Nerds of Nostalgia takes its podcast out of the basement and into Tapcade
The nerds are out of the basement. Over the past year, Greg Dedrick and Jenius McGee have taken their Nerds of Nostalgia podcast above ground and in front of audiences.
That’s not a worn-out trope: Nerds of Nostalgia (along with horror-focused spin-off, Nightmare Junkhead) is recorded in the basement of Dedrick’s Pendleton Heights home. On the podcast, Dedrick and McGee banter about the films that have shaped the foundations of today’s geeky subculture. They also recruit regular guests to discuss topics as wide-ranging as Iron Maiden and the films of the Cannon Group.
Dedrick and McGee have hosted several films at the Alamo Drafthouse, but recent movie nights at Tapcade have proven successful enough that they’ll be hosting a monthly event, Mystery Movie Mondays, springing classic nerd features, starting January 25.
The Pitch caught up with the Dedrick and McGee to discuss how they got here.
The Pitch: What’s the origin story of Nerds of Nostalgia?
Dedrick: I’d been doing a movie night at my house for about four years. The idea was to expose people to movies that I thought were super dope and wanted more people to see. I’d always been big into podcasts and decided to start one with the movie night. It was called the Dedrick Movie Night Podcast, and I expected an audience of no one. But then I ran into this guy.
McGee: I worked at a toy store, and I would teach children how to play marbles and games. We get tour groups in all the time, and one day, I was at a show at the Uptown Arts Bar, and somebody was like, “Hey, I know you! You work at the toy store and you were awesome with the kids. You should come down to one of our movie nights.” I’m like, “OK. Why not?”
I go over, and I go down these Evil Dead basement stairs and was like, “This is pretty dope.” They’re watching Terminator, and I get introduced to this guy [points at Dedrick], and during the movie, we start talking about The Terminator and Star Wars — all this nerd shit. It was awesome. We just had this repartee. At the time I was — and I still am — the president of the Kansas City Horror Club, and we were getting ready for our Halloween show fundraiser. He asks me if I want to come on his podcast to promote the show, and so I came on, we start talking about Linnea Quigley, Return of the Living Dead and Night of the Demons, right? It was great.
Dedrick: It was an immediate chemistry.
McGee: It was like Stepbrothers: “Did we just become best friends?” “Yup!” “You wanna go record in the basement and do karate?” “Yup!”
Dedrick: From there, I switched the Dedrick Movie Night to the Nerds of Nostalgia. Our first episode was in January. It’s just grown from there, and it’s fun.
It seems like you guys are willing to follow a tangent down a rabbit hole, because of that sense of fun.
Dedrick: When something sparks like that, I always want to see where it goes, because it might go into some uncharted region. We might uncover some movie we haven’t talked about in ages.
McGee: We might talk about RoboCop, then we’re talking about Lord of the Rings, and next thing you know it’s like, “You know — it’s kind of like RoboCop in that blah blah blah,” and everyone is all, “Oh, shit! It is!”
What led to Monday Mystery Movies at Tapcade?
Dedrick: We did the Halloween and Christmas triple features and had a good reception, and then [Screenland operator] Adam [Roberts] was like, “Go ahead and let ’em try it,” so we’re excited. It’s the usual stuff we would do beforehand. We’ll have 15 minutes of vintage clips, commercials and trailers. And I’ll admit it: I took full inspiration from the Drafthouse.
My original plan was Class of ’86, nothing but movies from ’86 — horror, comedy, what have you — and, nostalgia aside, there’s some good flicks that came out of there. There’s some bad ones, but there’s also the ones that have just aged poorly and are much the better for it — those that kind of transcended that. You’ve also got those few gems that just — I can objectively say that a few of my all-time favorite movies are horrible — ineptly put together, horribly edited and boom mics are in the shot. But, if they’re made earnestly and there’s some genuine passion, it makes me love it all the more. Give me Cobra and Invasion USA any day.
McGee: It’s cooler to look at it from an older point of view, you know? There’s a lot of shit you don’t get when you’re that little and that young, and you look at it now, and it’s a case of “Did they really go there?”
How do you take something this massively time-consuming and balance it with a real job?
McGee: I take it super-seriously. If we can’t record one night, I’m like, “Aw, man.” [hums sad theme to A Charlie Brown Christmas] ‘Cause I love it, and it’s that old saying: “If you do something you love, you don’t have to work a day.” I treat it like a job but like a fun job where I want to do this. I want to record. I want to host. I want to be out in public, seeing what people think about these movies and our opinions and all that cool stuff.
Dedrick: It’s easy. It’s a good balance, and I just enjoy doing it. In terms of doing the research, I can fit it in between work, and besides, we’ve got the Internet everywhere.
McGee: We’re going to watch these movies and talk about them, regardless. If there’s a mic on or an audience? It’s just butter on toast.