From a basement in Greenpoint, a group of macho, comic book nerds that has been entertaining legions of comic book fans for six years is about to mark a major milestone.
On Saturday, Pete’s Basement – the show titled after its host venue, Pete DeLuca’s basement where it is filmed – will celebrate its 300th podcast that in typical fashion will be jam-packed with harsh critiques of the latest comic books making waves, rude yet rib-tickling banter, and most importantly dudes talking about the art form they love.
Saturday’s episode will also feature a comic book trivia drinking game with the cast members and contests with giveaways for viewers.
“We try not to take ourselves too seriously,” said Pete DeLuca, the host and co-producer of the show. “It’s about coupling that comic book nerdiness with the tough guy New Yorker attitude.”
Pete’s Basement started out as an idea in the show’s producer, Roger Kenny’s brain in 2007. He never quite shared the passion for comics the way his friends did.
“I was a big Mad Magazine fan,” he said.
But Kenny did think that putting that enthusiasm and excitement about comic books on screen would instantly attract a large fan following. DeLuca recalled Kenny asking him to be in a video podcast, and saying yes instantly not knowing in the least what a podcast was.
Kenny approached some of their other friends: Ramon Chamorro, Steve Deninno, Adam Wiesen, and a show was born out of a group of friends hanging out in one of their basements, animatedly discussing their love for comic books.
Soon the show was amassing 30,000 downloads a week. Today that number is in the hundreds of thousands. The show has a rotating cast of about 10 people with DeLuca and Chamorro remaining constant.
The show’s irreverent banter and passion for comics, qualities that viewers show up for week after week, has germinated out of a lifelong friendship between the entire team working on the show.
Almost all are lifelong Greenpoint residents with connections, sometimes, going back generations. Kenny, DeLuca, and Deninno went to an arts high school in the neighborhood together.
DeLuca’s great-grandparents moved to Greenpoint in 1911. And it was his grandmother’s love for comics that instilled the same excitement in him. He recalled his childhood when his grandmother drove him each week to the local comic book store to pick up the latest weekly issues. He would often spend hours talking about them with her. His early favorites were Spiderman and G.I. Joe. His favorite character was Snake Eyes, and he even named his dog Timber after the lead character’s pet wolf.
It’s that connection to the neighborhood, and that excitement about the art form that attracted a large fan following. In November, the podcast amassed 814,000 downloads. And Kenny said the average monthly downloads have surpassed 300,000.
In December, a devoted fan who works from home sent the team Christmas presents. In a letter addressed to the group, he mentioned that show was his only solace working long hours from home, and had prevented him from going into depression.
DeLuca says what sets them apart is the fact that they don’t bend to comic book stereotypes of the virgin, acne-faced readers. It is what has kept an independent show like theirs afloat when many others have faced financial troubles and have had to close down. In fact the entire team has full time jobs in addition to the production of the show.
“You can read comic books and have a life too you know,” said DeLuca. “You can have a girlfriend, many of the cast members have a wife and family.”
And it is that sense of community –the show’s logo even has the now destroyed Greenpoint twin gas tanks – that the show creates week after week that continues to propel it to greater strengths.
To check out more information about Pete’s Basement, the podcast, and the cast check out http://petesbasement.com.
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