RISK! Podcast
  • Episode:#703
  • Date:October 19, 2015
  • Run Time:1:01:34
  • Download: MP3

Shock

Trevor Noah, TS Madison and Christopher Fox share stories of shocking moments in the lives, funny and frightening.

Song: RISK! Theme by Wormburner and John Sondericker

Song: It’s About the Music Man by Doorly and Dajae

Radio Story: La Sorpresa! by TS Madison

Interstitial: Bitch You Shitted! by Jeff Barr

Live Story: The Best Looking Person in the Family by Trevor Noah

Song: I’ll Be Good by Jaymes Young

Live Story with Sound Design: Praying for Time by Christopher Fox

Song: Is This a Breakdown by Echo and the Bunnymen

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Buy the RISK! book now wherever books are sold, or at TheRISKbook.com. The RISK! book features 37 of the best stories that have been on the RISK! podcast and brand new stories as well. RISK! book storytellers include Kevin Allison, Michael Ian Black, Marc Maron, TS Madison, Aisha Tyler, Jesse Thorn, Dan Savage, Paul F. Tompkins, Mollena Williams-Haas, Ray Christian and more! Learn more at TheRISKbook.com.

37 Comments

  1. Trevor lost me when he defended hitting children. To lay a single hand to a child it’s just preverse and a abuse of power. Maybe it’s just too close to home for me to take what he said as a joke. I was beaten several times as a child and teenager. I’m now a father and broke that cycle. I didn’t get the joke…

  2. TS Madison is a delight as always. Unfortunately, that’s where the fun stops. Trevor Noah sounds like an insufferably glib prick, and story three is ruined by the storyteller’s pompous, hackneyed slam poetry/sermon enunciation. Also, while I usually like the sound editing on the show, in this case, the pretentious, overwrought ambient music only makes story three worse—it’s like bullshit frosting on a bullshit cake.

  3. Kevin!
    Don’t let the haters get you down! Risk has been such an inspiration for me and my partner, and I’m sure many others! Take a lesson from this week’s first story, and remember that some people will just shit all over everything!

  4. Wow – the last story was one of my all-time favorites I’ve heard on the show. It truly touched me, and I needed to hear it – especially at this time in my life. His story could help save depressed people’s lives. Thank you for your honesty Christopher. I enjoyed the sound that was mixed in to the third story, it added another layer of emotion and depth. All 3 stories were great. This was a fantastic episode. I love Risk! It’s the only thing that keeps me going while I work. I really don’t know what I would do without it. Honesty is so sexy to me. Thanks Kevin and everyone else who is part of the show for being so awesome.

  5. Christopher Fox, what an amazing story and storyteller you are. I felt as if I were you. Very intense. I have been listening to the show for years and have never felt like that. The theme was ‘shock’, and I am shocked to have such an experience. It really touches parts of who I am and my life right now. Thank you so much for sharing. I think my tomorrows will be better because of it. Again thank you so much. And thank you Kevin and crew for providing the show. It has been there for me in so many ways.

  6. The sound editing had little or no impact on my impression on the delivery of Christopher’s story and could very well have been way more effective in another scenario where it was partnered with story that felt a little more genuine. His delivery came across as overly dramatic and really insincere and I was left feeling completely unsympathetic to something that would normally have quite an impact. It made me feel like he was thinking “if I get out of here, this is going to make a great story some day” while he lay suffering in the hospital bed.
    In all my years of listening to Risk, this was the first time I couldn’t finish a story. It was embarrassing to listen to. I essentially came here just to see if I was the only one.

  7. Fantastic episode! T.S. Madison is hilarious as always, and for first time story telling, Trevor and Christopher were both outstanding!

  8. I can not stand TS Madison’s stories. They go on FOREVER and are always pretty much the same story about fucking some creep with way too many sound effects. Their way of speaking is amusing at first but like half of this episode was listening to fine details about shit that doesn’t matter or add value to the story. Please stop. Honestly, I had to skip through half of their story and as I was doing it, I thought to myself, “Can this story REALLY go on this long? Thank god i’m skipping this.”

    I love risk, and usually I think the stories are amazing. I’ve gotta say the live stories work better for me because if they’re not sometimes they sound like TS Madison; like they’re just talking to hear themselves speak.

