Most episodes of Kickedin the Dicebags begin with a Parental Advisory. Unlike the parental advisories on CD’s and movies, this one should actually be heeded. If you choose to listen to an episode of Kicked in the Dicebags you will be subjected to rampant profanity, will learn things about the hosts that you don’t want to know and will hear things that you can never, ever unhear. There is not enough Brain Bleach in the world to erase some of the things that have been said on Kicked in the Dicebags from your consciousness. On the upside, if you do choose to listen, you will probably laugh a great deal.
Despite the name and the original intentions of at least one of the hosts, Kicked in the Dicebags long ago stopped being a gaming podcast and evolved (or degenerated) into a chatcast. Essentially, listening to Kicked in the Dicebags is like eavesdropping on a phone call between two or more friends who haven’t talked to each other in a week or so. Not necessarily your friends, but just a group of friends who like to talk to each other. Any episode of Kicked in the Dicebags is likely to feature RPG’s, video games, comic books, movies, sex, relationships, strange things from the internet or quite often, all the above and more, often combined in ways that you would not have considered.
The mastermind behind this insanity is Chris Mais. Kicked in the Dicebags began when Chris decided to try his hand at podcasting himself after talking to Dan from Fear the Boot at the second Fear the Con. Going to the Fear the Boot forums, he put out some feelers, found a partner and Kicked in the Dicebags was born. Chris started gaming decades ago but took a long break (a break that ended at the first Fear the Con) so he is not entrenched in the old ways of doing things. He has an open mind to RPG’s and is at least as fond of new systems as he is of the ones that he grew up with. Like many geeks has not given up the things that he loved from being a kid. He keeps up with RPG’s, comic books and sci-fi movies to name just a few of his interests. He is also a master of the non sequiter. Generally at least once per podcast, Chris says something that makes you wonder if he can hear what the other people are talking about. Alternatively, he comes up with some metaphor that is just bizarre enough that your brain stops working while it tries to figure out what he means. Essentially, it often seems that Chris has an agenda for the show that no one else knows about and that he is dedicated to following, whether it makes sense or not. He also has a tendency to ramble and state facts that aren’t facts at all. Chris looks at the world through a different lens than most people and that makes his viewpoint interesting.
His partner in this crime is Jonathan Landreth. Although I’ve talked about Jonathan previously in my review of Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie, it wasn’t until I started listening to his show that I came to discover that Jonathan is a Bad Person. On Funnybooks, he’s a normal, if rather opinionated geek. On Kicked in the Dicebags, he’s ridiculously misogynistic, slightly racist and has the arrogant, unshakeable, annoying faith in his own opinions that only people in their late teens and early to mid twenties are able to sustain. It isn’t enough for Jonathan to disagree with you; you also have to know how stupid you are for not knowing that he’s right. He’s the only podcaster I know who’s used the only two words I consider taboo in the same podcast. All that being said, he’s not the least bit malicious about any of the horrible things he says and is actually pretty funny most of the time. Despite his flaws, he seems like a nice guy (not one I would trust around small children or animals, but a nice guy.) He is also completely lacking any kind of internal filter. He says what I can only assume is anything that pops into his head and doesn’t seem to care if it’s going to offend other people or if they’re interested in hearing it. I know more about Jonathan’s history (especially sexual) than I do about my best friends (not that I want to know this much about my friends’ sex lives and histories.) He also seems surprised and dismayed when other people don’t share his complete candor.
The latest addition to the dysfunctional Kicked in the Dicebags family is Satine Phoenix. Satine is a long time gamer and geek who just happens to be a former stripper and porn star. A former porn star who quite literally sounds like the girl next door, or at least the hot neighbor down the street. Rather than the sex obsessed, foul mouthed, sleazy, dead inside girl that people are likely to stereotype porn actresses as, she is just a geek who likes video games, comic books and anime and who just happens to have done things on film that would shock and/or amaze and/or arouse you with a lot of people. She’s neither ashamed of nor unnecessarily proud of her former career and, given the topics that are often brought up on Kicked in the Dicebags, is able to discuss her history without embarrassment and in great detail. In fact, she’s able to discuss gaming and sex in equal detail, a talent that is almost required to make it on Kicked in the Dicebags.
Although Chris, Jonathan and Satine make up the core of Kicked in the Dicebags, they are a lot like the obstacle course on the show Ninja Warrior. While they are interesting in and of themselves, it is much, much more interesting watching other people go through the gauntlet that is Kicked in the Dicebags. One of the earliest, and probably the most brilliant moves Chris and Jonathan made was actively seeking out guests and extending the invitation to come onto their show to anyone who is interested. They’ve had such podcast hosts as Dan from Fear the Boot, Luke and David from the Podgecast, Aron from Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie, authors, video game designers, members of their forums and even a former porn star (Satine.) The podcast hosts are most noteworthy for me because I know many of them from their own podcasts and it is quite interesting seeing them outside of their usual element. They are invariably asked questions and drawn into discussions that are far different from their usual topics on their own shows and reveal a great deal about them. It provides the same giddy frisson as seeing your teacher at the mall on the weekend did when you were in elementary school. Hearing someone you feel like you know completely out of their element is always interesting. Strangely enough, I can’t think of a single time when one of these guests has gotten offended by the content of the show or what was asked of them, though at least one potential guest has wisely turned down the invitation. Though the hosts of Kicked in the Dicebags seem to relish pushing (and kicking, and stomping and urinating on) the bounds of decency and good taste, they also have an impressive respect for other people’s boundaries. They may ask questions that make their guests uncomfortable but they do not push when there is resistance.
To be honest, I haven’t always liked Kicked in the Dicebags. When I discovered their show, I went back and started at the beginning and there have been weeks when I’ve wondered why I kept listening, but something about the show keeps me coming back. Fortunately, they’ve continued to improve over the lifespan of their show and I had no problem adding them to my standard list of podcasts by the end. Of course, it helps that they no longer record 3 hour long shows. While an hour of them rambling along is interesting, it can get a bit tedious around the two hour mark. But beyond that, I think I keep coming back because I wonder just what they’re going to do next.
Oh…and their theme song is awesome.