Oceanside High School alumni Andy Fligel and Brandon Korman have lived parallel lives, they said.
Both grew up in Brooklyn, then moved to Oceanside at 13 years old and graduated in the high school’s class of 1999. The longtime friends first met during a computer class at Oceanside Middle School. They were paired together for a project, and Fligel sat back while Korman did all the work.
“He got mad, and I didn’t care,” Fligel recalled, “but we made light of it, and we realized this is a pretty good dynamic, this works. We’ve been friends ever since.”
Now, about 25 years later, the men each live with their families by beaches nearly 700 miles away from each other. Fligel lives in Sound Beach, and Korman lives in Wilmington, N.C. But they still stay in touch by phone virtually everyday to talk about their daily lives, and they’ve turned that banter into a weekly podcast.
The duo launched “Try Not To Laugh” in September. The audio show is about “two lifelong buddies trying to navigate this crazy world through comedy,” according to its tagline. A warning: this podcast should not be played around children. “We’re direct and honest about how guys think,” Fligel said.
“Try Not To Laugh”’s audience is 80 percent male and 20 percent female, ages 35 to 54, Fligel noted. While Fligel insists he wouldn’t want his wife listening to the show, Korman thinks women will enjoy it. “I want women to listen to us, too,” Korman said. “I think there are women who love to laugh. Please, ladies.”
To build their brand and promote the podcast, they recently released a parody music video for Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ hit song “Old Town Road” on YouTube. The song is called “Old Town Buffet,” and Fligel tapped into his music and graphic design skills for its creation.
Both men said they have always had an affinity for comedy and, while they have full-time jobs, have done some comedy on the side. For instance, Korman has written and pitched scripts to television executives.
The two realized that, technically, they had been podcasting for years just by talking on the phone. Now, they just have more organization to it, thinking of a theme for each week, writing bullet points and recording their 45-minute conversations to release into the world. “We’re still finding who we are, what our voice is,” Korman said.
The comedy podcast’s first episode is “Try Not To Be A Millennial/Gen Z-er,” where the men, both 38, air their grievances about the younger generation. In other episodes, they talk about their relationships with women, parenting, television shows and current events.
“We’ll tackle holidays or the past … ,” Korman said. “We’ll talk about anything that’s on our minds, but we would love audience suggestions, too. We’re open to trying new things ‘til we find the winning formula.”
More recent episodes include “Try Not to Netflix And Chill” and “Try Not to Celebrate Fatsgiving.” Listen on Apple Podcasts or whichever app you use to listen to podcasts. New episodes are released on Tuesdays.