, Josh Luber created the market that allows us - people all over the world - to have access to our sneakers. Sneakers is a community, it's a culture, it informs everything in your life when you're addicted to it like I am. Josh Luber's company, Stock X, is just so important in that universe. Now, maybe some people might not like Stock X, but they will absolutely respect the importance of it within the community. So when I wanted to do an episode on sneakers, I really wanted Josh. So I did that thing where you just shoot for the stars. I found out that he was much bigger on Twitter than he was on Instagram, so I approached him on Instagram thinking that my blue-tick on Instagram might make more of an impression than my blue-tick on Twitter. He got back almost straight away and said contact my assistant. Now, this guy is a multi-billionaire, I'm not surprised he has an assistant! But that assistant - AC - was really helpful, back and forth. I explained to him what the podcast was, and obviously it was AC's job to explain it to Josh, and maybe convince him that it was a good idea. But he did! And Josh gave us twenty-five, thirty minutes of his time. You don't often get twenty-five, thirty minutes of a billionaire's time! So we were really grateful And certainly for me, that was somebody who, if you had asked me this question before the start of the first season, I would have totally said Josh Luber would be somebody I would love to try and get on. But we actually managed to do it, so it was amazing!" 

On that particular episode, Dave estimates his own sneaker collection at about forty pairs, but confessed he'd have to do a count to be sure. I asked if he'd ever gotten around to doing that...

"I haven't actually counted them, but I think around forty. I could be slightly underselling that, but my wife might also listen to some of the shows, so...! [laughs]." 

NEIL
"I think he's 100% underselling that! [Laughs]." 

DAVE
"As all sneaker-heads will say, I just hope when I die that my wife doesn't sell my sneakers for the price that I TOLD HER I paid for them! [Laughs]." 

NEIL
"I think with both of us, Attenborough would be a dream guest." 

DAVE
"Oh wow! But I'd love to know from Attenborough - because we're so specific about a subject, and if you think about his career - if you were to try and ask him to narrow down everything he's learned, everything he's experienced throughout his seventy-odd, eighty-odd year television career, and say what is the one thing you want to tell us about that maybe didn't get enough airtime? And I know he's so passionate about the environment that that's where he'd push, but I bet ya there's a story about a turtle in the Galapagos that only got three minutes of airtime in 1972, but that he knows so much more about, ya know!" 

NEIL
"And that's the thing about this, is we are deliberately niche. We want you to talk about the weirdest thing, the most specific thing that you can think of, or that we can direct you towards. It's deliberately that way and it's up to us to make it entertaining and appealing to a wider public. And so far, so good!

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