It’s happened to us all; getting lunch at a Burger King in Chicago, in possession of your podcasting equipment, when you suddenly fall into an interdimensional rift to the magical land of Foon, and wind up in The Vermillion Minotaur tavern and inn. What do you mean that’s ridiculous? Well, that’s exactly what happened to Arnie Niekamp, human man, improv comedian, and dimensional traveller.
Hello From The Magic Tavern is a high-fantasy improv comedy podcast starring Niekamp as himself, Matt Young as Usidore the Blue, and Adal Rifai as Chunt the shapeshifter (who happens to almost always be taking the form of a talking badger). In case it wasn’t immediately obvious, the show is far from subtle, and each week a new magical inhabitant of Foon is invited on and interviewed by the hosts. The guests are played by the hosts’ close personal friends from within the improv comedy scene, as well as other big names in the world of comedy and podcasting in general, and have included Paul F. Tompkins, Felicia Day, Lauren Lapkiss and even pro wrestler Colt Cabana. With topics ranging from the rules and results of Foon’s leading sport ‘mittens’ to casual chats with royalty like Tomblain Belaroth or The Goblin Queen, each episode is roughly forty minutes of hilarious fantasy improv that fans of The Lord of The Rings, Dungeons and Dragons and media of that ilk are sure to love.
When the gang aren’t busy getting lost in their thousands of running gags, tripping over the stupidly deep lore of Foon they have crafted, or trying to remember one of Usidore’s ridiculous and powerful alternate names (my favourite being Biscuit Meniscus, as he is known by the bakers of Foon), Arnie, Chunt and Usidore often find themselves embroiled in season-spanning storylines, with quests to prepare for and armies to build in their grand mission to slay The Dark Lord. The show has proven immensely popular, and has spawned countless live shows, convention appearances, merchandise, and even Stitcher Premium spin-off shows like the long-running Offices and Bosses. With special episodes like Chunt’s ‘Chunt For Red October’ blood drive for thirsty vampires, or the recurring variety show ‘Chunt’s Night’, there’s enough in-jokes and self-referential humour to reward the avid fan while also enough standalone irreverent comedy to entice the casual listener.
If you’re looking for a light and enjoyable comedy podcast to soundtrack your chores, or some high-fantasy fun with a simple enough storyline to be engaging but not overwhelming, Hello From The Magic Tavern is well worth the listen. With the show currently deep into its third season, there’s plenty of content to keep you busy, and whether you chose to start at the beginning for the full story, or pick and choose based on the fantastic guest stars, you’re sure to have a great stay at The Vermillion Minotaur. So long as you avoid the spiced potatoes… trust me.
Hello From The Magic Tavern is available to listen to here. You can see the first episode via YouTube below.