The MEGA SWAT Kast - The Death of Comedy

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The MEGA SWAT Kast - The Death of Comedy

Postby MoDaD » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:24 pm

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Listen here | Other listening options available at https://podcast.swatkats.info

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get revenge against those who imprisoned it! INSERT LAUGHTER. It’s open mic night at the Megakat Asylum, and when a lone orderly heckles the talent, it sets off a series of “comedic” hi-jinks that dares our heroes to try not to laugh. As they say, revenge is a dish best served dry.

Please adjust your humor targeting displays to the lowest common denominator, and note that the accuracy of recollection missiles may vary.

Show Episode: Enter the Madkat

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Re: The MEGA SWAT Kast - The Death of Comedy

Postby Kooshmeister » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:06 pm

As noted on Discord, yes, the curio shop owner's name is Katzmer, and, no, the sergeant in this episode isn't the recurring one (even though Jim Cummings would use the same voice for him when he took over from Ed Gilbert in season two). He's "Sergeant #2" in the storyboards, and only appears here and in Katastrophe.
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Re: The MEGA SWAT Kast - The Death of Comedy

Postby Echo » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:35 pm

As always, such a fun podcast. crazymadkat

I'm excited to hear the next one~ RazorHappyCait
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On Roddy McDowall [was Re: The MEGA SWAT Kast - The Death of Comedy]

Postby marklungo » Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:47 pm

Checked out the podcast this weekend. Great stuff as always--and unlike Madkat's "jokes", it's actually funny! MadkatUpIcon However, I have something to add to my original episode review (available here as always), specifically on the casting of the titular villain. I always felt a little guilty about my comments on Roddy McDowall, partially because he died just a few years after SWAT Kats (the 20th anniversary of his death is tomorrow!), but... well, let me explain. It's complicated.

The podcast has a gag about how the producers cast Roddy McDowall because they confused him with Malcolm McDowell. I know it's a joke, but seriously, folks--as his Wikipedia entry shows, McDowall led an incredible life. He'd already had a decades-long, distinguished career in a variety of fields by the time he was reduced to playing a supervillain in a cartoon about talking cats. He was a great actor, and he did outstanding voice work both before and after his role here (Mad Hatter, Snowball). I think he would have been a wonderful SWAT Kats villain--in the right role.

The above paragraph is my roundabout way of saying that as much as I love Roddy McDowall, I still think he was miscast as Madkat. McDowall could do comedy (again, Snowball), but not the wacky, zany kind that Madkat specialized in. (However, as the podcast correctly points out, the script didn't give him much to work with.) Malcolm McDowell really would have been a better choice, as would the actors I named in my original review (Dan Castellaneta, Micky Dolenz, Matt Frewer). And yet...

You know what I wish the producers of SWAT Kats had done? Create a new villain written especially for McDowall. Maybe give him a sympathetic backstory like Mad Hatter's. That would have been the ideal solution for everyone. Ah, if only...

P.S. Thanks for tolerating my self-indulgence here. Madkatlaughing
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Re: The MEGA SWAT Kast - The Death of Comedy

Postby MoDaD » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:08 pm

I'll always personally remember Roddy McDowall as Batman TAS's Jervis Tetch/Mad Hatter. In that particular role, the writing for those episodes lend themselves very well to his talents. My personal opinion (if it isn't already clear TboneLaughCait ) is that the execution of the character of Madkat (and not the voice actor) was the weak part. He did what he could with what he was given.

Regarding the McDowall bit, aside from being a joke, (and I don't have concrete proof) but there was definitely a bit of crossover casting for roles between those two over the years, as Malcolm McDowell does do V/A work, too, and they both tend to be cast for very similar characters, and studio voice directors have definitely deliberately pushed them toward the same performance destination (and I have no doubt that they competed for typecast roles over the decades, both live action and animation).
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Re: On Roddy McDowall [was Re: The MEGA SWAT Kast - The Death of Comedy]

Postby Kooshmeister » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:07 pm

marklungo wrote:I still think he was miscast as Madkat. McDowall could do comedy (again, Snowball),


I disagree. I love him as Madkat. I think Malcolm McDowell is the one who would've been miscast, and, beyond the similar last names, I'm not sure what makes everyone think he would've made a better Madkat than Roddy. I believe he would've been wrong for the part of an evil jester. Roddy was likely hired based on his performance as the Mad Hatter in Batman: The Animated Series. If this is the case, it makes perfect sense to cast him.

The problem was that the jokes in the script were terrible. And it isn't just Madkat who suffers. John Byner's David Litterbin, supposedly the greatest comedian ever according to the story, comes off as kind of dull. So the issue isn't that Roddy McDowall and John Byner are miscast or aren't funny, it's that Glenn Leopold apparently isn't good at writing standup comedy. McDowall and Byner can only work with what they're given. And while Leopold does often write great humor, standup clearly isn't his forte.

