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Episode 217: Nerdist Podcast
Ray Romano and Tom…
Nerdist PodcastNerdist Podcast

Nerdist Podcast: Ray Romano and Tom Caltabiano

Ray Romano and his friend and touring partner Tom Caltabiano sit down with Chris, Jonah and Matt to talk about their new documentary 95 Miles to Go, their beginnings in comedy and Ray tells the story of where the name “Everybody Loves Raymond” came from!

Buy the documentary 95 Miles To Go!

Watch some behind-the-scenes videos from the podcast recording!

ANNIHILATION's 'Shimmer' and Ending Explained

ANNIHILATION's 'Shimmer' and Ending Explained

Meltdown Comics, an LA Landmark, to Close After 25 Years

Meltdown Comics, an LA Landmark, to Close After 25 Years

Who Is the Secret Cameo in DEADPOOL 2?

Who Is the Secret Cameo in DEADPOOL 2?



  1. Dave says:

    This guy Tom needs to talk less. Know your place. Almost made this podcast impossible to enjoy.

  2. Jhon says:

    Ray is awesome, but that Tom guy is obnoxious. I’ve now heard them on two different podcasts, and he never shuts his damn mouth. I’m interested in what RAY has to say. I don’t care about that other schmuck.

  3. Josh says:

    @Carlos I spent my college years in a ska band. Love ska fans — leave it to us to find new meaning for “skank”. Something to be proud of!

  4. Josh says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!! @Carlos for the timing, and the win!

  5. Carlos says:

    “Turdist” is the name of my ska cover podcast. My two friends – Bonah Jay and Rug Rabooie – join me to discuss the wonders and the merits of ska music and it’s influence on artists today.

  6. Josh says:

    @Doc “Don’t Get Me Started” … Weren’t they a Billy Crystal cover band? Don’t know any faith-based cover bands, by the way. The closest I can think of is “Crude” — you know, the Shock Rock version of Creed. But those guys, like some penguins (as we learned on the “Jonah Ray on Conan” comment thread), are total assholes.

  7. @Josh Don’t get me started on faith again my man. I thought we had shrug hugged the shit outta that one. 😀
    @Jimbo If I’m missing something here and I took your post the wrong way then I truly apologize, but I’m not seeing it. It really seems to me that you were being a dick. If I’m wrong then please correct me.

  8. @Jimbo
    So let me see if I’ve got this right. YOU voiced a negative opinion about a Nerdist guest in the most insulting, negative, horrible manner you could possibly think of and I’M the bully. Well, OK, as long as we’ve got that cleared up…

    Please don’t think I’m trying to chase anyone off, Jimbo, because I’m not, and really couldn’t no matter how hard I tried. If you wanted to post shitty things here every hour on the hour there would be absolutely nothing I could do about it. But if you act in a way that’s inconsiderate of other people’s hard work and dedication I’m not going to feel bad about (how did you put it?) voicing my opinion.

  9. Josh says:

    @Jimbo Not the wanted effect at all — seriously. I’ve written some things that have pissed people off on these comment threads too. So what? It’s totally cool. We can totally go at each other a minute or two and then nerd hug and go on @ing each other to our hearts content. You registered an opinion in an interesting way. We took it as a trollism, you didn’t mean it that way, bada bing, bada boom, the thread goes on. For Pete’s sake don’t stop doing what you enjoy doing! Wait, “Pete”, that’s You Made It Weird … For Chris’ sake keep posting, @Jimbo! I like having to look up words I don’t know. “Ire-hider”? That shit is radical.

    And, I do just have to say, I don’t know him in person, or by name, but I do feel pretty confident that @Doc is cool beans — the coolest beans in the beans genus. He and I have had some awesome, challenging, in my opinion hilarious, and great exchanges here and on @Matt Grandis’ blog. He’s definitely passionate about the type of discourse people have in general. That’s not fascism. I would say it’s “faith” — but, of course, Doc would then have to respond by smacking me in the back of my head. And then I would laugh and laugh… But deep down, in his heart of hearts, Doc would know… it’s faith. (c:

  10. Josh says:

    @Doc! Help! Can’t stop thinking of fake cover band names!

    Dixie Tricks — country-western prostitute duo cover band
    Purgatory — Muzac Nirvana cover band
    Trenton Reznor — New Jersey based NineInchNails cover band
    Justin Timberpond — just a smaller version, really

    Good Lord make it stop!

    Peter Gabriel Paul and Mary — no need to explain this one
    Antidote — Poison cover band, the only Satanic Rock band I can think of with a positive name
    Pherret — a phurrier phish cover band
    Sight Living Room — indoor hyper allergic Soundgarden cover band

    Help me, Doc! Help me!

