TrASHE-talking with ‘the death and life of Asheboro’
John Hunter, Jason Zod and Derek Prince are three lifelong friends who, like many these days, decided to start their own podcast. TrasheCast or “the TrASHE” is an uncensored comedy podcast that cracks jokes and celebrates friendship while picking the brains of some of the big names in the entertainment industry.
The TrASHE has been up and running for almost two years now, and was recently voted second place for Best Podcast in YES! Weekly’s 2019 Triad’s Best readers poll. The TrASHE meshes film, music and other realms of pop culture that aren’t as mainstream, while the hosts riff off each other. The podcast is usually an hour in length and its name, just as one would expect, has a humorous origin.
“We are all from Asheboro, and as it goes in several small towns, everyone has a negative nickname–like Trasheboro,” Hunter said.
The initial idea of the podcast was rooted in the three’s friendship. Hunter said the podcast became an excuse for them to find time as adults to hang out and talk about nonsense, just like they did in the old days. But as the podcast grew and got more popular, Hunter, Zod and Prince started to become fascinated in the various ways people get together– just as they did with their podcast.
“People find reasons to come together,” Hunter said. “We have a lot of comedians, filmmakers, musicians, and it is interesting to see their side of it. How they bring people together and what drives them in more of a casual manner.”
The three proclaim themselves as “the new kings of all media” because their special guest appearances include many notable names in comedy, T.V. and film such as Lloyd Kaufman, Todd Glass, Ms. Pat, Hilliary Begley, Bonnie McFarlane, Mark Normand, and even some hometown favorites such as Greensboro-native Jourdain Fisher and Asheboro-native Evan Williams.
“The best hangouts you’ve ever had in life are not necessarily the people that you always hang out with, and that is the great thing about having guests,” Zod said. “From the beginning, when we started interviewing people, we didn’t want to ask the same things they have been asked 1,000 times because people don’t want to hear that. We wanted to hang out with these people.”
Other “celebrity” guests (which are just their own impersonations) include far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, country music artist Randy Travis, and Fox News‘ commentator Tucker Carlson.
“The majority of this show is John judging us, or god, who also calls in sometimes,” Zod said.
When they are not interviewing guests, they are debating “controversial” topics, such as, which Sugar Ray songs they would “Fuck, Kill, or Marry.”
“When It’s Over got killed every time,” Zod said. “Married Every Morning, and fucked Fly.”
Hunter said that even though a big part of their podcast consists of interviews, it is not the only thing they do to fill the time. He said a lot of times they just talk about their everyday lives and joke around.
“Most of us on the show, we have known each other for a minimum of like 15 years now,” Prince said. “So, the way we communicate and express ourselves with each other is authentic. We know where we can go with each other.”
Prince said that Zod and Hunter conduct the majority of the interviews, and he has noticed that their interviewing style is unique to others.
“If you listen to a lot of other comedians on other podcasts, you get bullet points, or they are hitting the same two or three stories they tell– the same thing you hear on talk shows at night,” Prince said. “[The TrASHE] is more of a casual conversation. You’ll hear it a lot at times in the interview, where it kind of starts off a little bit awkward because they don’t quite know what they are getting into, and that turns into a casual conversation that goes down an interesting path.”
“It is refreshing to be able to go outside of whatever somebody structures for you and be able to find out really interesting or fun things,” Hunter said of the interviewing process.
It is evident from the podcast that comedy is their niche, and that these guys are influenced by absurdist humor. They said some of their idols include comedians Tom Green, T.J. Miller, Eric Andre, Hannibal Buress, radio personality Phil Hendrie, filmmaker Lloyd Kaufman and writer Chuck Klosterman.
“There is a fascination with comedians I think we all have anyway, for me specifically, it is the only art form where it is judged as one whole,” Hunter said.
“I think what makes comedians really good to interview too, is the only thing that a comedian is selling is their personality,” Prince added. “Their job is themselves.”
Hunter said that the use of comedy in their podcast is intended to lift people up, not weigh them down. Ultimately, the company of each other is what drives them to keep talking TrASHE.
“We are definitely not NPR, but at the same time, we try to offer some substance,” Hunter said. “These guys are the funniest guys. They make me laugh harder than anyone else. And I have heard this said by other people before, but it is that vibe of skipping school forever. That is kind of the way it is with these guys.”
“It is like a road trip conversation stuck in a room,” Zod observed. “Some of the time it is a lot of fun. You don’t know exactly where you are going, you have a destination in mind, but the places you meander to get there, especially people that you know well, it is some of the best parts. It has been some of the best times I have ever had in my life.”
Hunter said the podcast premiers once a week on either Wednesdays or Sundays. He said the downloads each month are in the thousands, but he doesn’t like to tell that to Prince or Zod, in fear that all of that fame “will get to their heads.”
“We are lucky enough to have a good audience, and it keeps growing,” Hunter said. “I am surprised. But if it was just us [listening], so be it. It is a reason to hang out, and it is still fun. Everybody who listens, we appreciate you.”
“We love interacting with our listeners,” Zod added. “I am an open book on Twitter, for people who want to talk or whatever.”
Looking ahead, Hunter said he hopes to add a video element to the TrASHE soon (such as companion pieces and small vignettes of interviews) along with live shows at local bars. The TrASHE is always looking for sponsors, live read opportunities, and interesting guests.
Hunter said the TrASHE doesn’t usually promote celebrity guests just in case the interview falls through. But he added that the TrASHE does have some guests already booked that they are excited about (including an interview with yours truly and other members of Greensboro Roller Derby, coming soon).
“Doing something that you love with people that you love is a success,” Hunter said. “I don’t think anybody can say that wouldn’t be their dream. It is a way to live a dream. I did not expect this to get as big as it is, and it is still growing. I visibly see it from the inside, and I could not be prouder.”
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.
Check out TrasheCast for yourself on their website. (Note: This is NOT a family-friendly podcast) Keep up with the TrASHE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@trashecast, @trashe).