Ra(Tan) Lines – My Brother, My Brother and Me

Ratan Varghese - 2B Electrical
Posted on: September 23, 2017

First off, major props to Donovan for recommending this podcast to me. If you’re new here, he also recommended the name of the column. But enough about the camaraderie at the Iron Warrior. Who are the brothers and why are they making a podcast?

The podcast is formally “My Brother, My Brother and Me”, also called “MBMBaM”. According to the intro of the show, the McElroy brothers are not experts, and their advice (unlike Donovan’s advice) should never be followed. There’s a warning about the show not being for kids, but I just noticed that it comes after disputing Justin McElroy’s “sexpertise”. The other brothers are Travis McElroy and Griffin McElroy. Don’t worry, I can’t keep track of which one is which either.

They are “an advice show for the the modern era”, which is to say they read questions on Yahoo! Answers. As you may be aware, Yahoo! Answers is where the world’s philosophers, intellectuals and scientists ask the most pressing questions of the universe. For example, “How did people know when to meet back in vampire times?” Well, do you know? The McElroys do, and answered it back in episode 348, “Stardust and Dino Piss”. My personal favorite debate was in episode 362: it was about whether men on horses could win a war against centaurs. They discussed tactics, the supply lines, and even spying. Truly, the dilemma of eternity.

Now, if for some reason you don’t believe in vampires and centaurs, worry not. There are enough mundane questions for any vampire sceptic. For example, “What do you call the middle part of the pizza? Urgent?” Sometimes the questions are a bit open-ended, so the McElroys need to add all sorts of contexts and scenarios. They also consider many different possible perspectives. I mean, think about that “vampire times” question again. Anyone who’s anyone knows vampires have been stalking humanity from the dawn of time! The McElroys needed to joke around a lot before that question could reach a definitive conclusion.

It can be a bit tough to tell what’s real and what’s not on MBMBaM. I tend to believe the confident statements are mostly jokes because they’re too hilarious to be true, but sometimes Wikipedia reveals the world is much stranger than I expected. Wait, Wikipedia can be edited by anyone. I guess there’s only one place left to learn how to handle sock-related crimes and repeating dreams about bathrooms: Yahoo! Answers. As heavy users of that site, the McElroy brothers have a lot of time to bash it for its load times and other quirks.

There are many live MBMBaM shows, especially in recent weeks. Apparently a lot of people are willing to pay to see MBMBaM live. Many of them know the introduction message by heart. There are also intro and outro songs, saving me the awkwardness of laughing at the McElroys and then without warning hearing Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History talk about genocide for six hours. Aspiring podcasters take note: outro songs are neat.

MBMBaM updates once a week. Episodes usually last about an hour. By podcast standards that is pretty consistently productive: most podcasts I listen to are more slight, update less often, or both. Now if only I could find a way to be that productive. Maybe there is someone I could go to for advice…