“New subscribers, it’s going to be a bit weird just hang in there”. I remember hearing those words two years ago, grinning to myself. I’d accidentally found what I was looking for from the podcast medium and I had no intention of letting it go.
My obsession with football can often be categorised with how much media I consume outside of the games itself, and pandemic-era football had taken this to new heights. With nothing but time, I opened up YouTube and went down a football content road which I am yet to properly break out of. The catalyst behind my enjoyment of external, independent content growing was James Allcott. I remember being gripped by his insight, his calm delivery and oozing passion for the game.
Having subscribed worryingly quickly, I saw a video pop up in my inbox: ‘Can Klopp stop Liverpool cracks?’. I mindlessly clicked, taking no note of the video length or the fact I hadn’t recognised the other person in the thumbnail. I swiftly recognised what I had stumbled into: James Allcott had a podcast.
What I have grown to love about podcasts as a whole seems blindingly obvious
At first thought, this was great for me. In a phase where I was planning to really learn about the intricacies behind football, one bit of long-form content a week seemed very serviceable. After the 7-minute pre-amble which, in full honesty, I thought was pushing it, James and co-host Flav began an entertaining discussion surrounding the Premier League. But the beauty of this podcast couldn’t be further from the general contemporary football chat which started the episode.
James and Flav for Now is an unprofessional masterclass in comedic chemistry
What I have grown to love about podcasts as a whole seems blindingly obvious. Conversational chemistry breeds brilliant moments. When discussing comedy podcasts as a genre, it is rarely the case that there is a continuous hour of comedic material, but more so that a podcaster will catch a spurt of momentum leading to a hilarious individual segment. Hosts being able to riff off of each other and letting them find their rhythm, understanding the comedic style of their counterpart, is everything when it comes to generating these moments. This is where James and Flav shine as podcasters, and this was clear as day from the first episode I watched that James and Flav for Now is an unprofessional masterclass in comedic chemistry.
Once the obligatory football chat is over at the start of each episode, James and Flav hit their stride, distancing themselves from the formality of the Premier League and they begin to embrace their personal niches loosely surrounding football. One of the benefits of the YouTube platform for podcasts is the comments section, which essentially provides the running order for the podcast after the initial focus. This offers a great aspect of audience interaction as well as a mystique about it all, with long-standing bits which are hard to trace the origin of. In this sense, I’ve treated this podcast like a Netflix series, knowing that the bigger comedic payoffs might be coming later. As previously mentioned, this was the show that hooked me into the podcast space, and it was this mindset shift of beginning to treat them like larger entities that made it so great. In the two-and-a-half years of listening to the podcast it has only grown on me more and more, and I haven’t come close to finding anything like it. The blending of their two personalities, with the composed and rational James and the unashamed Flav has transformed the way I view podcasts and given me some of the funniest moments from any form of media.
As a slight caveat, I can’t, in all good conscience, recommend James and Flav for Now to everyone reading this. I certainly would to all football fans who are willing to put up with some takes which have very clear winks at the audience attached. But what is perhaps a more important take away from my piece here, is that the podcast medium has become so saturated that there is undoubtedly a podcast which will cater to the most specific of niches, even if you don’t realise it initially. I would never have found this podcast by searching through any football or comedy podcast sections, and yet I have stumbled into a podcast which has somehow hit the sweet spot of my entire taste in media.