But this can be "fixed" by an in-universe explanation. I viewed Madkat's (and Lenny's) style of comedy as being less "zany" and more sardonic and snarky, which McDowall does quite well, IMO. The way I see it, he isn't actually trying to entertain anyone but himself, his claims to the contrary notwithstanding ("I can provide all the entertainment Megakat City needs!"). In essence, Madkat is performing for an audience of one: himself. He doesn't care whether anyone else finds his jokes funny or not. All that matters is whether he has a good laugh.
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Re: On Roddy McDowall [was Re: The MEGA SWAT Kast - The Death of Comedy]

Postby marklungo » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:58 am

Kooshmeister wrote:I viewed Madkat's (and Lenny's) style of comedy as being less "zany" and more sardonic and snarky, which McDowall does quite well, IMO. The way I see it, he isn't actually trying to entertain anyone but himself, his claims to the contrary notwithstanding ("I can provide all the entertainment Megakat City needs!"). In essence, Madkat is performing for an audience of one: himself. He doesn't care whether anyone else finds his jokes funny or not. All that matters is whether he has a good laugh.


Well, villains tend to be selfish and lacking in empathy, so this is a valid interpretation. However, plenty of audiences must have found both Madkat and Lenny funny at some point, or they wouldn't have become famous comedians in the first place.
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Re: The MEGA SWAT Kast - The Death of Comedy

Postby Kooshmeister » Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:12 pm

If that were true, they wouldn't have been replaced. TboneLaughCait

All jokes aside, though, you're right; Lenny claims he was "a number one comedian, I cracked everyone one," and the guard doesn't disagree. All he says is "'Til you cracked up." So, yes, at some point, Lenny was apparently supposed to be considered funny by the public, or at least a large segment of it.

Here's something else: how was Lenny clinging to the ceiling? I get that he's supposed to be using his claws, but he visibly has shoes on. And his claws aren't sticking through them to be able to grip the ceiling. So how is he staying up there? Through the power of pure crazy?

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Re: The MEGA SWAT Kast - The Death of Comedy

Postby NeeKnight » Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:14 pm

marklungo wrote:The podcast has a gag about how the producers cast Roddy McDowall because they confused him with Malcolm McDowell. I know it's a joke, but seriously, folks--as his Wikipedia entry shows, McDowall led an incredible life. He'd already had a decades-long, distinguished career in a variety of fields by the time he was reduced to playing a supervillain in a cartoon about talking cats. He was a great actor, and he did outstanding voice work both before and after his role here (Mad Hatter, Snowball). I think he would have been a wonderful SWAT Kats villain--in the right role.


Roddy McDowall was a magnificent actor and I agree one hundred percent he would have made a wonderful villain in the show. Toast, as you say, he has done some very funny work, so maybe could have worked as MadKat if it had given him the right comedy to work with.

As for the gag, yes, I will hold up my hands to that. RazEmbarrassed It wasn't deserved and honestly stemmed from my own confusion, as for years I thought it was Malcolm McDowell until I sat down to rewatch it and was confused by the fact it wasn't. Didn't help that most of the times I watched it growing up was from a VHS recording where the credits were wrong. I had gotten to the point where when I was thinking about MadKat's lines, I was remembering them in McDowell's voice! I was so sure because the idea of casting McDowell made so much sense to me whenever I thought back to that episode and I just remembered it wrong.... But rather than making that joke aimed towards myself which I should have, I put the joke on someone else. I felt he was miscasted but that wasn't his fault is how I wanted to present it. RazSad

Comedy is hard. Possibly one of the hardest things to do as a writer, as a performer or as any form of creative endeavour. This is clear from this episode and from this joke. But thank you, Mark, for point this out and I will use this and hopefully learn from it SinianThisCait

Kooshmeister wrote:Here's something else: how was Lenny clinging to the ceiling? I get that he's supposed to be using his claws, but he visibly has shoes on. And his claws aren't sticking through them to be able to grip the ceiling. So how is he staying up there? Through the power of pure crazy?


He is Crazy... Maybe he spent long hours running his fur against the padded cell walls that he had enough static cling in his body to keep him hanging there? Madkatlaughing
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Re: The MEGA SWAT Kast - The Death of Comedy

Postby Kooshmeister » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:19 pm

NeeKnight wrote:He is Crazy... Maybe he spent long hours running his fur against the padded cell walls that he had enough static cling in his body to keep him hanging there? Madkatlaughing


So the power of pure crazy, then. Gotcha. This is as good of an explanation as any. Madkatlaughing

"The power of crazy" is probably also what allowed him to snap Katzmer's baseball bat in half. The strength of the insane and all that.
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