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Podcast / The First Podcast

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The First Podcast is a twice-weekly surrealist comedy talk show podcast hosted by Lars Housholder and Joseph Rosenblum.

The first episode was released on July 27, 2018. Initial episodes, most of which have since been removed, focused on the personal interactions between the hosts. Beginning with what was originally the ninth episode, the show gradually shifted focus toward guest interviews, a format that would eventually come to dominate the show.

The show style strays, often drastically, from the typical talk show format. While the hosts may ask what they consider to be "basic" questions here and there, especially at the beginning of episodes, the interviews tend to play out more like casual conversations with the guest (often with elaborate side tangents and the occasional mood whiplash). Episodes also have numerous recurring gags, a surreal editing style, and constant playful banter between the hosts (and between the hosts and the guest).


An early unique factor on the show was that Joe was, at least to some extent, playing a "semi-fictional" version of himself. In early 2020, he decided to largely drop this aspect of the show.

Tropes that concern only one host or guest host are being migrated to the character sheet. Please keep this page to tropes that apply to multiple hosts or the show itself.

This show provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Where to begin?
    • Alexis as a co-host was aborted after about two dozen recordings.
    • Joe "attempted" to bring on a possible co-host named Jasmine in an early episode, with her gratuitously bombing the "unplanned" interview during the episode.
    • The hosts stopped doing dramatic readings of My Immortal at an unspecified point when the profane results became less and less marketable. The original plan was to compile them all into a YouTube video, which has thus also been abandoned.
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    • Joe was supposed to get a "character arc" during Early Installment Weirdness, but this was abandoned when the show shifted toward a talk show format.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Lars and Joe are very open about it when a comedic jab at one another is exceptionally humorous.
  • A Day in the Limelight: A deleted episode featuring Shirley Raines is an episode in which the hosts decided to simply let the guest tell her story with almost no interjection. As such, the episode became a vessel for a story about a woman helping the homeless, with literally zero gags and only one moment of humor. Lars and Joe considered the format experimental and unusual, albeit in a good way.
  • All There in the Manual: The podcast contains a ton of additional gags in the official Fandom for the show.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Joe and Lars, for completely different reasons. The former seems to get himself into an unusually number of situations where he has to remind the audience that he is straight. The latter has a good amount of metrosexual mannerisms about him, and is the one of the two that would be most likely Mistaken for Gay in real life.
  • Amicable Exes: Though it's ambiguous if they were ever actually together, Lars and Alexis seem to be fine around each other as of the latter's latest guest host appearance.
  • Anchored Ship: Lars and Alexis, since her departure as a regular host.
  • Annoying Background Event: On many early episodes, one of the hosts would begin typing furiously, which disrupts the audio of the episode (usually to the chagrin of Lars).
    • Joe would occasionally trigger this trope in early episodes by eating potato chips while recording.
    • Whenever a plane or car drives by the recording studios, the hosts will rudely chastise them for it (even though they obviously can't hear that).
  • Anti-Humor: Utilized in a very complex, meta manner by both hosts to varying degrees.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Joe: Donald Trump
    • Lars: Nostalgia Critic
  • Arc Words: Many episode titles are this. After the first few episodes, Lars began a habit of attempting to pull out a phrase or one-liner that accurately presented the motif of the episode, rather than one that directly described its contents.
  • Ascended Extra: Ohan, and to a relatively similar extent, Richard. Both were guests who Lars and Joe enjoyed as "friends of the show", and have frequently appeared on subsequent episodes as guests hosts.
  • Ascended Fanboy: TJ ("Tiege"), listener of and friend of the show, eventually became the show's agent.
  • Aside Comment: Utilized by Joe on rare occasions, but semi-frequently utilized by Lars in the form of "editor's notes" to explain certain things in post-production.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Many early segments, recurring audio gags, and general traditions on the show were highly enjoyable in terms of the final product, but required a high level of difficulty behind the scenes. This unfortunately led to a lot of aborted arcs.
  • Beat: An underrated element of comedy on the show, often accentuated on the editing room.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Too many examples to even list. Can be considered one of the pillars of the show.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Nearly the entire focus of the show in very early episodes between Lars and Alexis. Seemingly abandoned when Alexis was Put on a Bus, but resurrected in a later episode in which she returned as a guest host.