  9. If you’re going to accept the praise you get in the comments section without objecting to it, Kevin, you also have to accept the critical remarks as well, without making excuses about how hard everyone works. That’s the job, working hard–that’s every job. Sometimes the end result is less than successful, as I agree that this episode was. To be accurate, Jack Napis didn’t say that Christopher Fox’s life was bullshit, he said that the musical accompaniment was bullshit and that the story was told in a bullshit fashion. That’s hardly reducing a person’s entire life to bullshit. You need to grow a thicker skin, because “some person on the Internet” describes everyone who listens to the podcast. Characterizing your entire audience in such a contemptuous way isn’t ultimately very productive. I’m sure next week will be better, but not every egg the goose lays is made of gold.

  10. Why is it necessary to tell Kevin how to feel/act? He is entitled to his own opinions, just like everyone else on this forum. Someone did compare the last storyteller’s story to “bullshit cake.” That is a little harsh so I don’t blame Kevin for his reaction. I think the problem with the internet is that people tend to lose their humanity when writing comments, as they can sit at a computer and write whatever the hell they want, and remain entirely anonymous. It takes courage to stand up in front of a large crowd of people and reveal your deepest secrets. To chalk that up to “bullshit cake” isn’t just a cold opinion, it’s a disrespectful thing to say to anyone. And is not constructive in the least. Anyone can sit at a computer and rip someone to shreds, but it takes a certain level of maturity to articulate your opinion in a respectful and good-natured manner.

  11. This isn’t exactly every job. It’s holding people’s hands, promising them they will have a cathartic experience, acting as their quasi-therapist, sometimes encouraging them to check in with a lawyer before coming on for their own protection, and putting out a show that goes beyond being mere entertainment. People on this show are attempting to present not an act but their selves. Sometimes at the risk of harming their careers or alienating their families and friends. That’s what I was getting at by saying, “some guy on the Internet.” A person sharing on this show is standing before an audience, using their actual voice, revealing their most vulnerable-feeling truths. Someone shitting on that person by typing comments on a page like this is far removed from that intimate, exposed-feeling dynamic and would never say stuff like that to the storyteller during the meet-and-greet at the theater after a live show. Trevor Noah is now too busy to have noticed that Jack Napis said he sounds like an insufferably glib prick. But Christopher Fox has surely read Jack’s comment about his sharing about his suicide attempt being like a bullshit cake.

    So, sure, I get emotional sometimes. This is emotional work. I certainly don’t hope for everyone to like every story and I don’t remove people’s harsh comments from these pages. But I also don’t think it’s so wrong to talk back every now and then. I don’t buy the idea that people who produce content are supposed to hear others saying, “your shit sucks” but that they’re out of line to reply, “Okay, but frankly, I feel the same way about your commentary.” Every now and then, it feels like a justifiable thing to do.

  12. Kevin- You are great, the podcast is great and Risk live is an experience every fan should do. T.S. Madison’s story had me laughing so hard on the commute home today I barely had time to road rage.

    That, BTW was a joke.

    There will always be haters and people who (without being creative or daring on their own,) seek to criticize others.

    Screw them. Love this show!

  13. Kevin, It’s interesting to read how the show is made, and I’m sad to hear there won’t be a Halloween episode. Thanks for your long comments on here explaining everything.

    To people offended by Trevor Noah: You guys understand he (was) a stand up comedian, right? Stand up comedians say a lot of things they don’t necessarily believe in order to get laughs. I mean, does anyone actually really believe he supports (or supported) child abuse? Good lord, people. One would think that listeners of a show about the outrageous and the unbelievable would be a bit tougher. Or at least would not rush to judgement.

  14. Kevin I don’t usually comment but I’ve heard every episode and this one was definitally worth the time. The final story that was kind of radio style but still live was amazing. The effects that were added really made the story so much more dramatic because the most harsh stories are stronger on the radio rather than being live. It was amazing!

  15. I made the first comment and I just realized I have never commented before to tell you that I find your work outstanding and love this podcast a lot. Sorry for my comment about Trevor. I’m usually more positive than this. I know that it was a joke and since it’s more of a personal issue than a real problem I could have kept quiet about it. And later I heard the rest of his story and liked how he made it more poignant. Sorry Kevin and Trevor. And thank you both for your work.

