In June, American Public Media laid off 28 employees, together with John Moe. APM canceled each Chris Thile’s “Dwell from Right here” and Moe’s acclaimed podcast “The Hilarious World of Despair.” Moe responded with a tweet that learn, partially, “I’ve been laid off. I’m unemployed. I don’t know what the long run will likely be.”
Seems the long run was brighter than he may need anticipated. Not solely did nicely wishers flood his inbox, he heard from folks seeking to work with him sooner or later. “I spotted I’m not on a one-way road,” mentioned Moe, who lives in St. Paul. “I’m at an unlimited intersection.”
After taking a while to decompress, he signed with an agent and commenced speaking to a spread of potential collaborators, from different public radio networks to large media corporations. Moe ultimately entered into an settlement with the unbiased podcast firm Most Enjoyable. Monday, some 9 months after he was laid off, Moe’s new podcast “Depresh Mode with John Moe” launches with two episodes, that includes discussions with actor and comic Patton Oswalt and comic and writer Kelsey Darragh.
“There was extra curiosity in having me preserve podcasting than I frankly anticipated,” Moe mentioned. “I’ve numerous common, actually religious listeners who occurred to be excessive up in media corporations.”
However Moe was cautious about turning into an worker once more. He selected Most Enjoyable as a result of he preferred the corporate’s enterprise mannequin. He’s primarily licensing his podcast to the corporate, which gives him with manufacturing assist and shares a portion of the advert revenues with him.
“That was actually interesting,” Moe mentioned. “If anyone needs to make a film, I can’t forsee that occuring, however I might personal that. I get to be my very own firm.”
Moe began work on the podcast in January and arrange a studio in his basement. “My coworkers are canine,” he mentioned.
As APM owns the rights to “The Hilarious World of Despair,” Moe began from scratch. The place his APM podcast centered on despair, he determined to develop the main target of “Depresh Mode” to incorporate extra common points round psychological well being. His contract requires 48 episodes a 12 months, greater than twice the quantity he sometimes produced at APM.
Every episode, he talks to a star, musician, comic, psychologist or writer a couple of completely different subject and Moe has already compiled sufficient concepts to fill his first 12 months, together with trauma and COVID, borderline persona and office burnout. “I’ve been producing so many concepts as a result of I’ve had some time to wander the desert and take into consideration them. I’ve been itching to get again on the air and discuss them,” he mentioned.
Moe can be speaking to his producers about methods they will get listeners extra actively concerned within the present, presumably by stay on-line occasions on YouTube or Twitter. “I wish to do a present that has some really feel for the heart beat of what folks need,” he mentioned. “I need their voices on the present.”
Creating “Depresh Mode” is a full-time job for Moe, however he’s additionally making time to return to public talking engagements, which he mentioned are beginning to ramp up once more, and to give attention to his e book “The Hilarious World of Depression,” which St. Martin’s Press revealed in Might.
“There’s some consulting stuff, too,” he mentioned. “If issues get actually busy and it’s an excessive amount of, I could usher in another folks. The thought of getting a company is actually interesting to me, even when it’s simply me and it’s primarily based round engendering wider conversations about psychological well being.”
As for the tone of the present, Moe mentioned sustaining a humorousness whereas discussing psychological well being makes the subject extra approachable.
“My brother died by suicide in 2007,” he mentioned. “Once we have been going to scatter his ashes, my sister was holding his urn. Our mother requested if it was heavy and he or she mentioned, ‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.’ Even at that low level, we discovered jokes, as a result of it’s a means of pushing by.
“I’ve by no means been a fan of jokes that tear folks down or mock individuals who don’t deserve it. However jokes with observations about life and jokes a couple of shared expertise that doesn’t get mentioned, I’m a fan of these. I feel it attracts folks nearer collectively and makes the subject much less scary.”
The primary gag comes within the new podcast’s title, a goof on the synth-pop band Depeche Mode.
“Once I began ‘Hilarious World of Despair,’ I used to be intentionally attempting to think about the worst title doable for a podcast. It was a humorous concept, however we have been going to give you a greater title and no one ever did. With this one, I believed fairly arduous about. I didn’t need ‘despair’ within the title given my broader mandate. When ‘Depresh Mode’ popped in my head, I texted it to my spouse, heard her chortle from throughout the home and I believed, ‘That’s it!’ To my shock, Max Enjoyable preferred it, too. Now I’m simply ready for a stop and desist order from (Depeche Mode’s lead singer) Dave Gahan.”