Happy Sad Confused is an interview show where host Josh Horowitz talks to actors and actresses from both television and film. Each episode is roughly an hour long and Horowitz has had a lot of A-listers on the show: Woody Harrelson, Anna Kendrick, Warren Beatty, and Kurt Russell to name a few. As with most talk shows, the celebs on the show are usually on a promotional circuit so discussion of their current project is definitely on the agenda.
There is often a lot of rumination at the beginning of episodes where Horowitz talks with his producer/sidekick Sammy about … well, drivel, basically. They talk about how awesome the show is going to be and giggle for around 6-8 minutes. That is a reallllllly loooooong intro. There’s also a fair amount of Josh Horowitz self-promotion which I find strange; the best interview shows are about the guests, and the interviewer’s style shines through without being too host-centered. I suppose he’s part of the draw, as people younger than me have watched him as a correspondent on MTV, but it’s just a bit much for me. Here’s an example:
Just … ugh. This is at 6 minutes into the show. Still no Anna Kendrick!
There are also some basic production issues that are problematic for me – enough to distract me from getting lost in the interview. Why the show is called Happy Sad Confused is unclear to me after listening to many hours of the show; there’s really no common thread between the interviews that alludes to happy, sad, or confused times in the guest’s life. The show also suffers from less than stellar production quality, though it seems to have improved when it became affiliated with MTV (it was previously in the Earwolf/Wolfpop network). The sound is a big problem in earlier episodes and many reviews on iTunes mention this: there are volume changes that are distracting, and older episodes sometimes sound like show being recorded on a smartphone in a less than sound proof room. In older episodes there sems to have been very little editing done, and that makes it seem haphazard vs. put-together. Haphazard is a little more palatable if you’re interviewing D-listers, but A-listers? I don’t get it.
Horowitz has a lot of loyal followers and I think he does a great job preparing for the interviews and obviously has a great network of people to draw from. But I’ve recently unsubscribed because the show’s style is just too casual for me, too bro-ish, like here’s an insider “convo” with (typically) a white dude in Hollywood. No offense to white dudes, but it would be really easy to find some more diverse guests. I will give Horowitz credit for doing enough research on the guest to come up with interviews that last an hour or two, I’d just enjoy it more if the production value was better, the guests were more diverse, and the questions went a little deeper and less giggly. You may enjoy the show if you also like How to Be Amazing, The Nerdist, or the Bret Easton Ellis Podcast.
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Audible Feast Ratings
Educational Value (2 / 5)
Pop Culture Value (5 / 5)
Host Listen-ability (2 / 5)
Flow & Production Value (2 / 5)
Humor (3 / 5)
Investigation (2 / 5)
Storytelling (2 / 5)
Makes Me a Better Person (1 / 5)
Overall Audible Feast Rating: (2 / 5)
Start with These Episodes:
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Anna Faris is Unqualified, Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show, WTF With Marc Maron, Austin Film Festival’s On Story, Nerdist, Off Camera, How to Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black, Bret Easton Ellis Podcast
The show doesn’t have its own website, which is a big missed opportunity, but you can see all the MTV podcast episodes here.