  16. The Chris Fox story was by far the worst for content and presentation I’ve heard on the podcast and I’ve been listening since the beginning. It reminded me of small town 8th grade dramatic monologue competitions and Latin American soap operas (TelenovelasX10…) rolled into one embarrassing problem. I hope I never hear such trite nonsense again for fear of my own standards being permanently affected for the worse.

  17. I just wanted to echo some of the sentiments shared over the last few days.

    I was really into Trevor Noah’s piece, that is, until his cavalier and glib discussion of beating children. I appreciate so much that Risk does not edit the stories, as it really helps me to form an opinion of Trevor as an advocate and television host. In fact, I would even say that the story shocked me on a completely different level. Despite his stand up background and impromptu style, it is hard for me to buy that he was sharing information that was anything but his true beliefs.

    I so much wanted to enjoy Christopher Fox’s story, but the storytelling was so incredibly inaccessible to me. This is not because of his cadence, in fact Jamie DeWolf has a really unique cadence when he is presenting some stories that I enjoy (yes, I know he is also a poet, but I am talking about his prose). I think this may be attributed to delivering the story in the present tense, as if it was happening at that moment. This style forces an audience to listen for what is happening in the present (which is just overdramatic acting) instead of subtle and raw storytelling (show don’t tell). Perhaps this is why several people dislike the delivery. Yet, I will note that I am incredibly empathetic to his story and at a textual level, it is really moving.

    I don’t know why I wanted to share this, especially with the comments and Kevin’s responses above, other than I think it is important for the storytellers, more specifically Christopher (because Trevor Noah is now on Comedy Central and probably couldn’t care less), to get feedback to better improve their craft.

  18. I liked Trevor’s story, his humour seems very British to me. I have to say, I did laugh quite a few times, he’s very funny guy.

  19. the last story was just unfortunately told in a way that burned me. i dont mean it as an attack on the story teller. but i did not enjoy it at all. the subject was something i was at first interested in but due to the heightened emotional impact on a level of 11 put on near every word i actually turned it off.

  20. I see that my (admittedly harsh) post above has inspired some drama. Let me just say that I love RISK! I greatly appreciate the story-tellers for sharing their stories with us, and I appreciate Kevin and his collaborators for working so hard to make the show happen. I have listened to every episode, and I have supported the show by purchasing the ad-free versions of the early episodes.

    All of that said, I still regard the performance of “Praying for Time” as a failure, mostly due to the storyteller’s histrionic delivery (which seemed like a deliberate, albeit naive, choice and not just a case of nerves). Part of what I love about RISK! is its radical honesty, and this particular performance felt insincere to me. I understand that Kevin is close to the material that he helps to put out; however, in this case, I feel that that closeness may have clouded his judgement of this particular performance’s worthiness for inclusion on the podcast. There’s a point where quality control ought to take priority, and this was it. To me, the performance does not feel at all in keeping with RISK! as I know and love it, and I would hate to see RISK! devolve into a platform for this kind of unintentional camp.

    Also, I want to clarify that in my comment above, I was referring only to the presentation of the story and not to the storyteller or the content of the story. I personally cannot relate to his perspective as I see prayer as an admission of powerlessness and a rejection of agency and personal responsibility (much like suicide), but I would not dismiss his struggles or his subjective experience as bullshit.

    As for why I felt the need to post such harsh criticisms, it was probably just an example of negativity bias (though I will point out that I opened the post with praise for the part of the episode that I enjoyed). Negative responses create tension that demands an outlet, and this was the most convenient and relevant place for me to vent. I really just want the show to keep going and to maintain the high level of quality that fans have come to expect from it. I apologize if I expressed myself in a way that was more offensive than constructive.

  21. I think I have said this before, but I am gonna say it again – I would LOVE to hear more trans stories!

    I am so pleased that we have heard from several different trans people (I can think of three off the top of my head) and their stories are important. Their sexuality is important and I think it is great that non-trans people are able to hear from a trans persons perspective how they view their own sexuality.

    HOWEVER….

    I would love to hear a story from a trans person that ISN’T rooted in their sex life. We trans people have so many stories, not all related to sex. We have rich histories and complicated childhoods and traumatic stories and amazing achievements.