  • Beta Couple: Subverted with Joe and his former partner. For almost a year, they functioned in the background of the show lore as this, with Lars (and, when present, Alexis) left to explore the foibles of being single. Many episodes discussed the lengthy history Joe had with said partner, including future plans of marriage and moving out of state together. One could hardly see the cracks show, though for eagle-eyed listeners, they were very subtly present. As of now, however, Joe is back to "ready to mingle" status.
  • Big Eater: Ohan. Joe once told a tale of a time the two of them went out to eat, in which Ohan got two large burritos with a nonchalance that suggested this was completely normal for him.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": A previous staple of Joe's early repertoire, which has mostly disappeared.
  • Black Comedy: The show is absolutely no stranger to this style of humor, at one point having a long discussion with a guest about amusing ways to die when they are of old age.
  • Bottle Episode: Later guestless episodes. This is in contrast to the process of procuring, recording with, and releasing the episode for promotion (which is quite involved and can take up to several months). Episodes where Lars and Joe just sit down to blast out a quick and easily editable episode are way easier for the crew.
    • That being said, the hosts try to stray from this format as much as possible, as the episodes with guests are what make the show actually interesting for newcomers.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Done so often that there really isn't much of a fourth wall left.
  • Bug Buzz: The trope is discussed on an episode with Chelsea Sanders of the Stupid Sequels Podcast, in which the movie Shark Exorcist fails to noise-gate any of this out, much to their annoyance.
  • Butt-Monkey: Joe, occasionally Ohan, and very rarely, Lars.
  • Call-Back: Every moment of every sentence in every episode of The First Podcast may contain this trope. To this day, the hosts will reference even things that happened on the very first episode. This is done by the hosts in an attempt to subtly reward long-term listeners.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Joe often introduces himself with an exaggerated and particular "Oh, hello", as a reference to a Kroll Show sketch.
    • Lars has an extremely distinct and nuanced "...Ah!" when listening to guest stories. It has a bit more mustard on it in terms of tonal excess, but not quite enough to sound dubious or condescending.
    • "You heard it here first!" for either of the hosts, when a guest reveals previously private information.
  • Censored for Comedy: Occasionally sprinkled in, especially in early episodes.
  • Chekhov's Gun: If something seems oddly specifically inserted into an episode, there is generally a reason for it later on, sometimes in a subsequent episode.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Lars once harshly criticized Chris for apparently playing Call of Duty as a primarily melee-based fighter, likening this practice to the opposite of the Trope Namer.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Deliberately invoked in almost every episode for comedy.
  • Continuity Nod: Invoked whenever possible, to reward long-term listeners.
  • Cool Old Guy: Vijay Lakshman, the creator of The Elder Scrolls and a guest on the show at one point. Lars and Joe consider him to be one, and frequently bring him up on subsequent episodes as being a humble and personable guy.
  • Corpsing: While the show does not enforce any level of seriousness per se, there are occasionally serious guests on an episode. Once in a while, you can hear a very stifled laugh in the background due to Lars and Joe experiencing something funny off-air.
  • Creator In-Joke: While technically full of this, anyone can be in on the joke by listening to the live recordings on Discord; a lot of "Throw It In!" gags will be very obvious to the listener when they hear the finished product.
  • Crossover: A curious example in a one-off episode of The Stupid Sequels Podcast, upon which Lars and Joe were the guests. Lars actually edited this episode, and because of that, the end result more closely resembles an episode of The First Podcast than an episode of its own show.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Lars and Alexis. It is left completely ambiguous. Not even Joe knows.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Cranked up to eleven on an episode where Alexis amusingly hears a story from Lars and Joe about the former pouring honey all over the latter's face. The incident in question really was Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but it still plays out as this trope in spades.
  • Dominatrix: One of the guests, though with completely subverted expectations. Instead of talking about the dominatrix life in any way, the entire episode is devoted to discussing political philosophy and her relationship with someone who later turned out to be major figure of the alt-right.
  • Double Acts and Groups: Lars and Joe. While Lars occasionally hosts the show by himself, the overwhelming majority of episodes feature Joe as well.
  • Dramatic Reading: Many early episodes included dramatic readings of My Immortal.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The early episodes of the show had a lot of this. In part because of these examples, Joe and Lars chose to take down several of them.
    • There were almost no guest interviews.
    • An additional co-host, Alexis, was prolific.
    • The episodes centered mainly around the lives of the (then three) hosts.
    • Mild profanity was allowed, but more volatile language was censored.
    • Joe was in a long-term relationship with someone, which suddenly became very outdated after an abrupt end to the engagement.
