Caitlin Weierhauser and Randall Lawrence have created a Harry Potter podcast for the ages. But it’s definitely not for J.K. Rowling’s younger readers.
Weierhaeuser, a stand-up artist who triumphed as Portland’s Funniest Person 2017 at Helium Comedy Club’s annual competition, and Lawrence, who moonlights as an audio engineer for comedy podcasts, host Room of Requirement 237, an exploration of fan speculation and theories. (Never heard of this? Check Tumblr — and allow plenty of time to spend down that wormhole.)
Was Professor McGonagal actually a spy for Voldemort? How do you make a horcrux? What kind of drugs would Hufflepuff’s kids be more likely to take: cannabis or mushrooms?
Their high-speed patter, with fun guests like comedian Kevin Porter and artist Terry Blas, takes fandom to a completely different level.
Weyerhaeuser (who identifies as Slytherin) keeps up a extremely busy schedule, between her day job, stand-up and radio gigs.
“There was a distinct lack of fun projects,” she said. The idea for the podcast came from wanting “something that was pure joy and indulgence — the same as the books when I read them.”
Lawrence (who sorts himself into Ravenclaw) was introduced to the books by his mom, a home health nurse. “She’d have to drive from our house to an office 45 minutes away. I would go with her and read the book to her as she drove, the first four books.”
Both of them are re-reading the entire series as they get deeper into the podcast.
Weierhaeuser and Lawrence, who, by nature, swear like sailors, say they had pretty intensive discussions about whether to make the podcast kid-friendly.
For the first couple episodes, they were very mindful of the possibility that kids might stumble onto their series. “We were trying to be clean,” Weierhaeuser said, “and then we [decided] let’s just be ourselves. I still don’t feel great talking about a children’s book series and saying the things we’re saying!”
But the genius of their unbridled fandom is contagiously hilarious — even more so, at live tapings, like this Saturday’s Portland Podcast Festival session. Don’t miss it. They’re one of thirteen shows holding mini-tapings that night.
Episodes to get you started:
#26 With Kevin Porter of the Gilmore Guys (It’s the first of a two-parter, if you love what you hear)
#24 RoR 237 Live with Katie Behrens and Tyler Quinn of the “Meanwhile, at Hogwarts…” improv team