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Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas tell the backstory of their popular, Ambie-nominated podcast ‘How Did This Get Made?,’ in which they dissect a different bad movie each episode, from ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’ to ‘The Room.’
By Kirsten Chuba
Associate Editor
When Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas started their podcast, How Did This Get Made? — in which they dissect a different bad movie each episode — in December 2010, “explaining what a podcast was was difficult,” says Scheer. “Now, trying to find someone who doesn’t have a podcast is as difficult.”
In 11 years, the three friends have broken down nearly 300 stinkers, from Burlesque and Grease 2 to Face/Off and The Room. Nominated in the Ambies’ best comedy podcast category, How Did This Get Made? began when Raphael and Scheer (who are married) saw Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps and brought the film up at a party with Mantzoukas and their other comedian friends. Marc Maron (WTF) and Scott Aukerman (Comedy Bang! Bang!) had both launched their shows the previous year, so podcasting was lightly known in some entertainment circles, “and after we had this big funny conversation with friends about a movie that we’d all been confounded by, I said, like, ‘Oh, that’s a podcast — the conversation you have at the bar after you just saw a bad movie,’ ” Mantzoukas recalls.

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And so the show (from SiriusXM’s Stitcher) was born, built off the trio’s improv background. “It did feel very much like early days UCB [Upright Citizens Brigade], like ‘We’re going to give this a try, why not?’ ” says Mantzoukas. “There was no real audience for it that we knew of, there was just the ability to put it out there.” Originally the movies were chosen via group chat, but later producers and researchers were brought on to pick just the right kind of “fun bad” films that make the podcast work. And eventually the three hosts — who are often joined on episodes by a rotating cast of comedians — tapped into their live-performer roots for in-person shows, and were soon selling out venues like NYC’s Beacon Theatre and Irving Plaza.
“One of the first live shows, we were like, ‘Should we do this? It’s just going to be us sitting there with microphones, do you think people are going to want to see that?’ Update: People definitely want to see it,” says Mantzoukas, noting that although he’s constantly onstage for a variety of comedy shows, HDTGM events are different. “Nobody’s showing up to my other shows dressed in costumes or homemade shirts with my face on it.”

The podcast has also grown in parallel with its hosts’ careers. It began largely before the group’s respective and combined work in The League, Grace and Frankie, Big Mouth, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Black Monday. As Mantzoukas notes, “It exposed us to people versus us exposing our pre-existing fans to our new podcast.” And, Scheer says, those screen and audio audiences have stayed somewhat separate. “It’s fun that it exists as its own little island within all our careers,” Scheer says.
The podcast continues to thrive in an increasingly crowded landscape. “Every celebrity or actor or comedian is told by their representatives: Start a podcast. Every TV show has a podcast accompaniment to it,” says Mantzoukas. “So the marketplace is obviously super saturated, but every day people are still finding our podcast for the first time.”
That level of success has also led to some inquiries about adapting the show for TV, Scheer says, which he thinks is “putting a square peg in a round hole.”
“Everything has its place, like I think great theater can’t easily just be translated to film,” he says. “I like the idea of this being the space that we do.” For he and Mantzoukas, who grew up as avid Howard Stern fans, the podcast itself is a dream come true.
“This to me is our version of getting to do a radio show and that is fucking cool. This is one of my boxes checked,” says Mantzoukas. “I love that we’re this audio format that people interact with intimately while they’re doing the laundry or commuting and that they listen to us in their ears the same way that [they listen] to voices like Terry Gross. It really tickles me that people feel that toward us.”
Having largely suspended live shows during the pandemic, the trio expects to announce tour dates imminently. The trio expects to keep making How Did This Get Made — as the bad movies keep coming.
“We’ll never get to them all,” says Mantzoukas.
A version of this story first appeared in the March 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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