    • Episodes featured frequent dramatic readings of My Immortal. The hosts have essentially abandoned this, as it makes for exceptionally NSFW episodes.
  • Enforced Plug: At least once an episode now that the show is sponsored. Done as humorously as possible in the hopes that the listener will tolerate it.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Zig-zagged. The show is (intentionally falsely) presented as "the first podcast ever made", which obviously is not true.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The reason why Lars no longer makes jokes about girls being "too old for Joe". While he dismissed criticism that it was an offensive joke to make, as it was clearly tongue-in-cheek, he agreed to curtail usage of it because it could lead to statements being taken out of context (and used against Joe, Lars, or the show in general).
  • Fake Loud: Mercifully enforced in the editing room with a fairly strict adherence to a hard-limited -3.0dB volume level. Even if someone is screaming bloody murder into their microphone, it won't usually destroy one's speakers.
  • Fan Boy: The hosts, to Death Note.
  • Fan Disservice: On an episode where Alexis is extremely sick, Lars makes a point of not only not editing out her nose-blowing moments, but amplifying them to all hell.
    • While most podcasts edit out throat clearing and coughing, this show often exaggerates them.
  • Flashback... Back... Back...: Many early episodes have a "rewind gag" with the same stock sound effect, although they almost never actually flash back, instead inserting random unrelated audio from some other media.
  • Foreshadowing: On the original very first episode of the show, Joe mentioned that one of his dream guests would be Josh Newman, a former California State Senator who he felt was set up for a recall. At least half a year later, this is exactly who they interviewed.
  • Funny Background Event: A favorite editing trick of Lars, when he is able to layer certain audio gags in the background that the audience may catch. Since it's an audio podcast, he doesn't get the opportunity as often as he would like, but he runs with it whenever possible.
  • Gag Series: Pretty much.
  • Genre Shift: From romantic comedy to talk show.
  • Growing the Beard: After about three months, Lars and Joe made an executive decision to almost completely stop doing episodes without guests. It was around this time that the show also began to truly find its stride, and the focus shifted from the personal lives of the hosts to the variety of guests they would interview. The show is objectively better now because of it.
    • The show also really came to its own on another level around episode 33, in which they started to interview larger creators.
  • Hand Wave: The reason for Alexis's absence was given as "medical leave" due to a "sea witch" stealing her voice.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Episodes with Joe's now ex-fiancee in the background, where the two would bicker practically every time. Could be seen as normal couple banter in the past, but now...
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": Once in a while if a guest, for some reason, says the number 69, Joe and Lars will make an exaggeratingly juvenile observation about that being "the sex number".
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Lars and Joe.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: On Alexis's last guest host appearance, the "honey story" could be easily interpreted this way between Lars and Joe. Ironically, the story refers to an innocuous moment involving actual honey.
  • Hypocritical Humor: While not the majority of jokes, a strong minority of jokes on the show are intentionally hypocritical.
  • Initiation Ceremony: The original first two episodes of the podcast were auditions for the co-hosts to be a member of the show.
  • Instant Turn-Off: Lars and Alexis go from 60 to 0 when it comes to any potential suitor, if they learn that the latter is a Trump supporter.
  • Insult Backfire: Frequently when Joe tosses one at Lars. Explained on an episode with Ohan, in which Joe's persona as the "dorky guy" makes most insults he delivers tend to backfire.
  • Jackhammered Conversation: Utilized occasionally to "censor" something.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Invoked for comedic value. If a guest seems taken aback by a withering barb that Lars or Joe has lobbed at one another, said other will be quick to point out if the jab they just made was, at the end of the day, true.
  • Lampshade Hanging: First a gag is done legitimately. Then a gag is lampshaded. Then a gag is abandoned. Then a gag is resurrected in a bizarre postmodern form. Wash, rinse, repeat.
  • Left It In: Done frequently, starting on the original very first episode with a loud throat-clearing that Lars said he would edit out.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: For a podcast, at least. Listeners are eventually expected to keep track of a total of six different hosts: Lars and Joe, the main two hosts; Alexis, co-host in absentia; Chris, a friend of the show and frequent guest host on early episodes; and Ohan and Richard, recurring guest hosts for "Bros Night" episodes. Any of the latter four were fair game to show up on literally any early episode, and there is almost no consistency to it, which led to a very staccato flow of, "Who the hell is gonna be on this time?".
    • Later episodes of the show pared this down quite a bit, focusing on only Lars and Joe as hosts.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Lars's "Jesus era", referenced on the show but occurring before the show, during a time when he grew his hair out to shoulder length and lost a lot of weight.
