Analyze Phish is a podcast on the Earwolf network, in which Harris Wittles (Parks and Recreation) attempted to make Scott Aukerman (Comedy Bang! Bang!) a fan of the band Phish. They discussed the band, listened to their music, and attended live shows together.
The show worked off the dynamic between Wittels, a devoted Phish fan who had attended 300 of their concerts, and Aukerman, who began the series having a slightly negative but mostly agnostic opinion towards the band, and was curious about their music and fan culture. Early in its run, Wittels recieved some blowback from fellow Phish fans, who claimed the podcast was not a proper introduction to the band, in part because he regularly played Scott snippets of songs as opposed to full jams. In an article he wrote for Relix, he argued that the podcast was intended to be comedic first and foremost, and he also wanted to keep listeners' interest: He observed there's not a lot that's funny about two guys silently listening to a 20 minute Phish song. That Relix article also doubled a more serious guide from him for those interested in actually getting into the band.
The podcast had an infrequent schedule, and Wittels claimed the show would end on the spot if Aukerman decided he actually liked Phish. By the end of its run, Aukerman still hadn't become a fan, but he had grown to understand the appeal of the band. Only 10 episodes of the podcast were made before Wittels died of a drug overdose in 2015.
Analyze Phish provides examples of:
- Bizarro Episode: Invoked Trope. Two episodes are named Analyze Fish, and feature a different set of hosts discussing the movie Jaws.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Harris's friend Foxy, who attended Phish shows under the influence as much as Harris and likes to stick his finger in people's mouths, is a practicing lawyer.
- Cringe Comedy: Scott describes Harris as cringing during live calls from Phish fans. And when Harris hears himself on tape. And when Scott asked the band annoying questions backstage.
- Epic Fail: One listener wrote in and said that if Harris argued in favor of breathing oxygen, people would suffocate.
- Freudian Excuse: One of the reasons Scott didn't like Phish is that in college, a Phish-loving hippy slept with his girlfriend.
- Guest Host: One episode is hosted by Tom Sharpling of The Best Show.
- Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Scott imagines a world in which hotel security uses time travel to stop pot-smoking guests.
- Interface Spoiler: Harris believes that the listeners will have already read the show notes for each episode, so there's no point in waiting to talk about what will happen, because it's already been spoiled.
- Line-of-Sight Name: Scott criticizes Phish for this a few times, for example, when Harris said that "Farmhouse" was written in a farmhouse, and "Train Song" was named after the band rode a train.
- Overly Long Gag: When Harris offers Scott a choice of three songs to listen to, Harris starts the list with "The Line..." which Scott interrupts with "The Witch and The Wardrobe". They repeat this about a dozen times.
- Short-Lived Big Impact: Analyze Phish only lasted ten episodes before Wittels died, but it directly inspired Phish lyricist Tom Marshall to start his own podcast, Under the Scales. That show wound up being the starting point for Marshall's Osiris Podcast Network, which features several other music podcasts, many of them about Phish or other jam bands.
- Special Guest: Phish bassist Mike Gordon appeared in the show's ninth episode. The seventh episode features music journalist Nathan Rabin, himself a Phish fan.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: At a concert, multiple fans independently give Scott identical spiels about how lighting director Chris Kuroda is the "fifth member of Phish".
- While Harris and Scott are listening to recordings of themselves at Phish concerts, Harris makes a joke, only to hear that on the tape that he made the same joke at the time of the recording. Later Scott has to bite his tongue to keep from making a joke which, again, it turns out he made on the recording.
- During a show, when Scott asked what song was playing, a random person came up to them and shouted, "It's the Maze, bro! You'll never get out of the Maze!" Harris admitted he would have said the same thing.
- Watch It Stoned: Harris believed that drug use is such an integral part of experiencing Phish shows, that Scott (who had never taken anything harder than pot) agreed to take hard drugs for their concerts.