    I would love to hear more of those! To be able to tell our own stories is so important, and it might help cis people to understand that we trans people are as complex as anyone else….

  22. Also, Kevin, your response to several of the (aggressive, not constructive criticism) comments on this episode is on point…Keep it up.

  23. Christopher Fox’s story brought to light the deep pain that can be behind behaviors that are often judged by other people, living in his mom’s basement and partying through college. Just goes to show that you never know what people’s stories are.

    The most shocking and bizarre detail about his story was how his father came to visit. On one hand, he made the effort and drove eight hours to see his son for fifteen minutes. On the other hand, he only stayed for fifteen minutes. Dude, your son is dying. Get your priorities in order, and take the day off work. It will be there when you get back.

    Chris, I wish you well and hope you get your life in order.

  24. I can’t help but roll my eyes at the people so turned off by Trevor’s “beating kids” statement. This is risk – with stories about horrific abuse, scandalous sexual escapades, and terrifying bouts of self doubt and depression. While I don’t support hitting kids it would be a disservice to pretend that it’s a rare and traumatic thing for children.
    That said, Christiphers story quickly lost my sympathy. The cadence disconnected me but I could move beyond that. What really got me was it felt like an audio story of a Watchtower comic. I’m not one to roll my eyes whenever someone invokes their God for strength/help, the overtly dramatic tone of it in this story left me disappointed. But, fuck my disappointment – hopefully telling the story was nothing but wonderful for him and to all the story tellers.
    And Madison? I love that bitch.

  25. You guys are listening to this for free, voluntarily– nobody is putting a gun to your fat little heads– and then you come smashing in here like the Kool Aid guy at a Jim Jones BBQ and act like just cuz you didn’t like something, we’re all supposed to drop everything we’re doing and give a fuck.

    We don’t. You’re just another asshole who think anybody cares what you have to say, and they don’t, which is why you’re mewling on a message board instead of making millions as a professional entertainer.

    It’s not about you, you entitled little brats. I know your mommy tells you the exact opposite 200 times a day, but it’s really not, and it never will be. You’re just another piece of shit who for some incomprehinsible reason thinks they’re better than all the other pieces of shit.

    Oh wait, I see you got a few extra kernels of corn in you, maybe you are a extra-special superstar shit after all. My bad.

  26. I think I see some peanuts in there too. If you ever get tired of huffing your own flatulence I have some right here for you, you excruciating, pedantic ponce.

  27. Can I just say one more thing?

    The thing I love about Risk! – the thing that makes this podcast not only a standout podcast, but a staple in my life and a real LIFE CHANGING EVENT in my life, is its ability to listen, unjudging, to the stories of other human beings.
    The beauty of the openness with which the storytellers speak, risking (lol see what I did there) judgement and ridicule, and the ability to listen with an open heart and mind, is what makes that human connection possible.

    Not to say CONSTRUCTIVE criticism isn’t important – (it is, as you see i made a constructive critique above) – but to stoop to the level of petty name calling and saying you are judging or simply don’t like a persons story or worse yet “the way they tell the story” is just the antithesis of what Risk! means to me and so many others.

    Keep your hearts and minds open. that is the only way to find connection. That is the only way that Risk! will be what it was meant to be. Love and respect each other. Acknowledge the differences among us. Stop judging.

  28. Hey guys. Lots of passionate, interesting comments here and that’s great. But do try to keep it civil! I think of our audience as being a bit of a family-like community. So, tensions may rise, but we can always find ways to avoid being mean spirited with our wording of things.

  29. Sorey Kev-o, I just don’t like it when people pick on yas, gets me irish up.

  30. Christopher Fox’s delivery really seems to have set off a lot of insincerity alarms in people’s heads…which I think says more about them than him. There are people who have a higher emotional sensitivity than most; I would know, I’m one of them. I’ve been told I was being overly dramatic in moments when I couldn’t have been more sincere about what I was saying and how I was saying it. It’s just a different way of being human. A lot of people find that kind of heightened emotional state embarrassing and insincere because they can’t relate to it.

  31. I only wanted to chime in to say how much I appreciate all the hard work that goes into this show. Thank you very much for putting it out there.