  • Love Triangle: Jokingly invoked during an early episode, where joke "host" Randy is stated to get in the middle of Lars and Alexis.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Lars and Joe, for somewhat different reasons.
  • Later episodes of the show had Lars start cranking this up to eleven.
  • Manipulative Editing: Purposefully and overtly done for comedy.
  • Meaningful Name: The title of the show is, in itself, a gag. As the podcast began in 2018, it obviously isn't "the first podcast", as in the first one ever created.
  • Medium Awareness: All the hosts possess this in spades.
  • Mind Screw: Subtle or overt examples of this occur in literally every episode.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Listening to the show as it comes out does not generally produce this trope. However, if the listener chooses to instead binge-consume the podcast, there are occasionally severe differences in tone and mood from episode to episode. In one example, the show takes a hard turn from a serious political conspiracy discussion to a goofy interview of a small D&D YouTuber the next episode.
  • Never My Fault: Guest Luke, from the aptly named YouTube channel Not My Fault, explained that his channel name comes from him being an example of this trope.
  • Non-Indicative First Episode: Other than perhaps a vague similarity in sense of humor, the original first episode of the podcast would give the listener absolutely zero expectations of future genre or format.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The show title.
    • An early deleted episode was called "Climbing Skyscrapers with Joe Biden". Biden is not on the episode.
    • On an episode with DJ Chuck None, they discussed a hypothetical podcast called "The Obamacast", which would humorously not feature Barack Obama.
  • Noodle Incident: That time Lars went over to Alexis's place late one night.
  • Now Buy the Merchandise: Played straight on many episodes, though in a humorous way.
  • Odd Friendship: Played with. Lars and Joe could be seen as this by a newcomer to the podcast, as they have wildly contrasting personalities. However, the clashing personalities are purposefully cranked up to eleven for the sake of comedy. In real life, they are both much more amiable and much more professional to each other. They have occasionally mentioned on-air or in social media interactions that if a listener were to see a private chat between the two in comparison to their podcast conversations, they would scarcely believe the difference in vibe and tone.
  • Old Shame: Lars and Joe consider the very early episodes as an example of this, though they don't completely hate them.
  • Once an Episode: An early staple of the show was that, during almost every guest interview, the hosts would posit at least one hypothetical question.
  • Overly Long Gag: In one episode with Ohan, Lars stretched out a moment of the former saying "Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh..." for forty-eight seconds. The end result sounds like some sort of decaying flight vehicle and is truly bizarre, even for this podcast.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Lars, Joe and even Alexis will occasionally invoke this trope by very specifically explaining how they are washing their hands of something that was said by a co-host.
  • Our Slogan Is Terrible: "The First Podcast. One of many podcasts." Voice acted by Marieve Herington, of all people.
  • Overused Running Gag: The duck question: "For two billion dollars, would you spend the next 4300 years as a series of ducks?" The hosts ran this question into the ground.
  • Postmodernism: Especially on episodes without guests, "What is a show?" is something of a running theme.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Several episodes discuss this at length, mostly about what constitutes the trope.
  • Put on a Bus: About two months in, Alexis suddenly disappeared from her regular hosting duties. The show later mentioned that this was due to real-life scheduling complications, and that she was welcome back on whenever her time allowed.
  • Radio Voice: Voicemail clips that the hosts listen to on-air are sometimes intentionally processed in this way for consistency.
  • Retcon: While the earlier episodes of the show are not explicitly abandoned in terms of memes and lore, the format of these episodes is essentially disregarded by the hosts. In a sense, the show has been "retconned" as a talk show instead of a romantic comedy.
  • Revisiting the Roots: A later episode with the return of Alexis is a stylistic throwback to the early episode format.
  • Rimshot: Inserted for comedic purposes here and there.
  • Rule of Funny: Invoked and even cranked up to eleven when appropriate.
    • Later episodes of the show have Lars completely abandoning any sense of consistency, reasoning, or common sense if doing so will lead to something funny, such as including Billie Eilish in a list of "celebrities with one name".
  • Rule of Three: Broken by Joe, frequently, with the "awkward fourth" joke on a row.
  • Running Gag: There are oh so many.
    • In early episodes, Joe would react with angry "Jewish rage" in response to something Lars has said, usually in the form of telling him to "shut up", followed by an over-the-top apology.
    • Joe's sexual orientation will be questioned for no particular reason.
