Comedian and Big Hollywood contributor Carl Kozlowski, “cyclone of information” and aspiring voice over artist Brant Thoman, and comedian, stage actor and “general rabble-rouser” Jake Belcher are taking internet radio by storm with Grand Theft Audio, a wild mix of entertainment, pop culture, politics, and just about anything else that strikes their fancy.
CARL KOZLOWSKI: Uncensored in the best sense of the word. We’re definitely a freewheeling and funny show that refuses to be censored on matters of politics and our vast and deep opposition to Obama, his cronies and their policies. We’re proud and excited about the fact that we’ve had at least one major comedy, music-world or media-mogul guest, including Andrew Breitbart, Big Hollywood editor John Nolte, and conservative comedy icon Evan Sayet – on our shows. It’s a big party with great discussions that bring issues to fun life.BRANT THOMAN: In short, three friends giving their honest opinions and personal take on all things that could and should matter.
CARL: We’re shooting for a broader audience then those who typically listen to talk radio. I’d say teens to 30somethings that really, truly want to be different. We’re the next generation of Rush Limbaughs crossed with a little bit of Howard Stern, minus the overtly sexual shenanigans.BRANT: Who isn’t? Aside from coma patients, small children and some pets.JAKE BELCHER: Our target is any open-minded critical thinker, sick-to-death of being spoon-fed garbage by the mainstream media.
CARL: I had long been a standup as well as a reporter, so I was fortunate to win the title of America’s Funniest Reporter in a Laugh Factory contest. Someone said I should look into radio, and combine my natural curiosity about everything, my insane level of ADD and my ability to be funny into being a radio host. I asked the two funniest guys I know – Jake and Brant – to join me. We began by training in a real dump of a radio school in LA and then moved on to real radio at KABC in LA (America’s top talk station!). Eventually a syndicated show bounced us, so we struck off for internet radio and some unceasing, uncensored fun! We felt it was time for a new generation of conservative voices and we’re proud to be part of that wave!JAKE: I have always been beyond outspoken in my views on everything. When Carl suggested a talk show, it seemed a no brainer. We narrowed in on an idea of doing politically charged talk show with the biggest “names” we could get. Very quickly, we found that many celebs LOVED to expound on hot button issues.BRANT: Jake and I have always looked for ways to work together, and have on several occasions. When he approached me to work alongside him and Carl I jumped at the chance. What better job than to be able to sit around and shoot the shit with your best friend.
CARL: I’d say we’re libertarian, which means that moral issues are between you and your concept of God, or lack thereof. Take gay marriage, for example. It really doesn’t affect straight America, so why are we up in arms about it? Separation of church and state means that we cannot rely on religious arguments to make policy. That said, I’m a fairly devout and practicing Catholic. However, I personally speak out against abortion on the show because I believe unequivocally that it’s a separate human life and that a person’s rights end when they affect the life and death of any other human being at any age. The other guys are more passionate than I am about pot issues, as I have only tried it a few times in life, while I’m way more up in arms about abortion – though all three of us believe that taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s abortion. Each of us respects the others enough that if one of us gets off on a rant about pot or abortion, we don’t get in the way even if we’re not as passionate about it. With pot, I feel it’s no big deal really and is a huge waste of money in regards to the expense of keeping people in prisons and prosecuting a relatively harmless drug that was as legal as alcohol for decades in this country.Being “out of step” on a couple of big issues, makes us unique and, hopefully, more interesting to listeners and the press as we grow because we’re not easy to box up and define. But I’d say on fiscal matters, national security and the importance of taking pride in our nation and keeping it worthy of pride, we’re absolutely dead-on in the conservative camp.JAKE: I do feel that just calling us conservative is not really taking in the bigger picture of everything around us. I’m more like a libertarian traditionalist with fiscally conservative principles. The thing that gets my goat the most is when the government wants to tell you that you can’t do something and then wants to charge you for the right not do it.BRANT: I grew up during the Reagan years, am a fiscal conservative, and think smaller government is better. The market place should, for the most part be allowed to fix itself. Except when it comes to monopolies but the current blockheads in D.C. don’t really care. Case in point: Ticketmaster and how they have to create two new entities to compete with themselves (which sounds like playing chess with yourself).Tobacco and Alcohol kill more people every year than Marijuana and I think one way to shrink our debt is decriminalization and taxation of FDA regulated and gov’t sold Pot is a step in the right direction. Besides, once we study it and find the true medicinal uses how can we argue with its uses?Social reform is important and the decriminalization, growth and use of industrial hemp is one of the keys to this. Talk about new green jobs that can help the U.S. retake the role as the we are still and agricultural super power why not be even stronger in the world.
