Kevin Allison (The State, RISK!) Discusses Confessional Comedy on Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #70

Kevin was in the infa­mous, NYU-based sketch com­e­dy group The State which had a show for a sea­son on MTV and seemed like it was going to get picked up by CBS, but no. After sev­er­al years get­ting over this dis­ap­point­ment, Kevin dis­cov­ered a new out­let for his ener­gies: He deliv­ers, curates, and coach­es per­son­al sto­ries (bor­der­ing on too per­son­al, thus the “risk”) for his stage show and pod­cast RISK!

Kevin joins your hosts Mark Lin­sen­may­er, Eri­ca Spyres, and Bri­an Hirt to dis­cuss this idio­syn­crat­ic form: Do the sto­ries have to be fun­ny? Can you change things? What’s the rela­tion to auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal, humor­ous essays a la David Sedaris? What might be too per­son­al or actu­al­ly indi­cat­ing trau­ma to actu­al­ly share on RISK? This seems like some­thing any­one can do, so what’s the role of craft and sto­ry-telling his­to­ry?

Lis­ten to RISK at, and watch many sto­ries on the RISK! YouTube chan­nel. Also:,, and @thekevinallison. Kev­in’s sto­ry about pros­ti­tut­ing him­self is about 14 min­utes into this episode. Hear Kevin on Marc Maron’s WTF! Lis­ten to that audio guide Kevin men­tions, “What Every RISK! Sto­ry­teller Should Know.” Read about the four lies of sto­ry­telling.

Hear more of this pod­cast at This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion you can access by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at This time, the hosts tell (or at least out­line) their own RISK!-like sto­ries, and the result is pre­dictably too per­son­al for our pub­lic feed.

This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts.

Ira Glass, the Host of This American Life, Breaks Down the Fine Art of Storytelling

Since 1995, Ira Glass has host­ed and pro­duced This Amer­i­can Life (iTunes — Feed — Web Site), the award-win­ning radio show that presents mas­ter­ful­ly-craft­ed sto­ries to almost 2 mil­lion lis­ten­ers each week. What’s the secret sauce that goes into mak­ing a great sto­ry, par­tic­u­lar­ly one primed for radio or TV? Glass spells it out in four parts. Watch them all above.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Lis­ten to Ira Glass’ 10 Favorite Episodes of This Amer­i­can Life

Ira Glass’ Advice on Achiev­ing Cre­ative Excel­lence Pre­sent­ed in Two Art­ful, Typo­graph­ic Videos

Ira Glass on the Art and Craft of Telling Great Radio Sto­ries

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