    John Philip Sues A — highly litigious cover marching band.
    Marilyn Monsoon — Just some real dark, rainy shit
    ADD — very distracted REM cover band

    I’ll stop thinking about this long enough to fall asleep at some point tonight, I hope…

    Das My Ex — Oh man, remember THAT Das EFX cover band? Some real hardcore misogynistic stuff. But they had a lot of anger, you know? Divorce is never easy.

  11. Jimbo says:

    Wow, I’m surprised that my comments were perceived as trollish at all. I was honestly just voicing my opinion.

    Josh, I appreciate your civil explanation. Doc, well, I’ll just say that I feel lucky that you’re here to drop the hammer on anyone who starts getting out of line. If I felt freer to voice my opinion, I might even imagine that this forum were a middle-school campus with you as the jackbooted hall monitor…complete with a Nerdist-logo armband. Whoops, sorry, that one slipped out.

    Don’t worry, you’ve succeeded in chasing me off. I will continue to listen to and love the Nerdist podcast (as long as it’s good of course.) From this point forward I will keep my comments to myself and quietly enjoy my burrito.

  12. Josh says:

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! Well, cover bands ARE the websites of the music industry. If you can think of a website, it’s probably been done. Except for Nerdist, of course. This shit is one and only. That’s for real! Universal! You could ask my cousin, Jeff, from Statin Island.

  13. Josh says:

    HA! Oh man, I could “yes and” you all day, Doc! It’s a kinky riff, I know, but that shit is for real. Universal. You could ask my cousin, Jeff, from Queens. He’ll tell ya.

    Yeah, love that Rodeohead. My first favorite cover band was Me2. I know. Self-righteous bullshit. I was young. Their album was “The Joshua Bush”. I got into ’em for the wrong reasons. And then my cover band cousin Jeff, from Queens, who was in fact not my real cousin at all, but a cover band of my actual cousin Jeff, from Queens, got me into Rash — you know, the “Rush” cover band. After that, well, I guess you could say I just had the itch.

  14. Wow. So I did a quick Google search and, as it turns out, I’m not as uber clever and original as I thought I was. There actually IS a group called Meth Lab for Cutie who thought of that title first. Fuckers.

    When will I ever learn? Google, then post. Never the reverse.

  15. While all the bands you’ve mentioned are undeniably legendary I’d either have to go with Fake (an awesome Cake cover band) or Meth Lab for Cutie. I’m also very partial to Rodeohead.

  16. Josh says:

    @Jimbo You’re clearly super-smart, and you seem like you might be a pretty funny guy too. There was definitely something a little different about this episode — we all noticed. I wondered if there was tension, Doc and Patty had a nice exchange about how interesting Tom and Ray’s relationship was, etc. Something was… off. But there are hundreds of possible reasons for that (“sycophantic toadying” being one of them) not all of them negative. In fact, most of the possible reasons are probably not negative at all. Your judgement seemed like an awfully negative and trollish leap, to me.

    The other thing is that Chris Hardwick has stated explicitly now a number of times that he hates negativity on these comment threads. They bum him out. Ruin his day. Etc. I just sort of feel like, you know, c’mon bud, we’re all fans of this podcast, we all love these guys, they work really hard to entertain us for free, let’s be good fans, you know? Let’s show a little thanks by making these comment threads fun and weird and interesting and funny and maybe even a little heated from time to time, but let’s keep things constructive and nice toward that end. Why not? We’re all nerds here anyway!

    Oh, and @Doc — I KNEW I liked you for a reason! A fellow fake-music musicologist! Birds of a feather!!! (“Birds of a Feather” btw, GREAT Charlie Parker / ABBA mash-up cover band) I remember the Butt-troll Surfers! They used to tour with De La Troll — who still play around, btw. Crazy samples, those guys. Who’s your favorite fake cover band? For a while there in the early 90s I really got into Fred Krepplin — a Shred Heppinefrin cover band. Shred Heppinefrin, of course, was a Ted Zefrin cover band, who themselves were a Ned Deflin cover band, who of course only covered Head Wetpin songs, that were the polka version of Said Peffrin, who in turn were the glam rock version of Dread Zepplin.


  17. Either way you’re unnecessarily and unapologetically arrogant and rude. There’s really no need here for any kind of insult, middle of the road or otherwise.

  18. Jimbo says:

    I think that accusing him of sycophantic toadying is a middle-of-the-road insult. Granted, I could have gone easier on him. But on the other hand, it could have been worse. I could have called him a “Passive-aggressive, almost-funny-but-not-quite, ire-hider.” But that would have just been mean.

