Published Jan 23, 2015New York comedian Hari Kondabolu's busy year promoting his acclaimed stand-up album, Waiting for 2042, (out now via Kill Rock Stars) included a stop on CBC Radio One's Q, which at the time, bore the inscription, "with Jian Ghomeshi." When asked about his phone encounter with the now-disgraced host, Kondabolu admits he's gone back to the interview since the sex assault scandal broke, looking for clues.
"This is a ridiculous thing to say but I didn't get a hint of anything," he says. "It's not like, 'Excuse me sir, are you a demon?' You're not going to know that from a phone call. It made the whole thing seem more surreal though, obviously.
"I listened to the interview again and the one thing I did notice was that he did say a few things under his breath on the radio," Kondabolu adds. "I thought that was kind of strange. I don't think I realized that Q was on in the States; I assumed it was a Canadian, CBC thing. I was talking about Canadian listeners and I might've insulted him and he said something under his breath and then he did it again later. I think he was annoyed.
"I remember thinking that was weird as a radio person because people can hear you. I can hear you! I remember that being oddly aggressive and strange and me, just being ignorant — an American jerk. But that's ego and that's no inkling of his many sexual assaults, my God."
On Waiting for 2042 (recently named the number one comedy album of the year by Exclaim!) Kondabolu gets into musical letdowns with the bit, "Weezer Broke My Heart," a hardcore fan's lament for a once great rock band whose best days are far behind them. The joke was recorded prior to the release of Weezer's latest, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, and Kondabolu says people keep asking him for his thoughts on it.
"I think everything will be all right in the end but I don't think that has anything to do with Weezer," he says. "I think it's the best thing they've done since Pinkerton, but that's not saying much. I hated The Green Album so much. I'm not as upset about it as I was when it first came out, but it's still not as good as their B-sides or any Rentals record, or Pat Wilson's first, self-released Special Goodness album. I don't think anything will be as close to a third, proper Weezer album, as I see it, than that Special Goodness record that he recorded himself."
"I think there are a couple of tracks on this new record that sound like great B-sides from Weezer's golden era," he continues. "That's really exciting for me. The single they released ['Back to the Shack'] is so bad. It sounds like, if your father walked in in a leather jacket and was like, 'Eh, it still fits!' And part of me is like, it's unfair to want them to sound like they used to. What I want is my youth. You can't expect them to be that way now."
Listen to an interview with Hari Kondabolu on the Kreative Kontrol with Vish Khanna podcast.