  32. I have to say, after listening to every episode of this podcast, I feel compelled to comment here for the first time ever. It helped that the very next episode contained a discussion about these very comment sections.

    First off, I want to thank you, Kevin, and everyone else involved in the show for creating something special. Risk is by far my FAVORITE podcast, and I always recommend it as such. I rarely listen to music anymore, and listen almost exclusively to podcasts. To have one that is so substantial, varied, real and raw to listen to on my hour+ commute makes the drive bearable. There’s been more than one occasion where I’ve been so invested in the story being told that I’ve missed my exit and not noticed for MILES (most notably the story by the young woman who had a psychotic break and stabbed her mother).

    That said, this episode (rather, a third of it), was just not up to the caliber of material I’ve come to expect from this show. There’s almost no way to put this that doesn’t make me sound like an entitled asshole, but I just did not like the third story in this episode. It sounded less like a story being told, and more like a “performance”, something that’s never really been an issue before (outside of a few comedians who’ve tried to inject too much humor/sass into their stories). It felt rehearsed, like a one-man-show, a monologue, or a poem.

    I don’t really fault the storyteller for this, as you said it was his first time in front of a crowd, and he was obviously bearing his soul and sharing probably the darkest moment in his entire life. It’s possible that if I were at that live show, I would’ve felt completely differently about the story. As podcast material, however, I just feel it didn’t “fit”.

    I’m sorry that the only time I’ve felt like commenting has been to post something negative, but I guess it’s how things go in every line of work (I work retail, and in my line of work it’s EXCEEDINGLY rare to receive anything other than a complaint).

    My only other complaint about the show is that you don’t seem to ever come out to the LA shows! Beowulf is awesome, but I’d love to hear a Kevin Allison story live.

    Either way, your win-loss record is somewhere around 999-1 right now, and that’s still pretty fucking awesome. Keep up the good work.

  33. omg, yes you are absolutely right, people who provide you free entertainment are, literally, your slaves. and if that infotainment isnt up to your standards, by goodness you should make a word salad explaining how you are the most awesome person that has ever lived.

    just curious, how is that working out for you?

  34. Kevin,

    You do a great job man at putting these episodes together every week. I don’t know how my life would be without this great podcast. I’ve been to one live show and will be going to another one in about a month. I will be driving 3.5 hours to Chicago just to listen to people tell their life stories. It is the best way I can think of to spend a day.

    Storytellers,

    Don’t let any of these haters get you down. Life is rough and they are just another speed bump along the way. You are all awesome and have given me a purpose to my life.

  35. I have to say that I liked the Trevor Noah’s story and I consider humor is A good way to take a step backward and be able to deliver a story like this one that could be, otherwise, traumatic. I clearly understand the part of hitting kids a joke, killing is an awful thing and we can make jokes about it. It’s not proper for american taste? i don’t know, im from Spain. I met this podcast in a way to improve my listening english and i sincerely think it’s doing it, also it’s thrilling me and moving me, thanks Kevin and to the rest of the team of RISK! as soon as I have a regular income way I will make a donation.

  36. Christopher Fox’s story was so unbearably goofy and self-conscious.

    Man alive. I felt like it was 14 year old me telling this story; thrashing dramatically about the stage. It was embarrassing beyond belief. His… totally *deep breath*… orchestrated *pause for tear – but resist it! I’m not brave – I’m just fighting*… presentation… was *I’m experiencing something incredibly common but acting as though it’s only happened to me, again, as a child would*… excruciating. He has clearly paid for, and been ripped off by, some acting coach. Excuse me now as I cry in the mirror… tragically… beautifully… uniquely…

    Kevin! You are a delight as always and I appreciate your work tremendously. I’m a dick for only commenting when I hated a story… sorry. I’ve downloaded dozens and dozens of your shows and they are, far and away, the best thing out there. Don’t let my blinding lack of self-awareness take away from my compliment.

  37. I’m a huge dick and I’m still 14 apparently. And I clearly didn’t read any of the other comments before I posted. For no valid reason whatsoever, I took out my anger on some dude I don’t even know. It wasn’t constructive, it was just shitty. If I could remove my previous comment, I would. You didn’t deserve it and the issue is entirely mine. I’m sorry, Christopher.

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