  19. Ah! I can see I have a contender for the King of Fake Music Knowledge throne. That’s absolutely correct. In fact the “Fine Young Cannibassholes” really had a strong impact on the cover band scene of the late 80’s and early 90’s, but even more influential were the unsung heroes of the cover band world, the “Butt-troll Surfers”. They weren’t a huge commercial success, even as cover bands go, but they practically invented that distinct cover band sound that we’ve all come to know and love.

  20. Josh says:

    @Doc Ha!

    Sidenote to the sidenote to the sidenote: Didn’t some of those NJSIC guys break off and get together with a handful of British ska musicians from the 80s to form “Fine Young Cannibassholes”?

  21. As a sidenote to the sidenote “NJSIC” actually started out as a cover band themselves, only with a different name. They covered “Styx” songs under the band name “Please Remove the Styx from Your Asses”.

  22. As a sidenote “Sycophantic Toadying” is the name of my “Negative Judgmental Shithole Internet Commenter” cover band.

  23. Josh says:

    Had to look up “sycophantic toadying” — wow, what a great phrase … & what a gnarly insult.

  24. Jimbo says:

    Tom brings sycophantic toadying to a new level. Is Ray really so fragile that he needs a guy like that to speak for him?

  25. Elizabeth says:

    Tom must really be a good friend of Ray’s cause he is missing the whole concept of being a sidekick. A little humility would go a long way with this guy…he is quite obnoxious in stepping on whatever Ray was trying to say….would love to hear a podcast in the future that is just Ray. Wanna hear more about the mindbets…AND would LOVE to hear his Alt stuff!!! Ray’s psychosis is WAY more interesting than Tom’s.

  26. odin42 says:


  27. RobJ says:

    Damn Scott Aukerman, his impression of Ray Romano made this impossible to listen to.

  28. Agreed. I think that one of the most important tools in the “not going utterly batshit crazy” toolkit is perspective and enough therapy from the right therapist will give you that in droves.

  29. Patty Marvel says:

    I’ve just finished listening to this podcast and I see what Doc means by “shield the other by taking control of the conversation if they sense the other one getting overwhelmed or uncomfortable.” I got the impression Tom Caltabiano was trying to run interference for Ray Romano near the end just before Romano started talking about going into therapy two days a week. You do that sort of thing for your pals. Too bad therapy is still an awkward/taboo subject – so many people could (and SHOULD) go and really get the help they need to live a happier life.

  30. Patty Marvel says:

    @Doctor Quemmento – “Chris ‘The Crowbar’ Hardwick,” indeed! I think the sheer length of the interview combined with how CH fosters conversation gets interviewees to cry UNCLE and spill. If he ever tires of stand-up and/or podcasts, he should put out a shingle that says, “Psychiatric Help 5 cents.”

    And now, to listen to the rest of the podcast!

    Oh, and someone can edit CH’s Wikipedia page please update it to include Doctor Quemmento’s nickname for him. Someone added “Big C” a while ago.

  31. Martyna says:

    You now you have some Polish listeners like me 🙂 .I love this episode . We don’t have dinners but we have bar mleczny and you can buy there the best pierogi in the world. Come visit Poland. You want regret. And bring some booths.

  32. Josh says:

    I saw 95 Miles to Go. It’s definitely a really funny peak into the world of a very, very famous comic. I recommend it! Great episode as usual, guys! I thought maybe I sensed a little tension there? I don’t know, doesn’t matter. It was a great and interesting conversation!

    Also, your maternal progenitor is so ugly, Albert Einstein saw her and his hair stood up. NOOOOOOOOOoooooooo!!!! He brought it back! Why, Josh? Why?

  33. @GuanoLad
    Yeah, but, to me at least, it sort of seemed like that was by design. Their relationship reminded me a bit of my grandparents’ marriage where one of them can gauge the mood of the other one by reading subtle nonverbal signs and step in and shield the other by taking control of the conversation if they sense the other one getting overwhelmed or uncomfortable. I think Ray really opened up at the end there, though. Chris “The Crowbar” Hardwick’s badass interview skills strike again.

  34. GuanoLad says:

    That Tom guy sure does talk a lot.

  35. Kevin says:

    Anybody else get the vibe that Tom was Bob Zmuda to Ray’s Andy Kaufman?

  36. amysrevenge says:

    Good show. Not much from the sister-wives, but it felt like that was because the guests didn’t need a lot of prompting.

  37. Deedy says:

    Ray’s stand up is great, and I’ve always been a fan of Everybody Loves Raymond. I’m only 24 but I enjoy family humor. Looking forward to this!