    • Lars will attempt to surreptitiously convince the guests to ask Joe when was the last time he cried.
    • The hosts will intentionally misunderstand a term in order to initiate a "rewind gag", in which the podcast is supposedly "rewound" to discover what was actually said. Instead, Lars inserts a random clip from some other media for the sake of absurdity.
    • The hosts will note that the guest should be answering all questions "as if their life depended on it".
    • The hosts will forget to do an ad read for the sponsor, and have to insert one in post production.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Played for laughs on several episodes, where Lars will notice the current "state" of the show, often with Joe behaving in an extremely cringeworthy manner, and contemplate quitting it altogether.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot: Alexis never 'really' had time to commit to a podcast that records at least twice a week. But dammit, for months she sure did try.
  • Shipper on Deck: Joe, for Lars and Alexis. Lars, for Ohan and Kirsten Collins. Chris, for Lars and Laura Bailey.
  • Ship Tease: The entire story arc of Lars and Alexis in early episodes, as well as articles on the official Wikia of the podcast.
  • Show Within a Show: Nebraska Coeds, a semi-fictional series within the First Podcast universe. Inspired by a real-life series called "Nebraska Coeds", Joe utilized the name in a surreal way by pretending that it was a legitimate film series resembling the arc structure of Star Wars.
  • Signature Sound Effect: Though initially added as a stock sound effect, the specific sound[1] used for the "rewind gag" is something of a signature sound effect for the show, due to consistent and insistent usage of it each time.
  • Sixth Ranger: Ohan, and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Richard. Both are recurring guest hosts.
  • Sound Defect: The show is recorded on Discord. Not every guest has the most reliable internet connection. Thus, once in a while a guest will unfortunately drop out of the call in a humorous-sounding manner, which will be laughed about by the hosts.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Used extensively in earlier episodes to censor harsh cursing such as "fuck", but also to censor information a host or guest deemed unacceptable for inclusion in the episode. In later episodes, the former was dropped, though the latter is occasionally used.
  • Spiritual Successor: A cursory viewing of Lars's YouTube channel shows that this show is, actually, this trope to it. While the former is a channel and the latter is a podcast, the comedy and editing style are nearly identical.
  • Stock Scream: The Wilhelm Scream. This is a Justified Trope, as it is only ever utilized when said scream itself is actually referenced.
  • Stylistic Suck: Infrequent but humorously used, especially on episodes without a guest.
  • Surreal Humor: Pervades almost every second of every episode.
  • The Cameo: "And I'm Nick Bertke. I'm not actually here right now. This is just a gag that I've pre-recorded."
    • Also, the first guest episode with Nick himself that preceded this gag. The hosts have noted the humorously disproportionate fame of their first guest, in comparison to their status as an extremely small podcast.
  • The Stinger: While few and far in between, several episodes do contain extra material after the outro music. Lars tends to avoid doing this too often, as he feels the gags would potentially be missed by fans who may not bother to check the timestamp once they hear the ostensible "ending" of the episode.
  • The Teaser: Every single episode begins with a comical cold open. Sometimes this includes statements that are humorous of their own accord, while other times they contain gags that pay off later in the episode.
  • Theme Tune: An original piece by musician Tiege.
  • Torment by Annoyance: Joe often asks guests about their luggage preferences, annoying Lars as he considers the subject material incredibly dry.
  • Viewers Are Morons: Invoked, but only for comedy. For example, Lars will occasionally over-explain a joke that required zero explanation.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Played up for laughs on the show. Lars and Joe are much more agreeable toward each other in real life.
  • Wacky Sound Effect: While not utilized every episode, this is a very frequent gag.
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: Often invoked and exaggerated in the editing room.
  • Wham Episode: Occasionally, the show will take a hard turn into serious terrority, featuring guests like a former State Senator involved in a lawsuit alleging that he was ousted for dirty reasons.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Many early plotlines are this, but perhaps most prominent concerns the regular Dramatic Reading instances of My Immortal. The hosts have noted that they still enjoy doing these readings, but they are simply not commercially friendly.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Played up extensively in early episodes between Lars and former co-host Alexis, with her second episode appearance practically planting the entire "rom com" seed.
  • Writer on Board: Occasionally utilized in the editing room by Lars, almost always for comedic effect, even if it is a bit overly charitable to him.
  • Writer's Block: One of the secondary motivations for switching to a talk show format; Lars and Joe were simply having trouble coming up with new ideas for episodes by themselves.

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