DoT EP73: Mike Vago, Author of Selfdestructible, plus New Comedy from Shawn Carter

This episode is an interview with author Mike Vago with new comedy from Shawn Carter. Vago is a talented writer and humor columnist. You may have seen his Wiki Wormhole feature, which has run for the past five years in the Onion’s A.V. Club. Or you might have seen his debut novel, Selfdestructible, about super heroes who have to deal with real-world problems.

A teenager discovers he can set things on fire when he’s angry, and the part he’s most excited about, at least at first, is that he gets to be homeschooled and doesn’t have to deal with the other mean kids. A twenty-something has super powers, but it’s debatable that she’s a super hero. Her parents were definitely celebrated super heroes and protectors, but they’re dead now, and when she goes on a bender to drown her sorrows, she finds she has to move back home to Buffalo to avoid the tabloids. It’s not a winking satire, although there is a strong sense of humor influenced by comics like The Tick and Ambush Bug. Vago explores these fantastical things with a more practical eye – what would it be like it people actually had these kinds of powers, and what would they do with them?

If you like super heroes and comic books, if you’re interested in self-publishing, of Vago’s column, or even why I yell “Neil Young!” to end every episode, then this is the episode for you. I should also disclose here that I’ve known Vago for more than twenty years. We met at the University at Buffalo, both of us working at the campus radio station and magazine. He’s the one who introduced me to The Tick, for which I am eternally grateful. So this is also a conversation between old friends.

From an amiable author to an amiable comedian, Shawn Carter. Carter is Boston comedian, and I’ve enjoyed his work for the past several years here. He’s got a new album, 100 Problems, which you can find on your iTunes and such. Carter is a clever joke writer. On this track, “97 Cats,” he will challenge your deeply held notions that anyone can own “outdoor cats” and what makes good bird feeder food. You can find out more about him at and his Twitter handle is @shawncarters.

You can listen to and download the podcast from the player below, or subscribe/review on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play. Enjoy!

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