CARL: I think it’s important that conservatives engage with the culture and gets praise for the things that are good about it, not just condemnation for that which is wrong. The best thing we can do is give Show Biz some respect when it’s warranted. Eventually they’ll see we’re not stereotypical monsters and they’ll come around to respecting us as well.JAKE: I think there is a hide under the bed mentality that many conservatives have that is going to make it near impossible for the movement to emerge from. How do we make the youngsters look away from their iPhones and see what the government is doing to them with dry bread talking heads that have little to no appeal to them. That is why GTA has guests that kids want to hear from, while also trying to educate them on what’s happening in the world in the language they speak.
CARL: I’m always baffled by readers who find great satisfaction in saying, “Well that’s $8.50 I’m not gonna spend.” Or who go off on harangues about one admittedly awful comment George Clooney made about Charlton Heston nearly a decade ago (which Clooney apologized for and Heston’s widow acknowledged as received, and I believe, forgiven). It hurts our movement and our place in society as a whole if we just say ‘boycott Hollywood!” or even exhibit an irrational hatred of an actor due to this or that belief or comment in years past. “Up in the Air” is a beautiful, apolitical film with huge, huge lessons about life and yet many conservatives absolutely will not see it because Clooney has some liberal views. Why can’t people remember the principles we learn as children: Reward that which is good by seeing it, and punish that which is bad by privately refusing to spend money on it. If all you have is hatred and contempt for Hollywood, that’s all it’s going to have for you – and then no one wins.
CARL: I’m the main booker of guests for the show (each of us has distinct and equally important roles, and the dudes have been bringing in some really cool guests too lately). I always tell guests that we’re largely conservative because I want them to know where we’re coming from. I invite them to either agree or argue like hell with us in a funny way. So far, no one’s shot us down over our politics, and usually there’s not a big fight on-air either. I think that we’re showing conservatism doesn’t have to fit the stodgy stereotype forced on it by the left, and that we will be a big force in providing truly alternative thought to all the young people out there getting brainwashed by the left in our educational system. I also think that comedy provides an easy way for serious messages to be discussed and ultimately accepted.BRANT: None other than my own political agenda of ruling the world…just kidding.
CARL: Yeah, I think it comes down to if you can laugh with or even at each other, truly laugh and not in a mean-spirited fake bully way, then you can get past differences and really learn to listen and respect each other.BRANT: It hasn’t been hard. Our guest have a good time talking with us and we have a good laugh with them. Several want to come back and do the show again.JAKE: Comedians are smart. Much smarter than the general public and I feel it is MUCH harder to fence with comedians over political issues as it can be tougher to get past the jokes to the reality of the situation. Even someone like a Janene Garofalo, as misguided as I percieve her to be, is still an incredibly smart person. She has to be otherwise she would constantly be being led to slaughter. We welcome the challenge of having liberals on the show though because if you don’t know what your opponents are saying, how can you ever compete with new ideas in the marketplace?
CARL: I’m insanely ADD – I’m a reporter, and do standup, and write books and movie scripts and am preparing TV series ideas, etc – and yet radio is the one thing I’ve enjoyed more than anything else and that I feel I do better than anything else. We all want this to become our careers, and the sooner the better. We’re about to send demos to both XM Sirius satellite radio and to terrestrial and syndicated stations. We truly believe that we’re the next generation of blockbuster conservatives in the tradition of Limbaugh and O’Reilly, and we won’t rest until we get there – or at least somewhere pretty cool.BRANT: XM, Fox news’ “Red Eye Show”, AM radio (since FM talk is dead in L.A.) or just an expansion to what we have. A second and then third night would be nice.JAKE: My hope for the show’s future is with your kids as they listen on their iPhones and through the many social media outlets that we choose to use. The world changes everyday I feel it is our duty to add a little levity to the situation and truth to peoples lives.
I want to thank Carl, Brant and Jake for taking time to answer my questions. GTA streams live every Thursday night from 6 to 8 PM (PST) at LATalkRadio.com. You can hear archived shows at LATalkRadio.com’s Grand Theft Audio page.
Cross-posted at Modern Conservative’s Culture Front.