Chomps is a cat, and she has a lot to say. For the past two years, she’s had her own call-in podcast show where she converses passionately with food about politics and natural disasters. This is a cat who has opinions about current affairs. “Chomps the Cat Food Call In Show” was created by Click BANG! Productions co-founders Jerry Spears and John Passalacqua.
Before moving to Albuquerque, Spears and Passalacqua met in college and bonded over their love of comedy, improv and film production. “Chomps is John’s cat. We’d sit around, and I’d start doing her voice,” says Spears, adding, “I think the only way to really get to know a pet is to be able to do their voice.” Passalacqua agrees, and so in turn he developed the voice of Spears’ cat, and they started having daily cat conversations. (As one does.) From these discussions the show developed organically over time.
Each episode includes a guest comic who embodies a food of their choice. Spears, as Chomps, interviews the comic doing their very best food impersonation. “The podcast is definitely theater of the absurd,” says Passalacqua. They start with a concept, usually something newsworthy from the last week, and then improv their way through the show. “In one episode Chomps talks to a hot dog whose stand was affected by Hurricane Sandy,” says Spears. “They have to rebuild the stand, and Chris Christie comes out. But he just eats everything, so Obama gets a hammer and builds it himself.” Listening to this podcast feels like shrooming while buying groceries with your cat.
“We love talking to comics, and this podcast is a perfect place for them to do something a little different with their comedy,” says Passalacqua. Jason Green, a local comic known for his absurdist comedy, was one of the first guests on the show and immediately became a fan. He voices the semi-recurring character of Grubbs, Chomps’ wayward cousin. “Grubbs started as us asking each comedian who came on to do their best impersonation of Chomps,” says Spears, “but it quickly became Jason doing the voice.”
As their most frequent guest, Green has become the third seat on the podcast and in many ways contributes to the overall story and adventure of Chomps. During one episode, Green plays a Snow Cone named “Mark” who was working on making Russia less scary during the Sochi Olympics. He says, “We’re giving away snow cones, we’re giving away babies, and Putin is doing his one-man show ‘My Shirt’s Off and So Is the Truth.’” From there the trio continues a three-minute tirade about Putin’s early stand-up career in the New York alt scene. It’s these ridiculous scenarios that keep listeners enthralled.
The show can be found on Podbean, SoundCloud and iTunes, but Spears and Passalacqua have bigger plans. “Ultimately we’d like to grow our audience and get really great comic guests on,” says Spears. “We’d also love to have it animated,” adds Passalacqua. “Chomps is a cute fat cat! The internet loves cute fat cats!” Chomps is a feisty cat who gets into a lot of trouble with her bosses for voicing her opinions. Her story and deeply felt experiences are the draw of this show and the reason so many listeners connect with this absurd and seriously funny podcast.